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A new poll says Illinois voters are divided on what to do about the state’s financial problems.

The poll puts Illinois' deficit at $10 billion, and gives voters three choices for how to fix it: raise taxes, cut "waste and inefficiency," or both.

Cuts were the most popular answer at 45 percent. Just 11 percent favored only raising taxes; about a third said do both.

Paradoxically, when you ask voters about specific areas to cut, most are rejected. Support was strongest for spending on education, poor people, and individuals with disabilities.

UICOMP Fourth Year Students React to 'Match Day' Reveal

Mar 17, 2017
Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Fourth year medical students anxiously ripped into envelopes during Match Day in Peoria and across the country on Fri. It’s a hallmark stop on their medical career journey, as students learn where they’ll spend residency after graduation.

This week, Nathan Irwin is talking with David Commanday, Music Director of the Heartland Festival Orchestra. In their next concert, the orchestra is joined by three former finalists from "American Idol." Commanday talks about the three guest artists, and the different genres and vocal types they represent. He says the concert offers the orchestra an opportunity to present a different type of repertoire. And he talks about "American Idol" as a cultural and musical phenomenon.

Peoria Public Radio

The City Council At-Large candidate who lost by one vote in Peoria’s primary election is contesting the results.

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Caterpillar has retained special outside counsel to help in dealing with matters related to the criminal search conducted by a trio of federal agencies earlier this month. 

The new Republican health care legislation in Congress could cost Illinois $40 billion dollars in federal funding over the next decade. That’s according to the recent report by the Congressional Budget Office.

Illinois’ health care exchange has not been the success Obamacare proponents were hoping for. Insurance companies have struggled to find customers.

But hospitals say the expansion of Medicaid has been huge for Illinois. It’s given 600,000 people access to healthcare, so far paid in full by the federal government.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The University of Illinois says it will promise to reserve 85 percent of financial aid for Illinois residents if pending state funding legislation is approved.  

University President Tim Killeen called the "Invest in Illinois" measure an effort to keep Illinois high school graduates in state for college and stem a growing loss of students to out-of-state schools. The measure was introduced as an amendment to the funding legislation on Thursday.

NEIU Students Rally to Protest Budget Cuts

Mar 16, 2017

Students at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago rallied today ahead of a week-long university shutdown.

Northeastern is requiring its employees take five unpaid days off next week during Spring Break. It’s another money-saving measure in a string of budget cuts the university has made during the nearly 2-year-long state budget impasse.

Students like senior Patricia Burchfield primarily blamed Governor Bruce Rauner, saying she shouldn’t have to be protesting.

Jim Bowen / Flickr/Creative Commons

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois state lawmakers are planning to assess how Medicaid cuts proposed by President Donald Trump's administration could impact vulnerable residents.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

About 100 people turned out yesterday to learn about plans for replacing the Eastbound McClugage Bridge.

 

UAW Reaches Tentative Deal With Caterpillar

Mar 15, 2017

  The United Auto Workers Union has a tentative deal with Caterpillar.

  

The UAW says it's not releasing terms of the deal until members have a chance to review and vote on it.

 

  The union authorized a strike vote last month as a matter of procedure. But negotiations continued and workers remained on the job after their contract expired on February 28th.

 

torbakhopper / Flickr/Creative Commons

Illinois legislators are considering making it easier for transgender people to change the gender designation on their birth certificates.

Bernard Thomas / AP Photo

Immigrant and refugee groups were pushing their legislative agenda today in the Illinois Capitol. They want the state to restore adult English classes and limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

CQC Press Office / Flickr/Creative Commons

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A legislative panel in Illinois has failed to block a new overtime rule for home care workers that is expected to be in place by late summer.

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

The Peoria Police Department is taking a “wait and see” approach before formulating a policy on body cameras.

North Charleston / Flickr/Creative Commons

The Peoria Police Department will begin a pilot program to evaluate the use of body cameras on officers. Three officers on different shifts will use the cameras beginning March 20.

Project manager Denise Backes told Peoria City Council on Tues. that other cities using cameras have seen increased officer performance among other benefits.

CHICAGO (AP) - A nonprofit organization says people living in poverty in Illinois are more likely to become violent crime victims than higher wage earners whether they live in cities, suburbs or rural areas. However, geographic disparities persist. 

Catholicjen / Wikimedia Commons

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - State lawmakers are attempting to revive an effort that failed last year to bring automatic voter registration to Illinois.

Creative Commons

The Peoria City Council is exploring options for adding advanced life support services at more of its firehouses.

NorthstarLottery.net

A lawsuit accusing the company that runs the Illinois Lottery of fraud has been moved from county court to federal court.

The ACLU said Tuesday that Zachary Fardon mounted a "blindside attack" on the deal. 

Governor Bruce Rauner’s new rules restricting overtime pay for home health aids passed a major test today.

Starting August 1st, caretakers will be limited to a 45-hour work-week. If people require more care, they’ll have to find an additional worker.

A news release touted the administration’s “cost saving efforts.” But Fred Flather, chief of staff for the Illinois Department of Human Services, says money is not the driving factor.

Dakota Access Pipeline Legal Battle Continues

Mar 14, 2017
Wikimedia Commons

  The company building the Dakota Access pipeline has asked a federal judge to reject the latest attempt by two American Indian tribes to halt the project.

Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners says in court documents filed late Monday that it has suffered enough delays and that the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes are employing "a last-gasp litigation tactic."

Pritzker Explores Bid for Governor in 2018

Mar 14, 2017

J. B. Pritzker says he’s putting 200-thousand dollars of his own money toward a possible run for Illinois governor. The Democratic billionaire today formed an official exploratory committee.

Other Democrats Pritzker may face in next year’s primary include Chris Kennedy, the nephew of former President John Kennedy; Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar; and Bob Daiber, the Madison County Regional Superintendent of Schools.

Illinois House members are picking up education funding reform where they say a commission convened by the governor left off.
 
Lawmakers gathered Tuesday to discuss proposals to revise the way Illinois finances its public schools. They plan this spring to write legislation to overhaul what many say is an outdated education funding model.
 

AP Photo

CHICAGO (AP) - A new advertising campaign is aiming to reduce human trafficking in Illinois and help victims reach out for help.

AP Photo

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - An Illinois lawmaker is seeking $25 million to help Jewish organizations tighten security after a series of threats and vandalism at Jewish institutions nationwide. 

February was another record month for the Gen. Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Digital Visual Library / Wikimedia Commons

CHICAGO (AP) - Seven locks and dams on the Mississippi and Illinois rivers are under consideration by President Donald Trump's administration in his stated push to make the nation's infrastructure "second to none."

wikipedia.org

 CHICAGO (AP) - U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez is leading a sit-in at a federal immigration office in Chicago, saying he and other activists won't leave until demands are met. 

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