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WATCH LIVE: Neil Gorsuch SCOTUS Confirmation Hearings

Mar 21, 2017
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Judge Neil Gorsuch has been grilled by the Senate Judiciary Committee for more than 18 hours of questioning over two separate days, and the proceedings are not finished yet. On Thursday, the committee hears testimony from witnesses about Gorsuch's qualifications to be a justice of the US Supreme Court.

NPR and WCBU will continue to follow the Senate Confirmation Hearing with live video below.

Airport officials say an agreement allowing a central Illinois youth soccer league to use airport-owned fields is likely a short-term deal due to concerns about safety and federal guidelines.  The Central Illinois Regional Airport has a lease with Prairie Cities Soccer League that runs through the end of the year. 

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A state senator from the Chicago suburb of Evanston is joining the race for Illinois governor.

City Club of Chicago

The airing of grievances over the ongoing state budget impasse continued today between Governor Bruce Rauner and Comptroller Susana Mendoza.   As comptroller, Mendoza signs the checks connected to the state’s bank accounts.

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New University of Illinois men’s basketball coach Brad Underwood says he’s honored to be taking over a program in a city he’s visited many times before.  The former coach at Oklahoma State spoke to reporters today at the State Farm Center after he was named the Illini’s 18th head coach over the weekend.  

A feud between Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and Comptroller Susana Mendoza is escalating over spending priorities during the state's unprecedented budget standoff.  Mendoza is a Democrat in charge of paying Illinois' bills. In a speech she accused Rauner of being a terrible governor and paying consultants from a health care fund, among other things.   

The Illinois Supreme Court won't immediately consider Attorney General Lisa Madigan's appeal of a circuit court ruling that state workers must be paid during the state budget impasse.  Justices denied Madigan's request to bypass the appellate court and take the matter directly to the Supreme Court.

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The Illinois River could have a brighter, cleaner future ahead.

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - An anti-abortion physician and two pregnancy help centers have filed a lawsuit alleging an Illinois law requiring them to discuss abortion with patients is unconstitutional. 

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CHICAGO (AP) - A newspaper report says all of Chicago's leading 10 areas for police-issued bike tickets are predominantly African American or Latino. 

Sony Pictures Classics

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - Roger Ebert's film festival this year will include 2016 psychological thriller "Elle" and a film delving into the life of TV icon Norman Lear.

LIVE COVERAGE: House Intelligence Committee Hearing

Mar 20, 2017
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Today, FBI Director James Comey and the director of the National Security Agency, Admiral Mike Rogers, will testify before the House Intelligence Committee. The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for Judge Neil Gorsuch begins with opening statements on the same day, then really gets rolling on Tuesday, when Senators begin questioning the nominee.

WCBU and the NPR Two-Way blog will provide live coverage of the House Intelligence Committee’s public hearing on the investigations into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. This live blog will include streaming video of the proceedings, with posts featuring highlights, context and analysis from NPR reporters and correspondents. Stay with us for live coverage here, or on WCBU 89.9 FM or HD-1. 

Rauner Takes AFSCME to State Supreme Court

Mar 20, 2017

Gov. Bruce Rauner is taking his fight with Illinois’ biggest government labor union to the state Supreme Court. 

Minor league baseball players are suing Major League Baseball, claiming unfair pay. But a new proposal in Illinois would protect independent leagues from a similar lawsuit.

The state’s minimum wage law applies to most workers, but there are a few exceptions: farm hands, children of small business owners, and outdoor salesmen to name a few.

Rich Sauget is the owner of the Gateway Grizzlies, a minor league team in the East St. Louis area. He wants his players, coaches, and trainers to be added to that list.

Budget Woes Force NEIU to Close Next Week

Mar 17, 2017

Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago is shutting down next week to save money due to the ongoing state budget impasse.

It's Spring Break for Northeastern - but the faculty and staff aren’t getting paid for it. Many students who tutor won’t work this week, either.

And even parts of the university that aren’t just for students are closed - like the rec center, library and a child care center used by parents who live nearby.

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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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