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Peoria Public Radio

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth is pregnant.
 
The Illinois Democrat says she will give birth to her second daughter this spring. It will make her the first U.S. senator to give birth while in office.
 
In a statement Tuesday, Duckworth said she and her husband, Bryan, are thrilled their family is getting a little bit bigger. She also says her daughter, Abigail, "is ecstatic to welcome her baby sister home this spring."
 
Her colleague, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, said he couldn't be happier for Duckworth.
 

Flickr Creative Commons/Dan Moyle

The Peoria Area Association of Realtors reports a strong fourth quarter that resulted in  2017 home sales out-performing the previous year. Home sales grew 10-percent year over year for the quarter that ended December 31st.

Mary Ann Ladendorf is the President of the Peoria Area Association of Realtors. She says the fourth quarter saw a .2 percent increase in sales for the year:

“Our average price home was up. So we finished very strong.”   

AARP.com

AARP Illinois is launching a voter-education campaign aimed at putting pressure on state lawmakers.

Employees at the Illinois State Capitol Complex are advised to continue their normal work routine, after initial tests showed a possibility of Legionella bacteria in the water system. 

Brian Mackey (File Photo) / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner says he will propose reversing last year's income tax increase in a "step-down" process that will cover several years.

Rauner pledged the rollback Monday when asked about how he would pay for more than $2 billion in state spending that never received appropriation authority from the General Assembly.

Comptroller Susana Mendoza's first monthly report on the state's pile of overdue bills revealed that the state will spend $2.3 billion in the fiscal year that ends June 30 that was never appropriated in law.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle cited a racial disparity in enforcement of laws against the use of marijuana as the reason she now favors legalization of the drug.

BRIAN MACKEY / NPR ILLINOIS - TAXREBATE.ORG.UK / CC BY 2.0 / A DERIVATIVE OF “MAGNIFIER GLASS AND MONEY” / PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY CARTER STALEY / NPR ILLINOIS

Commentary: Expanded economic interest disclosures would lead to more accountability

Making resolutions for a new year is a popular tradition, and better late than never is a familiar expression. With that in mind, here’s a suggestion for Illinois lawmakers as they return Springfield four weeks into the new year:

Daryl Scott / Peoria Public Radio

A proposed bill would give more than 90,000 students across 100 districts in rural Illinois access to high-speed internet. Democratic Sen. Andy Manar of Bunker Hill, Republican Sen. Sam McCann of Plainview and Democratic Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant of Shorewood are sponsoring the legislation.

 

Childhood Dream Leads Steiner To Role as Voice of the Dodgers

Jan 21, 2018

This is the story about baseball broadcasters and a little boy’s dreams.

Hall-of-fame announcer Vin Scully began calling Brooklyn Dodger games in 1950.

Before the 1958 season, Scully headed west with the Dodgers.

After sixty years---at the end of the 2016 season, Vin Scully put a wrap on his Hall of Fame career as the Voice of the Dodgers.

Growing up in New York a young Charlie Steiner often listened to Vin Scully’s radio broadcasts of Steiner’s favorite team, the Brooklyn Dodgers.

U.S. prosecutors have told a judge they will seek the death penalty against a 28-year-old man charged with the kidnapping and killing of a University of Illinois scholar from China.

The Illinois Supreme Court has again upheld the murder conviction of former Chicago-area police officer Drew Peterson in the 2004 drowning death of his third wife.

Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs says families in the state that have college savings plans won't get a break on their state taxes if they use those accounts to pay for private K-12 tuition.

Attorneys for a white Chicago police officer charged with murder in the 2014 shooting death of black teenager Laquan McDonald plan to hire a polling company to look at the question of whether the trial should be moved out of Cook County.

Allen McGregor, https://www.flickr.com/photos/allenmcgregor / https://commons.wikimedia.org

CHICAGO - An appeals court will hear arguments on a Trump administration request to reverse a lower-court ruling temporarily freezing its policy of withholding public-safety grants from sanctuary cities that don't fully enforce immigration laws.

QuincyIVH.org

Both of Illinois’ U-S Senators are asking Governor Bruce Rauner to show them his plan to address the series of Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks at a state-run veterans’ home.

regan76 / (CC BY 2.0) / Flickr

Many so-called Dreamers have spent most of their lives in the U.S.. They’ve grown up, attended school, held jobs, and some have started families of their own. They’ve also lived in constant fear of deportation until former President Barack Obama implemented the DACA program in 2012.

 

Now, those fears have returned with President Donald Trump threatening to end DACA unless Congress comes up with a bill to replace it and address immigration reform.

 

Rep. Shimkus Talks Budget as Possible Shutdown Looms

Jan 19, 2018
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers / (CC BY 2.0) / Flickr

Without a new spending bill the federal government will partially shut down at midnight tonight. The House yesterday passed a stopgap to keep the government funded until February 16th, but it doesn’t look like that bill has enough votes to pass the Senate.

Republican John Shimkus represents Illinois’ 15th Congressional District, which is made up of all or parts of 33 counties in central and southern Illinois. He spoke with Illinois Public Media's Niala Boodhoo , host of the daily talk show The 21st before yesterday’s House vote.

New data from the University of Illinois' expanded background-checks policy show that the school withdrew 35 job offers across three campuses last year.

Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner will air campaign ads featuring 11 minutes of conversations between a top Democratic rival and former Gov. Rod Blagojevich captured on FBI wiretaps.

Lawsuit: State Withheld Medical Services to Children

Jan 18, 2018

A lawsuit against Illinois’ Department of Healthcare and Family Services claims the state illegally withholds medically necessary services from children with severe mental health disorders. The case was settled in federal court this week.

The flu season in Illinois is especially rough this year. And physicians think they know why.

The flu struck early and hard this year. Brian Curtis is the Director of Physician Practice at OSF Medical Group in Peoria, and he says the flu peaked right around Christmas, instead of the usual peak time in late January.

CURTIS: “It was kind of an inopportune time with the holidays and gatherings that people have which gave a prime opportunity to share it.”

University of Illinois trustees have voted to freeze the school's base tuition for incoming, in-state freshmen for a fourth consecutive year.
 
University President Timothy Killeen made the recommendation to the board of trustees in an effort to stop an exodus of Illinois high school graduates to colleges in other states. The board voted Thursday, approving the freeze for the university system's three campuses.
 

Hospitals in Illinois are warning of dire federal funding cuts without quick action from the state legislature.

Time is running out for the “hospital assessment program,” which provides money to treat low-income patients on Medicaid.

Danny Chun is spokesman for the Illinois Hospital Association.

"This is a 3 and a half billion dollar program. The state can’t do without 3 and a half billion dollars in Medicaid funding."

Doug Bowman / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode / Flickr

The public will not get to see certain documents and testimony obtained in an Illinois lawsuit related to the hush-money deal involving former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

Jim Meadows / Jeanne Ives / Brian Mackey

  

The November election race for Illinois governor cost $28 million just for the last three months of 2017. Campaign finance disclosure reports filed this week show that $9 of every $10 was spent by two candidates - Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker.

Peoria Public Radio

The General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport is celebrating 2017 passenger numbers. More than 635,000 people flew through PIA last year, making it the third busiest year in the airport’s history.

Illinois lawmakers are warning the state is at risk of losing millions of dollars meant to bring fast internet to remote schools.

The federal government will help pay for fiber optic cables — if Illinois comes up with 16 million dollars in matching funds.

State Senator Sam McCann, a Republican from Plainview, is among lawmakers asking Governor Bruce Rauner to include the funds in next year’s budget.

IL Pollution Control Board Eyes Changes to Standards

Jan 17, 2018
Sierra Club

The Illinois Pollution Control Board is taking public input on proposed rule changes Wednesday and Thursday in Peoria.

Environmental, respiratory-health and social advocates are urging the Board to uphold existing Multi-Pollutant Standards.

Dynegy, the Texas-based owner of Edwards Power station in Peoria County is seeking the rule changes opponents say could more than double air pollution.

Illinois public health officials are reporting a second case of measles in a person who was at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.
 
The Illinois Department of Public Health on Wednesday said this case is unrelated to a case reported last week at the airport. The department says there isn't a measles outbreak at O'Hare.
 

The Illinois State Board of Education today voted unanimously to ask the general assembly to double state funding for public schools.

Last summer, the legislature voted to change the way Illinois funds schools by adopting what's called an evidence-based model. That model weighs what each district needs against its local resources. As it turns out, some districts can't achieve even 50 percent of adequate funding, while others can get close to tripling what they need.

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