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The Illinois Senate has moved forward on pieces of a budget compromise. But the tough votes are scheduled for tomorrow.  The Senate approved non-contentious parts of what's called the "grand bargain" today. It's an effort to find a breakthrough on a two-year stalemate between Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Legislature. 

Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration has made it easier to find temporary workers in case a major public-employee union strikes.  The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees state council says hiring replacements would be illegal.

The Illinois Department of Corrections says a man accused in a 2012 Chicago expressway killing was released on parole in an unrelated case because the department wasn't informed he should be held.  The Department of Corrections released Garrett Glover on Friday after he was sentenced Thursday to four years in prison for an attempted armed robbery in 2014. Glover had been in custody since 2014.

Flickr Creative Commons/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters

Federal officials are delaying a proposal for a new line of defense in the Chicago area to prevent Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was scheduled to release a draft plan today for installing new technologies or taking other steps to block the invasive fish's path at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Illinois.  No new release date has been set.

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Spring has sprung early in much of the U.S., bringing celebrations of shorts weather mixed with unease about climate gone askew.  Scientists say this could potentially be a record early spring.   From Arizona to New Jersey, lilacs and honeysuckles are popping up earlier than usual, and birds are flying about.

Chicago Public Schools officials are seeking a preliminary injunction barring the state of Illinois from disbursing education funds until it adequately funds the state's largest school district.  Faced with a huge deficit and an upcoming teacher pension payment, CEO Forrest Claypool says the Chicago school year could end three weeks early on June 1 if the state doesn't come through with funds.

Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration is seeking to offer more Medicaid services through managed-care programs. The plan involves choosing a vendor that'll provide managed-care services to 80% of Medicaid clients.  That's up from 65% now. 

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The large plastic buckets that Illinois Tollway drivers usually toss change into to pay tolls soon will be eliminated.  Tollway leaders have approved a deal to replace the buckets at toll booths with updated machines. The new machines would have touch screens that can accept credit cards or bills as well as coins.

A former Cook County clerk employee who pleaded guilty to lying about an alleged bribe to a company run by the clerk's husband has been sentenced to three years of probation.  Sivasubramani Rajaram pleaded guilty to making a false declaration to a grand jury. The maximum sentence was five years prison. 

United Airlines says it's adding new destinations in smaller cities this summer including Champaign. The Chicago-based company announced that it'll start flying dozens of new daily roundtrip flights.  Starting on June 8, there'll be three daily flights between Willard Airport in Champaign and Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.   The last time United Express operated through Willard was 1993. 

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An influential doctors group is beefing up warnings about marijuana's potential harms for teens amid increasingly lax laws and attitudes on pot use.  Dr. Seth Ammerman says that many parents use the drug and think it's OK for their kids, but teen brains are still developing.

Flickr Creative Commons/Charles Carper

Cantigny Park outside Chicago, once the private estate of a former publisher of the Chicago Tribune, will be getting a face lift over the next five years.  Executive Director Matt LaFond says the $25 million project will create new gardens and renovate museums in the Wheaton park. He says the privately funded project is the largest comprehensive update to the gardens and grounds since the park opened in July 1958.

CT.gov

Illinois officials have discovered a devastating fungus that can kill popular landscape shrubbery.  Illinois Department of Agriculture Officials say the Boxwood blight was first found in Illinois near Chicago last year.  Agriculture authorities now say a landscape company owner about 290 miles southwest of Chicago near Breese found it in his shrubs. The owner thinks the fungus was in plants from out of state.  Boxwood blight affects only certain plants that are popular as landscaping material around the state. 

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Former Lake County Coroner Thomas Rudd has pleaded not guilty to five counts of perjury.  The 70-year-old is accused of having nominating petitions with signatures of people who were dead or who later claimed they didn't sign when he was seeking re-election in 2016.  Rudd dropped out of the Democratic primary after it was determined he didn't have enough valid signatures on his nominating petitions.

Chicago police say a second man has been charged in a shooting captured on video that killed two people, including a toddler, and wounded a pregnant woman.  Dionel Harris is charged with first-degree-murder in a shooting on Valentine's Day that killed 2-year-old Lavontay White and Lavontay's uncle, 26-year-old Lazaric Collins. 

veterans.illinois.edu

University of Illinois veterans have organized a clothing drive for victims of a fire in Danville that killed one veteran and displaced others.  75-year-old David R. Singleton was killed in the fire at a veterans' group home Feb. 2.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is forming a panel to pick up where a recent commission left off revamping the state's outdated public school funding formula.  The Chicago Democrat says the group will address questions left unanswered by a funding reform commission convened by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner last year. 

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has convened a meeting of legal and civil rights organizations in the wake of what she calls "troubling" executive orders issued by President Donald Trump.  Groups attending today's summit include Arab American Family Services, the Chicago Urban League and Lambda Legal. Group leaders say they fear escalating hate crimes.

Evan Vucci / AP Photo

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Democratic lawmakers from Chicago want portions of Illinois highways named for former President Barack Obama.

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin wants medical and dental schools in Illinois to have training sessions on responsible opioid prescription.

The Illinois State Board of Education has voted to approve the settlement of a years-long lawsuit that claimed discriminatory school funding.
 
The board's Wednesday vote resolves litigation with the Chicago Urban League, which claimed in its 2008 lawsuit that the state's funding model had a "demonstrable, disparate and adverse impact" on minority students.
 

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CHICAGO (AP) - Chicago Public Schools principals have been instructed by district officials not to let federal immigration authorities inside district buildings unless they have a criminal warrant.

Testosterone treatment did not improve older men's memory or mental function in the latest results from landmark government research. The results add to evidence that challenges bold anti-aging claims of popular supplements. 

American and United have started selling cheaper "basic economy" fares as they battle discount airlines for the most budget-conscious travelers.  American announced that it began selling the new fares for flights starting March 1 on 10 different routes from its hub airports in Dallas, Miami, Philadelphia and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Illinois State University is asking the public to weigh in on the institution's future.  The school is asking for community input on the challenges ISU is facing and what the university should look like in 15 to 20 years. People are invited to complete a survey online by Feb. 24.

Former suburban Chicago police officer Drew Peterson has been transferred out of the Illinois prison system and is now in a federal prison in Indiana.  Illinois Department of Corrections spokeswoman Nicole Wilson said Peterson had been transferred but declined to say why or where, citing security.  The federal Bureau of Prisons says Peterson is in the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.

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School personnel across Illinois are adapting to a new state law that requires districts to have an emergency protocol to deal with asthma emergencies.  Under the new law anyone who works with students must be trained to handle asthma emergencies. 

Facebook/Darlene Ostrowski

Several hundred people have gathered near Trump Tower in Chicago to protest President Donald Trump.  Today's rally is one of several occurring across the U.S. dubbed "Not My President's Day."  Protesters are speaking out against White House policies on issues ranging from immigration to the environment and health care.

Flickr Creative Commons/John Martinez Pavliga

The issue of how long injured pro athletes should be allowed to earn worker compensation benefits is being debated in Springfield.  The Chicago Bears are leading other Chicago sports franchises in backing a measure that would reduce a former player's ability to tap into workers compensation after a career-ending injury. 

Police say they seized nearly 130 explosives from a home in Normal Illinois.  McLean County Assistant State's Attorney Emily Young says police found 128 explosives devices each containing about a half-ounce of dynamite or explosive powder in the home of 32-year-old Gilbert Wilson.

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