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Volunteer organizations around Illinois will be getting more than $15 million in federal grant money. U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin of Illinois announced that the additional funding for 16 Illinois-based AmeriCorps organizations will come from the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Illinois lawmakers have approved a plan that would raise phone fees for 911 services and allow AT&T to disconnect traditional landlines.

Officials in the Chicago suburb of Naperville say repairs to a 160-foot-tall tower that houses a carillon could cost upwards of $3.8 million. An assessment released of Moser Tower found that the tower's structural steel is beginning to corrode, its precast concrete is cracking and the concrete's mortar joints are facing deterioration. Officials say repairs will be needed in the coming years.

Illinois Department of Public Health data show opioids contributed to nearly 1,200 overdose deaths in the state in 2016. There were about 3 million Schedule II opioid patients in Illinois annually from 2008 through 2016.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris Accord is a poor attempt to pit environmental protection and economic growth against each other.   Emanuel says that is a false choice. He adds Chicago has proved jobs can be created while reducing a carbon foot print and the city will continue to do both.

Chicago police say the number of homicides and shootings dropped significantly in May compared to the same month last year when the totals helped turn 2016 into one of the city's most violent years on record.  The department says May ended with 56 homicides compared to 68 during May 2016, and 257 shooting victims compared to 316 last May.


The $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline is officially in service.  Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners announced the line carrying North Dakota oil through South Dakota and Iowa to a distribution point in Illinois has started shipping for customers.

Southern Illinois University Carbondale officials say nearly 80 employees are losing their jobs and dozens more could be affected as the school struggles financially due to the ongoing state budget impasse.  Interim Chancellor Brad Colwell says officials have been trying to identify $19 million in permanent reductions since March.

Tamie Yost

Chicago's O'Hare International Airport is getting $60 million in federal funds for runway construction and other improvements. The first grant of $40 million will help kick off the construction phase of Runway 9C/27C, including utilities and pavement work. The $648.5 million runway is expected to open in 2020, with construction being completed in three phases.

A plan to overhaul Illinois' school funding formula has prevailed as a highlight for advocates in a legislative session marked largely by futility.  Lawmakers approved the plan to direct more dollars to the state's neediest schools in the session's final hours yesterday. The measure advanced 60-52 from the House to the Senate. There it received a 35-22 vote in the face of Republican opposition.

twitter/JB Pritzker

FBI wiretaps from a 2008 investigation of then-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich recorded current Democratic candidate for governor, billionaire J.B. Pritzker, speaking to Blagojevich about a state job appointment.  The previously unreleased recordings were released Wednesday. An association with the now-imprisoned Blagojevich could be politically damaging.  A Pritzker campaign statement says there is nothing untoward about the conversations.  

Sears Holdings Corp. says some of its Kmart stores were targeted by hackers, leading to unauthorized activity on some of its customers' credit cards.  The company says in a blog post that Kmart's store payment systems were infected with virus-like computer code undetectable by current anti-virus systems. 

Paul Coussens

Gov. Bruce Rauner says lawmakers' inability to create a budget plan he'll accept for the third straight year is a "dereliction of duty."  Democratic Illinois House leaders announced Wednesday they would not take a vote on the budget the Senate sent because they don't trust the Republican governor's actions. 

Flickr Creative Commons/David Wilson

A 15-year-old boy has been charged with starting a fire that caused heavy damage to a building at an abandoned prison in northern Illinois.  Joliet police say they received numerous tips via social media linking Monday's fire to two 15-year-old boys, who were at the prison at the time of the fire.

Illinois DCFS

The director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has resigned in the face of an ethics probe and controversy over recent child deaths.
George Sheldon resigned Wednesday, saying he is returning to Florida. The office of Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner says DCFS General Counsel Lise Spacapan will serve as interim director during a search for a full-time replacement.

Illinois senators have overwhelmingly approved a plan to make it harder for authorities to confiscate property from innocent owners.
The Senate endorsed the measure 56-0 Wednesday. It'll head to the House.
The plan would place the burden of proof on law enforcement when seizing a person's property in connection with a suspected crime. Current law allows authorities to confiscate property without even charging an owner for participating in illegal activity. The practice has been sharply criticized.

The Illinois House has signed off on a workers' compensation measure that Democrats say addresses reforms requested by Gov. Bruce Rauner as part of a budget deal.
The measure headed to the Republican governor's desk after the House approved it 64-51 on Wednesday. But Rauner has already indicated that it doesn't go far enough.  
The proposal requires insurance companies to get state approval for the rates they charge.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Department of Homeland Security)

The Illinois Senate has agreed with House changes to a measure that protects immigrants from indiscriminate federal attention.
Democratic Senate President John Cullerton's "TRUST Act" now goes to Gov. Bruce Rauner. It prevents federal authorities from stopping, questioning or detaining immigrants unless they have a valid federal warrant. It also would have prevented local police from cooperating with federal agents unless a federal criminal warrant was presented and barred federal authorities from entering "safe zones" such as schools or publicly funded clinics.

The Illinois General Assembly is once again ending its annual legislative session without passing a budget.
Although Senate Democrats this month passed both a budget bill and a variety of tax hikes to pay for it, House Democrats cannot agree on what to do.
Try to meet Governor Bruce Rauner’s demands, as the Senate tried and failed to do with the so-called grand bargain? Or go it alone, as the Senate ended up doing.
House Speaker Michael Madigan says his fellow Democrats are concerned about how they saw Rauner working with the Senate.

Flickr Creative Commons/Chicago Architecture Today

The Illinois House has approved a plan aimed at initiating the sale of a downtown Chicago building housing about 2,200 state employees. The Democrat-majority House voted 67-48 in favor of a proposal to advance the sale of the James R. Thompson Center. 

Brian Mackey/Illinois Public Radio

Protesters have completed a 200-mile Chicago-to-Springfield march in support of a state budget that supports working-class people.  More than a hundred protesters joined the March to Springfield for the final leg to the state Capitol as lawmakers attempt to hash out a budget deal before the session ends tomorrow. 

Facebook/Northeastern Illinois University

Northeastern Illinois University will lay off workers to cope with an Illinois budget impasse that has reduced state funding.  The university announced it will eliminate about 180 full-time jobs in the coming weeks.  Interim President Richard Helldobler says 130 of those who will receive layoff notices are civil service employees. The remainder will be administrative professionals.

Flickr Creative Commons/Paul Downey

Lawmakers in Springfield have been considering a bill that would allow Illinois farmers to grow industrial hemp. Democratic state Sen. Toi Hutchinson of Olympia Fields is sponsoring the legislation. It passed the state Senate this month and is headed to the House. 

A county judge has ruled an Illinois man can remain anonymous as he sues Dennis Hastert, saying the former House speaker sexually assaulted him when he was a fourth-grader.  It's at least the fifth such allegation against Hastert, who will soon be released from prison in a hush-money case.  

Flickr Creative Commons/Alan Cleaver

The Illinois Senate has approved a two-year property tax freeze.  Democratic Senate President John Cullerton of Chicago pushed two property-tax freezes measures through the Senate. 

A bill is headed to Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner that would let the state put advertisements on license plate renewal reminders.  The Illinois Senate unanimously approved the measure. Secretary of State Jesse White suggested ads earlier this year, saying they would help pay for the cost of mailing the reminders. White's office didn't send the notices in 2015 because of lack of money amid state budget troubles.

An Illinois House panel has endorsed a plan to make it easier to consolidate local governments. The Executive Committee approved a proposal that eases the process of merging or dissolving townships, or for cities to absorb townships of the same geographical area. 

Facebook/Fair Economy Illinois

Protesters pushing for plans to close so-called corporate tax loopholes and tax the wealthy at higher rates have disrupted proceedings at the state Capitol.  Roughly a dozen chanting protesters were removed from the House gallery as lawmakers were in session. Illinois Secretary of State spokesman Henry Haupt says no arrests were made.

Project Luz / Flickr/Creative Commons

The Illinois House approved a measure that would prohibit local law enforcement agencies independently from enforcing federal civil immigration laws. 

A group of military veterans in southern Illinois hopes their Memorial Day weekend effort to play the longest non-stop baseball game ever was successful.  The marathon game ended about 10:20 a.m. today after 74 hours, 26 minutes and 52 seconds.