Daisy Contreras

Daisy reports on statehouse issues for our Illinois Issues project.  She's currently a Public Affairs Reporting graduate program student at the University of Illinois Springfield.  She graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology with an associates degrees from Truman College.  Daisy is from Chicago where she attended Lane Tech High School.

Last month, the state's voters decided on the Republican and Democratic nominees for governor. But with the primaries behind them, the winners still have to convince those who wanted someone else at the top of the ticket.

Lawmakers are urging the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services be more transparent with the public.

 

萨德入韩有变? 美官员:若韩不愿部署可撤回 / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says while President Trump made the right call to attack the Assad regime last Friday, he suggests the Commander-in-Chief use more precaution moving forward.

Trump last Wednesday tweeted about Russia with a heads-up on a possible U.S. missile attack on Syria. Durbin says the use of social media could have dire consequences.

 

Gary Lerude / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner Thursday signed legislation that will bring so-called 5G wireless technology to the state. Some cities are worried about the unintended consequences. 

Wireless providers can now install small devices on utility poles. These will increase cell phone or internet signal, promising faster connections.

But opponents say cities will lose authority over how much they can charge private companies for using their public infrastructure. Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder says this opens the door for other proposals that overstep local authority.

Illinois lawmakers Wednesday took a step closer to establishing state net neutrality rules before the federal regulations expire later this month. The Illinois proposal advanced out of a House committee and will be discussed by the General Assembly. But — there’s still confusion about consumer protections and the legality of legislation.

Illinois is joining several states scrambling to keep net neutrality protections before the federal repeal date of April 23.  Some Illinois legislators say they still have time to act with a plan before that deadline.

After Illinois was targeted by Russian hackers prior to the 2016 elections and voter information leaked, securing future data has become a priority.  The state may now look to emerging technology for one possible solution.       

After what’s thought to be one of the most expensive primaries in Illinois history, billionaire businessman J.B. Pritzker is the Democratic nominee for governor.  Incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner won the Republican primary, narrowly beating his only opponent, state Representative Jeanne Ives.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner Tuesday vetoed the only gun-control legislation to reach his desk — one month after the Parkland, Florida shooting.

Global Panorama / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Flickr

Makers of generic pharmaceuticals are pushing back against an attempt to regulate prices in the industry. Several Illinois lawmakers are pushing to hold the companies accountable for what they call “price gouging.” But opponents say regulation is not the answer.   

 

Carrie Hartgen is with the Association for Accessible Medicines. She says the proposal overlooks large pharmaceutical companies that impose price hikes on patented drugs, and instead picks on the smaller industry.

 

Al_HikesAZ / (CC BY-NC 2.0) / Flickr

Big changes to Illinois' gun laws don't happen often. But a growing movement across the country appears to be resonating in the state's General Assembly.
 

Hundreds rallied outside the statehouse calling for stricter gun control. Several in attendance had lost loved ones to gun violence. They wore pins showing the faces of the deceased.

Mary Kay Mace lost her daughter when a gunman opened fire in a Northern Illinois University classroom. The recent high school shooting in Florida happened on the 10th anniversary of her daughter's death.

Rep. Emanuel "Chris" Welch (D-Hillside) / Facebook

Several gun-related proposals passed an Illinois House hearing Tuesday. Gun control supporters in attendance included members of the Chicago Police Department. They stood behind the so-called "Paul Bauer Act" drafted in memory of the Chicago police commander killed by a man wearing body armor. The measure would prohibit its use by most civilians.

Following the Florida high school shooting that left 17 dead, Democrats in the Illinois House plan to take up a package of gun safety measures this week.

Several Illinois lawmakers want added regulations on car title loans. They say some lenders charge interest rates in the triple digits, putting borrowers at risk of losing their cars. 

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy said this week House Speaker Michael Madigan should at least temporarily step down as head of the Democratic Party, while state Sen. Daniel Biss said he hopes Madigan’s firing of the aide accused of harassment isn’t just political damage control. Frontrunner J.B. Pritzker has been more tentative in his response. 

Survivors of domestic violence who want to change their name might get additional protections under a new Illinois proposal.  

Survivors of domestic violence who want to change their name might get additional protections under a new Illinois proposal.  

  

Illinois is joining 35 other states this year attempting to give divorced couples equal parenting time. The issue is stirring debate among family law attorneys, mental health professionals, parents and others.  

James Reynolds / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Adapted by Peoria Public Radio / Flickr

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is changing his campaign strategy against Republican primary opponent Jeanne Ives. Previously, he dismissed her as a "fringe candidate.” But now he’s spending money on a TV attack ad, attempting to link Ives to Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan.

The Illinois legislature will soon discuss if good Samaritans should be allowed to rescue kids and pets left inside hot vehicles. The plan would decriminalize breaking windows or opening locked doors when the temperature makes it a potentially deadly situation.

President Donald Trump’s administration has been in power for a year now. “State of Trump” is our series discussing what’s changed in the state and what might be ahead.

Diane Doherty is the executive director of the Illinois Hunger Coalition. She talks about federally funded programs for low-income individuals — such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — and their future in 2018.

The future of the Quincy Veteran's Home remains uncertain, as 13 deaths have occurred there in recent years related to Legionnaires' disease. The outcome may impact an entire region. 

Many research labs across the country use animals for testing products such as make-up or medicines. For the past decade, advocates have pushed to get more of these animals — especially research dogs — adopted after they are no longer needed. Just a handful of states have policies in place. Illinois just recently joined that list.

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. 

Health centers in Illinois are forming partnerships with local food banks to offer fresh fruits and vegetables to some patients. With an estimated 1.5 million residents in the state classified as food insecure by the U.S. census, could this be a key approach to improving food access?

Michael Coghlan / Flickr

Advocates for youth are urging Illinois to end the incarceration of young people in large facilities. They say these settings do not address their needs and safety concerns. Stephanie Kollmann is with the Children and Family Justice Center's legal clinic ​at Northwestern’s law school. She says the state should consider moving toward small-scale community settings that offer a more personal approach.

 “The number one goal of adolescent development is to be able to get youth toward adult independence and successful, thriving lives. Prisons unfortunately build  walls between youth and community, and that’s exactly the resources that they will need in order to move on successfully.” Kollman says. 

Many blind parents say they have fallen prey to preconceived biases involving their children and their parenting capabilities. A new law in Illinois aims to address these concerns.

Illinois lawmakers acted quickly last month in response to sexual harassment allegations at the statehouse.  But several female legislators say this isn't a quick fix.  They say the process was rushed and not enough thought was given to explore alternative options.

State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, a Chicago Democrat, says the new policies were not inclusive of everyone affected by the issue—such as legislative staff and lobbyists. She says she hopes newly formed legislative task forces in the House and Senate will resolve this concern. 

National politics and the recent surge of sexual harassment allegations have resulted in calls to increase the number of female candidates in the 2018 races for legislative and statewide offices. But Illinois did not necessarily follow along with these expectations.

In another step to help prevent more overdose related deaths, the state of Illinois rolled out a 24/7 opioid and substance addiction helpline Tuesday.

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