Jaclyn Driscoll

Jaclyn has an MA in Journalism from DePaul University and a BS in History form Monmouth College. Prior to reporting, Jaclyn was a social science teacher and department chair at Greenfield High School. Previously, Jaclyn reported for WICS Newschannel 20 where she covered a variety of assignments including courts, politics, and breaking news. She also reported at Siouxland News in Sioux City Iowa, the shared CBS/Fox television newsroom. Her internships included WGN and Comcast SportsNet in Chicago. 

Illinois lawmakers approved legisltation that would allow farmers to grow industrial hemp. Hemp is derived from the cannabis plant, but it has a non-drug use. It can create bio-degradable building materials, paper, textiles and more.

More than 260 girls and young women came forward to tell their stories of sexual assault by former USA Olympic doctor Larry Nassar, who is currently serving multiple prison sentences for the abuse. The trial resulted in more than a prison sentence and settlement money for victims. It shined a light on the mishandling of sexual assault reports by young athletes. And last week, Illinois took center stage in this national issue.

When a new employee is fingerprinted for a job in Illinois, the employer receives a snapshot of their criminal record, and they receive notifications for any future run-ins with the law in the state. But lawmakers are considering a proposal that would also allow employers to be notified of convictions that happen across state lines.

Illinois House members will soon consider a measure that clarifies whether graduate research assistants have the right to unionize.  But, Wednesday's Human Services committee hearing took quite a detour. 

Update: The measure heads to Governor Bruce Rauner's desk. Sponsor state Sen. Chris Nybo (R-Elmhurst) has not yet heard whether the governor will support the idea. The Governor's Office did not respond for comment. 

After a 12-day strike beginning in February, the University of Illinois and graduate student employees settled on a new contract that includes pay raises and tuition waiver protections. Now lawmakers want to clarify who is eligible for those benefits. 

The Loyola-Chicago Ramblers busted a lot of brackets and captured a lot of hearts when the men’s basketball team, as an 11 seed, made it to the Final Four in the NCAA tournament. For their accomplishments, they were honored at the Illinois State Capitol on Wednesday.

In the wake of mass shootings comes the debate around gun laws. This week, I explore a different angle: the personal responsibility of carrying a firearm. 

Another candidate is complicating Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s reelection campaign. State Sen. Sam McCann (R-Plainview) announced a third-party bid for the state’s top office on Thursday. 

Riddled with complaints and ethical violations, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services wants more money to address what the director called “a number of burning fires.” 

Matthias Ripp / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

While Illinois has mental health parity laws on the books, some say those in need are still being denied proper coverage. A new proposal would require the state’s Department of Insurance communicate policy coverage for those in need of mental health or addiction treatments.

Brianna Lantz is a spokes-person for the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association. She says she's concerned about a part of the bill that would remove prior authorization requirements for medication.

Illinois lawmakers are moving ahead with legislation that would harshen penalties for texting and driving. The bill will allow law enforcement to issue a moving violation on a first offense. That  carries a fine of $75 for the first violation. Current law only allows a ticket to be issued on the second or subsequent stops.

Save a Star Drug Awareness Foundation / Facebook

The opioid epidemic continues to hurt communities across the state. But for Illinois’ youth, it’s not the illicit drugs, it’s the prescription pain pills that can too often be easily accessed from their home medicine cabinet. The Illinois State Police will now house receptacles for people to safely dispose of unused pills. That's something Lieutenant Matt Boerwinkle says is greatly needed.

 

FRANKIELEON / FLICKR- 2.0 GENERIC (CC BY 2.0)

As the opioid epidemic continues across the nation, the number of babies being born with opioid withdrawal symptoms is rising. Crain's Chicago Business health care reporter Kristen Schorsch looked into the difficulties it's causing, not only for families, but for Illinois finances, in her article titled "In Withdrawal: Treating the babies of Illinois' opioid crisis."

Chapendra / CC BY-NC 2.0 / Flickr

The issue of antibiotic resistance is a growing concern for many health  professionals. Some health professionals are comparing it to the likes of the opioid epidemic. 

Dr. Scott Micek, of the St. Louis College of Pharmacy, says roughly 23,000 patients die each year due to antibiotic resistance in the U.S. and most of those deaths happen in the hospital.

A year ago, lawmakers decided to change school health examination requirements. They added screenings for social and emotional development, but the details are still being worked out.

A year ago, lawmakers decided to change school health examination requirements. They want to add screenings for social and emotional development.  But the details are still being worked out. 

The law leaves it up to the Illinois Department of Public Health to put together the rules regarding these screenings. As the law reads right now, it’s vague. How they’ll be done, who receives them, and the tools needed to do so isn’t spelled out… that’s what the stakeholders are trying to figure out.

Democrat J.B. Pritzker and Republican incumbent Bruce Rauner will square off this fall in the general election for Illinois governor.  Each pumped millions into their campaigns to win primary races. Their return on investment shows just how costly this race will be.  

Lincoln Land Community College received its largest-ever donation – an $18-million gift benefiting the school’s agriculture program. 

Lawmakers see chance for green with recreational marijuana.

Marijuana legalization is getting another look in Illinois, particularly for the money it could bring the state. The state has overdue bills nearing $9 billion after a more than two-year budget stalemate, and some argue a little extra cash could go a long way.

The FDA has approved an injectable syringe for epinephrine after the makers of Epi-Pens, which auto-inject the drug, issued a drastic price hike in 2016. Those pens can cost hundreds of dollars. State Senator Chapin Rose, a Republican from Mahomet, filed legislation that would allow the use of the much cheaper syringe alternative for entities that go through training, like schools and churches.

You might be feeling the effects of the time change  just like every spring when we lose an hour.  But there’s legislation that just might change that. 

Legislation that would ban tackle football for children under 12 narrowly advanced in the Illinois House today.

Supporters of the ban gave lengthy testimony before a House committee — complete with a child-sized dummy in football gear being repeatedly hit over the head. But several questions remain about the research and details of the proposal … like why age 12?

Former college football player Chris Nowinski, of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, says research suggests 8-13 is a critical age for brain development.

An Illinois proposal has been drafted in response to the deadly shooting at a Florida high school last week. The newly filed measure would ban so-called "ghost guns." 

Mary Cullen / NPR Illinois

With more cases of vaccine-preventable disease in Illinois, doctors say shots should not be skipped.

Dr. Kemia Sarraf's support for vaccinations became much fiercer when her son, Joseph, was diagnosed with leukemia three years ago. Joseph, 15, is considered to be immunocompromised because of his chemotherapy treatments.

A new plan in Illinois aims to end youth tackle football programs, and it bears the name of Dave Duerson, a 1985 Chicago Bear who killed himself. 

The proposed law bans tackle football for children under 12 throughout the state, with the goal of preventing CTE, a degenerative disease of the brain caused by repetitive brain trauma.

Tregg Duerson, Dave’s son, says his father shot himself in the chest so that his brain could be studied.   

Rural America was an important demographic in the last election cycle, helping Donald Trump advance to the White House over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Even though Illinois was an electoral victory for Clinton, only twelve of Illinois’ 102 counties went blue, and more than half of those were located in Chicagoland

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Drivers in Illinois might soon have their auto insurance electronically verified in an effort to make sure every vehicle on the road is covered. But that requires a database the state doesn’t have yet. Jaclyn Driscoll reports:

Flickr Creative Commons/Ray Bouknight

The Illinois State Board of Elections voted to allow Scott Drury, a Democratic candidate for Attorney General, to remain on the ballot.

Drury is a state representative and that's where confusion arose. 

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