Illinois

‘Amazon tax’ issue heard in IL Supreme Court

May 22, 2013

The Illinois Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday in a case challenging the state's so-called "Amazon tax." The decision could change the way Illinois websites make money online. IPR’s Brian Mackey reports: 


Dog-tethering measure passes IL Senate

May 15, 2013

The Illinois Senate has approved limits on how dogs can be tethered.  The animals would have to be kept on a rope or light chain that's at least 10 feet long. The sponsor of the legislation, Senator Linda Holmes, a Democrat from Aurora, says it's meant to promote the humane treatment of animals.

IL House approves flash mob measure

May 10, 2013

The Illinois House has approved legislation that would impose tougher punishment on anyone convicted of using social media to plan or incite a mob attack.

Illinois Senate approves pension overhaul

May 9, 2013

 

  The Illinois Senate approved an overhaul of the state's pension systems Thursday. It comes one week after the Illinois House approved a more severe set of benefit cuts. As IPR’s Brian Mackey reports, the differences in those plans were at the heart of the debate:

Illinois Senate approves pension overhaul

May 9, 2013

 

  The Illinois Senate approved an overhaul of the state's pension systems Thursday. It comes one week after the Illinois House approved a more severe set of benefit cuts. As IPR’s Brian Mackey reports, the differences in those plans were at the heart of the debate:

IL House approves pension overhaul

May 2, 2013

A plan that will leave state employees and teachers with reduced retirement benefits made it out of the Illinois House Thursday, potentially paving the way for the pension overhaul that has thus far eluded lawmakers. But it also ignites a faceoff between two of the state's top Democrats with the potential to keep a pension overhaul as elusive as it's ever been. Illinois Public Radio’s Amanda Vinicky explains.

Veterans’ jobs fair held at Excel Foundry

May 1, 2013

More than 30,000 manufacturing jobs are available in Illinois, according to officials at the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs. The department hosted an event Wednesday at Excel Foundry and Machine in Pekin to help veterans connect with area-manufacturing employers. 

Dueling pension plans in IL House, Senate

May 1, 2013

Illinois' top Democrats are going forward with competing pension proposals.  One of them is scheduled for a vote Thursday.  Despite unions' strong stance against it, House Speaker Michael Madigan says he expects the House will pass his plan.  It would require state employees stay on the job until they're 67 years old before they could draw a full pension.  It also reduces future pension payouts.  But even as that package was gaining steam, Madigan's fellow Democrat, Senate President John Cullerton, was cooking up a different proposal, this one the brainchild of labor leaders.

State AFSCME deal could be null and void

Apr 30, 2013

Illinois' largest public employees union will take a new vote on a contract deal it had ratified in late February.

Federal flood damage assessments in IL

Apr 29, 2013
Illinois Department of Transportation, District Four

Federal officials started to assess the damage to Illinois homes and businesses Monday from the recent floods.  The head of Illinois’ Emergency Management Agency says the state wants tens of millions of dollars from the federal government to help pay for flood damage.  Governor Pat Quinn says homeowners and businesses who suffered flood damage could qualify for loans to get back some of the money spent on clean-up. “It’s important that we assess all of the expenses and the damage that occurred because of the floods.

Rick Perry aims to lure away IL businesses

Apr 22, 2013

The governor of Texas is messing with Illinois, or at least he's trying to. Rick Perry is in Chicago this week, in part to try to lure companies to relocate to Texas.  IPR’s Brian Mackey has more: 


Durbin seeks fourth term

Apr 18, 2013

Illinois US Senator Dick Durbin says he’s planning on running for a fourth term. From Washington, IPR’s Lauren Chooljian reports. 

Senator Durbin has been serving in the US Senate since 1997.

 

Illinois' top education official says “it's not fair” that wealthy school districts are receiving extra money from the state.  As IPR’s Chris Slaby reports, it comes at the expense of districts that are less well off. 

Congressman says Pat Brady should serve out term

Mar 26, 2013

  A Republican Congressman says he believes his party's chairman should be allowed to complete his term, after taking a controversial stance earlier this year.  High-level Republicans unsuccessfully tried to overthrow State Party Chairman Pat Brady after he announced his support for same-sex marriage. Congresssman Rodney Davis of Taylorville stands by Brady, saying he did a “good job” bringing the GOP together during the 2012 election season.  Instead of focusing on inner-party politics, Davis says Republicans should focus on solving the problems that plague Illinois.

Congressman says Pat Brady should serve out term

Mar 26, 2013

  A Republican Congressman says he believes his party's chairman should be allowed to complete his term, after taking a controversial stance earlier this year.  High-level Republicans unsuccessfully tried to overthrow State Party Chairman Pat Brady after he announced his support for same-sex marriage. Congresssman Rodney Davis of Taylorville stands by Brady, saying he did a “good job” bringing the GOP together during the 2012 election season.  Instead of focusing on inner-party politics, Davis says Republicans should focus on solving the problems that plague Illinois.

Illinois House passes pension measure

Mar 21, 2013

Illinois legislators have yet again done what was long unthinkable, the House Thursday passed a measure reducing state employees' and teachers' retirement benefits.   IPR’s Amanda Vinicky has more: 


Illinois Senate approves pension measure

Mar 20, 2013

 Teachers would have to make a major decision about their retirement benefits under a measure the Illinois Senate approved Wednesday.  IPR’s Amanda Vinicky has the latest on lawmakers' attempts to overhaul the state's pension systems. 

   The legislation would require any teacher working at a downstate or suburban public school to make a choice:

AFSCME votes to accept state contract

Mar 19, 2013

By a margin of 96 to four, members of the state's largest public employees' union voted to ratify a new contract with the state.  AFSCME and Governor Pat Quinn's administration reached a deal in late February.  But in order for it to take effect, a majority of the union's more than 35,000 members had to agree to it.  AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall says this may have been the toughest negotiations the union's ever experienced.

Providers of ambulance and other emergency services in Illinois face a shortage of money. Some patients use on Medicaid, Illinois' low-income health insurance, to pay for trips.

Republicans are fighting the idea that Downstate and suburban schools are the only ones getting a "free lunch" from Illinois state government. House Speaker Michael Madigan has has used the phrase in describing how local school districts should have to pay the employer's share of pension costs for teachers. That expense is currently covered by the state for all school districts, except Chicago.

Madigan supports fracking moratorium

Mar 13, 2013

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan doesn't want Illinois to allow fracking, a controversial process that injects a mixture of water and chemicals deep underground to reach oil and natural gas reserves.  IPR’s Amanda Vinicky reports. 

 Companies are longing to access the oil and natural gas laced in the rocks of the New Albany Shale, in southeastern Illinois.

Illinois education board asks for more funding

Mar 12, 2013

A week after Governor Pat Quinn suggested lawmakers slash the state's education budget -- Illinois school officials are asking them to instead increase spending on schools. IPR’s Brian Mackey has more: 

 The chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education, Gery Chico, says public schools can't afford any more cuts. He says they're already eliminating extracurricular activities, getting rid of staff, and shortening the school day.

A coalition of environmental groups accuse other advocates of selling out when it comes to the drilling technique known as "hydraulic fracturing."  IPR’s Amanda Vinicky has more.  

 Environmentalists have warned of the dangers of "fracking" - a process that extracts natural gas or oil by pumping millions of gallons of water and chemicals deep underground.That's why it was a big deal a couple weeks ago that the Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council stood with business leaders to announce they'd reached an agreement that could pave the way for fracking in Illinois.

Group explains Illinois’ lagging economy

Mar 12, 2013

Illinois' economy usually rises and falls with the rest of the country. But a government forecasting group says as the nation slowly emerges from the recession, Illinois isn't. IPR’s Chris Slaby reports.

Illinois, SEC reach settlement

Mar 11, 2013

Illinois has reached a settlement with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission, which accused the state of misleading investors about the depth of its pension problems.

  The Obama administration is urging the U.S. Supreme court to take a legal stance that could affect Illinois’ same-sex marriage fight.

Groups reach fracking agreement in Illinois

Feb 21, 2013

Environmentalists and business groups have reached an agreement that paves the way for "fracking" in Illinois. IPR's Brian Mackey has more on Thursday's announcement.  

It was an unusual sight: supporters of the oil and gas industry sharing a podium with environmental activists. They've agreed on legislation that would regulate the oil and gas extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing or "fracking."

Jack Darin, with the Illinois chapter of the Sierra Club, says fracking is coming to Illinois, so it's better to compromise on new rules than to do nothing.

State moving on passing concealed-carry law

Feb 19, 2013

   Illinois is moving forward to meet a deadline to pass a law allowing people to carry guns in public. IPR’s Brian Mackey has more. Illinois is the last state without any form of concealed-carry, and a federal court says that has to change. It gave lawmakers until early June to do so. Gun-rights enthusiasts filled a hearing room in Springfield as a House committee heard from activists on both sides of the issue.Todd Vandermyde, a lobbyist with the National Rifle Association, made several demands for the concealed-carry law.

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