State News

State news stories and features from Illinois Public Radio.

 

CHAMPAIGN - A central Illinois city has approved settling two lawsuits accusing police of wrongdoing for a combined $3.7 million.

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HARRISBURG - A prosecutor says a southern Illinois physician charged with killing his estranged wife and destroying her body will have his trial delayed because of questions over his fitness to stand trial.

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CHICAGO (AP) - A California man preparing to pursue a doctorate degree at Northwestern University has been killed while caught in gunfire between two men in Chicago.

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CHICAGO - A federal judge has refused to overturn the fraud conviction of an Illinois judge.

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EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - Insurance giant State Farm has reached a $250 million preliminary settlement of a federal class-action lawsuit claiming the company funneled money to the campaign of a candidate for the Illinois Supreme Court.

During the past week, you probably caught a brief news story or two about the Illinois Innovation Network, or maybe Discovery Partners Institute. It’s worth your attention: In the current state budget, these two projects are slated to receive half a billion dollars.

Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed several bills in the past week. One would have raised the cap on how much money people wronged by state government can recover — Illinois’ relatively low cap of $100,000 came to light after the deaths of more than a dozen residents of the Illinois Veterans’ Home in Quincy.

Other vetoed bills would have raised the age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21, sought to improve relations between immigrant communities and the police, and set a minimum salary of $40,000 per year for new teachers.

Farm towns in Illinois could get access to high-speed internet with the help of new federal funding.

Nine companies are getting nearly $100 million from the Federal Communications Commission to bring internet access to small towns in the state.

The commission this week announced the subsidies, which are funded from a service fee on most internet and phone bills.

Wisper ISP, based in Mascoutah, Illinois, was awarded the largest grant, $35 million, to connect nearly 9,000 homes and businesses in southern Illinois.

     

CHICAGO (AP) - The Illinois attorney general's office might be looking to a federal judge to decide whether Chicago police officers should record each time they point a gun at someone.

     

CHICAGO - Illinois will use a $108 million settlement with Volkswagen over the company's cheating on emissions tests to improve air quality, mostly by replacing old diesel engines with more environmentally friendly options.

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CHICAGO  - The white Chicago police officer charged with murder in the fatal shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald says he had never before fired his gun at anyone and maintains the criminal case against him stems from political pressure.

     

CHICAGO - Stings conducted by the Cook County sheriff's department and several suburban Chicago police forces led to the arrest of 73 potential sex buyers.

In a story from the Associated Press aired on Peoria Public Radio News Monday, we reported Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a law requiring cat owners to have their pets vaccinated for rabies with regular updates from the age of four months. That story was factually inaccurate. The General Assembly significantly changed the scope of the measure before it became law.

The EpiPen can be a lifesaver in cases of extreme allergic reactions, but there is a shortage of them across the country and Illinois is being impacted. 

It was announced on Tuesday that Innovate Springfield, a business incubator and social innovator that started four years ago, is now partnered with the University of Illinois Springfield.

Public health advocates and some state lawmakers spurned Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s decision to veto a bill that would have raised the legal tobacco age to 21.

Rauner axed the bill last Friday, though his own Department of Public Health supported it. While he called smoking “detrimental” in his veto message, the governor said Illinois couldn’t take the risk of losing tobacco sales tax revenue to neighboring states.

Governor Bruce Rauner signed a measure on Tuesday that will allow medical cannabis to be used as an alternative treatment for conditions often treated with opioids, such as cancer, HIV, Alzheimer’s and more.

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SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois attorney general has launched a hotline and email address for residents who want to report clergy abuse. 

The Illinois State Archives is celebrating the state's bicentennial with an online exhibit of its most valuable documents.

Director David Joens says the collection includes historical touchstones. That includes four state constitutions and the state’s first women’s suffrage law.  There are also more cultural items.

The University of Illinois today announced a new financial aid program designed to make enrollment at its Urbana-Champaign campus more affordable for middle-class students. They’re calling this program Illinois Commitment, and Kevin Pitts, vice-provost for undergraduate education, says the goal is to persuade families they really can afford to send their kids to the state’s flagship university.

 

“Illinois Commitment pledges to cover tuition and mandatory fees for all students who have a family income below $61,000 per year,” Pitts says.

Gov. Bruce Rauner last week vetoed three pieces of legislation, earning the ire of immigration advocates and some lawmakers.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of what was known as the Great Flood of 1993. State Climatologist Dr. Jim Angel covered the flood -- which affected Illinois, Missouri and Iowa. 

A new law mandates the Illinois Department of Public Health to begin screening babies for Spinal Muscular Atrophy, or SMA, a neurodegenerative disorder linked to infant death. 

A new poll shows J.B. Pritzker leading Bruce Rauner in the Illinois gubernatorial race.  Also, there is uncertainty over the future of the Southern Illinois University system.  WSIU Public Radio's Jennifer Fuller joins the panel.

Farm towns in Illinois have been shrinking for decades, and the trend doesn’t show signs of reversing.

By 2025, rural counties with populations of less than 10,000 people will see 7.4 percent of their residents leave, while counties with populations between 10,000 and 25,000 will lose 5.4 percent. That’s according to projections from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

It's been 110 years since the 1908 Race Riot erupted in Springfield. The violence and its aftermath inspired the founding of the NAACP, the prominent civil rights organization. A number of groups in the city recognized and remembered the violence and lives lost in a series of public events earlier this month. There are also plans to ensure more recognition in the future of a violent period many residents say deserves more attention.

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SPRINGFIELD - Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has a vetoed bill that would have given public school teachers an annual minimum salary of $40,000 over the next five years.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois county officials have about four months to figure out details of the rabies vaccination effort for cats.

CHICAGO (AP) - An appeals court has breathed life back into a lawsuit alleging policies at Cook County Jail in Illinois that limit the number of books inmates can have at a time violates their First Amendment rights.

CARTERVILLE, Ill. (AP) - A new organization is trying to get more filmmakers and production companies to film their movies in southern Illinois.

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