State News

State news stories and features from Illinois Public Radio.

Madigan To Resign From Illinois House At End of Month

Feb 18, 2021
(Capitol News Illinois file photo by Jerry Nowicki)

Former House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, 78, announced Thursday he will step down from the state House of Representatives after 50 years in office.

Pritzker Issues Statewide Disaster Proclamation Amid Winter Storms

Feb 16, 2021
(Capitol News Illinois photo by Sarah Mansur)

Dangerous sub-zero temperatures and massive snow accumulation across Illinois prompted Gov. JB Pritzker to issue a disaster proclamation for the entire state on Tuesday.

“I have directed my administration to use all resources at our disposal to keep our communities safe amid dangerous and ongoing winter weather,” Pritzker said in the news release. “I urge all Illinoisans to take this extreme weather seriously, avoid all unnecessary travel and check in on your neighbors.”

Pritzker’s Office Says No Tax Hikes, Flat Spending in Upcoming Budget

Feb 9, 2021
Capitol News Illinois file photo

Gov. JB Pritzker’s office says he will propose a budget with no tax increases for the upcoming fiscal year, and the deficit is now projected at about $2.5 billion less than previously thought.

Welch To Become State's First Black Speaker Of Illinois House

Jan 13, 2021
Welch and Gordon-Booth
Justin L. Fowler / STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER

Rep. Emanuel "Chris" Welch, D-Hillside, will be the next speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives after days of closed-door meetings with fellow Democrats. 

The 44th State Senate District will have a new senator by the end of the month, after Bill Brady’s resignation at the end of last year triggered an appointment process involving Republican chairs from the five counties that make up the district.

Black Caucus Puts Welch Forth As Speaker Candidate; Williams And Kifowit Withdraw

Jan 13, 2021
Welch on the floor
Justin L. Fowler / The State Journal-Register

One day after state House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, announced a suspension – but not a withdrawal – of his campaign for another term as speaker, a state representative who has been accused of being a staunch Madigan protector has launched a bid for the post.

Madigan Suspends Speaker Campaign: 'This Is Not A Withdrawal'

Jan 11, 2021
Madigan on the floor
Jerry Nowicki / Capitol News Illinois

House Speaker Michael Madigan announced he would suspend his campaign for House Speaker of the 102nd General Assembly on Monday, but his statement made clear he was not withdrawing from the race.

House members at a session
Jerry Nowicki / Capitol News Illinois

Illinois House lawmakers were back in the capital city Friday for the first time since May, kicking off a five-day “lame duck” legislative session.

Black Caucus Introduces Sweeping Police Legislation, Faces Opposition From Law Enforcement

Jan 7, 2021
Elgie Sims
BlueRoomStream.com

The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus has introduced a sweeping criminal justice omnibus bill that aims to heavily alter the state of policing in Illinois.

Pritzker Issues Marijuana Pardons, State Police Clear Eligible Arrest Records

Jan 4, 2021
Toi Hutchinson speaks
Blueroomstream.com

Gov. JB Pritzker issued 9,219 pardons for low-level marijuana convictions on Thursday, New Year’s Eve, while announcing the Illinois State Police had expunged all eligible records at the state level for marijuana related arrests.

State Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington, who ran for governor three times and led Republicans in the Illinois Senate, has resigned.

Three people are dead after a shooting Saturday night at Don Carter Lanes in Rockford. Police Chief Daniel O'Shea confirmed there is a suspect in custody.

The Winnebago County Coroner's Office identified the three victims as:

  • Thomas Furseth, 65, of Machesney Park
  • Jerome Woodfork, 69, of Rockford
  • Dennis Steinhoff, 73, of Rockford.

Winnebago County Coroner William Hintz said all three victims died from gunshot wounds.

As hospitalizations due to COVID-19 remain at record levels, hospitals that serve small towns and rural areas in Illinois are facing unique challenges.

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Illinois has awarded the first round of emergency funding to small businesses to help them during the pandemic.  

Screenshot from Illinois.gov live-stream

As the number of COVID-19 cases trends upwards in Illinois, state officials want to see better enforcement of mask-wearing and other public health guidance.

The average daily number of new COVID-19 cases in the state is up 31% compared to two weeks ago. The seven-day positivity rate stands at 4.1%.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, says a new emergency rule — announced Friday — aims to increase compliance with the state’s mask mandate.

She says research shows face coverings reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Attorney General Kwame Raoul has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Illinois State University over opposition to a new federal rule that could make it harder for international students to stay in the U.S.

The deadline to file state and federal income tax returns is this week.  The date was extended from April to July 15.  The change was made to help those having difficulties bacause of the pandemic. 

CDC Global / Flickr / CC-by 2.0

An Illinois bird tested positive for West Nile virus, but no humans have been diagnosed with the virus this year.

Ryan Kerch is the environmental health supervisor with the Winnebago County Health Department. He says they don't want to scare anybody, but it's important to understand that the virus is always out there.

"West Nile is present," he said. "It is active and it has been throughout the state for a number of years. It is a statewide concern."

BRIAN MACKEY / NPR ILLINOIS | 91.9 UIS

It was only a matter a time that recent events caused someone to focus in on Illinois State Capitol statues dedicated to those with racist pasts. Now, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is calling for the removal of two statues sitting outside the State Capitol and a portrait inside the chamber of the Illinois House.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued new restrictions Monday on international students planning to attend American colleges and universities this fall. The guidance from ICE states that international students are forbidden from taking a full online course load while residing in the U.S. The news comes as universities and colleges formulate plans to reopen during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with some opting for a mix of in-person and online learning.

A new model is cautiously optimistic about a university’s ability to control the spread of COVID-19 this fall—but that hinges largely on how much students socialize off-campus.

Drivers in Illinois will no longer have their license or vehicle registration suspended for unpaid parking fines and tollway violations. 

Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois

This coming school year, districts will be expected to provide information on LGBTQ figures in history before students graduate eighth grade.

NIU ATHLETICS

College athletes are returning to campuses across the country.

Police departments across Illinois may be able to keep officer disciplinary files longer than union agreements allow.

The Illinois Supreme Court ruled Thursday in favor of the City of Chicago’s right to keep records, even though the union contract calls for them to be destroyed after five years.

  URBANA – Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have created a saliva-based  COVID-19 test. 

During a webinar hosted Tuesday by U of I Chancellor Robert Jones and other university staff, Martin Burke, a U of I chemistry professor, announced that they had the capacity to test up to 10,000 people per day. 

A list of health and safety guidelines for getting students back in classrooms is scheduled to be released before the end of the month. It will provide rules and recommendations for more than 850 school districts resuming classes this fall.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin met with faith and community leaders in Springfield over the weekend at Union Baptist Church to discuss legislation to address police conduct.

Durbin said the measure - set to be introduced this week - would include a ban on the use of chokeholds, outline acceptable use of force by officers, and make recommendations on recruitment and training. He’s joining Sens. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, both former Democratic presidential candidates, in sponsoring the Justice In Policing Act.

In the midst of protests this week, there were plenty of messages sent along on social media about looting.  In some areas, those messages were just outright wrong. 

There were many incidents of vandalism and looting across Illinois. There were also false reports.  In some towns, the violence was non-existent. Some posted and passed along rumors of busloads of people coming to towns to loot. They were not.  

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