State News

State news stories and features from Illinois Public Radio.

Chicago Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot spends two days meeting with Illinois lawmakers. How much of her agenda runs through Springfield?

Meanwhile, Democrats began moving on a centerpiece of Gov. J.B. Pritzker's agenda: a constitutional amendment that would pave the way for a graduated income tax.

Illinois lawmakers are moving to give judges more discretion in sentencing people convicted of certain crimes.

Pritzker Tells Journalists 'We Need You'

Apr 15, 2019

Governor J.B. Pritzker held his largest press conference over the weekend  and he’s promising media transparency under his administration.

Crime Survivors Push For More Trauma Centers

Apr 12, 2019

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul say they’ll use the power of their office to expand trauma services — but they’re asking for help from the General Assembly.

They made the announcement surrounded by survivors of crime at the Illinois Capitol Thursday.

Chicago Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot has finished her two-day visit to the state capital.

Artist R. Kelly was in Springfield last weekend, where according to TMZ and their sources, the singer earned $20,000 for a one hour show to meet with fans. But his actual show was allegedly no more than a minute and fans paid up to $100 to see him. R. Kelly took to Instagram to address the media before his appearance, asking them to "take it easy on him."

Last November, Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, a Democrat, failed to unseat Republican Congressman Rodney Davis in Illinois’ 13th district. On Thursday, she announced she’ll make another run for it. 

There’s a civil war of sorts under way in Illinois – pitting Chicago against much of the rest of the state.  This dispute is one of politics and policy and it has even led to a resolution being filed by a group of Republicans that would split Illinois into two separate states.    

Illinois is a long state.  Those in southern Illinois are closer to Tennessee than Chicago.  And the political leanings can be just as far apart.  We talk with a state lawmaker who has signed on to a plan calling for Chicago to be separated from the rest of Illinois.  He adds he joined the effort because it's time to start a conversation over policy.  

Coming together can be difficult - even more so when we talk about consolidating school districts.  It might save money, but that's just one consideration.  

Also, R. Kelly made a visit to Springfield in the past week, meeting with fans at a nightclub.  The R and B singer's career is reeling from legal trouble. 

Those stories and more on this episode of Statewide.

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SPRINGFIELD - Federal authorities have a message for taxpayers as April 15 approaches:  Tax fraud can land you in prison.

Melissa Esparza fled her home in west suburban Chicago two years ago. Then 16, she said her parents became physically violent after years of verbal abuse.

 

Chicago Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot is beginning to lobby for her agenda in Springfield.

Illinois lawmakers want to make it easier for marginalized college students to qualify for financial aid.

A proposal to overhaul Illinois’ income tax took another step forward Wednesday. The graduated income tax easily cleared an early hurdle — passage by the Senate Executive Committee.

Lori Lightfoot was elected mayor of Chicago this week, trouncing Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

How’d she win? What’s her agenda? And what kind of city council will she have to work with?

Illinois consumers are getting closer to having solar as part of their energy choices – without having to build their own array.

Companies seeking to sell solar generated electricity to the public in the state find out Wednesday, April 10 if they’ll be able to proceed this year. The Illinois Power Agency holds a lottery Wednesday afternoon to select which proposals will be eligible for the renewable energy credits needed to make them viable.  

After years of campaigning, Democrats are moving ahead with a plan to change Illinois’ tax system. On Tuesday they formally introduced the language they want to change in the Illinois Constitution.

The co-founder of an Illinois prisoner advocacy group is calling for a statewide effort to investigate claims of innocence.

About 200 advocates for early childhood education programs filled the Illinois statehouse recently.

The advocates want  $250 million dollars from an infrastructure spending plan for child care facilities around the state. That’s a big boost from the  $45 million  they got in the last plan a decade ago. 

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza is suspending more than $5.7 million in payments for a mismanaged state technology contract.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker says Illinois will begin covering gender reassignment surgeries under Medicaid.

Most states  provide health care related to gender-transition.  Illinois was one of last 10 holdouts. 

Illinois Senators want to make sure everyone is counted in the 2020 Census.

Advocates for children are pushing for expansion of a child care program for lower income families that was cut by former Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration. 

The Child Care Assistance Program was cut severely in 2015 so that 90 percent of the participants lost services. The eligibility limits have increased since then.

Legislation under consideration would further increase the number eligible families by making the income limit higher.

Tobacco sales in Illinois will soon be off-limits to anyone younger than 21 under a law signed Sunday by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

Two proposals to raise Illinois' tax on gasoline have surfaced as a way to help pay for a public works program.  Lawmakers and the governor are pushing to get a plan in place during this legislative session, which ends in May.

And, a cancer survivor and author explains how finding perspective can help all of us during our darkest times. That and more on this episode of Statewide.

 Should minors have to tell their parents or a judge when they want to terminate a pregnancy?

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said Thursday he’s confident the legislature will approve a graduated income tax.

Aurora Police Department

CINCINNATI — DNA tests disproved a teenager's claim that he was an Illinois boy who disappeared eight years ago, the FBI said Thursday, dashing hopes that the baffling case had finally been solved.

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - One of the nation's largest wind energy projects is facing a new obstacle from Missouri legislation that could prevent the high-voltage power line from being strung across the property of unwilling landowners.

Peoria Public Radio/Tanya Koonce

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa - The governors of three Midwest states ravaged by March flooding say they will pushing for more control over management of the Missouri River that borders their states.

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