Illinois

Illinois Legislators Attempt to Maintain Environment

Jun 9, 2017

Illinois lawmakers are announcing legislation to maintain the state’s environmental standards amid concerns that the federal government may dial them back.

Western Illinois University Battles Budget

Jun 9, 2017

The state budget stalemate in Illinois has public universities playing a guessing game as they try to figure out how much money they’ll have to spend.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed legislation to reduce county jail crowding by granting bail relief to non-violent offenders. 

An 88-year-old Illinois election judge has pleaded guilty to casting a vote as her late husband.

Budget Impasse Hampering Social Services

Jun 8, 2017
Tamie Yost

People who rely on social services begged Illinois state lawmakers to pass a budget during a hearing. Lawmakers heard from rape victims, sexual assault survivors, and people recovering from drug addictions. Social services that serve those people have not been paid by the state in more than 6 months because of the ongoing political fight. Though their testimony didn’t seem to change any positions on the budget impasse.

Stories of misery were told at a hearing on Illinois’ failure to pass a state budget. As IPR’s Brian Mackey reports, Democrats used the opportunity to attack Governor Bruce Rauner.

A federal judge says Aaron Schock isn't entitled to detailed evidence prosecutors gathered from a confidential informant on the then-congressman's staff as he prepares for trial. 

A Northern Illinois prosecutor is launching a program to let some people who accept responsibility for their crimes to erase their convictions from their records.

Medicaid Decision Looms

Jun 6, 2017

A federal judge could decide soon whether the state of Illinois should pay Medicaid providers faster during the budget impasse.

Illinois gas prices have hit their lowest point in 12 years for the start of summer road trip season.

Federal officials say they're providing free summer meals for school children at numerous sites across Illinois. The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that there will be a kickoff event for the program on June 23 at a Chicago city park. 

Illinois' two Democratic U.S. senators are taking steps to ensure they have a voice in choosing the state's new U.S. attorneys. 

Prosecutors are asking a judge to deny requests from former Illinois U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock to throw out his corruption case. Prosecutors say Schock's reasons for dismissing the charges against him are "meritless." They made their argument in a filing in U.S. District Court in Springfield.

Weather experts say data show Illinois had a cool and rainy May this year. Illinois state climatologist Jim Angel says the statewide average temperature during May was 61.9 degrees. That's eight-tenths of a degree below normal.

The nonprofit foundation designed to help upkeep Illinois' fairgrounds plans on selling naming rights to state fair buildings to help pay for improvements.

Three years after Illinois changed how science would be taught and tested, performance data still isn't available because schools haven't seen science exam scores. Illinois officials say that science testing and scoring hasn't gone smoothly, largely due to state budget woes.

A 30-year-old woman suffered a medical emergency and died during a cosmetic procedure at a medical clinic in Florida. Lattia Baumeister of Rock Island, Illinois, died while undergoing an unidentified procedure at Seduction by Jardon's Medical Center in Doral.

Volunteer organizations around Illinois will be getting more than $15 million in federal grant money. U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin of Illinois announced that the additional funding for 16 Illinois-based AmeriCorps organizations will come from the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Illinois Department of Public Health data show opioids contributed to nearly 1,200 overdose deaths in the state in 2016. There were about 3 million Schedule II opioid patients in Illinois annually from 2008 through 2016.

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The $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline is officially in service.  Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners announced the line carrying North Dakota oil through South Dakota and Iowa to a distribution point in Illinois has started shipping for customers.

Sears Holdings Corp. says some of its Kmart stores were targeted by hackers, leading to unauthorized activity on some of its customers' credit cards.  The company says in a blog post that Kmart's store payment systems were infected with virus-like computer code undetectable by current anti-virus systems. 

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has granted five petitions for clemency and denied 197 others.  The Illinois Prisoner Review Board says the granted cases involve attempted burglary, theft and drug charges.  A petitioner granted clemency is allowed to go to court to seek expungement of a criminal record. Each person granted clemency has undergone a background check.

The state is again racking up unpaid utility bills for its Springfield offices. City Water, Light and Power spokeswoman Amber Sabin says Illinois owes about $3.5 million in past-due payments.  The state was as much as $12 million behind on its electricity and water bills last year.  

Illinois 6 Months Late Paying Medicaid Providers

May 19, 2017

Two dozen doctors and health care organizations are taking the state of Illinois to court for not paying Medicaid providers fast enough.  And in a new court filing, the state argues it’s out of money.  A federal judge has ruled Illinois HAS to pay for Medicaid even if there’s no state budget.  

A nonpartisan research group says Illinois’ desperate financial condition is getting even worse.

The Civic Federation of Chicago says unless something is done soon, by next year the state’s pile of unpaid bills could consume half of all new tax revenue.

More than two dozen health care providers and insurance companies are telling a federal judge in Chicago they may have to stop serving some poor patients. That’s because the State of Illinois is so late in paying Medicaid bills due to the budget impasse. Twenty-five health care organizations are asking a federal judge to make the state government reimburse them faster for seeing Medicaid patients. They say if the judge doesn’t agree, then doctors may stop seeing Medicaid patients altogether.

Flickr Creative Commons/dieselboii

The state budget impasse has left Illinois months behind in payment to downstate mass transit agencies. That’s led to cuts in service from Kankakee to Jacksonville.  The agencies are funded in part by local sales tax collections. But that money has to pass through state government. Even after another $19.3 million dollars was released today, the Illinois comptroller’s office says the state still owes transit agencies $70 million dollars.  

Illinois legislators voted against letting people with drug-related convictions receive welfare benefits today.  Supporters say when drug offenders lose welfare benefits, it punishes their children, who did nothing wrong, but still rely on public assistance.  Despite the growing heroin epidemic all over the state, members of both parties were not buying the argument. Representative David Reis is a Republican from Willow Hill.

A Cook County judge has ruled against the Chicago Public School's lawsuit over the funding of education by the state of Illinois.  Judge Franklin Ulyses Valderrama denied a CPS motion for an injunction seeking to bar the state from distributing education funds in a discriminatory manner. He also ruled in favor of the state's motion to dismiss the case, but is allowing CPS to come back with a new argument.

Illinois' Republican governor says he is very concerned that the state's residents might be left in the lurch under the health care plan proposed by congressional Republicans.  Gov. Bruce Rauner says he is talking with his fellow GOP governors and members of Congress on ideas for changing the proposal. He declined to discuss his specific recommendations.

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