Illinois

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The Illinois Department of Corrections has agreed to pay $450,000 to a man who says prison officials punished and humiliated him after he reported his cellmate raped him.

Armadillos are moving into the state, and some researchers believe they may make it as far north as the central Illinois area. 

Illinois Issues editor Jamey Dunn talked with F. Agustin Jimenez, a zoology professor at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, about armadillos and why they might one day be more prevalent in the state.   

Illinois Issues: Historic Dilemma

Aug 22, 2016

Efforts to preserve historic buildings in low-income and inner-city neighborhoods throughout the state face challenges — like the lack of access to financing and restoration projects taking a back seat to more pressing issues in the community. 

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Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin is blasting Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's turnaround agenda as a "complete disaster for Illinois."  Durbin spoke today during Democrats' Day at the Illinois State Fair. Republicans had events on Wednesday. 

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Illinois could become the first state with a law giving Muslim-Americans a formal voice in state government.  The bill approved by the Legislature would create a 21-member Illinois Muslim-American Advisory Council.

It's awaiting Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's signature. The governor's office says he's reviewing it.

Illinois' fiscal health continues to tumble, in the eyes of the analysts who assign credit ratings.

Moody's. S&P. Fitch. All three of the nation's big credit rating agencies have taken notice of the state's ongoing budget impasse.

None are impressed with what they're seeing. 

State officials have confirmed the first human case of West Nile virus in Illinois this year.  The Illinois Department of Public Health says an adolescent in west-central Illinois became ill with the virus late last month. 

An Illinois lawmaker is pushing legislation to take away former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert's taxpayer-funded state pension following his conviction in a hush-money case.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has lately been critical of efforts to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, saying it’s not “what matters” in Illinois government. Our reporter has been closely following the governor’s overall efforts to improve Illinois’ criminal justice system, and was struck by Rauner’s comments on pot. So he decided to talk to someone who can explain how decriminalization fits into that broader effort.

Illinois' top political leaders remain divided.  Come tomorrow there will be only eight days left for them to reach a budget deal.  It's crunch time, says Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno:

The Illinois Secretary of State's office says a plan to issue driver's licenses and state identification cards in Illinois that are more secure won't require additional state funding.

The state’s heroin crisis has captured headlines and the attention of lawmakers. But in the past few years, the number of methamphetamine lab busts has crept back up, and law enforcement officials say the drug is also coming into the state from Mexico. 

Senate votes to raise cigarette purchase age to 21

May 19, 2016

Legislation raising the age to buy cigarettes seemed to have been extinguished in the Illinois Senate last week. But it suddenly caught fire again as the Senate approved it yesterday.

The Department of Agriculture says wet, cool conditions in Illinois kept farmers out of their field for much of last week.  The average temperature across Illinois was about three degrees below normal at 58.8 degrees. Precipitation averaged 2.09 inches, about 2 inches above normal. 

Illinois Democrats are proposing $700 million to partially finance various human service programs that have gone without state funding since last summer because there's no budget.   A House committee unanimously advanced the bill to the full chamber. The measure would use $450 million from a fund dedicated to human services and $250 million from other special funds. 

Governor Bruce Rauner has taken his turnaround agenda campaign to Bloomington calling for workers' compensation reform to save Caterpillar jobs that are moving to Arizona. During a mid-day stop at Nord Outdoor Power on Hamilton Road, Rauner used Caterpillar Incorporated's announcement this week it is moving its mining division operations from Illinois and other states to Arizona.

A $454 million bill to increase funding for financially struggling Illinois colleges and universities has cleared the state Senate.  Lawmakers approved the bill on a near unanimous vote and sent the measure to the House. 

Illinois business leaders say they want the state to invest more money in early education to meet the demands of a growing job market centered on math and science.

An Illinois lawmaker wants teenagers accused of murder to have a lawyer present when questioned by law enforcement.  But this is facing opposition from state's attorneys.  The Senate could take up the legislation next week. 

Illinois lawmakers have taken the first step toward eliminating the office of Lieutenant Governor. Estimates show the proposed constitutional amendment could save $1.6 million dollars a year.

The lieutenant governor doesn't actually have to do much: The Constitution vaguely says whoever holds the office "shall perform the duties ... delegated to him by the Governor."

This year, the Lt. Gov is actually a “her," Evelyn Sanguinetti. She led a local government consolidation task force.

The speaker of the Illinois House made a rare policy speech during a debate Tuesday afternoon. It was intended to put in context legislative Democrats’ long-running dispute with the Republican governor over state spending.

We’re going to hear an excerpt of the remarks. But first, Illinois Public Radio Statehouse reporter Brian Mackey sets the scene.

CDC

A death in Illinois has been linked to the same strain of bacteria that has caused an unprecedented outbreak of infection in Wisconsin and one case in Michigan.  The Illinois Department of Public Health announced that an Illinois resident died after contracting an infection from the bacterium Elizabethkingia.

Summer is coming to Illinois, and with it - the return of mosquitoes. This year it may also bring fear about the Zika virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes and has been linked to birth defects in South America.  

Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is appealing the federal government's decision to deny funding to help residents, businesses and local governments pay for damages following winter floods.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has created a task force charged with finding fraud in taxpayer-funded health care programs.

The Republican Tuesday used his executive authority to form the group. It'll seek ways to prevent waste in state- and federally funded Medicaid , the state employee's health insurance and even costs of caring for inmates in Illinois prisons. Rauner says the cost of state-run health care programs increases when no one watches to stop abuse and fraud.

Illinois lawmakers are moving to make it easier for transgender individuals to change the gender marker on a fundamental document: their birth certificates. Democrats on a House committee approved the legislation Tuesday on a partisan vote of 8 to 6.

Alexandria Dinardo, who was born and raised in Springfield, was born male; that's what Dinardo's birth certificate still says.

A measure to legalize certified professional midwives remains in limbo after testimonies from Illinois pediatricians.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has created a task force to root out waste, fraud and abuse in taxpayer-funded health care programs.  The Republican signed an executive order to implement that group, which will also seek ways to prevent waste in state- and federally funded Medicaid and employee health insurance programs. 

The Illinois Supreme Court will be asked to re-visit an opinion it just issued March 24. State employees' salaries are at stake. 


 Gov. Bruce Rauner says he supports one of Illinois' top industries: Agriculture. But critics say a recent plan goes against his own assertion that he's a “strong advocate” for it.

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