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home : news : state news free June 25, 2021

Man exonerated in 1994 murder, gunned down outside Chicago
One of four men convicted and later cleared of the 1994 rape and murder of a Chicago woman has been shot to death, the Cook County medical examiner’s office revealed Wednesday.
Thursday, June 24, 2021

Chicago confirms 1st Black woman as city fire commissioner
The Chicago City Council on Wednesday confirmed the appointment of the city’s first Black female fire commissioner.
Thursday, June 24, 2021

Illinois AG sues company for coal ash pollution
The Illinois attorney general on Tuesday sued a Delaware company that owns the now-closed Vermilion Power Station over claims of illegal pollution at the former coal plant, resulting from the storage of coal ash at the site.

The six-count lawsuit against Dynegy Midwest Generation LLC claims the company’s disposal of coal ash in three unlined pits violated the state’s Environmental Protection Act by contaminating the groundwater with toxic pollutants contained in the coal ash, including lead, arsenic and mercury.
“Dynegy’s actions created a public health risk by contaminating the area’s groundwater and led to the pollution of Illinois’ only nationally-recognized scenic river,” Attorney General Kwame Raoul said in a news release. “I am pleased to partner with Vermilion County State’s Attorney Jacqueline Lacy and am committed to holding Dynegy accountable for harming our environment and putting the health of Illinois residents at risk.”

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Submit photos by June 24 for Cream of the Crop Contest
Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs today reminded young photographers to submit their photo entries for the 2021 Cream of the Crop Contest by June 24. The contest encourages students to share their vision of agriculture in Illinois.
Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Report confirms hockey great Plager died of 'cardiac event'
The final report on the cause of death of former St. Louis Blues defenseman Bob Plager has confirmed that he died of a “cardiac event” before crashing his SUV in March.
Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Inflation poses new challenge for pandemic-weary businesses
Small businesses that endured shutdowns and lower revenue during the COVID-19 outbreak now must contend with another crisis: spiking prices for goods and services that squeeze profits and force many owners to pass the increases along to customers.
Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Woman freed on plea deal after serving 19 years for McHenry murder
A woman found guilty of a McHenry County murder had her conviction vacated last week after serving 19 years of her 27-year sentence and maintaining her innocence throughout her imprisonment.
Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Ex- mayor gets 2 years for bribery scheme
A man who admitted to authorities that he was taking part in a $300,000 bribery scheme while he was mayor of a financially struggling Chicago suburb was sentenced Tuesday to two years in federal prison.
Wednesday, June 23, 2021

St. Louis shooting kills 3 people, leaves 4 others wounded
A shooting in St. Louis left three people dead and four others wounded, authorities said.
Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Rauner agrees to settle robocall lawsuit for $1 million
People targeted by a campaign robocall from former Gov. Bruce Rauner since his first campaign in 2014 will be eligible to earn a portion of a $1 million settlement agreement that was reached last month in a class-action case.
Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Faith-based child welfare controversy may be reignited
A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision could reignite a 10-year-old controversy in Illinois over whether faith-based charities can be prohibited from contracting with the state for foster care and adoption services on the grounds that they refuse to work with unmarried or same-sex couples.
Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Tornado sweeps through suburban Chicago, causing damage
A radar-confirmed tornado swept through communities in heavily populated suburban Chicago, damaging more than 100 homes, toppling trees, knocking out power and causing multiple injuries, officials said.
Monday, June 21, 2021

Gov. signs voter access plan that moves primary
Illinois’ primary election will be moved from March to June next year under a voter access expansion recently signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
Monday, June 21, 2021

Two towns outside Chicago recovering from civil unrest
One year ago, Elias Akwo and Chaz Nieponski dropped everything and raced to their Aurora storefront to find the windows smashed and an entire display of crystal merchandise shattered across the floor.
Monday, June 21, 2021

New Lincoln Museum podcast explores Illinois music legends
A new podcast from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum features conversations about legendary Illinois musicians and bands, sometimes with the performers themselves.
Saturday, June 19, 2021

Farm providing lessons to Greenfield high school students
Greenfield High School has chickens in the classroom — and rabbits and hogs.
Saturday, June 19, 2021

More than 660 bills will head to Pritzker after legislative session
With the first year of the 102nd General Assembly mostly wrapped up, lawmakers as of Friday had officially passed 664 bills through both houses for eventual consideration by the governor.
Saturday, June 19, 2021

Vaccinated Illinoisans automatically entered into $10 million lottery
Any vaccinated Illinoisan will be automatically entered into a lottery for $10 million in prizes without having to take any extra steps to enter.
Friday, June 18, 2021

Two-day session ends with major legislation, but no energy bill
Illinois lawmakers finished a two-day special session Thursday by passing some important legislation but without reaching agreement on the one issue they had hoped to resolve – an energy bill that would phase out all carbon emissions from power plants over the next 30 years.
Friday, June 18, 2021

Camp I Am Me, celebrates 30 Years
From June 16-20, 50 burn-injured children between the ages of 8 and 20 will attend Camp “I Am Me.” Hosted by the nonprofit Illinois Fire Safety Alliance, the weeklong program takes place at the YMCA Camp Duncan in Ingleside, located near the Illinois-Wisconsin boarder.
Thursday, June 17, 2021

House OKs remote voting on bills
The Illinois House changed its rules Wednesday to allow lawmakers to cast votes on legislation remotely, giving them enough votes to pass a change to the budget bill and other measures.
Thursday, June 17, 2021

'Juneteenth' becomes official state holiday
The day that marks the anniversary of the day in 1865 when some of the last enslaved Americans learned that they had been freed is now an official state holiday in Illinois.
Thursday, June 17, 2021

FOID bill strengthening enforcement heads to Pritzker
The Illinois house on Wednesday passed a Firearm Owner Identification card law change that would strengthen law enforcement’s ability to retrieve guns from those with suspended or revoked FOID cards and allow for voluntary fingerprinting to expedite renewals.
Thursday, June 17, 2021

Police: 4 dead, 4 hurt in shooting on Chicago's South Side
An argument in a house on Chicago’s South Side erupted into gunfire early Tuesday, leaving four people dead and four more injured, police said.
Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Gov. issues veto on budget, Senate accepts
The state Senate on Tuesday approved a change to next year’s budget at the request of Gov. JB Pritzker to correct drafting errors in the measure that passed in the early hours of Wednesday, June 1, with little time for it to be read by lawmakers.
Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Senate adjourns with no energy deal, but Harmon 'confident' one is still near
The Illinois Senate adjourned Tuesday without calling a comprehensive energy regulatory reform package for a vote.
Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Energy bill still not filed less than 24 hours before vote
The Illinois Senate is scheduled to return to the Capitol Tuesday to consider an energy regulatory overhaul bill that is years in the making but was not yet filed in its final form as of Monday night. The House is scheduled to return Wednesday.
Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Six Flags agrees to $36 million settlement
Six Flags Great America has agreed to a $36 million settlement to end a class-action lawsuit over the amusement park’s use of finger-scan entry gates.
Tuesday, June 15, 2021

LLCC aims to fill need in workforce
Lincoln Land Community College is offering a cybersecurity certificate designed for students who wish to enter the workforce as cybersecurity professionals in 18 months.
Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Illinois chemical plant explodes, prompts evacuations
An explosion at a chemical plant in northern Illinois sparked massive fires that sent flames and huge plumes of thick black smoke high into the air Monday morning, prompting evacuations.
Monday, June 14, 2021

WIU revives student teaching at Wisconsin tribal schools
Western Illinois University is reviving a program that was shuttered decades ago that allows students to gain teaching experience at Native American tribal schools in Wisconsin.
Monday, June 14, 2021

Illinois historic preservation group awards $17K in grants
A historic preservaton group is giving out $17,000 in grants to projects across Illinois, including restoration of a 1920s era post office and a virtual reality experience at a site that was once a stop on the Underground Railroad.
Monday, June 14, 2021

Vaccinated visitors soon can take off masks at Disney World theme parks
Walt Disney World in Florida is making it easier to see smiles again, but guests still can’t hug the characters.
Monday, June 14, 2021

Stocks are off to a weak start, pulling S&P 500 below record
Stocks are off to a sluggish start on Wall Street Monday, easing the S&P 500 index just below its latest record high. The benchmark index is also coming off its third weekly gain in a row. The S&P 500 slipped 0.2% in the first few minutes of trading. Lordstown Motors sank 18% after the CEO and CFO resigned as problems mount for the startup electric truck maker. European markets were mostly higher. Several markets in Asia were closed for a holiday. Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.48%.
Monday, June 14, 2021

Death of Illinois inmate restrained by cops deemed homicide
Monday, June 14, 2021

Chicago man jumps into Lake Michigan for 365th straight day
A Chicago bus driver looking for a way to relieve stress during the coronavirus pandemic jumped into Lake Michigan for a 365th straight day on Saturday.
Monday, June 14, 2021

Illinois enters Phase 5, full reopening
SPRINGFIELD — Starting Friday, Illinois will be in Phase 5 of the COVID-19 reopening plan, meaning businesses and organizations can resume normal activity, although some limited restrictions will remain in place.
Friday, June 11, 2021

Unmasked man denied Chicago bus entry opens fire: police
An unmasked Chicago man denied entry onto a city bus faces attempted murder and weapons charges after allegedly firing shots at the vehicle, police said.
Thursday, June 10, 2021

Agritourism poised as summer travel accelerates with pent-up demand
With people ready to travel and summer vacations starting, Illinois agritourism is prime for the newest tourism trends – outdoors, family oriented, road-trip accessible and food, especially local food.
Thursday, June 10, 2021

State considers redesigning, moving monument of MLK Jr.
Members of the state’s task force on statues and monuments discussed ways to relocate the statue of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and improve the statue’s image in the context of King’s legacy in Illinois.
Thursday, June 10, 2021

Museum to display Emancipation Proclamation
A signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation will go on display this month at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in honor of Juneteenth, the holiday celebrating the end of slavery in America.
Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Former GOP rep. seeking back pay in class action suit
A former state lawmaker is suing the state comptroller for salary increases he claims he was entitled to while serving in the Illinois General Assembly for 12 years, even though he voted against those raises as a lawmaker.
Wednesday, June 9, 2021

COVID-19 positivity rate, hospitalizations push new lows
The state’s COVID-19 metrics continued to improve Monday ahead of Friday’s planned statewide reopening.
Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Girl, 11, seriously wounded in Chicago shooting
Police say an 11-year-old girl was shot and seriously wounded in Chicago near the end of a weekend that saw at least 60 people wounded in shootings across the city
Tuesday, June 8, 2021

State Supreme Court pauses transition to new appellate districts
The Illinois Supreme Court will delay its transition to implement new appellate court boundaries that were created by a recently approved judicial district map until further notice.
Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Hudson Nonstop Arrives In Chicago
Hudson Nonstop at MDW calls Concourse B, Gate B19 its final destination. As the largest Hudson Nonstop store to-date, the 1,000-square-foot store spills out directly onto the concourse floor, providing travelers a glimpse into the products and experiences waiting for them inside. By inserting or tapping a credit card, travelers can enter the store, pick up their products, and quickly exit – avoiding checkout lines and making passing through the Windy City store a breeze.
Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Illinois hopes to expand access to voting
For Illinois, the changes to voting law that legislators made in the final hours of their legislative session this week seemed innocuous. In some cases — voting by mail, allowing jail inmates awaiting trial to cast ballots — are affirmation or expansion of practices already put to the test.
Monday, June 7, 2021

Cleared Chicago priest holds first Mass since reinstatement
An activist Roman Catholic priest cleared by an Archdiocese of Chicago investigation into claims that he sexually abused several boys decades ago returned to the pulpit of his longtime church on Sunday for the first time in five months.
Monday, June 7, 2021

Conservation District Summer Camps soon
The Macon County Conservation District is offering a variety of nature camps this summer for children ages 1-15. These camps have been connecting children with nature, encouraging exploration, and creating lasting memories since 1982. All camps meet at Rock Springs Conservation Area. Online registration is open at
Saturday, June 5, 2021

Millikin announces Multimedia Communication degree program
In today's multimedia age, it is essential for professional communicators to engage in all sides of the publishing process, crafting messages from the written word to web design, video and audio media to be an effective storyteller.
Saturday, June 5, 2021

Hiker dies after fall at North Carolina gorge
A hiker from Illinois is dead after a fall at Linville Gorge in the western North Carolina mountains, according to local officials.
Saturday, June 5, 2021

Obama: Presidential center will promote Chicago's South side
Barack Obama continued a push to build support for his presidential center on Chicago’s lakefront on Friday, urging business leaders in the city to get involved with the project.
Saturday, June 5, 2021

Pritzker signs redistricting plans for state legislative and appellate court districts
Gov. JB Pritzker signed a pair of bills Friday that redraw state legislative and appellate court districts, despite the fact that official U.S Census data needed to ensure equal representation has not yet been delivered.
Saturday, June 5, 2021

LLCC in Illinois top online criminal justice programs
Lincoln Land Community College has been named a top college in Illinois for online criminal justice programs by Criminal Justice Degree Hub in its recently published “10 Best Online Criminal Justice Programs in Illinois for 2021.” LLCC is ranked No. 10.
Friday, June 4, 2021

Republicans tie Dems mapmaking effort to indictment
Republicans on Tuesday tried to tie an indictment of a longtime lieutenant of former House Speaker Michael Madigan to the Democrats’ effort to redraw legislative district lines ahead of the General Assembly’s May 31 adjournment.
Friday, June 4, 2021

Chicago to join Illinois in fully opening June 11
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Thursday she has moved up the city’s timetable for a full reopening to match the rest of the state.
Friday, June 4, 2021

Some bills pushed by Dems fail to pass
In the final days of the legislative session, lawmakers passed bills to allow for college sports betting, to phase out isolation and seclusion practices at school, and to create more affordable housing units.
Thursday, June 3, 2021

Joliet toddler dies; self infliced gun wounds
A 2-year-old has died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound inflicted with a weapon belonging to his father, suburban Chicago police said Wednesday.

Joliet Fire Department crews responded to a call early Wednesday of a child suffering a gunshot wound. The toddler had found a gun legally owned by his father in a TV stand and accidentally shot himself in the head, according to Joliet police. The father was at home at the time of the incident.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Senate passes bill on terminally ill prisoners
The Illinois Senate advanced a bill Wednesday that would give the Prisoner Review Board additional authority to consider early release for prisoners who have petitioned for such action due to medical incapacity or terminal illness.
Thursday, June 3, 2021

Two Chicago cops accused of beating teen during arrest
Two Chicago officers have been stripped of their police powers during an investigation into allegations that they beat a teenager during his arrest early this year, according a published report.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability confirmed the basic allegations against the officers and confirmed a Chicago Tribune  report that two other officers are also under investigation for allegations that they failed to activate their body cameras. One of them is also accused of failing to intervene or report the incident.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Southern Illinois man admits sending bomb letter
A Southern Illinois man has pleaded guilty to claiming in a letter that he’d planted a bomb at an area school and threatening letters to local government officials, according to a published report.
Thursday, June 3, 2021

Deal near on state's energy overhaul
Illinois lawmakers are staying open for business as they await a possible deal on a sweeping energy proposal that would keep the state’s fleet of nuclear power plants online while providing incentives for development of more wind and solar generation.
Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Blagojevich's supervised release over
A federal judge on Tuesday put an early end to the two-year period of supervised release of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, whose 14-year prison sentence for corruption was commuted  by President Donald Trump.
Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Senate GOP pushing for review of Prisoner Review Board
Senate Republicans attempted to bypass the Senate Executive Appointments Committee Monday after its chairwoman did not call several Prisoner Review Board appointees for confirmation hearings.

The Senate voted unanimously on the floor to waive posting requirements for the appointees, through motions brought forward by Republicans.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Senate pass election bill postponing 2022 primary to June
Largely on partisan lines, lawmakers passed an omnibus elections bill Monday that would push back the date of the 2022 primary elections amid other major changes to the state’s election code.

The 156-page omnibus bill, an amendment to Senate Bill 825 filed by Rep. Maurice West, D-Rockford, would also strengthen the state’s cybersecurity surrounding elections and make Election Day a holiday among other provisions.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Limited in-state college betting bill unveiled
An omnibus gambling bill that would allow Illinois bettors to wager on in-state college sports teams on a two-year trial basis has been filed in the General Assembly on the final scheduled day of the legislative session.

Anybody wishing to make such a bet in Illinois, however, would need to do so in person at a sports book, rather than on an online application. A bet on an Illinois college team could only be a “Tier 1” wager, meaning it is “determined solely by the final score or final outcome” of a sporting event, and it must have been filed before the start of the game.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Lawmakers pass stricter ethics standards
Shortly after 1 a.m. Tuesday, the Illinois Senate passed a bill aiming to improve ethics standards for elected officials after it was filed just hours earlier.

An amendment to Senate Bill 539, introduced by Sen. Ann Gillespie, D-Arlington Heights, passed with bipartisan approval despite House Republicans’ concerns that it was watered down.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Lawmakers set to consider $42.3 billion budget
Illinois lawmakers are poised to vote Monday night on a proposed $42.3 billion state budget for the upcoming fiscal year that Democrats say would fully fund K-12 education and the state’s pension obligations while also paying down a sizeable portion of the state’s debt.

Lawmakers have been working on the budget since Gov. JB Pritzker delivered his proposal in February, and they are pressing hard to finish the process before the General Assembly’s scheduled adjournment Monday night.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Ill. Secretary of State warns against email, text scams
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is warning state residents to be on the lookout for email and text scams claiming to be from his office.
Monday, May 31, 2021

Illinois man working on sign dies after falling 60 feet
A 41-year-old Illinois man has died in a work-related fall in southwest Illinois.
Monday, May 31, 2021

Marijuana license reform legislation passes both houses
The Illinois Senate passed a bill Friday creating new licenses and lotteries for marijuana dispensary licenses, addressing issues that have plagued the process set forth by a 2019 law legalizing recreational marijuana.

House Bill 1443 would create two new marijuana dispensary lotteries offering 55 licenses each, as well as clearing up ongoing disputes over the fate of 75 marijuana dispensary licenses that have been held up for over a year.

Monday, May 31, 2021

Bill passes for housing incentives, expanding telehealth
The Illinois Senate passed an omnibus bill Sunday aimed at creating additional affordable housing units in the state.

House Bill 2621 aims to create monetary incentives including a COVID-19 Affordable Housing Grant program to provide funding to support affordable housing in areas “disproportionately impacted” by COVID-19.

Monday, May 31, 2021

House advances bill to lower small trailer license fees to $36
The Illinois House passed a bill that would lower small trailer license fees from $118 to $36, which lawmakers said on the House floor Sunday could remedy an issue that has resulted in an uproar of complaints from their constituents.

In 2019, lawmakers raised the fee for licensing a small trailer in Illinois from $18 to $118 as part of Gov. JB Pritzker’s Rebuild Illinois capital infrastructure plan.

Monday, May 31, 2021

General Assembly action: Seclusion and restraint will go to governor
A bill to phase out the use of isolated timeouts and prone physical restraint in public schools will soon be sent to Gov. JB Pritzker.

The Illinois House on Sunday voted unanimously to concur in changes the Senate made to House Bill 219, which include putting a virtual halt to the practices starting in the 2022-23 school year.

The bill was prompted by a 2019 investigative story by the Chicago Tribune and ProPublica that documented how extensively schools had been using the practice for decades.

Monday, May 31, 2021

Energy working groups continue amid new indictment
SPRINGFIELD – Nearly 50 legislators identifying as the Illinois Legislative Green Caucus signed a letter Wednesday asking leadership to make equity and utility accountability the foundation of an energy overhaul bill expected before the General Assembly adjourns May 31.
Friday, May 28, 2021

Bill banning 'hairstyle discrimination' in schools passes House
SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois House passed a bill Thursday to prevent “hairstyle discrimination” in schools, sending it back to the Illinois Senate.
Friday, May 28, 2021

Senate passes 'sexting' measure bill
SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Senate on Thursday passed a measure requiring public schools to include the dangers of “sexting” in sex education coursework and another lifting a ban on people convicted of drug crimes from receiving certain family benefits.
Friday, May 28, 2021

2021 theme announced for Illinois and DuQuoin State Fairs
SPRINGFIELD, IL — A message of unity will be the theme throughout the fairgrounds in Springfield and Du Quoin this summer. "One Illinois" is the theme which will be showcased throughout the 2021 Illinois and Du Quoin State Fairs. "One Illinois" is aimed at uniting Illinoisans after COVID-19 led to the cancellations of both fairs in 2020.
Friday, May 28, 2021

Mental illness, substance abuse housing recovery program passes
The Illinois Senate passed a bill Wednesday which would create a new housing program for individuals living with mental illness or substance use disorders.

House Bill 449 creates the “Housing is Recovery Pilot Program Act,” a new program which would offer bridge rental subsidies to individuals at high risk for “unnecessary institutionalization” due to mental illness, or those at high risk of overdose or death due to substance abuse.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

House passes right-to-unionize amendment
The Illinois House passed a proposed constitutional amendment Wednesday that would guarantee workers in the state the right to unionize.

The proposed amendment, which passed the Senate last week, would provide that employees have a “fundamental right” to organize and engage in collective bargaining over wages, hours and working conditions. It would also prohibit the state or any local government from enacting so-called “right-to-work” laws, which prohibit contracts that make union membership a condition of employment.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

PBMs hamstringing pharmacists, threatening patient care
Illinois community pharmacists have been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic to deliver patient care to families across our communities. Whether at-risk and vulnerable or relatively healthy, we sprang into action, ensuring patients could get prescriptions and medical advice while maintaining social distancing and other COVID-19 protocols. We continue performing coronavirus tests, and some pharmacists are even administering vaccines — all on top of our daily responsibilities.
Thursday, May 27, 2021

Paroled child killer now a fugitive
76-year-old man paroled from an Illinois prison after serving time for the 1972 murder of a teenage boy is now considered a fugitive by the Illinois Department of Corrections.
Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Bills decriminalizing HIV transmission, requiring media literacy education pass Senate
The Illinois Senate on Tuesday passed measures decriminalizing the transmission of HIV and requiring public high schools to teach media literacy.
Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Redistricting hearings open amid partisan divides
Illinois lawmakers opened their first public hearing Tuesday on a proposed set of new House and Senate district maps with Democrats and Republicans still at sharp odds over how the maps were drawn and whether or not they are fair.
Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Senate advances bills to provide menstrual hygiene products at universities, homeless shelters
The Illinois Senate passed two bills Tuesday that would advise state universities and colleges, as well as homeless shelters, to provide menstrual hygiene products in their bathrooms at no cost to users.
Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Body of Kansas boy, 12, found in Little Calumet River, days after he disappeared
The body of a 12-year-old boy who was missing for more than a week was recovered from a river in northwestern Indiana, police said.

Kyrin Carter, who was autistic, disappeared from a Hammond hotel on May 15. He was from Kansas City, Missouri, and was in the area to visit relatives.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Peoria changes school name from Thomas Jefferson to a local Civil Rights Activist
The name of a Peoria school will change from Thomas Jefferson to a civil rights activist.

The school board unanimously dropped Jefferson during a meeting Monday night. The school will be known as C.T. Vivian Primary School, starting July 1, the Peoria Journal Star reported.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Lawmakers could redraw Illinois Supreme Court district maps
Drawing new district lines for state and federal elections is the main focus for lawmakers when they begin the redistricting process every 10 years.

But Illinois Democrats, who control all three branches of government, have some incentive to redraw the boundaries for the five Illinois Supreme Court districts this year as well after a Democratic justice was defeated in a retention bid in the 3rd Judicial District in November.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Paroled child killer now a fugitive
A 76-year-old man paroled from an Illinois prison after serving time for the 1972 murder of a teenage boy is now considered a fugitive by the Illinois Department of Corrections.
Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Senate Republicans call for four Prisoner Review Board appointees to testify before committee to be confirmed
Republican senators on Monday raised concerns about four Prisoner Review Board members who have continued to serve for almost two years despite not being confirmed by the Senate Executive Appointments Committee, a constitutional requirement in the state.
Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Fraternity leads cleanup effort at Black Illinois cemetery
The winding, narrow road to Booker T. Washington Cemetery off Illinois 163 between Millstadt and Cahokia Heights is ominous. It’s inundated with potholes and doesn’t give any sign of where it leads. It is mysterious.

The area is filled with overgrown weeds, and there’s trash in some parts. But beyond the menacing road and debris are scattered gravestones encompassing a rich history. Booker T. Washington Cemetery was one of the only places where Black residents in the metro-east could bury their loved ones.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Illinois' political muscle withers with shrinking population
In the summer of 1952, the International Amphitheater in Chicago, with air conditioning and state-of-the-art accommodations for a new breed of broadcast journalists, hosted not one but two presidential nominating conventions. The city's 3.6 million people made it nearly twice the size of Los Angeles which, while glamorous and growing, was still a 40-hour train ride away, too distant even for big-league baseball.
Monday, May 24, 2021

Suburban governments addressing diversity
Geneace Williams had no interest in working for a city government, even after a friend sent her an intriguing job post for a new diversity, equity and inclusion manager in Naperville.
Saturday, May 22, 2021

Bill to supply menstrual products in all school bathrooms passes
A bill that would require schools to provide free menstrual hygiene products in all bathrooms for grades 4 through 12 passed the Illinois House and will now be up for consideration in the Senate.
Saturday, May 22, 2021

Unionization amendment clears Senate
The Illinois Senate on Friday passed and sent to the House a proposed constitutional amendment that would establish a fundamental right of employees to unionize and engage in collective bargaining.
Saturday, May 22, 2021

Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum offers exclusive workshop to help teachers inspire future historians
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum invites teachers to apply for a five-day workshop in July that will help them learn to cultivate the historians of tomorrow.
Saturday, May 22, 2021

Cahokia Mounds Indian Market Days to be Held June 4-6
Are you looking for great gifts, beautiful jewelry or art for your home as well as a way to honor the work of Native artists? If so, be sure to visit the annual Indian Market Days at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site June 4-6. The market will showcase artisans and their artistry from a variety of tribal nations, including Navajo, Zuni, Hopi, Cherokee, Oglala Sioux, Santo Domingo, Oneida, Creek, Comanche, and Kiowa.
Saturday, May 22, 2021

Court finds State Auditor General violated law
The campaign committee of former state Rep. Frank Mautino, who is now the Illinois auditor general, violated state law when it spent campaign funds on gas and car repairs for personal vehicles, the Illinois Supreme Court decided Thursday.
Friday, May 21, 2021

New rules on coal byproducts
After years of work by environmental activists to push action on the issue, the Illinois Pollution Control Board has issued findings and recommendations related to the regulation of coal ash storage – an action advocates call “the first of its kind” in the state.
Friday, May 21, 2021

Slain officer's body escorted home Thursday
A procession led by a hearse bearing the body of a slain police officer moved across central Illinois on Thursday, giving hundreds a chance to pay their respects.
Friday, May 21, 2021

Illinois able to repay federal loan early
Illinois Democratic leaders announced Thursday that they have agreed to repay federal pandemic-relief loans more than a year earlier than scheduled, saving taxpayers $100 million in interest.
Friday, May 21, 2021

Sunday is World Turtle Day
Every terrapin, snapper, and slider can pop his head out of his shell and smile.
Friday, May 21, 2021

Champaign officer, Chris Oberheim, dies in line of duty
A gunman killed one central Illinois police officer and wounded another before he was fatally shot during a shootout at an apartment complex early Wednesday, authorities said.

The officers went to the complex in Champaign shortly after 3 a.m. in response to a report about a domestic disturbance and encountered the armed suspect, police said. An exchange of gunfire followed in which both officers and the suspect were shot.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

$20.7 billion road, bridge plan offered
Gov. JB Pritzker announced Wednesday the release of a six-year, $20.7 billion construction plan to improve roads and bridges throughout the state, an annual process which the Illinois Department of Transportation oversees to target infrastructure spending.

The Highway Improvement Program, funded through the Rebuild Illinois capital infrastructure plan passed in 2019, will reconstruct nearly 2,779 miles more miles of roads and 7.9 million square feet of bridge deck between fiscal year 2022 and 2027, according to the governor’s office.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

State Board of Education calls for in-person attendance
The Illinois State Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday calling on all public schools to return to in-person learning during the upcoming school year.

The resolution doesn’t institute any mandates or requirements for Illinois schools to follow, but shows unified support from ISBE for an upcoming decision by State Superintendent Carmen Ayala.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Statue task force considers adding, removing state monuments
A state House task force continued its discussion about reevaluating controversial statues and whether new monuments commemorating minorities should be added to the state Capitol grounds.

The hearing Wednesday is the second meeting of the bipartisan Statue and Monument Review Task Force, which was formed by Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch last month. The purpose of the task force is to conduct a review of monuments on state property and proposals for new monuments or statues.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Police: Illinois officer and suspect, 24, die in shootout
A gunman killed one central Illinois police officer and wounded another before he was fatally shot during a shootout at an apartment complex early Wednesday, authorities said.

The officers went to the complex in Champaign shortly after 3 a.m. in response to a report about a domestic disturbance and encountered the armed suspect, police said. An exchange of gunfire followed in which both officers and the suspect were shot.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Champaign officer, suspect killed in shootout
A central Illinois police officer died Wednesday after being shot by a suspect in a domestic disturbance who also was killed in an exchange of gunfire that left a second officer wounded, a police chief said.
Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Suspect in Iowa girl's murder had been paroled weeks earlier
Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Senate panel endorses 'media literacy' mandate in schools
All high schools in Illinois would be required to offer instruction in how to understand and evaluate news and social media as part of their computer literacy courses under a bill that advanced out of a Senate committee Tuesday.
Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Off-duty Chicago officer killed as SUV leaves road, crashes
An off-duty Chicago police officer who was killed when the SUV he was driving slammed into a power pole early Monday was fleeing from police who had tried to make a traffic stop shortly before the crash, authorities said.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Pritzker rescinds mask mandate for those fully vaccinated
Gov. JB Pritzker issued a new executive order Monday that allows fully vaccinated residents to not wear masks inside and outdoors.
Tuesday, May 18, 2021

State lawmakers on both sides gear up for ethics debate
The Illinois Senate is gearing up for a debate over a package of ethics reforms, possibly as early as this week, but it’s one that Republicans say doesn’t go far enough.
Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Chicks give Illinois students a lesson on agriculture
Stumbling, squeaking, fluffy chicks popped out of their eggs in classrooms across McLean County, some making their arrival a little later than others.

“We were getting a little worried,” said Cameo Williams, a third-grade teacher at Grove Elementary in Normal. “When we hit the 21-day mark, everybody’s like, where’s the chicks? Then ours went to the 24-day mark, so we were crossing our fingers.”

Monday, May 17, 2021

Illinois' State revenue picture improves by hundreds of millions
Illinois budget officials said Thursday that revenues are flowing into state coffers at a faster pace than previously estimated, meaning lawmakers will have more money to work with as they try to finalize a new budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

The Governor’s Office of Management and Budget officially raised its revenue estimate for the current fiscal year by more than $1.4 billion and by $842 million for the upcoming fiscal year.

Monday, May 17, 2021

LaSalle administrator misled Pritzker

SPRINGFIELD — Top officials from Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration claimed Thursday that they were misled by leadership at the state Department of Veterans’ Affairs regarding a deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the state-run LaSalle Veterans’ Home.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Action taken against academy with poor record
SPRINGFIELD — Officials from multiple state agencies said Friday that they are cutting ties with a residential school that serves children in state care with mental and developmental disabilities after an independent review documented reports of mistreatment of youth at the facility.
Saturday, May 15, 2021

Man finds quiet life along river after 20 years in prison
CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — Dwight J. Violette’s life is a lot quieter now — it has been for the last 16 years.
Saturday, May 15, 2021

1,600 layoffs coming at Illinois Jeep Cherokee factory
BELVIDERE, Ill. (AP) — Some 1,600 jobs are being cut at a Jeep Cherokee factory in northern Illinois as automakers continue being plagued by the global shortage of semiconductors.
Saturday, May 15, 2021

Lawmakers consider lowering trailer license fees
SPRINGFIELD — In 2019, the fee for licensing a small trailer in Illinois jumped from $18 to $118. Lawmakers are now looking for a solution to lower that fee without causing major drops in infrastructure funding.
Saturday, May 15, 2021

Stocks start higher, still headed for weekly losses
Stocks were solidly higher in early trading on Friday, but the market is still on track to end the week in the red after three days of steep drops earlier in the week. Investors continue to focus on the possibility of inflation as the U.S. economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.
Friday, May 14, 2021

Mendoza suggests Illinois due for credit upgrade
SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza is asking the nation’s three major credit rating agencies to reconsider the state’s credit rating with an eye toward a possible upgrade.
Friday, May 14, 2021

COVID-19 vaccine for children 12-15
SPRINGFIELD — Children as young as 12 years old will be able to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine starting tomorrow (Thursday) at Memorial Medical Center’s South Sixth Drive-Thru Lab, 2950 S. Sixth St., Springfield.
Friday, May 14, 2021

State launches tourist campaign
SPRINGFIELD — Gov. JB Pritzker announced a new $6 million tourism advertising campaign Wednesday aimed at attracting visitors to the state and sparking economic activity following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Friday, May 14, 2021

Illinois Amish Heritage Center to open weekends in June
The Illinois Amish Heritage Center, located three miles east of Arthur, Illinois on Route 133, will be open to the public for guided tours and walk-throughs on Fridays and Saturdays this summer. Hours will be 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. starting Friday, June 4.

Guided tours will take visitors through four historic Amish buildings – the 1882 Daniel Schrock house, the 1866 Moses Yoder house and workshop, and the 1920 Miller Amish German School.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Disinvestment, pandemic leave Illinois' state of mental health care in 'crisis'
Rooted in disinvestment and growing amid economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, Illinois is facing a statewide mental health crisis due to workforce shortages and accessibility.

“It's been recognized that we are no longer in an emergency, we're in a crisis,” said Marvin Lindsey, CEO of the Community Behavioral Healthcare Association of Illinois, which is a statewide association of mental health, substance abuse and youth service providers.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Train derails near Pesotum
A Union-Pacific train derailed about 7:45 p.m. Tuesday night near Pesotum in east central Illinois. Village officials say it could be 24 to 48 hours before the wreck is cleared.

The track on which the derailment occurred is the same U-P line which runs through Pana.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Traffic stop in northern Illinois reveals 897 tabs of LSD
A 27-year-old northern Illinois man was arrested after police during a traffic stop discovered nearly 900 tabs of LSD in his vehicle.

The (Crystal Lake) Northwest Herald  reported that Alek A. Montemayor of Harvard was arrested Friday after Harvard police responding to a report of an impaired driver spotted the vehicle he was driving swerve across the center line of a roadway at speeds of 80 mph.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

High court hears challenge to mandatory life sentencing for young adults in Illinois
A man who was found guilty for acting as the lookout in a double homicide nearly three decades ago is asking the Illinois Supreme Court to find his mandatory life sentence without parole unconstitutional.

A lawyer for Antonio House argued before Supreme Court Tuesday that his life sentence for a crime committed when he was 19 violates the so-called proportionate penalties clause of the Illinois Constitution.

This clause in the constitution states: “All penalties shall be determined both according to the seriousness of the offense and with the objective of restoring the offender to useful citizenship.”

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

LaSalle investigation prompts stronger legislation
Lawmakers representing the LaSalle Veterans’ Home, including Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, unveiled new legislation that would allow inspectors general of state agencies to subpoena former state employees.

The legislation was prompted by an investigation into the COVID-19 outbreak last year at the LaSalle home that killed 36 veterans.

The former director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Linda Chapa LaVia, and the former LaSalle home administrator, Angela Mehlbrech, both declined to be interviewed for the investigative report compiled last month by the state Department of Human Services’ inspector general.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Ill. House votes to endorse 'abolition amendment'
The Illinois House voted Wednesday to endorse a proposed U.S. constitutional amendment that would finally eliminate what some see as the last vestige of slavery in the United States – forced labor by people convicted of crimes and sentenced to prison.

House Joint Resolution 7, by Rep. Mary Flowers, D-Chicago, calls for passage of the proposed “abolition amendment,” which seeks to eliminate what’s known as the “punishment clause” of the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery after the Civil War.

The 13th amendment reads in part, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Great Lakes water surge eases
A spell of dry, mild weather is giving the Great Lakes a break after two years of high water that has shattered records and heavily damaged shoreline roads and homes, officials said Monday.

Although still above normal, the lakes have dropped steadily since last fall and are expected to remain below 2020 levels for most of this year, according to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers forecast.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Illinois office building vaccinations being offered
The state of Illinois, working with business and labor organizations, plans to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to workers at offices around the state, officials announced Monday.

The initiative is being prompted by the return to offices by thousands of workers forced home by the pandemic. Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Monday having vaccine available where people are working makes getting vaccinations very convenient.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Korean War soldier's remains returned to Decatur
The remains of U.S. Army Cpl. Asa E. Vance on Monday were brought to his family 70 years after he left Decatur, Illinois, to serve in the Korean War.

Niece Alma Andrews was on hand Monday when Vance’s remains were taken from a airliner’s cargo hold at St. Louis’ Lambert International Airport. The body was carried to a waiting hearse and escorted by an honor guard to Decatur.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Watchdog finds COVID-19 safety protocols not enforced at Pulaski County jail
An unannounced inspection by federal authorities of the Pulaski County Detention Center found that supervisors were not enforcing COVID-19 safety protocols, such as masking and social distancing requirements, for inmates being detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The jail in Pulaski County, which is in the southernmost part of Illinois and borders Kentucky, houses inmates from Pulaski and Alexander counties, as well as individuals who are arrested by ICE and face deportation.

Monday, May 10, 2021

State budget can include added $350 million for K-12 schools
Citing an “improved” economic outlook, Gov. JB Pritzker announced Thursday his support to increase evidence-based education funding in the state by $350 million in fiscal year 2022 which begins July 1.

In his February budget proposal, Pritzker originally proposed flat spending for education, citing “financial uncertainty” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

It would have been the second consecutive year in which the state failed to add $350 million to the funding formula – a number written into state statute as a goal aimed at driving new money to the districts that are furthest from funding “adequacy.”

Monday, May 10, 2021

Electric vehicle plant invests $75M, brings Joliet 745 jobs
A Canadian electric-vehicle maker will build its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Joliet to produce small trucks and heavier electric machinery, officials said Friday .

Lion Electric Co. will invest at least $75 million in a plant that ultimately will produce 20,000 zero-emission vehicles a year and create 745 or more jobs.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

3 dead after black powder device explodes near Illinois park
Three people have died after a black powder device exploded along a bank of the Illinois River in the northern part of the state, authorities said.

First responders were called to an area west of the Starved Rock State Park boat ramp where they they discovered three dead males around 7:20 p.m. Thursday.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Illinois regulators answer queries on predatory lending law
Illinois state regulators have released answers to frequently asked questions about payday-type loans after new restrictions took effect this spring.
Saturday, May 8, 2021

JROTC archery team shows growth
When Greg Murphy decided to add archery onto his coaching repertoire this school year, it was one of few sports he did not have a background in.

So he got certified in the art and skill of shooting arrows with a bow and brought the proper steps and techniques back to the cadets in the Kays Battalion JROTC program.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

GOP leaders call out House Dems for redistricting 'hypocrisy'
Illinois House Republicans continue to demand a “fair” redistricting process, following a news report depicting Democratic lawmakers meeting behind a closed door to discuss the mapmaking process.

The “secretive” room on Capitol grounds where House Democrats are said to be drawing maps was first reported by WCIA-TV’s Mark Maxwell. In response to the report, House Republicans held a news conference Thursday outside of the room to address their concerns.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Bill proposes uniform election procedures
Two Republican senators have introduced legislation to standardize the way local election authorities across Illinois handle elections, from the training of election judges to posting information about delays in election night ballot counting.

Sens. Sally Turner, of the Logan County town of Beason, and Sue Rezin, of Morris, said during a virtual news conference Thursday their bill is intended to provide more transparency and give voters more confidence in how elections in Illinois are conducted.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Pritzker: Broader Illinois reopening to begin next week
Gov. JB Pritzker said Thursday that Illinois will enter the “bridge” phase to full reopening on Friday, May 14. And barring any reversal of current trends, Phase 5, or full reopening, will begin on June 11.

He also announced that residents can now obtain COVID-19 vaccines from their physicians’ offices, rather than just designated vaccine sites, as public health officials continue to confront hesitancy within many communities to accept the vaccines.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Illinois AG responds to cyber attack
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul on Wednesday addressed the recent cyber breach of his office’s online network, as well as an audit of his office released earlier this year that warned of weaknesses in its cybersecurity programs.

Raoul told a House committee his office has implemented new safeguards since the April 10 ransomware attack that compromised the office’s network and affected office employee’s email accounts.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Illinois police honors officers killed
After a delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic last year, members of Illinois’ law enforcement community gathered in Springfield Thursday to honor officers killed in the line of duty in 2019 and 2020.

In a ceremony at the Illinois State Capitol, the names of 16 Illinois officers killed in the line of duty over the past two years, as well as six historic honorees, were read and added to the Illinois Police Officers Memorial on the Capitol grounds.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Study shows working mothers hard hit by pandemic-related child care burdens
New research shows pandemic-related child care burdens have magnified economic inequalities for women in the workforce in Illinois.

That research was included in The Child Care Crisis in Illinois: A Survey of Working Mothers During the COVID-19 Pandemic, conducted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Illinois Economic Policy Institute nonprofit research organization.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Secretary of state calls for new Martin Luther King statue on Capitol grounds
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White on Tuesday said it’s time for the state to construct a new statue commemorating Martin Luther King Jr., as the current statue’s rendering “does not properly reflect Dr. King,” White said in a news release.

White said he would personally contribute the first $5,000 in funding the new statue that would be situated in a more prominent location on the Capitol grounds.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Catholic leaders oppose change to scholarship tax credit
The Catholic Conference of Illinois is lobbying against proposed tax changes for the 2022 fiscal year that would reduce an income tax credit gained for donations to private scholarships.

In a letter released Tuesday, Cardinal Blase Cupich of the Archdiocese of Chicago joined bishops representing the state's other five dioceses – administrative districts under the Catholic Church – asking Catholics to call their local legislators and ask them to oppose the measure put forward by Gov. JB Pritzker, which they called “an important matter of public policy and social justice.”

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Study shows working mothers hard hit by pandemic burdens
New research shows pandemic-related child care burdens have magnified economic inequalities for women in the workforce in Illinois.

That research was included in The Child Care Crisis in Illinois: A Survey of Working Mothers During the COVID-19 Pandemic, conducted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Illinois Economic Policy Institute nonprofit research organization.

A data review in that report showed the workforce participation rate among women hit its lowest level in more than three decades in January 2021, at 57 percent nationally.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Criminal probe asked for in LaSalle home deaths
Some Republicans in the General Assembly, including House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, are calling for a criminal investigation into the COVID-19 related deaths at the state-run LaSalle Veterans’ Home.

The push for a criminal probe comes after a state investigative report was released Friday that found there were widespread failures at the LaSalle facility and the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs that contributed to 36 resident deaths there since November.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Illinois economy shrinks 4% in 2020 despite 4th quarter growth
The Illinois economy shrank by 4 percent in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on many of its sectors, although there were signs of a recovery taking place late in the year.Those preliminary numbers, released last week by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, showed that the leisure, hospitality and food service sector was the hardest hit by the pandemic, reporting a nearly 30 percent drop in economic output for the year.

That was due to the forced closure of bars, restaurants, theaters, amusement parks and most tourist attractions in the early phases of the pandemic, as well as the cancellation of large conventions and business meetings.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Some Black parents say remote learning gives racism reprieve
Before schools shuttered during the pandemic, Ayaana Johnson worried every time she dropped her daughters off at school.

Johnson, a Black woman, says racism is rampant in her predominantly white Georgia town. At her daughters’ school, a student once used racial slurs and told another child he doesn’t play with “brown people.” She says teachers are quick to punish or reprimand Black children and Ku Klux Klan flyers can be found in mailboxes.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Puerto Rican man missing in Lake Michigan after capsize
A Puerto Rican man was identified Monday as the boater missing in Lake Michigan after the vessel he was on capsized.

Kelvin Soto Crespo, 20, of Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, has been missing  since Saturday afternoon after the boat he occupied capsized in Lake Michigan near the East Chicago Marina, Indiana Conservation Officer Tyler Brock said.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Illinois puts $15M into manufacturing academies
Illinois will spend $15 million on two academies that will train hundreds of workers in advanced manufacturing skills, with the first students enrolling later this year, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said.

The advanced manufacturing academies will be located at Heartland Community College in the central Illinois community of Normal and at Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville, near St. Louis.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Bloomington record store aims to uplift music scene
Passion-driven risk and plucky altruism.

That’s the thesis behind “Reckless Saint,” a budding venture into vintage music, stereo equipment and ephemera with a retail storefront that aims to empower the local music scene.

Helmed by Scott McCormick, a local musician who plays the guitar, sings, writes songs, and for whom music “has been a passion my whole life,” the store opened April 2 in downtown Bloomington.

Monday, May 3, 2021

EPA rule to phase out gases used in refrigerators, coolants
In the first Biden administration rule aimed at combatting climate change, the Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to phase down production and use of hydrofluorocarbons, highly potent greenhouse gases commonly used in refrigerators and air conditioners.
Monday, May 3, 2021

Chicago man who drove into picnickers faces felony charges
A Chicago man accused of striking and seriously injuring a woman with his pickup truck when he “intentionally” drove the vehicle at a group of people having a picnic has been charged with four counts of attempted murder, police said Monday.
Monday, May 3, 2021

Officials say Illinois approaching 10M COVID-19 vaccines
Illinois is approaching 10 million COVID-19 vaccines, public health officials said Sunday.

The state has roughly 11.8 million vaccines on hand, of which more than 9.3 million have been administered, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Monday, May 3, 2021

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Department of Public Health on Thursday issued its second report on maternal mortality rates in the state, which found there were 103 pregnancy-associated deaths in Illinois in 2017 – the highest number of any year in that decade.

Friday, April 30, 2021

SPRINGFIELD — For the second time, a county judge in southern Illinois has ruled the state’s Firearm Owner Identification Card law unconstitutional, as applied to one state resident, Vivian Brown.
Friday, April 30, 2021

'Conversation on Clara Barton'
SPRINGFIELD — Looking for Lincoln Conversations welcomes the heroic Civil War nurse Clara Barton to the conversation! Nationally-known historical interpreter Leslie Goddard will bring Clara Barton to life, followed by an informative discussion of the impact of women in the Civil War. This live presentation will be hosted by musician and folklorist Chris Vallillo.
Friday, April 30, 2021

Plan to spend VW settlement money
SPRINGFIELD — Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration released a revised plan for how to spend the state’s share of a multi-billion dollar Volkswagen settlement, which found the vehicle manufacturer in violation of the federal Clean Air Act.
Friday, April 30, 2021

IDNR looking for Conservation Police candidates
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is seeking applicants who are ready to combine a love of conservation, wildlife and natural resources with law enforcement and public safety. The Department is beginning the search for Conservation Police Officer (CPO) Trainees with the intent to hire up to 25 officers in December 2021.
Friday, April 30, 2021

Emergency Housing bill passed
SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Senate voted Thursday to pass House Bill 2877, which aims to extend emergency protections to renters and homeowners financially impacted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Friday, April 30, 2021

Overcrowding, Black & Latino nursing homes
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Overcrowding at some Illinois nursing homes caused a disproportionate number of preventable deaths among Black and Latino residents living in those facilities, state officials said Wednesday.
Friday, April 30, 2021

Man, teen charged in carjacking
AURORA, Ill. (AP) — A suburban Chicago man and a juvenile have been charged in connection with a violent carjacking that left a mother of two paralyzed, Aurora authorities announced Thursday.
Friday, April 30, 2021

GOP calls out Pritzker on mapping plan
Illinois Senate Republicans on Wednesday harshly criticized Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker, accusing him of breaking a campaign pledge to support an independent commission to redraw congressional and legislative district maps.

“What I want to say is, the gerrymandering train is on the tracks,” Senate Republican Leader Dan McConchie, of Hawthorn Woods, said during a news conference.  “It is moving ahead and Gov. Pritzker has considerable power as the chief executive to make his candidate promise a reality. If the governor abandons that promise, he abandons the best chance that we have to actually have changed the nature of our politics for not only the next 10 years, but for generations to come.”

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Vaccination doses administered top 9 million
Public health officials gave an update on the status of the state's vaccination efforts Tuesday as the number of vaccines administered in Illinois topped 9 million.

Speaking in a joint hearing of the House Human Services and Health Care committees Tuesday, Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said the state is “closing gaps” in providing COVID-19 vaccine doses to underserved populations and anyone in the state who wishes to receive one.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

State invests $15 million for manufacturing programs
Gov. JB Pritzker announced Wednesday the state was distributing funds to two downstate Illinois community colleges for electric vehicle manufacturing and renewable energy generation training programs.

Pritzker made the announcement at Heartland Community College in Normal, where one of the new programs will launch.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Black and Latino nursing home deaths linked to overcrowding
Overcrowding at some Illinois nursing homes caused a disproportionate number of preventable deaths among Black and Latino residents living in those facilities, state officials said Wednesday.
Thursday, April 29, 2021

COVID Combat town-to-town
Gov. JB Pritzker announced a new state program Monday that aims to increase vaccine access in low-income, vulnerable communities and to connect residents across the state to COVID-19 assistance programs for transportation, food, utilities or other resources.

The COVID-19 Pandemic Health Navigator Program serves areas of the state outside of Chicago and Cook County, and is funded by $60 million in grants from the Illinois Department of Public Health to regional organizations.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Trial date set for state senator charged with embezzlement
State Sen. Tom Cullerton, who was indicted in 2019 on charges of embezzlement, is set to go to trial in February next year, a federal judge said on Tuesday.

Cullerton, a Democrat from Villa Park, is scheduled to be tried in the U.S. District Court in Chicago, starting on Feb. 23, 2022.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

New state program aims for 'one-on-one connections' in communities to combat COVID-19
Gov. JB Pritzker announced a new state program Monday that aims to increase vaccine access in low-income, vulnerable communities and to connect residents across the state to COVID-19 assistance programs for transportation, food, utilities or other resources.

The COVID-19 Pandemic Health Navigator Program serves areas of the state outside of Chicago and Cook County, and is funded by $60 million in grants from the Illinois Department of Public Health to regional organizations.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Illinois to lose one seat in Congress due to census
The U.S. Census Bureau announced Monday Illinois will lose a seat in Congress based on the results of the 2020 census.

Illinois will move from 18 to 17 seats in the U.S. House, an expected result after some advocates had warned that an undercount could lead to the loss of two seats. The state has lost at least one congressional representative in eight of the last 9 decades after peaking at 27 seats in 1910 and remaining there until the 1940 census.

Six other states will also lose a seat, including California, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Floyd verdict won't remove blocks to police accountability
The guilty verdicts in the George Floyd murder case felt like a watershed moment to many Americans. President Biden called the verdicts a “giant step toward justice.” But pervasive legal roadblocks to police accountability remain firmly in place.

Most police officers who violate citizens’ rights get away with it because the law is heavily stacked in their favor, legal experts say. None of those legal roadblocks was removed by the guilty verdicts against Derek Chauvin.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Obama Center, Botanic Garden team up in Chicago
The planned Obama Presidential Center is getting design advice from the Chicago Botanic Garden.

The Obama Foundation recently announced the partnership. Foundation officials say the Chicago Botanic Garden will offer expertise in designing and operating a fruit and vegetable garden at the presidential complex on the city’s South Side.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Illinois reports 2,085 new COVID cases
Illinois health officials on Sunday reported 2,035 new cases of COVID-19 including 24 new deaths.

The preliminary statewide positivity rate for the past week, as a percentage of total tests, is 3.5%, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Monday, April 26, 2021

1983 Indiana remains ID'd as Chicago victim of serial killer
Human remains found at a northwestern Indiana farm have been identified as a male Chicago victim of the late serial killer Larry Eyler, authorities announced Sunday.

The Newton County Coroner’s Office in Indiana identified the victim as John Ingram Brandenburg Jr. of Chicago. No age was given. He was among four “young men“ found on an abandoned farm in rural Lake Village on October 18, 1983, according to the office.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Bill change would allow voters to lift rent control bans locally
A new amendment to House Bill 116, which advanced out of committee earlier this spring, would allow municipalities to vote on rent control measures through referendum.

HB116 as originally introduced would have lifted the state’s blanket ban on local rent control measures, which has been in place since 1997. The new amendment instead would give that power to voters and municipal governments to consider rent control measures on a community-by-community basis.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Bill allowing name changes for convicted individuals passes House
A bill allowing a person who must register with a state agency due to a criminal conviction to change their name under specific circumstances passed the Illinois House on Thursday with bipartisan support.
Monday, April 26, 2021

Lawmakers, Pritzker spar over revenue
Members of an Illinois Senate committee sparred with officials from Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration Friday in a hearing on tax changes proposed by the governor in an effort to balance the state’s budget for the 2022 fiscal year.

The Senate Revenue and Appropriations committees held the joint hearing, questioning the directors of the Illinois Department of Revenue and the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget among others.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Illinois House passes tele-health bill
The Illinois House passed a bill Friday which would make COVID-19-related expansions to telehealth services permanent through state statute.

House Bill 3498, introduced by Rep. Deb Conroy, D-Villa Park, aims to reduce barriers in access to virtual and telehealth services and would bring standards for virtual care in line with physical health services.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Bill creates liaisons for homeless college students
The Illinois Senate advanced several bills to the House Wednesday, including one establishing a housing insecurity liaison for homeless college students and another allowing routine dental care to be provided at schools.

Senate Bill 190, sponsored by Sen. Suzy Glowiak Hilton, D-Western Springs, would require higher education institutions, including business, technical or vocational schools, to designate at least one employee to serve as a liaison between the institution and the homeless student to assist in accessing resources.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Federal investments for fossil fuel communities
Six large regions nationwide that have economies reliant on fossil fuels have been targeted for federal investment and aid to create renewable energy jobs, as detailed in a new report from President Joe Biden’s administration.

The report released Friday is part of Biden’s plan to reduce America’s use of coal and other fossil fuels in order to fight climate change. The White House held a global summit this week and Biden announced he intends to cut U.S. coal and petroleum emissions in half by 2030.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

FirstEnergy close to agreement with DOJ
FirstEnergy Corp. is cooperating with the U.S. Department of Justice while negotiating a deferred prosecution agreement over its role in secretly funding a $60 million bribery scheme to secure a $1 billion bailout for two Ohio nuclear power plants, company officials said Friday during an earnings call.

Such an agreement generally involves requiring a company to admit to wrongdoing, agree to initiate reforms, cooperate with prosecutors, pay a fine and promise not to commit additional crimes.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Man gets life for murder of mother, daughter
A central Illinois man convicted of fatally shooting his live-in girlfriend and her adult daughter last year in their rural home has been sentenced to life in prison.

A Champaign County judge sentenced Jonathon Perry, 30, on Thursday in the March 2020 killing of Kimberly Coyne, 54, and her daughter, Blair Coyne, 24. They were found shot to death at the rural St. Joseph home they had allowed the unemployed Perry to share with them.

Perry was arrested after his mother called 911 on her son after he made alarming comments to her after the shooting.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Midwives license act passes House
The certified professional midwife profession in Illinois moved one step closer to becoming an officially licensed occupation on Thursday with the passage of House Bill 3401.

HB 3401 creates the Licensed Certified Professional Midwife Practice Act, which would license individuals who perform out-of-hospital births and have earned the credentials associated with being a professional midwife.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Lawmakers question the Exelon audit
Members of a state Senate committee sharply criticized a recent audit of Exelon’s nuclear power plant operations that suggested ratepayers may need to subsidize two of those plants by as much as $350 million over the next five years.

Gov. JB Pritzker’s office and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency commissioned the audit last year, at a cost of $208,000, after Exelon announced in August that it plans to shutter its Byron and Dresden power plants later in 2021.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Review of state monuments, statues begins at Statehouse
A House committee tasked with reviewing statues and monuments on state property held its first meeting Wednesday, hearing from professors and state government associations on what frameworks can be established to guide the review process.

Rep. Tim Butler, a Springfield Republican who serves as minority spokesperson on the task force, said House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch’s creation of the review body is an “important and correct” decision.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Casino developer sought by city of Chicago
Chicago is laying its cards on the table and officially seeking bids to build the first casino in the nation’s third-largest city.

City leaders want a “world-class” resort  that’ll draw locals and tourists while boosting Chicago’s finances, but several steps remain.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Thursday that Chicago is officially seeking proposals to operate a resort that includes a casino, a hotel of up to 500 rooms, restaurants and bars. Whoever gets the license will also get to run slot machines at both of Chicago’s airports. Overall, the operator will be allowed up to 4,000 “gaming positions”, or seats where bets are placed.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Bill passed to reclassify small drug possession
A bill to lessen penalties for possessing and selling small amounts of drugs, including heroin and cocaine, narrowly passed out of the state House of Representatives Wednesday after a contentious debate.

The discussion over House Bill 3447 provoked strong emotions on both sides of the aisle, passing by a 61-49 vote, or just one more than was needed to pass.

The bill — filed by Rep. Carol Ammons, an Urbana Democrat — would reclassify small amounts of drug possession from a low-level felony to a misdemeanor.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

GOP puts new twist on Illinois redistricting plan
Illinois Republicans have added a new twist to their call for an independent redistricting commission in hopes of overcoming Democrats’ claims that their plan would likely be found unconstitutional.
Thursday, April 22, 2021

High court: Petition circulators confined to gathering signatures for one party
An Illinois Supreme Court decision Wednesday clarified that the state election code prohibits a person from collecting signatures for both a party candidate in a consolidated primary and an independent candidate in the consolidated general election that follows.

The court interpreted the section of the election code that is referred to as the prohibition on “dual circulators.”

Thursday, April 22, 2021

East St. Louis extends school year at least a month
Public school students in East St. Louis will be attending class a month longer this year to make up for a loss in educational progress due to COVID-19.

East St. Louis School District 189 board voted late Tuesday to extend the school year by nearly a month. Instead of ending the school year on May 26, the last day of school will arrive June 29.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Priest removed from parish post after assault allegations
The pastor of a Catholic parish has been asked to step aside following allegations he sexually assaulted a minor 36 years ago, the Archdiocese of Chicago announced Wednesday.

In a letter to members of Christ the King parish, Cardinal Blase Cupich said the Rev. Larry Sullivan will live away from the parish while the allegation is investigated.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

EPA report finds delays in inspections of cancer-causing emissions
A senior federal official stalled inspections by regional offices to monitor cancer-causing emissions at suburban facilities in Illinois, according to a report by the inspector general which audits the performance of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The report also found EPA officials delayed informing suburban residents about the ethylene oxide emissions at a Willowbrook sterilization facility and did not conduct public meetings with residents living near two other facilities in Lake County.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Lawmakers spar over using estimates in redistricting
Democrats and Republicans in the Illinois General Assembly are continuing to wrangle over the possible use of census estimates, as opposed to official numbers, to redraw state legislative and congressional district maps.

It’s a decision that could have a significant impact on whether Illinois residents are equally represented in the Statehouse and Congress, and one that is particularly important for communities of color and other underrepresented groups.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Elections chief resigns; extortion attempt
The executive director of the Illinois State Board of Elections, who was placed on leave after being the subject of an extortion scheme online, will resign effective June 30, according to an agency news release.

Steve Sandvoss made the announcement about his resignation at an elections board meeting Tuesday morning.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Municipal leaders decry cuts to local budgets
Municipal leaders are pushing back on a proposal by Gov. JB Pritzker that would further reduce state funds given to local governments each year.

Several municipal groups held a virtual news conference Tuesday to outline their concerns with the governor’s suggestion, representing over 200 municipalities in the Chicago-Metro area. Elmhurst Mayor Steve Morley, who serves as vice president for the DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference, acted as a moderator for the event.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Lawmakers push to require nursing homes to offer virtual visits
Lawmakers and advocates are calling for the Illinois General Assembly to pass a bill that would require nursing homes to offer virtual visits for residents to prevent social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

AARP Illinois, the senior advocacy group which helped craft Senate Bill 2137, held a virtual news conference Tuesday to emphasize the necessity of such legislation as the ongoing pandemic prevents nursing home residents from in-person visits and participating in other daily social activities.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Audit of Lincoln Museum shows gaps in internal controls
Leadership at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum assured state lawmakers Tuesday that its new policies for loaning artifacts will correct the insufficient oversight that led to the improper loan of an original copy of the Gettysburg Address in 2018.

ALPLM Acting Executive Director Melissa Coultas said the agency has established safeguards to protect the safety of artifacts and collection items, including a new policy that requires the ALPLM Board of Trustees to approve any loan requests.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

House bill would free up Medicaid spending for autism
Braxton Lear is 5 years old and tall for his age. He runs – not walks – from his scooter, to the swing set, to the trampoline in his great-aunt’s backyard in Caseyville, about 12 miles east of St. Louis.

Braxton’s mom, Shannon Lear, asks him what’s his name, how old is he, and what’s her name. He answers.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Affordable housing tax credit bill advances
A bill that would offer state tax credits to owners and developers of affordable housing units passed out of committee last week at the Illinois Capitol.

Senate Bill 2445, also known as the Build Illinois Homes Tax Credit Act, is an omnibus bill that aims to address the shortage of affordable housing stock in Illinois by offering incentives to landlords who maintain qualified affordable housing properties and for the purchase of building materials to be used for the construction of new affordable housing units.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Bill would make killing police dog a felony
Lawmakers advanced a bill Thursday to make it a felony offense if a person kills or injures a police animal while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Rep. Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford, sponsored House Bill 3019, which passed with 72 votes in favor. He said it was brought to him by a state’s attorney from his district..

Monday, April 19, 2021

Proponents cheer new Illinois coal ash safety
Environmentalists are cheering rules that Illinois regulators have adopted to govern toxic byproducts from burning coal.

The Illinois Pollution Control Board last week approved guidelines for detecting and cleaning up harmful coal ash contamination from groundwater. They are the first rules in Illinois directed at the residue from burning coal to produce electricity.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Pritzker announces $1.6 billion in federal funds for early childhood services
Gov. JB Pritzker announced Friday that $1.6 billion in federal funding will be allocated toward early childhood education and child care providers in Illinois.

The funds will be provided through the American Rescue Plan passed by Congress in March, Pritzker announced at a news conference in Aurora on Friday, and will include $140 million in direct grants for child care providers to be dispersed over the next three weeks.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Ag director planning for a state fair in DuQuoin
DU QUOIN, Ill. (AP) — Illinois’ Agriculture Director said plans are underway for a state fair in Southern Illinois after the annual event in Du Quoin was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Saturday, April 17, 2021

Conservation District announces summer camps
DECATUR — The Macon County Conservation District is offering a variety of nature camps this summer for children ages 1-15. These camps have been connecting children with nature, encouraging exploration, and creating lasting memories since 1982. All camps meet at Rock Springs Conservation Area.  Online registration is open at
Saturday, April 17, 2021

UofI researchers offer advice on reducing food waste
 URBANA, Ill. — Food waste and obesity are major problems in developed countries. They are both caused by an overabundance of food, but strategies to reduce one can inadvertently increase the other. A broader perspective can help identify ways to limit food waste while also promoting healthy nutrition, two University of Illinois researchers suggest.
Saturday, April 17, 2021

Vaccine available today in Spfld. for college students
SPRINGFIELD — With young people driving the increase in COVID-19 cases in Illinois, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is announcing "College Vaccination Days" to encourage all community college and public and private university students across Illinois to get vaccinated at mass vaccination sites. This weekend and next week state-supported mass vaccination sites across Illinois will have COVID-19 vaccination appointments available for college and university students. IDPH is partnering with colleges and universities in Illinois to help them direct their students to state-supported sites.
Saturday, April 17, 2021

Registration open for LLCC summer and fall '21 classes
SPRINGFIELD — Registration is now open for summer and fall 2021 classes at Lincoln Land Community College. LLCC’s offerings include academic transfer as well as career training programs. The summer session begins June 7 and fall semester begins Aug. 21.
Saturday, April 17, 2021

Pritzker announces $1.6 billion in federal funding for early childhood services
SPRINGFIELD — Gov. JB Pritzker announced Friday that $1.6 billion in federal funding will be allocated toward early childhood education and child care providers in Illinois.
Saturday, April 17, 2021

Quarter of Illinois' population fully vaccinated
SPRINGFIELD — Nearly one quarter of the state’s population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data released Friday by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Saturday, April 17, 2021

HSHS Launches COVID-19 Vaccine scheduling by phone
CENTRAL ILLINOIS — You can now call 1-844-216-4707 to make an appointment for a COVID vaccine at any HSHS vaccine clinic.
Friday, April 16, 2021

Elected Chicago school board bill passes House
SPRINGFIELD — A bill which would implement an elected Chicago school board passed the Illinois House Thursday, while opponents of the legislation continued to push for compromise amendments.
Friday, April 16, 2021

DUI bill would make injuring, killing a police dog a felony
SPRINGFIELD — Lawmakers advanced a bill Thursday to make it a felony offense if a person kills or injures a police animal while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Friday, April 16, 2021

State unemployment falls to 7.1% in March; virus rate remans near 4%
SPRINGFIELD — The statewide unemployment rate in Illinois fell three-tenths of a percentage point in March, to 7.1 percent, as the daily count of new COVID-19 cases and the case positivity rate appeared to be leveling.
Friday, April 16, 2021

Chicago schools, teachers union reach agreement
CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Teachers Union and the city’s school district reached a tentative agreement Thursday that could lead to high school students returning to class for the first time in more than a year.
Friday, April 16, 2021

Quincy bar owner charged in student attack
QUINCY, Ill. (AP) — An aggravated battery charge has been filed against a Quincy, Illinois, bar owner in connection with an attack on a Black suburban Chicago college student.
Friday, April 16, 2021

Preliminary work begins on Obama Center
Preliminary work on the construction of the Obama Presidential Center on Chicago’s South Side is scheduled to begin later this month city officials announced Wednesday as a new lawsuit trying to stop the project was filed.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot have committed $200 million for Jackson Park and infrastructure work needed to facilitate construction of the center and for redevelopment in nearby communities.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Illinois shows growth in electric transportation
A national clean energy trade organization has released a report showing growth in electric transportation-related jobs in Illinois could position the state to lead the domestic supply chain.

Advanced Energy Economy, an industry association which promotes advanced energy technologies and services, released its “Electrifying Illinois” report which shows the state is on pace to reach 83 percent job growth in electric transportation-related work by 2024, regardless of legislative action. 

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Family sees video of teen's fatal shooting by police
The family of a Chicago teenager fatally shot by a police officer  last month has viewed video of the shooting, the city’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability announced late Tuesday.

The agency said it would not immediately release the video at the request of the family of Adam Toledo, 13.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Protections for sexual assault survivors expanded
The Illinois House Judiciary Criminal Committee advanced two bills Tuesday with unanimous support, one to decriminalize transmission of HIV and another to expand protections for survivors of sexual assault.

An amendment to House Bill 1063, introduced by Democratic state Rep. Carol Ammons, of Urbana, changes several Illinois statutes related to persons living with HIV/AIDS and its transmission.

Under current Illinois law, a person who transmits HIV to another person can be charged with “criminal transmission of HIV.”

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Housing advocates seek support for homelessness prevention bills
Housing advocates including former Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti joined state Rep. La Shawn Ford and state Sen. Karina Villa Tuesday to call for support for a measure aimed at supporting low-income renters.

House Bill 2775 and Senate Bill 2492 are a pair of identical bills which aim to create additional legal defenses for renters and protections against discrimination based on source of income, as well as preventing undue administrative burdens when applying for housing assistance.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Illinois State Police: FOID, concealed carry permits extended again
The Illinois State Police has given another 150-day extension to people whose Firearms Owners Identification cards or Concealed Carry Licenses have expired due to a backlog in processing renewal applications.

A panel of state lawmakers gave approval Tuesday to that emergency rule after ISP officials assured them that the agency had made significant progress toward clearing a backlog of renewal applications.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Chicago protests over Wright shooting
Dozens of people marched around downtown Chicago on Tuesday to express solidarity with the family of Daunte Wright, a Minnesota man fatally shot by police officer during a traffic stop.
Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Illinois expands Medicaid coverage for mothers, including postpartum
Illinois will now provide Medicaid benefits to eligible mothers for up to 12 months postpartum, a major extension from the previous 60-day limit.

Gov. JB Pritzker made the announcement Tuesday after a waiver submitted in 2019 by the state to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services was recently approved.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Congressman joins Statehouse GOP in calling for redistricting commission
Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis joined his Republican colleagues in the General Assembly Monday in calling on Gov. JB Pritzker to support legislation to form an independent commission to redraw congressional and state legislative district maps.

“In the end, I think the public is demanding an open transparent process,” Davis, of Taylorville, said during a Statehouse news conference. “And many of our colleagues, including Gov. Pritzker, have said in their own words, that they would like an open and transparent process, one that's going to stop politicians from picking their own voters.”

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Illinois' vaccination pace increases
Over the past seven days, 132,188 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered daily on average in Illinois as of Monday, an increase of more than 27,000 from the daily average one week ago.

That average was driven upward by a one-day record of 175,681 doses administered Friday, the third day in a row the record was broken.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Judge says ex-senators should be paid
Two former Illinois state senators have a “clear right” to receive portions of their legislative salaries that were withheld by Illinois Comptroller Mendoza and her predecessors, a Cook County judge decided last week.

But Mendoza said she intends to appeal the ruling, meaning this latest development is likely not the last word in the case brought by former Democratic Sens. Michael Noland, from Elgin, and James Clayborne Jr., from Belleville.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Video shows black high school foot ball player forced to sit near banana peels
A black football player at a northwest Illinois high school is seen on video sitting down in a locker littered with banana peels after a teammate threatens to break his knees if he doesn’t comply.

Moline Police Chief Darren Gault called the incident at Moline High School a “disturbing racist scene.” Detectives interviewed student athletes, coaches and staff members over the weekend and turned their findings over to prosecutors, Gault said.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Urban farmers bring fresh food to southern Illinois
During the beginning of the pandemic, as many people were trying to grasp what exactly COVID-19 was, Eugenia Alexander decided she’d start growing produce for her family and the community at her Glen Carbon home. She thought she needed it for survival.

“I wanted to do that because what was happening was a lot of fruit was being recalled,(and) a lot of veggies were being recalled during the pandemic when it first started, so I was just like, you know what, us getting food from these grocery stores isn’t like promised,” Alexander said. . “Anything can happen. If it wasn’t a pandemic, to where it could be shut down and what are we gonna do?”

Monday, April 12, 2021

Tourism, hospitality leaders call for state guidance amid recovery
Leaders from the state’s tourism and hospitality industry asked legislators for additional support and reopening guidance during a Thursday committee hearing as the state plans next steps for its COVID-19 economic recovery.

Michael Jacobson, President and CEO of the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association, told the House Tourism Committee Thursday that hotels have “been among the hardest hit” segment of the economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that the industry may not see a full recovery until 2024 at the earliest.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Toddler shot on Lake Shore Drive out of coma
A toddler who was shot last week during a road rage incident on Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive has been removed from a medically induced coma, according to doctors treating the 21-month-old child.
Monday, April 12, 2021

Pekin book club members find oasis in community of readers
The origins of the Next Chapter Adult Book Group go back far enough, the current facilitator is not quite sure how long the club has been in existence.

“I know it’s been at least 15 years,” said Beth Bradford, head of information services at the Pekin Public Library.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Long sentence for man accused of trying to aid Islamic State
An Illinois man who believed he was giving phones to help the Islamic State group commit violence was sentenced Friday to 13 1/2 years in federal prison.
Saturday, April 10, 2021

Tourism and hospitality leaders call for state support, guidance amid COVID-19 recovery
Leaders from the state’s tourism and hospitality industry asked legislators for additional support and reopening guidance during a Thursday committee hearing as the state plans next steps for its COVID-19 economic recovery.

Michael Jacobson, President and CEO of the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association, told the House Tourism Committee Thursday that hotels have “been among the hardest hit” segment of the economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that the industry may not see a full recovery until 2024 at the earliest.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Mayor pardoned by Trump wins another term in Illinois town
Voters in a small Illinois town reelected a mayor who ran a write-in campaign after President Donald Trump pardoned him in a gambling investigation.
Saturday, April 10, 2021

Illinois Emergency Management Agency shares some valuable lessons learned from the pandemic
The Illinois Emergency Management Agency was forced to adapt quickly to a new role when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit last year, and the agency’s director told a legislative committee that more work needs to be done to prepare for the event of another statewide disaster.

“Even though we provide resources to counties and local jurisdictions during times of disaster, we really never had a logistical arm to the organization. That has since changed,” IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau told a Senate budget committee. “So overnight, we turned into a Fortune 500 logistical supply chain management system. And you can imagine the lessons that are learned from trying to do that.”

Friday, April 9, 2021

Universal vaccine eligibility draws near for Illinois
Gov. JB Pritzker reiterated Thursday that all Illinois residents age 16 and older will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine beginning Monday, April 12, as vaccine supply – but also virus transmission rates and hospitalizations – continues to increase.

More than 80 of the state’s 102 counties have already opened eligibility to individuals age 16 and over in advance of the April 12 eligibility expansion date.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Chicago coach charged with nude photo scheme
A former track and field coach at Boston’s Northeastern University was arrested Wednesday and charged with using bogus social media accounts to try to trick female student-athletes into sending him nude photos of themselves, prosecutors said.

Steve Waithe, 28, of Chicago, is accused of creating fake social media accounts to contact track and field athletes and offering to help get rid of compromising photos of them he claimed to have found online.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Lawmaker seeks to bring early childhood education bachelor's programs to state community colleges
A bill that would allow community colleges to grant bachelor’s degrees for early childhood education is awaiting consideration before the Senate Higher Education Committee.

Senate Bill 1832, sponsored by Sen. Cristina Pacione-Zayas, D-Chicago, would give Illinois community colleges the option to apply for accreditation to offer a baccalaureate-level early education program.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

State court expands legal protections for tenants
The Illinois Supreme Court issued an order this week creating stronger safeguards for tenants seeking rent relief under the governor’s eviction moratorium.

The court’s revised order makes clear that landlords challenging a tenant’s eviction moratorium protections have to state the legal and factual basis for such a challenge, said Chief Judge Eugene G. Doherty, of the 17th Judicial Circuit, which spans Boone and Winnebago counties.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

'Great concern' over rising trends
Public health officials on Wednesday announced 3,790 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 out of 80,628 test results reported over the previous 24 hours, bringing the statewide seven-day rolling positivity rate to 4.1 percent, the highest that figure has stood since Jan. 30.
Thursday, April 8, 2021

Toddler shot in car on Chicago's Lake Shore Drive
Toddler shot in car on Chicago’s Lake Shore DriveCHICAGO (AP) — A 21-month-old boy was shot in the head Tuesday morning while riding in a car on Chicago’s famed Lake Shore Drive just hours after seven people were shot and wounded in a fight a few miles away, in what is shaping up to be one of the most violent years for the city in memory, police said.
Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Toddler shot in Champaign
A 2-year-old central Illinois boy was shot when his home was hit by gunfire, authorities said.

The house in Urbana was hit several times around 8:15 p.m. Tuesday, the Champaign County Sheriff’s Department said.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

COVID-19 increasing; state boosting vaccinations
COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continued to rise Tuesday as state officials announced that additional resources were being deployed in the state’s vaccination efforts.  

Public health officials announced 2,931 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 out of 51,625 test results Tuesday, bringing the statewide seven-day rolling positivity rate to 3.9 percent, the highest that figure has been since Feb. 1. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

ISBE director on leave after attempted extortion
One day before Tuesday’s consolidated election, the Illinois State Board of Elections executive director was placed on administrative leave after being the subject of an online extortion attempt, ISBE said in a news release.

The eight-member elections board voted unanimously on Monday to place Director Steve Sandvoss on leave, according to the release. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

COVID cases, hospitalizations in Illinois continue to see an uptick
COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continued to rise in Illinois as the statewide seven-day rolling case positivity rate reached 3.8 percent for the third consecutive day Monday.

The case positivity rate had not been near 3.8 percent since the beginning of February, when it hit 3.9 percent on Feb. 1, and then continued to decline throughout the month and into March. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

7 shot in Chicago as gunfire erupts during fight
Seven people were shot and wounded in a Chicago neighborhood in a burst of gun violence during what’s shaping up to be one of the city’s most violent years in memory, police said.
Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Event at bar in Illinois caused 46 COVID-19 cases
An indoor event at a bar in rural Illinois triggered 46 cases of COVID-19, the hospitalization of a resident of a long-term care facility and a school shutdown, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released Monday.

Attendees of the bar opening event in February reported “inconsistent” mask wearing and lax physical distancing. In the end, those who tested positive for COVID-19 included three bar staff members, 26 patrons and 17 others who were infected by those who went to the bar. A 650-student school had to shut down because so many people were in quarantine, according to the CDC.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

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