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home : news : state news free April 2, 2020

LLCC business center offering free assistance to area businesses
SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Small Business Development Center (ISBDC) at Lincoln Land Community College (LLCC) is reaching out to small businesses in the area to offer assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thursday, April 2, 2020

'Be strong and courageous'
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The state public health director on Wednesday issued a somber warning that Illinois residents can expect mounting numbers of illness and death in the new month from the vicious spread of the coronavirus.
Thursday, April 2, 2020

Outdoors: In these uncertain times, quest for birds can offer an escape
PARK FOREST, Ill. (AP)  As people everywhereare hunkered down for what could be an extended period, Sue Zelek can't wait to get outside.
Thursday, April 2, 2020

Pritzker announces new fund to support artists
SPRINGFIELD — Gov. JB Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Wednesday the formation of a new relief fund to support artists and performers who have been temporarily put out of work by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thursday, April 2, 2020

Chicago reports increase in murders over 2019
CHICAGO (AP) - Chicago saw an increase in murders and shootings for the first three months of 2020, compared to the same period last year, the city’s police department revealed Wednesday.
Thursday, April 2, 2020

Pritzker extends stay-at-home order until April 30
 SPRINGFIELD — K-12 schools will remain closed and a stay-at-home order for Illinoisans will remain in place through April 30, as Gov. JB Pritzker announced during his daily COVID-19 briefing Tuesday that he plans on extending those orders.
Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Chicago cops restrict access to 4 blocks to bar drug trade
CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago police have started checking the identities of people attempting to enter four blocks on the city’s West Side to discourage gatherings of gang members, authorities said Tuesday.
Wednesday, April 1, 2020

So what exactly does remote learning mean?
Wednesday, April 1, 2020

State sets designated times to handle jobless claims
SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois department tasked with overseeing unemployment benefits is employing an alphabetized schedule to handle “an unprecedented volume” of claims.
Wednesday, April 1, 2020

City of Chicago renting hotel rooms for first responders
CHICAGO (AP) - Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Tuesday that the city is renting nearly 300 hotel rooms for first responders working during the coronavirus outbreak and worried that returning home between shifts puts their family members at risk.
Tuesday, March 31, 2020

State gives guidance on mortgage payments, student loan debt and banking
SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation issued guidance for lenders and borrowers Monday regarding debt collection during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Admissions deadlines get pushed back
CHICAGO (AP) - The coronavirus pandemic has made the nerve-wracking experience of picking a college all the more difficult for Illinois’ high school students as campus visits are canceled and admission deadlines get pushed back amid the school shutdown over COVID-19 concerns.
Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Illinois negotiating against other states to get masks
SPRINGFIELD — As state leaders try to gather as much personal protective equipment (PPE) as possible to distribute to health care workers treating COVID-19 patients, Gov. JB Pritzker says the federal government sent Illinois 300,000 of the wrong type of mask.
Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Inmate among 8 more dead as state report 461 new cases
SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 461 new cases of COVID-19 and eight new deaths in the state Monday as an outbreak worsened at Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill.
Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Peak in Illinois cases 'sometime in April'
Illinois officials yesterday announced the largest one-day jump in confirmed novel coronavirus cases and deaths in the state yet. But public and private labs’ per-day testing ability is also higher than it has ever been.

The Department of Public Health identified 1,105 new cases and 18 deaths, putting the state totals at 4,596 case in 47 counties and 65 related deaths.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Tornado touches down in Ogle County Saturday
Strong storms that brought tornadoes, high winds, hail and rain to parts of the Midwest and South caused extensive damage in some areas but no deaths, officials said Sunday.

Tornadoes were spotted in Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin as thunderstorms swept through the area Saturday. High winds and a possible tornado were also reported in Indiana.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Gov issues flood of executive orders over outbreak
Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker is on a pace to set a modern-day record for issuing the most executive orders by an Illinois governor.

Since 1999, which is as far back as the executive orders page of the governor’s website goes, the most executive orders any governor issued in a single year was 20. That mark was set by Gov. Pat Quinn in 2009. The average from 1999 through 2019 was 11.2 executive orders per year.

Monday, March 30, 2020

U of Illinois wants suit by slain scholar's estate dismissed
The University of Illinois is seeking the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by the estate of a slain visiting Chinese scholar against two social workers at a campus counseling center.

A judge dismissed a federal lawsuit against the social workers in December, but the estate of Yingying Zhang refiled it in state court in January.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Authorities: Iowa slaying suspect captured at Illinois hotel
A suspect in the Iowa slaying of a 27-year-old man has been captured in Illinois, authorities said.

Todd Jenkins, 24, was spotted at a hotel in Aurora, Illinois, and then arrested Thursday as he tried to flee officers.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Pritzker keeps pressure on feds, asks all medical professionals to join COVID-19 fight
Gov. JB Pritzker announced new measures benefitting the homeless and people on supplemental nutrition programs Friday and continued to pressure the federal government for further, centralized action in response to COVID-19.

At the same daily briefing in Chicago, Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike announced 488 new confirmed cases of the virus and eight more related deaths in Illinois.

Pritzker said the state is also working on collecting numbers of hospitalizations caused by COVID-19.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

US appeals court upholds Dish Network robocall violations
A federal appeals court has upheld a lower court judgment and injunction against Dish Network for illegal phone calls to people on the Do Not Call Registry.

The Chicago-based 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found Friday that Dish Network is responsible for the robocalls because its retailers were acting as Dish’s agents. And it rejected a claim by Dish that penalties for the conduct are unconstitutionally excessive.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

New money announced to fight virus as number of cases soars
New federal and charitable funding will soon be available to Illinoisans affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as the state on Thursday saw its largest one-day spike of new cases and deaths during the pandemic.

President Donald Trump approved Illinois’ disaster declaration on Thursday, allowing the state to access emergency funding to expand health care services like increasing hospital and housing capacity and expanding telehealth services.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Attorney General taking action on price gouging
The Illinois Attorney General’s office has been working with a reduced and mostly remote staff the last 10 days, but it continues to warn against COVID-19-related price gouging, scams and utility shut-offs.

Earlier this month, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul issued a news release warning businesses to “maintain fair prices on goods” and announcing that his office will “take action to stop unfair pricing on items that are crucial to stopping the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.”

Friday, March 27, 2020

State unemployment spikes, 114,000 new claims
More than 114,000 workers in Illinois filed first-time unemployment claims in the week ending March 21 as the United States saw its biggest one-week spike in recorded history. 3.2 million workers filing for benefits.

The U.S. Department of Labor said the seasonally-adjusted number was due entirely to the COVID-19 outbreak, which has forced bars and restaurants to close, halted public gatherings and severely restricted travel across the country. The department said economists typically expect to see a decline in new jobless claims during the third week of March.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Next week's session is canceled again
Lawmaking remains on hold in Illinois amid the COVID-19 pandemic as the state’s Senate and House each canceled next week’s scheduled session Wednesday.

The House was scheduled to be in Tuesday through Friday and the Senate was set to be in Tuesday through Thursday ahead of a scheduled two-week spring break from April 6 until an April 21 return.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

State officials warn of possible looming recession
A commission that advises the General Assembly on revenue and economic issues is warning that a slowdown of business activity caused by the COVID-19 outbreak is likely to bring about a recession that could cause a 20 percent drop in state revenues, spread out over a number of fiscal years.
Thursday, March 26, 2020

Pritzker delays tax filing; details new initiatives for financial relief
Gov. JB Pritzker announced a number of financial initiatives Wednesday to assist owners of bars, restaurants, hotels and other small businesses during the economic slowdown caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

By Friday, he said, owners of businesses with fewer than 50 employees and less than $3 million in 2019 revenue can qualify for a piece of $90 million in state emergency assistance through three new programs.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Suburban nursing home reports 1st virus death
An elderly resident of a suburban Chicago nursing home where dozens of residents and staffers tested positive for the coronavirus has died, officials said.

The death of the 90-year-old woman who lived at Chateau Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Willowbrook comes as a top official at the facility denied a contention made by a former certified nursing assistant that she had quit her job because there were not enough protective gear and appropriate cleaning supplies.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

General Assembly: No firm plans for reconvening
The Illinois General Assembly on Monday began its second week of shutdown due to the spread of the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, and officials said it is still uncertain when, or under what circumstances, the session will resume.

Officials in the offices of Senate President Don Harmon and House Speaker Michael Madigan said Monday that conversations have been taking place among legislative leaders and their respective caucuses, but as of yet no decision has been made.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Illinois could need 38,000 more hospital beds if virus isn't contained
Illinois would have to double the number of available hospital beds in the next two weeks to treat COVID-19 patients if the coronavirus is not contained amid a pandemic that has claimed 16 lives in the state, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday.
Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The $2-trillion rescue pkg. at a glance
A snapshot of the emerging rescue package in Congress to provide health care and economic aid amid the coronavirus outbreak and national shutdown. The details are subject to change as congressional leaders and the White House continue negotiating the nearly $2 trillion package.
Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Pritzker details the state's efforts to stockpile all sorts of virus supplies
Gov. JB Pritzker detailed the state’s efforts to stock up on personal protective equipment and said President Donald Trump was “responsive” to the state’s needs in a phone call Monday, one day after the pair feuded on Twitter.

During his daily COVID-19 briefing in Chicago, the governor also announced a new partnership with the manufacturing and biotech industries in the state to produce needed supplies and called for donations of personal protective equipment, or PPE.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Illinois Nat'l Guard dispels rumors of military action
The Illinois National Guard is assisting the state’s COVID-19 response by setting up testing centers and other civil action, not preparing for military action as has been rumored on social media, its adjutant general said during a news briefing on the virus Monday.

Brig. Gen. Richard Neely, adjutant general of the Illinois National Guard, reassured Illinoisans at Gov. JB Pritzker’s daily coronavirus news conference in Chicago.

“We're not doing any policing action,” Neely said. “We’re not doing any kind of work at all like that.”

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Unions: 'Essential' workers need more protection
Union leaders representing workers that have been deemed “essential“ as Illinois battles the coronavirus called Monday for more protective gear to guard members against infection.

Kenneth Franklin, head of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308, which represents Chicago Transit Authority train engineers, said the agency is adequately cleaning train cars, but is paying little attention to air filtering systems. Franklin is calling for a quarantine of workers that would shut down train service, which officials say served about 750,000 riders daily before the COVID-19 outbreak.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Chicago reserving hotels for isolation or quarantine
Chicago is reserving thousands of hotel rooms for people with mild cases of the coronavirus and others unable to return home while they await test results, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Monday.

The city has partnered with five hotels and will have 1,000 rooms available by Tuesday, Lightfoot said. She estimates 2,000 rooms will be available by the end of the week.

Chicago officials said the proactive measure should keep hospital beds available for people with severe symptoms.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

State Treasurer to make bridge loans for businesses
Illinois small businesses can tap into $250 million in low-interest bridge loans as soon as this week to help push through the COVID-19 pandemic, Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs said today.
Monday, March 23, 2020

After serving time for murder, man tries to clear name
Forty years ago, Mark Fair came home from work to find his fiance dead in the basement of the small Wood River house they were preparing to move into after they were married.

Karla Brown had been beaten, strangled and placed head first in a large barrel of water. She was 22 years old and a student at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Grieving and saying goodbye in the time of coronavirus
Tucked deep in the obituary for Charles Recka was an announcement that a Mass celebrating his 87 years of life “will be held at a later date.”

Such notices are increasing amid the coronavirus pandemic, as an untold number of burials around the globe go forward with nothing more than a priest, a funeral home employee and a single loved one.

Monday, March 23, 2020

The public is urged to report suspected virus fraud
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The following is a joint statement from Central District of Illinois U.S. Attorney John C. Milhiser and FBI Special Agent in Charge Sean M. Cox, Springfield Division:
Saturday, March 21, 2020

ICC takes action to halt solicitations
CHICAGO — In Emergency Special Session this week, the Illinois Commerce Commission issued Emergency Orders placing an immediate moratorium on in-person or door-to-door marketing of services by Alternative Retail Electric Suppliers (ARES) and Alternative Gas Suppliers (AGS) for the duration of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The action is in response to Governor Pritzker’s public health emergency declaration.
Saturday, March 21, 2020

Hospitals impose no visitor policy
SPRINGFIELD — As COVID-19 cases spike throughout Illinois, nine central Illinois hospitals with HSHS Illinois system and Memorial Health System will no longer allow visitors – with some exceptions.
Saturday, March 21, 2020

Many waking up to new way of life
SPRINGFIELD  Gov. JB Pritzker on Friday issued a "Stay at Home" order throughout Illinois, directing all residents to stay home except to conduct essential business, and all non-essential businesses to stop operations.
Saturday, March 21, 2020

Oberweis declared winner of 14th District GOP primary
CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois state Sen. Jim Oberweis was declared the winner Friday by The Associated Press of this week’s Republican congressional primary, giving him the opportunity to snatch the 14th District U.S. House seat from first-term Democratic Rep. Lauren Underwood.
Saturday, March 21, 2020

Weather Service: 2 tornadoes struck southern Illinois
SUNFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Preliminary findings by National Weather Service damage surveyors indicate damage done to structures in two southern Illinois counties was caused by two tornadoes, officials said Friday.
Saturday, March 21, 2020

The academics of cannabis: One Illinois college first in nation with cannabis certificate program
SPRINGFIELD — Last fall, Oakton Community College admitted about 100 students into a new program offering a job-training certificate to work in the cannabis industry.
Saturday, March 21, 2020

Finding joy indoors in troubled times, 1 leaf at a time
CHICAGO (AP) — I have spent my first full week of isolation carefully observing one of my houseplants. Dylan, as my fiancee and I so fondly call her, has been growing new leaves at an uncharacteristically rapid rate.
Saturday, March 21, 2020

Area Extension offers advice on taking steps to prevent farm grain bin accidents this spring
DECATUR, Ill. — Grain bin accidents happen quickly. In a matter of seconds, a grown man can be buried by moving grain and suffocate. Farming is one of the most dangerous occupations, according to the National Safety Council. No amount of bushels is worth a life, Central Illinois farmers should take time to be safe while monitoring or working with grain bins this spring.
Saturday, March 21, 2020

Coronavirus tests meat supply chain as farm groups keep food on the shelves
SPRINGFIELD – Meat has been among the most in-demand items at supermarkets as people stock up on essentials amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Saturday, March 21, 2020

Essential services 'will never' shut down, gov says
SPRINGFIELD  As Gov. JB Pritzker announced three more COVID-19-related deaths and 134 new confirmed cases Thursday, he also expressly asserted that interstate highways, gas stations, grocery stores and other essential services will not close as a response to the pandemic.
Friday, March 20, 2020

Red Cross: Blood shortage severe; donation safe
ILLINOIS — The American Red Cross now faces a severe blood shortage due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Healthy individuals are needed now to donate to help patients counting on lifesaving blood.
Friday, March 20, 2020

Get ready, Illinois: Gov's tax plan looks to be biggest ballot measure in state history
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The presidential election will be the marquee race on the ballot this November, but in Illinois the most expensive and noisy campaign likely will center on the battle to overhaul the state income tax and require the rich to pay more every year.
Friday, March 20, 2020

State Hospital Association: Donate masks, gloves
SPRINGFIELD — The leader of the Illinois Health and Hospital Association asked other industries to donate masks, gloves, gowns and other personal protective equipment to the more than 200 hospitals across the state as they treat patients for the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19.
Friday, March 20, 2020

General Assembly can't hold remote meetings
SPRINGFIELD – Although many Illinoisans are being urged to work remotely from home during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, that does not appear to be an option for state lawmakers.
Friday, March 20, 2020

IDHS announces office closures, staff reductions
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Human Services said Thursday that it is closing many of its offices around the state and will reduce staff at other offices at least through early April due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19.
Friday, March 20, 2020

Essential services 'will never' shut down
SPRINGFIELD  As Gov. JB Pritzker announced three more COVID-19-related deaths and 134 new confirmed cases Thursday, he also expressly asserted that interstate highways, gas stations, grocery stores and other essential services will not close as a response to the pandemic.
Friday, March 20, 2020

128 new cases in one day in Illinois
SPRINGFIELD  The number of confirmed cases of novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in Illinois almost doubled overnight, from 160 cases to 288, the state's Department of Public Health announced Wednesday.
Thursday, March 19, 2020

ICC votes to ban utility disconnections, suspend late fees
CHICAGO — The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) on Wednesday in Regular Open Session voted unanimously to formalize Governor Pritzker and the ICC’s request of Illinois electric, natural gas, water and wastewater utilities to cease disconnections and the threat of disconnections during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency. The order also calls on the utilities to suspend late payment fees until May 1, or the crisis has passed, and to implement flexible utility credit and collection procedures to ensure customers remain connected to essential utility services when the emergency status ends.
Thursday, March 19, 2020

Store owner says increase began Monday after bars, restaurants were ordered closed
SPRINGFIELD  Toilet paper and hand sanitizer are in short supply at Illinois supermarkets.. At gun shops, firearms and ammunition are flying off the shelves, too.
Thursday, March 19, 2020

Land of Lincoln honor flight postponed til August
SPRINGFIELD — Land of Lincoln Honor Flight (LLHF) of Springfield, Illinois regrets to announce that the April 7 2020 flight has been postponed. This action was taken in consideration of the Centers for Disease Control’s recently issued advisory that adults over the age of 60 should avoid all non-essential air travel due to COVID-19 (coronavirus). To those ends, the national Honor Flight Network issued a mandatory suspension of all Honor Flight trips effective through April 30, 2020.
Thursday, March 19, 2020

Next week's state legislative session is canceled
SPRINGFIELD — Next week’s legislative session is canceled, and, like nearly all routines amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it is unclear when its schedule will return to normalcy.
Thursday, March 19, 2020

Chicago woman in 60s state's first virus death
A Chicago woman in her 60s became the first person to die in Illinois after contracting the coronavirus, the governor announced Tuesday, as the state went ahead with its presidential primary and schools were closed to reduce the spread of the disease.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said that announcing the death was something he has been dreading since the coronavirus crisis began. He said the victim had an underlying health condition and had extended contact with another infected person, and that she wasn’t a nursing home resident.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Governor authorizes remote meetings for local governments and public bodies
Gov. JB Pritzker used his emergency powers Monday to waive a portion of the Illinois Open Meetings Act to allow local governments and other public bodies to hold "remote" meetings to help control the spread of the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19.
Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Executive authority in the face of disaster: 5 executive orders on virus in state so far
Since Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker declared a state of emergency eight days ago, all public and private schools have closed, restaurants and bars have shuttered to sit-down customers, gatherings of more than 50 people have been canceled and the state employee workforce was cut to only its essential numbers.

Granting the governor and Illinois Department of Public Health these powers are two statutes — one effective during times of disaster and the other when a health situation demands certain actions.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Kim Foxx endures expensive primary
Kim Foxx, the Chicago area’s top prosecutor, won the Democratic nomination Tuesday against three challengers who zeroed in on her handling of the Jussie Smollett criminal case.

The primary race for Cook County state’s attorney was one of the most expensive of its kind, particularly with Navy veteran Bill Conway making his first run for public office with millions of dollars in family wealth. He had been running television ads for months questioning her office’s controversial decision to drop charges against the “Empire” actor.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Gov waives overweight fees for emergency supplies
Gov. JB Pritzker has signed an emergency declaration, effective through April 12, enabling haulers to get free Illinois Department of Transportation overweight trucking permits for the movement of emergency relief supplies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Ex-sheriff wins Illinois GOP Senate primary
A former Chicago-area sheriff emerged from a crowded Republican field Tuesday in the Illinois primary, advancing to mount a long-shot challenge against Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin.
Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Teachers reach deal about school closure time
Illinois teachers and other public school employees will continue to be paid while schools are closed and they will not have to use vacation days or sick leave to account for their absence.
Wednesday, March 18, 2020

One of most conservative members of Congress, Illinois' Lipinski, is ousted
Progressive Marie Newman won a rematch Tuesday with Illinois Rep. Dan Lipinski, unseating one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress in a victory for abortion-rights and women’s groups that have targeted the eight-term congressman for years.
Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Number of cases in Illinois now at 105
Events attended by more than 50 people are banned in Illinois as part of a statewide near-shutdown aimed at slowing the spread of novel coronavirus disease, or COVID-19, but there is no need to hoard toilet paper and like supplies.

That message came from Gov. JB Pritzker and public health officials in the eighth straight daily briefing on the spread of COVID-19 since the governor declared a state of emergency on Monday, March 9.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Frontline: Illinois nurses demand child care services
Nurses “on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic” are demanding officials at all levels of government to ensure child care services are provided.

The Illinois Nurses Association, the industry’s union, said in a statement Monday that the increase in cases of COVID-19 will fatigue the state’s nurses.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

State historic sites, rec areas are closed indefinitely
All state parks, fish and wildlife areas, recreational areas and historic sites are closed until further notice in the latest social distancing measures taken by Illinois officials to combat the spread of coronavirus disease, COVID-19.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources announced the closure of the facilities in a news release Monday, noting all events scheduled at any of the sites are canceled as well.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Leaders say supply chain is fine, stop hoarding
As store shelves across Illinois empty of key products during the COVID-19 pandemic, public and private-sector leaders are urging shoppers to put less stress on the supply chain by not hoarding items.

Since the pandemic intensified in Illinois last week, customers have been panic-buying and hoarding products like toilet paper, tissues, hand sanitizer, bread and pasta. Signs posted on cleaned-out shelves ask customers to limit their purchases of such high-demand items to a few or even one.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Seven Democrats seek to fill the seat of Illinois' first black Supreme Court justice
Seven Democrats are vying for a seat on the Illinois Supreme Court once held by the high court’s fist black justice.

Democrat Charles Freeman, who died March 2 at 86, held the post from 1990 to 2018, when he retired. P. Scott Neville, formerly an Illinois First District Appellate Court justice, was appointed to complete Freeman’s term.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Manar legislation would determine the adequacy of local press, journalism
The state would launch a new effort aimed at reversing the decline of local journalism in small and mid-sized towns in Illinois under legislation co-sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill).

Authored by State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford), Senate Bill 3457 creates the Local Journalism Task Force, which would conduct a study on communities underserved by local journalism and provide insight on how to preserve and restore news coverage in those areas. The task force would be made up of 12 individuals representing print and broadcast media, journalism schools, and state and local government leaders.

Monday, March 16, 2020

New cases of virus creep downstate
Illinois is reporting 29 new cases of novel coronavirus, COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 93 cases in 13 counties in Illinois. Five additional counties are now reporting cases – Champaign, Clinton, Sangamon, Whiteside, and Winnebago.  Other locations with cases include Chicago and Cook, Cumberland, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, St. Clair, and Woodford counties.  
Monday, March 16, 2020

Illinois State Museum and its branches to close
To prevent the further spread of COVID-19, the Illinois State Museum (ISM) today announced the closure of its flagship facility in Springfield as well as its Research and Collections Center, also located in Springfield, Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown and the Lockport Gallery in Lockport. All affiliated locations will remain closed until further notice.
Monday, March 16, 2020

Pritzker closes schools for 2 weeks
Public and private Illinois schools will be closed for two weeks, starting Tuesday, March 17, and reopening Tuesday, March 31, per a Friday order from Gov. JB Pritzker.

The move is the latest in a string of social distancing efforts aimed at slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, by limiting contact among large groups of people. Yesterday, the governor mandated the cancellation of events with more than 1,000 people and strongly encouraged organizers of events with more than 250 people to cancel them.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

For some college students, video games are serious business
Skylar Guimond was watching the Super Bowl with friends when the subject of esports came up. His friends asked why anyone would watch people playing video games.

The irony wasn’t lost on Guimond, who is helping build a varsity esports program at Heartland Community College, where he is director of student engagement.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Mother of Illinois man killed by St. Paul police sues again
The mother of a black man who was fatally shot by St. Paul police officers in March 2017 after they say he pointed a gun at them has filed another lawsuit against the officers and the city.
Saturday, March 14, 2020

Man convicted of murder in killing of Chicago police officer
A jury convicted a man Friday of first-degree murder in the 2018 shooting death of a Chicago police commander.
Saturday, March 14, 2020

Man accused of threatening girl for photos pleads guilty
An Illinois man accused of threatening a girl into sending explicit photos has pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography and sexually exploiting a child.
Saturday, March 14, 2020

6 years in prison for DuPage man who stole student aid
A man who pleaded guilty to stealing more than $225,000 in student loans from the College of DuPage has been sentenced to six years in prison.
Saturday, March 14, 2020

State scrambles to contain spread
Gov. JB Pritzker banned events with more than 1,000 attendees for the next 30 days and urged businesses to allow employees to work from home as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state reached 32.

At a daily news media briefing on the spread of the novel coronavirus Thursday, the governor noted authorities would “break up” any large gatherings exceeding that number. He also said the ban applies to large religious congregations, and noted he asked all professional sports owners in the state to put off sporting events until May 1.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Illinois lawmakers discuss virus as fear spreads in DC
Members of Congress from Illinois vented their frustrations Thursday with the Trump administration’s response to the growing outbreak of COVID-19, as fears of the disease lurk throughout Capitol Hill.

Democratic Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Jesús “Chuy” García slammed actions by the president and federal health officials, while Republican Rep. John Shimkus criticized the president’s communication about the virus but said he still has confidence in his leadership.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Foxx touts record as Smollett case engulfs primary
Chicago mom Rya Smith has no doubts about backing the top prosecutor in the nation’s second-biggest county for another term, even while acknowledging the office fumbled a criminal case against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett.
Friday, March 13, 2020

General Assembly cancels session
Both houses of the Illinois General Assembly announced Wednesday that they have canceled legislative sessions in Springfield next week because of the threat of the spread of the new coronavirus.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker confirmed the news at a Chicago press conference where he announced the state’s number of COVID-19 cases had increased to 25.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Census count begins: A lot at stake, officials say
People throughout the United States can begin filling out their census forms online starting Thursday, and state officials in Illinois are pulling out all the stops to make sure the state gets an accurate headcount.

Between March 12 and March 20, about 95 percent of all households in the country will receive a postcard in the mail inviting them to fill out their census form online or by phone in their language.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

GOP calls for a halt to automatic voter registration
A pair of Illinois House Republicans called for suspension and an audit of the state’s automatic voter registration program after it was revealed that more than 1,100 REAL ID applicants were “erroneously categorized” as opting out of registering to vote.
Thursday, March 12, 2020

Community spread suspected in Illinois
Illinois health officials on Tuesday announced the first cases of coronavirus illness in people outside Cook County: a McHenry County resident in his late teens and a Kane County woman in her 60s who are likely the state’s first cases of “community spread.”
Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Lawmaker pushes for limits on solitary confinement
An Illinois man who spent 20 years in solitary confinement after being convicted of a minor theft and, later, driving without a license is now helping lead a push for legislation to limit the use of isolation in state prisons.

Anthony Gay, who served 24 years in prison after being convicted as a young man, wept during a news conference in Chicago on Tuesday as he explained his experience.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Governor issues disaster declaration
Gov. JB Pritzker on Monday announced he has issued a state of emergency decree in response to the novel coronavirus threat.

That disaster proclamation is “an operational procedure” in part allowing the federal government to reimburse costs related to the state’s response, and making State Disaster Relief Fund dollars available, according to the governor’s office.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

4th Chicago convention canceled due to virus
Fears of coronavirus transmission prompted the American College of Cardiology on Monday to cancel its annual World Congress of Cardiology meeting planned for this month at Chicago’s McCormick Place.
Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Girl Scouts' sale of 4 Illinois camps prompts complaints
The Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois are selling four camps for $3.4 million and closing them by the end of the year, a move that’s prompted complaints and concerns.
Monday, March 9, 2020

Nobel-winning physics professor donates papers to Illinois
A Nobel Prize-winning physics professor donated papers from more than 50 years of work to the University of Illinois Archives, the university announced this week.
Monday, March 9, 2020

Lincoln mortgage document found in Tazewell County office
Abraham Lincoln’s presence around central Illinois is well known, from his days practicing law riding the circuit. But until last week, it wasn’t known that he also owned land in Tazewell County.
Monday, March 9, 2020

Chief justice seeks $1.6 million in tech for state's courts
Illinois' justice system has a problem, the top court's chief justice told lawmakers this week. There is no statewide system to track how many people are in jail and for how long, for example, or how quickly judges clear their docket.

The Illinois Supreme Court, which has authority over all courts in the state, asked members of the General Assembly for the financial resources in part to acquire technology "capable of accurately capturing and compiling data from each county," Chief Justice Anne Burke said in separate appearances before House and Senate budget panels.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Little consensus in Illinois on property tax reform
SPRINGFIELD — The chairman of the House Revenue and Finance Committee said this week that a task force set up last year to provide proposals for reforming the state’s property tax system was unable reach a consensus.
Saturday, March 7, 2020

Inmate fatally beaten inside high-security federal prison in Thomson, Illinois
WASHINGTON (AP) — An inmate was killed after being beaten by another prisoner inside a high-security federal prison in Illinois, two people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press on Friday.
Saturday, March 7, 2020

State campaign focuses on marijuana use education
CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois officials launched a new statewide campaign this week focused on health and safety information for people who use marijuana.
Saturday, March 7, 2020

Fifth virus case is detected in Illinois, officials say that risk still remains low
SPRINGFIELD – Public health officials in Illinois reported Thursday that a fifth person in the state has been infected with the novel coronavirus, but they insist the overall risk to the public remains low.
Friday, March 6, 2020

No change on daylight saving bill
SPRINGFIELD — An effort in Illinois to prevent biannual clock changes — such as the one Sunday moving time forward one hour — appears stalled.
Friday, March 6, 2020

Forecast: State should see modest revenue growth
SPRINGFIELD – State revenue officials said Thursday that tax collections have been coming in about as expected so far this fiscal year, and they predict modest revenue growth in the fiscal year that begins July 1.
Friday, March 6, 2020

Ex-Rep Schock says he's gay, regrets anti-gay stances
CHICAGO (AP) — Saying he would do more if he were in Congress today to support LGBTQ rights — which he opposed when he served — former Illinois U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock came out as gay Thursday in social media and web posts.
Friday, March 6, 2020

Correctional officers charged with sexual misconduct
MARION, Ill. (AP) — Two southern Illinois correctional officers have been charged with custodial sexual misconduct for an alleged assault on several women in their custody, Williamson County Sheriff Bennie Vick announced Thursday.
Friday, March 6, 2020

Patients able to vote in five Memorial hospitals
SPRINGFIELD — Voters who are hospitalized 14 days or less before the Illinois primary election on March 17 will be able to cast their ballots at all five Memorial Health System hospitals..
Friday, March 6, 2020

State police identify 3 victims of plane crash
Illinois State Police on Wednesday identified the three people killed when a small plane crashed on the median of an interstate highway near Lincoln, among them a former Bradley University baseball player.
Thursday, March 5, 2020

February marijuana sales top $34 million
Legal marijuana sales in the state remained strong in February, with nearly $35 million spent on marijuana and infused products in the second month of adult-use legalization.

Customers spent $34.8 million on 831,600 items over the 29-day period. Of that, $25.6 million was spent by Illinois residents, while out-of-staters spent about $9.2 million, according to a news release from the governor’s office.

The numbers do not include taxes collected.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Illinois House GOP aims for FOID card fix in light of application backlog
Republican lawmakers are calling to abolish the state’s Firearm Owners Identification card requirement – or at least to install fixes to expedite the Illinois State Police’s handling of a backlog of applications that is leaving gun owners in a state of uncertainty.
Thursday, March 5, 2020

Prescription drug price cap bill stalls in committee
A bill that would allow the state to cap the prices of certain high-cost prescription drugs stalled in a House committee Wednesday amid stiff opposition from the pharmaceutical and insurance industries.
Thursday, March 5, 2020

State board recommends Blagojevich disbarment
A board that oversees the discipline of attorneys in Illinois recommended Tuesday that former Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich be disbarred from the practice of law.

The Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, or ARDC, said in an order that Blagojevich “has not acknowledged that his conduct was wrongful or expressed any remorse” and that “his failure to appear for his disciplinary hearing demonstrates a lack of respect for the disciplinary process and the legal profession.”

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

State's top health official: Spread 'likely'
Illinois’ top health official Tuesday elaborated on the Department of Public Health’s efforts to contain the coronavirus, one day after a fourth person in the state tested positive for the illness.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the department, updated members of the Senate Public Health Committee on state and local efforts to prevent, contain and treat COVID-19, as well as the toll it has taken on state resources.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Illinois coalition looks to end gas surcharge on consumer bills
A 2013 state law allowing utilities to tack natural gas surcharges onto consumer bills for the purpose of funding infrastructure improvements is under scrutiny at the Capitol.

At a Statehouse news conference Tuesday, lawmakers and consumer advocates called for ending that state law on Jan. 1, 2021, three years earlier than its Dec. 31, 2023, statutory sunset date.

They claim allowing the surcharges “helps major utilities sidestep the regulatory process, automatically raise heating bills, and force many customers into financial crisis to cover billions of dollars in reckless utility spending.”

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Illinois House GOP says property tax reform efforts are stalled
Illinois House Republicans said Tuesday they believe efforts to enact property tax relief have stalled in the General Assembly, and they accused Democrats of using a task force that was formed last year to push for higher income and sales taxes.

“Illinois' convoluted and broken property tax system has been driving the high cost of living that's pushing families and businesses out of our state,” Rep. Deanne Mazzochi, R-Elmhurst, said during a news conference at the Capitol. “Despite the fact that homeowners have been crying desperately for relief, Democrats last year failed to produce any significant action.”

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

States scramble to prepare for cuts to food stamps
Having food stamps offers Richard Butler a stability he’s rarely known in his 25 years. He was in state custody at age 2, spent his teen years at a Chicago boys’ home and jail for burglary, and has since struggled to find a permanent home.

The $194 deposited monthly on his benefits card buys fresh produce and meat.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Illinois brothers involved in teenage sex trafficking
Two brothers are accused in Illinois of forcing a Texas teenager into prostitution and holding her against her will when she expressed a desire to return home, Cook County prosecutors announced Tuesday.
Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Senate panel okays bill to add mental health hotline information to college student identification cards
A panel of state senators Tuesday approved legislation requiring public colleges and universities to add mental health contact information to the back of student identification cards.

As a parent of a first-year college student, Villa Park Democratic Sen. Tom Cullerton said it is a “trying and stressful time,” as with any other parent who misses their child. But he said such situations are also difficult for the student, who may be away from home for the first time.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Demolition begins at house where boy was killed
The demolition of a suburban Chicago house where authorities say a couple beat their 5-year-old son to death began Wednesday.
Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Three die in plane crash on I-55 near Lincoln
Three people died Tuesday morning when a small plane crashed and burst into flames on Interstate 55 in central Illinois, state police said.

Mindy Carroll of the Illinois State Police said in a statement that all three occupants of the plane were killed in the crash in Lincoln at about 8:49 a.m.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Officials announces 4th Illinois coronavirus case
Illinois health officials on Monday announced the state’s fourth case of coronavirus in a Cook County woman who is married to a man who was diagnosed with the virus over the weekend.

Both are in their 70s. The man, whom the Illinois Department of Public Health announced Saturday as the state’s third case of the virus, is hospitalized and in isolation. His wife is quarantined inside her home and complying with health officials.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

1st African American on state supreme court dies
Justice Charles E. Freeman, the first African American to serve on the Illinois Supreme Court, died on Monday, according to a statement from the state’s high court. He was 86.
Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Local governments want greater taxing ability for non-home rule communities
A local government advocacy group laid out its legislative agenda Monday and called on lawmakers to fully fund a program that shares state income tax revenue with local municipalities.
Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Law enforcement groups oppose eliminating cash bail, a top Pritzker priority
Several statewide law enforcement organizations said Monday they will strongly oppose efforts to eliminate cash bail in Illinois, one of Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker’s top priorities.
Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Charges dropped against man shot by cop
A man shot and seriously wounded by a Chicago police officer in a downtown train station won’t face charges, as prosecutors on Sunday dropped the criminal case stemming from an incident captured on bystander video and shared widely.

Cook County prosecutors moved to drop resisting arrest and criminal narcotics charges against Ariel Roman at the request of Chicago police, which was approved Sunday by a judge, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Activists sue over Illinois' automatic voter registration
Advocacy groups have sued the Illinois secretary of state’s office and election officials over the state’s problem-plagued automatic voter registration system.

The federal lawsuit, filed Friday,  alleged multiple violations of state and federal voter laws in a delayed automatic registration rollout, including a lack of access for limited English speakers and failing to update voter rolls when people moved.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Bill requires rules for Native American mascot use
A new bill would require Illinois schools that want to keep using Native American mascots and logos receive approval from local tribes if they want to participate in playoffs, among other requirements.

State Rep. Maurice West, a Rockford Democrat, pitched the plan to the Interscholastic Athletic Organization Act after students at Hononegah High School in Rockton led a protest over the use of the Princess Hononegah Indian mascot and other Native American imagery and iconography.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Bill aims to ensure fairness for inmates' families
The Illinois Senate has approved a measure that would require the state’s prison system to formalize the process in which it receives complaints and comments from visitors and taxpayers.
Monday, March 2, 2020

Prosecutors turn over evidence in attorney killing
Prosecutors investigating the death of a prominent Illinois attorney have turned over more than 65 pieces of evidence, including a recording of an interview with the suspect.
Monday, March 2, 2020

Illinois man gets 30 years for meth trafficking
A man has been sentenced to serve 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to distributing more than 45 pounds of methamphetamine in East Central Illinois, federal prosecutors announced this week.

Travis Tuggle, a 38-year-old from Mattoon, pleaded guilty in September. U.S. District Judge James E. Shadid sentenced him on Feb. 18.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Voting opens for 'Coolest Thing Made in Illinois'
Voting has begun in the “Makers Madness” contest to determine the “Coolest Thing Made in Illinois.”
Saturday, February 29, 2020

Pritzker appoints former state Rep. Costello as new ag director
Gov. JB Pritzker on Friday appointed former state Rep. Jerry Costello II as the next director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

Costello, a Democrat from southern Illinois, served nearly eight years in the General Assembly from 2011 to 2019. During that time, he chaired the House Agriculture and Conservation Committee and was a member of the House Environment Committee.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

COVID-19 risk is low, but officials prepared
The risk of contracting potentially deadly COVID-19 in Illinois remains low, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Friday as Chicago’s mayor and state and city health officials joined him to detail the steps they’re taking to halt the new virus.

A respiratory illness caused by the a novel coronavirus, COVID-19 was first spotted in China and has spread to virtually every continent. Illinois has had two reported cases. Patients in both have recovered and returned home, Pritzker said.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Chicago schools drop Columbus Day for Indigenous Peoples Day
Chicago’s public schools will no longer observe Columbus Day, replacing that October school holiday with Indigenous Peoples Day, with civic and political leaders promising Thursday to challenge the decision.
Friday, February 28, 2020

Public Health Officials warning about multi state E. Coli outbreak linked to sprouts
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is working with local health departments, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate a multistate outbreak of Escherichia coli O103 (E. coli) linked to sprouts served at Jimmy John's restaurants. Jimmy John's notified stores to remove sprouts from its menu nationwide on February 22, 2020.
Friday, February 28, 2020

Judge reassigned after placing child in court's adult lockup
A judge has been reassigned to administrative duties after surveillance video was made public showing her putting a child in a courtroom lock-up reserved for adults, according to Cook County Circuit Court officials.
Friday, February 28, 2020

5 Chicago cops injured in traffic crash
Five Chicago police officers were injured when their cars crashed into each other late Thursday night, the department said.
Friday, February 28, 2020

Case backlog 'a crisis in the criminal justice system'
The director of the state agency that represents people in need in appeals of criminal charges said Thursday its backlog of 2,672 cases represents “a crisis in the criminal justice system” as he requested a near 7 percent increase to the agency’s budget.

James Chadd, who was appointed state appellate defender in December 2017, said his office has actually decreased the backlog from 3,759 to the current number since January 2018. That’s a decrease of about 29 percent.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Bill targets pavement sealant linked to health hazards for public disclosure
Certain chemicals that are commonly used as sealants on asphalt driveways, parking lots and playgrounds could soon come under state regulation over concerns about their impact on human health and the environment.
Friday, February 28, 2020

Universities seeking greater funding increases
Public universities in Illinois began making their case Wednesday for state funding increases larger than those that Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker proposed in his budget address Feb. 19.

Pritzker proposed an average 5 percent increase for state university operating budgets, or about $55.6 million, contingent upon voters in November approving a constitutional amendment to allow a graduated income tax structure.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Police: 3 fire shots into Chicago store; 1 dead, 4 wounded
Two men and a woman fired nearly 20 shots into a convenience store on Chicago’s South Side, killing an 18-year-old woman and wounding four other people, police said.
Thursday, February 27, 2020

Partial red light camera ban passes in the house
The Illinois House advanced a partial ban of red light cameras in the state Wednesday with strong bipartisan support, but some said the bill was a “piecemeal” approach because it does not apply in several communities.
Thursday, February 27, 2020

Committee begins to weigh Delgado's qualifications
A panel of nine representatives, during a 10-minute procedural meeting Tuesday, began the process of evaluating whether former Rep. Luis Arroyo’s replacement was appointed legally.
Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Illinois lawyers say Blago should be disbarred
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich won his freedom last week when President Donald Trump commuted his prison sentence, but he may lose his law licence.

At a hearing on Tuesday before a panel of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, commission attorneys urged the panel to recommend that Blagojevich’s suspended licence be permanently revoked.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Justice reform advocates rally to end cash bail in Illinois
Criminal justice reform advocates rallied Tuesday at the Statehouse in hopes of making Illinois one of only a handful of states to eliminate cash bail in all or most criminal cases.
Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Lawmakers continue push for drug price controls
A group of Democratic lawmakers renewed their push Tuesday for a bill that would pave the way for price caps on many high-cost prescription drugs, a proposal that is likely to meet strong resistance from the pharmaceutical industry.

Rep. Will Guzzardi, of Chicago, and Sen. Andy Manar, of Bunker Hill, said the rising cost of prescription drugs has gotten out of control, putting the health of many Illinoisans at risk.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Coach moved from job to job, despite allegations
Tony Kellin remembers an assistant hockey coach at the University of Minnesota approaching him in the locker room during the 1984-85 season and saying he knew a woman who would perform oral sex on Kellin, but only if Kellin would be blindfolded with his hands tied.
Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Smollett pleads not guilty to new restored charges
Former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett pleaded not guilty Monday to restored charges that accuse him of staging a racist, homophobic attack against himself last year in Chicago and falsely reporting to police that the phony attack was real.

His lawyer, Tina Glandian, entered the not guilty pleas on his behalf to six counts of felony disorderly conduct. She also told Judge James B. Linn that she has asked the Illinois Supreme Court to halt the case.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

1st month legal pot sales generates $7.3M in taxes
The Illinois Department of Revenue reported Monday that the first month of legalized adult-use cannabis sales in the state generated $7.3 million in cannabis tax revenue for the state, plus another $3.1 million in retail sales taxes that are shared between the state and local governments.
Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Needle exchange expanded for southern Illinois drug users
From 2011 to 2015, a small pocket of rural Indiana became a hotbed for HIV.

Over 200 new infections were reported in Scott County, an area of about 4,200 people, the great majority transmitted between intravenous drug users. Hepatitis C spread rapidly, too.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Judge freezes Chicago ordinance on free speech grounds
CHICAGO (AP) — A federal judge this week blocked the city of Chicago from enforcing an ordinance that restricts religious groups from evangelizing and others from campaigning in the downtown Millennium Park on grounds it may violate free-speech protections.
Saturday, February 22, 2020

4 injured in train derailment in Chicago Saturday
CHICAGO (AP) — A South Shore Line train derailed Saturday morning while entering Millennium Station, injuring four people.
Saturday, February 22, 2020

Toxic chemicals may have leaked from Scott AFB
BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Cancer-causing chemicals used over the years at Scott Air Force Base in southern Illinois may have leaked into local water supplies, according to a report from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.
Saturday, February 22, 2020

Officials warn of dentistry scam calls
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — State regulators are warning consumers about a telephone scam in which the caller claims to be from the Illinois Board of Dentistry.
Saturday, February 22, 2020

New exhibits installed at Lincoln sites
SPRINGFIELD — Exhibits have been installed at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site Visitor Center and inside one of the historic neighborhood homes. Lincoln-era toys, games and school activities highlight exhibits in the Visitor Center at 426 South Seventh Street.
Saturday, February 22, 2020

Riverton police officer charged after head butting suspect
RIVERTON, Ill. (AP) — A police officer in the central Illinois community of Riverton has been charged with felony aggravated battery and official misconduct after he allegedly head-butted a drunken driving suspect, officials said.
Friday, February 21, 2020

'Starved Rock Killer' freed after decades in prison
PINCKNEYVILLE, Ill. (AP) — An 80-year-old man who spent nearly 60 years in prison after being convicted of killing one of three suburban Chicago women whose brutalized bodies were found in a state park walked out of prison today.
Friday, February 21, 2020

GOP says tying funding to tax vote is shameful
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Republicans on Thursday called it “shameful” that Gov. J.B. Pritzker is floating a budget plan that ties more than 40% of promised education funding to voter approval of his coveted tax-structure overhaul.
Friday, February 21, 2020

Governor's plan linked to passage of amendment
SPRINGFIELD — One day after delivering his budget proposal to the General Assembly in Springfield, Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker was in Chicago on Thursday rounding up support for his proposed increases in higher education funding.
Friday, February 21, 2020

Brian Urlacher's brother charged in gambling ring
CHICAGO (AP) — The brother of Chicago Bears Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher and nine others, including a police officer, have been charged with operating an offshore sports gambling business, federal prosecutors announced Thursday.
Friday, February 21, 2020

TV analyst? Spokesman? Freed ex-gov goes job hunting
CHICAGO (AP) — Job wanted: Ex-governor and ex-con with strong speaking skills and good hair seeking employment.
Friday, February 21, 2020

Bills adding e-cigarettes, sexting risks to school curriculum pass House committee
Two bills that would add the risks of e-cigarette use and sexting to public school curriculum will head to the full Illinois House of Representatives after unanimously passing a committee Wednesday.
Thursday, February 20, 2020

Views differ on Pritzker's graduated tax-dependent budget plan
Illinois’ chief fiscal and investment officers lauded the economic opportunities afforded if voters approve Gov. JB Pritzker’s “fair tax” proposal in November. But several Republican lawmakers said they objected to the governor’s plan, outlined in his annual budget address Wednesday, to cut spending in several key areas if the constitutional amendment fails to pass.
Thursday, February 20, 2020

Blagojevich praises Trump from Chicago home after release
Former Illinois Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich gushed about Donald Trump Wednesday, a day after the Republican president commuted his sentence for political corruption.
Thursday, February 20, 2020

Lawmakers take aim at plastic pollution with package of bills
In an effort to tackle the growing problem of plastic pollution, a group of state lawmakers from both legislative chambers touted a series of bills Tuesday that would tax or ban single-use plastics and aim to boost recycling.
Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Little support in Springfield for Blagojevich release
There was little support Tuesday at the former stomping grounds of ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich for President Donald Trump’s decision to commute the remaining years of the disgraced former Democratic governor’s 14-year corruption sentence.
Wednesday, February 19, 2020

2 new Legionnaires' cases reported at center where 1 died
Two new cases of Legionnaires’ disease have been reported at a suburban Chicago senior living center, bringing the outbreak’s total cases to five, including one previous fatal case, health officials said Tuesday.
Wednesday, February 19, 2020

House Republicans say bipartisan effort should lead budgeting process
One day before Gov. JB Pritzker’s budget address, House Republican lawmakers called for another “inclusive” and “bipartisan” effort at adopting a state budget without new taxes.
Wednesday, February 19, 2020

EPA orders cleanup of zinc smelter site in DePue, Illinois
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued an administrative order to those responsible to clean up contaminated soil at a site near the northern Illinois town of DePue, where a zinc smelter and fertilizer plant was once located, it was announced Tuesday.
Wednesday, February 19, 2020

House Republicans want DCFS reforms ahead of funding increase
A group of Republican lawmakers said Tuesday they want to see internal reforms at the Department of Children and Family Services in addition to the increased funding that Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker is expected to propose.
Wednesday, February 19, 2020

SIU Medical School to pilot state prison health care
Southern Illinois University School of Medicine will provide health care at two state prisons in a test that could expand statewide and which could provide answers for a troubled, $180 million-a-year medical program for 40,000 inmates, officials said Monday.
Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Illinois State president creates role focused on diversity
Illinois State University’s president has created a new position focused on diversity and inclusion on campus.

President Larry Dietz appointed Doris Houston as the university’s first assistant to the president for diversity and inclusion, The Pantagraph reported. Houston is currently the interim director of the university’s School of Social Work and she called the new role a natural fit with her background,

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Professor suspended for calling police on student
A white professor at an Indiana university who called police to his classroom after a black student refused to change seats will not be teaching for the remainder of the semester, the school said in a written statement.

No formal charges or disciplinary action was immediately taken against Ball State University marketing professor Shaheen Borna and he continued to teach after the classroom incident Jan. 21, The Star Press reported, despite  campus protests.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Chicago officials: 200K efficient LED streetlights in place
Chicago’s streets are now being illuminated by 200,000 LED streetlights that will significantly reduce the city’s electricity bills, transportation officials announced Monday.

Chicago’s Department of Transportation is aiming to install 270,000 LED streetlights by 2021, replacing high pressure sodium lights that officials said are less efficient. The city estimates the change will cut electricity costs by $100 million during the program’s first decade.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

State accepting nominees for volunteer service awards
Illinois officials are accepting nominations for volunteer service awards aimed at highlighting the importance of community service by individuals and businesses.

The Serve Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service will be taking nominations until  Feb. 21. The commission is a 40-member bipartisan group appointed by the governor.

Monday, February 17, 2020

State police director backs FOID fingerprinting
The Illinois State Police director said this week that his department has stepped up illegal firearm ownership enforcement methods, but it needs greater resources to continue the job — including fingerprints of Firearm Owner Identification Card applicants.

During a news conference Thursday, ISP Director Brendan Kelly gave an update about enforcement efforts and announced support for Senate Bill 1966, a measure that would increase FOID card fees and mandate fingerprinting of applicants.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Lawmakers renew college athlete endorsement push
One month ahead of the tipoff of March Madness, Illinois lawmakers – backed by a pair of NBA brothers – are renewing a push to allow college athletes to profit from the use of their name and likeness.

Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch called a Chicago news conference Friday to push for his Student Athlete Endorsement Act, or House Bill 3904, which is awaiting a vote in the Illinois Senate.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Parents allege daughter sexually assaulted at recess
The parents of a 6-year-old southern Illinois girl are suing local school officials, alleging that their daughter was sexually assaulted by another kindergartner during recess.
Monday, February 17, 2020

Illinois man, 80, set for release in 1960 triple-killing
An 80-year-old man is set to be released from an Illinois prison this week, nearly six decades after he was sentenced to life for the killing of one of three suburban Chicago women whose brutalized bodies were found in a state park.
Monday, February 17, 2020

Reworked charges in Chicago cite another R. Kelly accuser
An updated federal indictment against R. Kelly unsealed Friday in Chicago includes sex abuse allegations involving a new accuser, adding to the jailed singer’s mounting legal challenges across three states.
Saturday, February 15, 2020

Locals asked to reach into wallets to protect Kankakee River
In an effort to greatly expand the district charged with protecting the Kankakee River, a large percentage of county voters residing less than a mile from the river’s banks, will be asked to tax themselves.

The citizen-initiated referendum, commonly called a back-door referendum, seeking approval for the tax — which would cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $24 a year — will be on the March 17 primary ballot.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

6 wounded in shooting at Chicago apartment complex
Six people, including three minors, were wounded in a shooting at an apartment complex on Chicago’s South Side, police said.
Saturday, February 15, 2020

Young boy, woman die after suburban Chicago house fire
A suburban Chicago house fire early Friday killed a young boy and a 57-year-old woman, authorities said.
Saturday, February 15, 2020

Officials hope to name new SIU Carbondale leader by April
Officials hope to name a new chancellor to lead the Southern Illinois University Carbondale by spring.
Saturday, February 15, 2020

Dancing for a good cause is good for a businessman
Darek Lambert didn’t mind doing a little dancing on Feb. 7 for a good cause.

Lambert and his partner Sara Deters took the stage for a disco-themed number, complete with “a lot of pointing up and around“ and some “crazy“ moves, during the 10th annual Dancing with Local Stars event.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Redistricting reform gets bipartisan push
A bipartisan coalition of state lawmakers and advocacy groups announced an effort in both chambers Thursday to overhaul the way Illinois’ legislative districts are drawn.

Legislators from Chicago, its suburbs and downstate are backing a state constitutional amendment — twin measures in the Senate and House — shifting district mapmaking power from politicians to a 17-person commission whose members would be representative of state demographics.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Experts: Flu poses greater risk than Coronavirus here
Illnesses and deaths associated with the novel coronavirus are growing worldwide, but medical experts in Springfield say influenza continues to pose a much greater risk to the public in central Illinois and the rest of the United States.

There’s no vaccine yet for coronavirus, which so far has infected 12 people and resulted in no deaths in the United States.

Friday, February 14, 2020

1 year after shooting ISP pushes hike in gun fees
In the year since five workers died in a suburban Chicago warehouse shooting, state officials have beefed up illegal firearms enforcement efforts, including the first-ever operations by state authorities to confiscate weapons from those whose gun permits are invalid, Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly said Thursday.
Friday, February 14, 2020

Sentencing reform conversation begins to take shape
Criminal justice reform is high on Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker’s agenda this year, but a legislative committee hearing Thursday in Chicago showed that reform advocates and the law enforcement community have widely differing views on the issue.

In January, Pritzker said ending cash bail and mandatory minimum sentences would be among his top priorities during the 2020 session, and those two subjects were the focus of Thursday’s hearings.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Black EIU swimmer sues Illinois police over false arrest
Illinois police officers wrongfully arrested, detained and threatened to shoot a black college athlete while pointing a gun to his forehead at a rest stop as he traveled with the school’s swim team, a civil rights group contends in a lawsuit.
Friday, February 14, 2020

Newspaper publisher files for bankruptcy
The publisher of the Miami Herald, The Kansas City Star and dozens of other newspapers across the country, including the Belleville News-Democrat in Belleville, Illinois, is filing for bankruptcy protection.

McClatchy Co.’s 30 newsrooms, including The Charlotte Observer, The News & Observer in Raleigh, and The Star-Telegram in Fort Worth, will continue to operate as usual as the publisher reorganizes under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Casino developer sues gaming board
A video gambling operator who was denied approval to open a casino-racetrack near Chicago is suing the Illinois Gaming Board, alleging that one of its employees illegally accessed sensitive information about him and his company and leaked it to three federal agencies.
Thursday, February 13, 2020

State releases $500 million for technology network
Gov. JB Pritzker on Wednesday touted statewide benefits he said will result from a $500 million state investment in 15 hubs of a University of Illinois-led public-private research institute network.
Thursday, February 13, 2020

IEA report says Illinoisans give schools a low grade
The Illinois Education Association on Tuesday released a report that shows Illinoisans do not have a high regard for public schools outside their own communities.

The association indicates in its State of Education report that 1,000 Illinois residents taking part in a poll gave a grade of “C-“ to public schools, although they gave their local public schools an “A” or “B” grade. The report indicates more than half of those polled believe teachers are paid too little. Many also said they wouldn’t advise family members to become teachers. There are about 2,560 teacher positions open in Illinois.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Asian carp roundup on Ky. Lake like a cattle drive
Like a slow-motion, underwater cattle drive, wildlife officials in a half-dozen aluminum boats used pulses of electricity and sound on a recent gray morning to herd schools of Asian carp toward 1,000-foot-long nets.

The ongoing roundup on wind-rippled Kentucky Lake opens a new front in a 15-year battle to halt the advance of the invasive carp, which threaten to upend aquatic ecosystems, starve out native fish and wipe out endangered mussel and snail populations along the Mississippi River and dozens of tributaries.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

AG Raoul tells EPA to bolster ethylene oxide rules
Illinois’ top lawyer has asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to enact more rigorous ethylene oxide emissions standards in the wake of public pressure on the General Assembly to consider stricter regulations.

More than 70 lawsuits have been filed against Sterigenics, a medical supply sterilization company in suburban Willowbrook, claiming exposure to the gas caused serious health problems. That company closed its doors in Illinois last year after facing intense public backlash.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Illinois can now do in-state testing for new virus
The Illinois Department of Public Health now has the ability to test for the 2019 novel coronavirus in-state, meaning shorter wait times for test results for people showing symptoms of the virus and meeting certain criteria.

IDPH said in a news release Tuesday that Illinois is the first state to be able to do the testing without shipping specimens out of state, and results are typically available within 24 hours.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Voter registration error in Illinios could mean deportation, criminal charges for some
The day Margarita Del Pilar Fitzpatrick applied for an Illinois driver’s license upended her life. When a clerk offered to register her to vote in 2005, the Peruvian citizen mistakenly accepted, leading to long legal battles and eventually deportation.

A decade and a half later, she struggles to find work at 52, is nearly homeless and hasn’t seen two of her three American citizen daughters in years because of a secretary of state’s office mishap.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

NFL kicker turned Illinois high court justice to retire
Illinois Supreme Court Justice Robert Thomas, a former placekicker with the Chicago Bears, will retire from his seat on the bench effective Feb. 29.

He plans to join the Chicago-based Power Rogers law firm, which successfully represented him in a defamation suit against the Kane County Chronicle in 2006.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Last weekend Chicago's deadliest of the year so far
Chicago recorded nine homicides between 6 p.m. Friday and midnight Sunday, a weekend police said was the deadliest of the year for a city that has seen the number of fatal shootings surge this year after a previous decline.

Twenty-three people were killed or injured in shootings during the period, nearly four times as many as during the same time a year ago, police said.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Fetal remains tied to abortion doctor to be buried
More than 2,400 sets of fetal remains found last year in the Illinois garage and a car of a late Indiana abortion doctor will be buried Wednesday at a northern Indiana cemetery.
Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Western Illinois to offer minor in cannabis growing
The art of growing cannabis will become a minor subject at Western Illinois University in the fall, school officials announced Monday.
Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Unique Illinois privacy law leads to $550M Facebook deal
Adam Pezen, Carlo Licata and Nimesh Patel are among millions of people who have been tagged in Facebook photos at some point in the past decade, sometimes at the suggestion of an automated tagging feature powered by facial recognition technology.

It was their Illinois addresses, though, that put the trio’s names atop a lawsuit that Facebook recently agreed to settle for $550 million, which could lead to payouts of a couple hundred dollars to several million Illinois users of the social networking site.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Four, including three teens, charged in store owner's death
An adult and three teenagers have been charged with first-degree murder in the death of a Chicago convenience store owner during an armed robbery, authorities said Sunday.
Monday, February 10, 2020

Chicago police officer guns down armed man early Sunday
A Chicago police officer shot to death an armed man after the person allegedly wounded a person in shooting outside a North Side bar, authorities said Sunday.
Monday, February 10, 2020

New cruise ship scheduled to visit Great Lakes in 2022
A cruise ship currently being built in Norway is scheduled to visit the Great Lakes, including a stop at Traverse City in northern Michigan eight times in 2022.
Monday, February 10, 2020

Treasurer Frerichs awarded ESGR Patriot Award for commitment to Illinois Veterans
SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs was presented today the Patriot Award for his commitment to military service member employees.
Saturday, February 8, 2020

State extends hours for medical marijuana
CHICAGO — The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation granted medical cannabis dispensing organizations the ability to remain open until 10 p.m. to make medical cannabis sales. The Department provided additional guidance to dispensaries that have both a medical and adult use license to ensure they prioritize serving medical cannabis patients as required by state law.
Saturday, February 8, 2020

UIS Chancellor Susan Koch plans to retire this year
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The leader of the University of Illinois Springfield plans to retire this year.
Saturday, February 8, 2020

Virtual classroom provides rural opportunities
CAMPBELL HILL, Ill. (AP) — “Trico, do you have the worksheet?”
Their microphone muted, students Shealee Swisher and Jasmine Serr silently raise a thumbs-up to the webcam before them.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Man hopes thrift-store urn filled with ashes finds home
PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — A thrift-store find in Illinois has prompted its buyer to find the person to whom it rightfully belongs — and might not know it’s even gone.
Saturday, February 8, 2020

IDFPR expands ability of medical cannabis dispensaries to serve and prioritize patients
CHICAGO — The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation granted medical cannabis dispensing organizations the ability to remain open until 10 p.m. to make medical cannabis sales.
Friday, February 7, 2020

'Fox guarding hen house' in Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – All three people who have held the position of legislative inspector general in Illinois told a joint ethics panel Thursday the office needs more independence to police the General Assembly and maintain the public’s confidence in the process.
Friday, February 7, 2020

Man body-slammed by police sues Chicago, officer
CHICAGO (AP) — A 29-year-old man who was knocked unconscious when a Chicago police officer body slammed him onto a street curb sued the city and the officer on Thursday, saying the officer should have known the maneuver was dangerous because he is trained in martial arts.
Friday, February 7, 2020

Chicago fire marshal convicted on federal charges
CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago Fire Department marshal was convicted on federal charges of depositing around $350,000 in less than $10,000 increments at different financial institutions to evade banking-reporting requirements, the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago said Thursday.
Friday, February 7, 2020

Singers invited to participate in choir
MATTOON — Does the cold and snowy weather have you singing the blues? It’s time to change your tune by joining the choir! Preparation for the spring season of the Lake Land College Community Choir began this week. Rehearsals are held on Tuesday nights in the Lake Land College Theater from 7-9:30 p.m.
Friday, February 7, 2020

Committee presses for answers on voter registration
A programming error in Illinois’ automatic voter registration system that mistakenly enrolled more than 500 people was a “wakeup call,” the state’s top elections official said Wednesday.

One string of code among 8.5 million others controlling the “hundreds of functions” of the secretary of state’s office resulted in 574 people who identified themselves as non-U.S. citizens being registered to vote, the agency’s senior legal advisor, Nathan Maddox, said.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Senate deals Governor Pritzker first veto override
Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker was dealt his first veto override Wednesday when the state Senate voted overwhelmingly to pass a bill that retroactively extends a sales tax exemption for aircraft parts and equipment.

House Bill 3902 passed the General Assembly during the 2019 fall veto session. It reinstates a tax break that was in place starting in 2010, but which was allowed to expire in 2015 without state tax officials or other public bodies taking note.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Reporter's Notebook: Gov touches on election security, Illinois primaries , more
Gov. JB Pritzker took questions on elections, the possibility of Illinois moving up in the presidential primaries pecking order and the Freedom of Information Act on Wednesday during an unrelated news conference.
Thursday, February 6, 2020

1 dead, 2 sick from Legionnaires' at senior center
An outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at a senior living center in suburban Chicago has left one resident dead and two others sickened, health officials said Wednesday.

The Lake County Health Department said in a news release that it has confirmed three cases of the disease, a type of severe pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacteria, at Brookdale Senior Living in Vernon Hills. The release says staffers at the facility were notifying residents and others who may have been exposed to the bacteria and were working with state and county health departments to determine “potential sources of contamination.”

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Gun rights groups sue ISP for FOID delays
A pair of gun rights advocacy groups are suing the Illinois State Police, its director and the chief of the Illinois State Police Firearms Services Bureau for “not acting in a timely manner on Firearm Owner Identification card and concealed carry applications.”

The Illinois State Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court alleging violations of Second Amendment rights.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Madigan defends handling of misconduct probe
Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan on Tuesday defended his office’s handling of a sexual misconduct investigation into former Democratic state Rep. Jack Franks.

The allegations against Franks date back to 2016, and Madigan said his actions were designed to protect an employee of the speaker’s office.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

'Major flaws' as state transitions DCFS child care
An estimated 2,500 children and young adults in Illinois who had been in the custody of the state’s foster care system within the last year abruptly lost their health coverage on Feb. 1.

That was just one of many problems that occurred over the weekend when the state shifted some 19,000 former foster children into its privatized “managed care” health coverage system. Children’s advocacy groups warned Tuesday that more problems may lie ahead as the state works to move approximately 17,000 current foster children into that same system.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Tax amnesty nets $60 million more than expected
A tax amnesty program created during the passage of last year’s state operating budget has brought in nearly $240 million — approximately $60 million more than was expected — the Illinois Department of Revenue announced Tuesday.

The Illinois Tax Amnesty Program, proposed by Gov. JB Pritzker and passed as part of Senate Bill 689, allowed qualified taxpayers to pay off any outstanding state tax liability and have corresponding penalties and interest forgiven..

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Illinois soybean farmers hurt by virus hit on China economy
Soybean farmers in Illinois cannot catch a break.

After a promising trade deal with China last month gave farmers hope amid an intense trade war, the deadly Wuhan coronavirus currently overwhelming China is also damaging its economy.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Racketeering lawsuit targets Sandoval and locals
Former state Sen. Martin Sandoval and SafeSpeed LLC, the red light camera company at the center of federal corruption charges against him, are now the targets of a racketeering lawsuit that seeks to void tens of thousands of traffic citations issued through the company’s devices.

Lawrence Gress, a Downers Grove resident and lead plaintiff in the case, filed the suit Monday under the federal Racketeering, Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), a law most often used to prosecute organized crime syndicates. But RICO also allows for private civil suits for actions that are part of a criminal enterprise.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

5-year-old and elderly man killed in fire
A wind-driven fire swept through a suburban Chicago apartment early today, killing a 5-year-old boy and an elderly man who apparently became trapped by flames on the building’s second-floor.
Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Illinois sees yet more voter registration troubles
The voter registrations of nearly 800 former Illinois inmates may have been mistakenly canceled because of a “data-matching error” between state agencies, the State Board of Elections disclosed Monday.
Tuesday, February 4, 2020

1st month of Illinois pot sales nets $40 million
Illinois marijuana dispensaries sold nearly $40 million worth of recreational weed during the state’s first month of legal sales, according to figures released Monday by the state Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

Illinois residents bought more than $30.6 million in January, while out-of-state visitor sales totaled $8.6 million, the report shows. Dispensaries sold over 970,000 products.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

State of Union speech Tuesday to project optimism
Standing before lawmakers in the grand-domed Capitol where his impeachment trial is still underway, President Donald Trump on Tuesday night will declare the state of the union strong, even when it is bitterly divided as he asks Americans for a second term.
Monday, February 3, 2020

Chicago schools inspector faces scrutiny
The inspector general of Chicago Public Schools, whose investigations led to the removal of two former CEO’s, faces scrutiny himself for allegedly berating employees.

Complaints about Nicholas Schuler have led the school board to hire an outside firm to investigate, according t o The Chicago Sun-Times.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Groups launch aid plan for immigrants
Two nonprofit organizations in Chicago have launched a state-funded legal aid program designed to help thousands of immigrants, former inmates and low-income people across Illinois.
Monday, February 3, 2020

Event for minority and women-owned businesses
State transportation officials have planned an event next month in Springfield for minority and women-owned businesses.
Monday, February 3, 2020

IEPA offers internships for students in tech fields
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has developed a 12-week, paid internship program for students in technical fields who want to see regulatory work in the field.
Monday, February 3, 2020

Illinois census outreach money still not disbursed
Groups whose outreach efforts greatly affect how accurately Illinois’ residents are counted have yet to receive state funding.

Census advocates worry that the lag in funding the groups’ efforts c ould put federal funding and as many as two congressional seats at stake after the 2020 count, according to the  Chicago Tribune.

Monday, February 3, 2020

State Police search Madigan's office
Illinois State Police executed a search warrant at House Speaker Michael Madigan state Capitol offices this week as part of an investigation into sexual misconduct, stalking and other allegations against former state Rep. Jack Franks.
Saturday, February 1, 2020

SIU-Carbondale getting upgrade of Communications Building
Each year, Illinois public universities submit a wish list of building upgrades to the lawmakers crafting the state’s budget.

For 22 years, Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s list has included renovations to its Communications Building. Now, finally, state support will make that long-held dream a reality.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

DNA backlogged at crime labs, Illinois Police questioned
Lawmakers questioned Illinois State Police about the DNA backlog at state crime labs, stating too many cases are waiting on DNA processing.
Saturday, February 1, 2020

String of Chicago robberies targeting users of dating apps
Chicago Police said Friday they are looking for a suspect or suspects using a dating app to lure victims to hotel rooms where they use a stun gun to rob them.
Saturday, February 1, 2020

Program means some can pay bills and have clean clothes
A dreary weather forecast didn’t keep away the smiling faces and appreciative customers from the second Suds of Love event in Belleville on the evening of Jan. 22.
Saturday, February 1, 2020

China striving to keep 50 million people isolated and fed, both, in biggest anti-disease effort ever
Carrying permits demanding “fast passage,” truck drivers rushed a 560-ton shipment of disinfectant from eastern China to Wuhan, the locked-down city of 11 million people at the center of a vast effort to contain a new viral disease.

Outside the metropolis in central China, the cargo was shifted to local trucks with drivers in masks and protective suits, part of a tightly controlled flow of food and other supplies through checkpoints that have blocked most access to Wuhan since Jan. 23.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Trump poised for acquittal in impeachment trial
President Donald Trump appeared headed for all-but-certain impeachment acquittal as senators prepared toay to reject efforts to call more witnesses and moved to start bringing a close to only the third impeachment trial in American history.

The timing of a final vote on Trump was still uncertain. But the outcome was increasingly clear after a key Republican, Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, announced he didn’t need to see or hear more testimony. He said the Democrats had proved their case, that Trump abused power and obstructed Congress, but he did not think Trump’s actions rose to the impeachable level.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Illinois ethics laws among nation's weakest
Government reform advocates told a panel of state lawmakers Thursday that Illinois has some of the weakest governmental ethics rules in the country and that lawmakers should put more teeth into them if they hope to regain the trust of the public.

“For me, the disheartening part of all of it is not that so many lawmakers at all levels of government have strayed so far from the rules and have overshadowed the good work of ethical lawmakers, but that so many across our state kind of react to this news with a shrug,” said Georgia Logothetis, assistant director of the watchdog group Common Cause Illinois. “It’s a kind of disheartened acceptance that, well, this is just the way things work in Illinois.”

Friday, January 31, 2020

Policy change: Secretary of state won't forward16- year-old's information to voter registration system
While the information for approximately 4,700 16-year-olds was forwarded from the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office to the Illinois State Board of Elections as part of an automatic voter registration program, no underage people were registered to vote, nor did they receive information about registering to vote, according to representatives of those two agencies.
Friday, January 31, 2020

Illinois joins multi-state lawsuit over new food stamp rules
Illinois joined a multi-state lawsuit over proposed Trump administration rules on food stamps that could cause hundreds of thousands of Americans to lose benefits, Attorney General Kwame Raoul confirmed Thursday.
Thursday, January 30, 2020

Gov talks tough about fraud and graft
Gov. J.B. Pritzker delivered his first State of the State address Wednesday, talking tough about ending fraud and graft in a state notorious for corruption and urging support for such contentious ideas as halting the time-honored practice of lawmakers leaving the Legislature to immediately become lobbyists.
Thursday, January 30, 2020

Illinois one of 3 to sue to force US to ratify ERA
Three Democratic state attorneys general are suing a U.S. government official to force him to recognize Virginia’s vote this week to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment and certify the measure as part of the Constitution.

The lawsuit filed Thursday against the archivist of the United States comes after the National Archives and Records Administration said this week that David Ferriero would “take no action to certify the adoption of the Equal Rights Amendment,“ which would prohibit discrimination based on sex.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

NIU dropping standardized tests in admissions
Northern Illinois University announced Wednesday it will eliminate the use of standardized tests in undergraduate admissions and merit scholarship decisions next year.

Any high school graduate who applies to NIU with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or above will be guaranteed admission to the university in DeKalb.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Hundreds attend funeral for 'unclaimed veteran'
Hundreds of people attended a funeral service in suburban Chicago Wednesday for a former U.S. Air Force mechanic who became an “unclaimed veteran” when he died last month.

The service for John James Murphy, 71, was held at Symonds-Madison Funeral Home in Elgin. Murphy died Dec. 18 at a nearby hospital after living in a rehabilitation center since 2017. The funeral home was unable to find any relatives.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Illinois discloses more problems with voter registration
Illinois elections officials  disclosed fresh problems Wednesday with the state’s automatic voter registration program, saying at least one eligible voter who declined to register to vote was signed up anyway.
Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Harmon names new state leadership team
New Illinois Senate President Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, announced his leadership team Tuesday on the first day of the 2020 legislative session.

Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood, will remain the chamber’s majority leader, while Bill Cunningham, D-Chicago, will become an assistant majority leader and president pro tempore — a position once held by Harmon under former President John Cullerton before he changed the caucus’ leadership structure.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Lawmakers seek to end corporate poaching by states
Two Democratic lawmakers unveiled legislation Tuesday to form a multi-state compact in which each member state would vow not to use company-specific tax incentives to lure businesses away from another member state.
Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Autistic futures trader who triggered crash spared prison
A U.S. judge Tuesday sentenced a socially awkward math whiz-turned-futures trader who earned tens of millions of dollars over several years and helped trigger a U.S. stock market “flash crash” from his parents’ suburban London home to time served and a year’s home confinement, sparing him imprisonment after prosecutors praised his cooperation and said his crimes were entirely unmotivated by greed.
Wednesday, January 29, 2020

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