Springfield, ILL. – Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White's budget won't be hit quite as hard as first thought, but he still will lay off some middle management state workers.
Governor Rod Blagojevich and White reached a budget agreement that will restore $5 million dollars to White's budget for cost of living increases for union employees. State lawmakers must still approve the deal.
St. Louis, MO – McCaskill's impending announcement ends months of speculation about her intentions.
She will challenge incumbent governor Bob Holden next year for the Democratic party nomination. She's been raising money for months, since it was first rumored McCaskill was interested in the governor's mansion.
McCaskill will make the announcement in Kansas City, Columbia and St. Louis on Monday.
Missouri's primary election will be held in April.
Springfield, ILL. – While Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich continues his push to allow the state to buy cheaper prescription drugs from Canada, a state lawmaker says everyone should have that option.
Woodstock Democrat Jack Franks has introduced a measure that would direct the state to give information on how to buy medication from Canada and elsewhere to anyone who requests it. That's despite the federal government's assertion that such purchases are illegal.
Venice, IL – The state oversight panel now running the district dissolved the current school board, saying the elected body failed to submit a reasonable budget.
Superintendent Ron Ganschinietz says the move was good.
"The district was simply not moving in a direction that was going to get them in compliance with the oversight panel," he said. "Specifically, a balanced budget that was going to address the issues in the district."
St. Louis, MO – Missouri businesses could save more than $12 million next year, as a result of a tax cut announced Wednesday by Governor Bob Holden.
The administrative tax on workers compensation insurance premiums paid by employers in the state will drop by 50% in 2004, from 2% to 1%. Holden says the cut is largely the result of reorganizations in the Division of Workers' Compensation.
St. Louis, MO – The Aldermanic Public Employees committee approved a measure that would allow city workers who use another language in the performance of their jobs to get bonuses of up to 10 percent of their salaries.
Juanita Franco has worked for the city for 15 years. She speaks Spanish, and says having more employees who speak foreign languages would be a big help.
Champaign-Urbana, Ill. – An Illinois lawmaker is sponsoring legislation to fine gas stations $1,000 per violation, if the state can find evidence of price gouging.
Rep. Bill Black (R-Danville) says it's time for Illinois to keep a closer look on fluctuating prices. "While I understand supply and demand, and OPEC is tightening production, what I find odd is so many stations seem to be at the same price within 45 minutes of each other," Black said. "That seems to enhance my frustration."