The Illinois Department of Employment Security says the state's unemployment rate increased to 8.9 percent in May. That's up from 8.7 percent just a month earlier and the first monthly increase since January 2010.
The department said Thursday in its monthly release on the statewide unemployment picture that:
The Illinois Supreme Court calls it "absurd" to let inmates earn money in prison and then take it away to pay the cost of keeping them behind bars.
The court dismissed a lawsuit in which the Department of Corrections tried to take $11,000 from the savings of convicted murderer Kensley Hawkins. He saved the money working at a furniture-assembly job at a Joliet prison.
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen said billions of dollars more will be needed once full Army Corps of Engineers estimates are in for repairing breached levees and other flood control projects damaged by this year's devastating storms and floods.
St. Charles County Executive Vetoes Smoking Ban Proposal
St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann has blocked a countywide smoking ban proposal from going on the November 2012 ballot. Ehlmann said Tuesday that he vetoed the bill because it would have unfairly exempted casinos, cigar bars and certain hotel rooms.
The council in the St. Louis-area county voted 4-2 in favor of putting the ban on the ballot, with one opponent absent. It would take five votes to override the veto.
Missouri could soon learn whether it will have to repay the federal government for accidentally inflating the state's food stamp rolls.
State officials acknowledged in December 2009 that a computer programming error led Missouri to over-report the number of food stamp participants to the federal government for six straight years. During that time, Missouri received more than $14 million in federal bonuses because of its high participation rates.