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Illinois Public Radio

Posts tagged with this author are either entirely or partially reported by the staff at Illinois Public Radio. If possible, the specific staff member who reported each story will be listed within the body of each corresponding post.

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The Illinois Department of Public Health says when it comes to HIV awareness, sexually-active women and young girls are often overlooked.  The Department is putting a renewed emphasis on teaching women to protect themselves and how to get tested.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

If Governor Pat Quinn's agreement with AFSCME, Illinois' largest public employee union, goes through, new employees will be treated differently than those already on the payroll. 

Union members get pay boosts the longer they work for the state. Quinn's Chief of Staff Jack Lavin, says it will take longer for new hires to reach those step increases, and he says they'll start off making less too. 

"To achieve the top of that job classification it was previously eight years, now it’ll be 11 years," said Lavin. "So new employees will start at a lower wage.”

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky.

In his annual budget address today, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn laid the blame on the General Assembly for forcing him to cut spending on schools and other key state priorities. Quinn says the cost of pensions is "squeezing" Illinois' finances, to the point that he's calling for a $400 million hit to education.

(Read the full text of the governor's prepared remarks

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Reporting in part from Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky. Last update 4:04 p.m.

Legislation to expand gambling the General Assembly approved nearly two years ago is finally dead. Governor Pat Quinn vetoed a measure that would have given Illinois five new casinos.

When Governor Quinn gives his annual budget address later this week, he's expected to highlight Illinois' plethora of financial problems.

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Illinois has once again run out money to help needy students go to college. The cutoff to be considered for a MAP grant expired over the weekend.

If students didn't have their financial aid application in by Friday, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission says it probably won't have enough money to give them a Monetary Award Program, or MAP Grant.

Commission spokesman John Samuels, says March 1 is the earliest the state has run out of money for the program.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Ill. Governor Pat Quinn will present his budget address in Springfield on Wednesday.

The state is reported to have the worst-funded pension system in the country - and has about $97 billion in unfunded obligations.

"Obviously, our pension reform will be part of the address, the need for getting that done right and getting it done now," said Quinn.

Quinn has said the pensions are unsustainable and are taking money away from other key government services.

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Reporting by Illinois Public Radio's Brian Mackey used in this report.

It looks like an impending strike of workers in Illinois' largest government-employee union has been avoided - tentatively.

Governor Pat Quinn reached a tentative contract deal with The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) early this morning.

Officially, the union is keeping mum about what's in the contract.

(Illinois Supreme Court handout)

Brian Mackey contributed reporting from Springfield.

The first woman to serve on the Illinois Supreme Court has died.

Mary Ann G. McMorrow was 83 years old. A statement from the Supreme Court says she died Saturday after a brief illness.

McMorrow was first elected to the state's highest court in 1992, one of a series of achievements in a legal career that spanned 50 years. She was the only woman in the Loyola University law school class of 1953, and was the first woman to prosecute felonies in Cook County. 

Brian Mackey/Illinois Public Radio

Brian Mackey contributed reporting from Springfield, Ill.

It was an odd sight at the Illinois state Capitol today - supporters of the oil and gas industry sharing a podium with environmental activists.

Wikimedia Commons

Will be updated.

The Illinois Senate has voted to legalize same-sex marriage, advancing a proposal that would make the state the 10th in the nation allowing same-sex couples to wed.

In a 34-21 vote Thursday, lawmakers approved a measure to lift a state ban on same-sex marriage. The bill now moves to the House, where Democrats also hold a majority.

Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky reports in a tweet that the vote didn't quite come down on party lines:

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

You'll also be able to hear the address in its entirety with analysis tonight on St. Louis Public Radio at 90.7 FM or online, beginning at 7 p.m. Join us!

Updated 3:43 p.m. with reporting from WBEZ's Tony Arnold.

Many Republicans are criticizing Illinois Governor Pat Quinn’s State of the State Address as being too vague.

Today Quinn outlined his priorities for the upcoming year - including raising the minimum wage and banning high capacity guns.

Flickr/Jason Dunnivant

Reporting from Amanda Vinicky from Illinois Public Radio.

A new session of the Illinois General Assembly begins today, when candidates who won in November's elections take the oath of office.  The outgoing class of legislators left the incoming one with quite a burden.  

Tuesday night, the previous General Assembly adjourned without doing anything to reduce Illinois' $97 billion pension debt, though there were a few last minute tries.

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Updated 3:06 p.m. with comment from Gov. Quinn. Will be updated further. Reporting from Brian Mackey used in this report

The Illinois House has approved legislation allowing those who are in the U.S. illegally to obtain driver's licenses.

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Updated  5:30 p.m. Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky and Brian Mackey used in this report.

The Illinois House has just adjourned the 97th General Assembly permanently, without taking a vote on the pension legislation.

The commission proposed earlier in the day by Gov. Quinn (more below) was not addressed.

Members of the House approved it in committee, but several said they were doing so only as a show of respect for the governor, and had serious reservations about whether the idea was constitutional.

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Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn has said repeatedly his top priority is dealing with the state’s pensions - the worst- funded in the country. He’s held countless press conferences and made the argument that pension costs take away money for other state programs.

House Republican Leader Tom Cross says proposals to deal with the pension funds have been around for two years.

"We’ve talked about these to a point where we don’t need to talk any more," said Cross. "We’ve got to do this."

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Updated 12:10 p.m.

A proposal that could make Illinois the next state to allow people who are in the U.S. illegally to get driver's licenses has passed out of a House committee.

It's ready for a House floor vote. Gov. Pat Quinn says he'll sign it, if it comes to his desk.

Original story with additional detail: 

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Illinois lawmakers will not be addressing gun control legislation before the end of session. Some members of the state House of Representatives were scheduled to debate the proposal Sunday.

State Representative Eddie Acevedo favors the bill. He says he withdrew it since a similar attempt didn’t pass the Senate last week.

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Negotiations for a complete overhaul of Illinois' underfunded pension systems continue. But the president of the state Senate is again pushing a measure his chamber approved months ago.

Governor Pat Quinn has been adamant that something pass before the General Assembly's current session ends for good on Wednesday.

In May, the Senate passed legislation that reduces state workers' and legislators' own retirement benefits. But the House never took it up.  Senate President John Cullerton says representatives should do so when they return to Springfield on Sunday.

Free gun locks will be given out Friday at City Hall in St. Louis
M Glasgow | Flickr

Following last month's tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, Illinois legislators are hurrying to crack down on guns, despite opposition from groups like the National Rifle Association.  

On their first day back for the General Assembly's last week of session, Senate Democrats sent two gun control measures to the floor.

Illinois Council on Handgun Violence Director Colleen Daley pleaded with Senators to pass a ban on new purchases of assault weapons. She says she doesn't want Illinois to become the next state where they're used in a mass killing.

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 Updated 5:49 p.m.

The Associated Press reports that the bill has cleared the Senate committee and will head to the full Senate for a vote. 

It is not clear when that vote will take place. 

Updated 4:51 p.m. with information on start of hearing. Will be updated. 

A Senate committee has started considering a landmark bill that could make Illinois the 10th state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage.

Hundreds of people have submitted comments for and against the measure.

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Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Brian Mackey used in this report.

Moody's Investors Services has downgraded the credit outlook for the state of Illinois from stable to negative citing the "severe pension funding shortfall."

Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford says Illinois already has the worst credit rating of any state in the US.

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Updated with comments from Illinois officials. Amanda Vinicky contributed reporting from Springfield.

Illinois is the only state in the union that bans the concealed carrying of guns.

A ruling today from a federal appeals court may change all that.

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Buying fuel can be a challenge for people with disabilities. Legislation awaiting action by the governor aims to make it easier.  Illinois is making an effort to comply with federal disability law.

Illinois law says service stations are required to pump gas for people with disabilities. But in order to get that help, drivers have to honk or find some other way to get the attention of an attendant.

Ann Ford, with the Centers for Independent Living, says that can lead to frustration.

St. Louis Public Radio

Amanda Vinicky contributed reporting from Springfield, Ill.

In what's being called an "unprecedented" step, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has terminated the state's contract with its largest employee union.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees helped Quinn win the governor's office in 2010, but the relationship soured almost immediately. The governor, a Democrat, has tried to close state facilities, lay off workers, rescind guaranteed salary hikes and reduce the pensions of state employees, all in an effort to cut costs.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Updated at 3 p.m. to include comments from Cullerton and Edgar comments. Tony Arnold contributed reporting from Chicago, and Brian Mackey from Springfield, Ill.

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton says he wants to pass a bill out of the Senate next week to give driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. And Gov. Pat Quinn says he'll sign the legislation, if it lands on his desk.

Quinn and Cullerton attended a bipartisan news conference Tuesday that included former Gov. Jim Edgar and Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, both Republicans.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn was on board Friday when an Amtrak train reached speeds of 111 mph for the first time along a Chicago to St. Louis route. The train hit the mark on a stretch between Dwight and Pontiac before braking back to normal speeds of 79 mph. By the end of November, paying passengers will get to experience the higher speeds on that initial section between Dwight and Pontiac. 

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Reporting from Amanda Vinicky.

Illinois' Secretary of State is considering making younger drivers get additional training if they skip over the graduated driver’s license program. 

Illinois heaps requirements on someone who wants to drive before they're 18-years-old - minors must pass a driver's education course, and have their parents sign off that they've been on the roads together.

But then the state loosens up.  Someone who's 21, for example, could pass a driver's test without a lot of time behind the wheel.

(screenshot via Google Maps)

Updated at 5:45 p.m. with additional comments from Gov. Quinn and comments from Sen. Durbin. Brian Mackey contributed reporting.

Updated at 2 p.m. with statement from Gov. Pat Quinn.

The federal government has agreed to purchase the underused Thomson Correctional Center in northwest Illinois to relieve crowding in its facilities, despite fervent opposition from members of Congress.

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Brian Mackey contributed reporting for this story.

A decades-long battle over an Illinois law that requires girls to notify their parents before having an abortion was in front of the state's Supreme Court on Thursday.

The parental notification law has been on the books since the 1990s, but a series of federal and state court challenges have kept it from being enforced. It was supposed to take effect in 2006, which set off a fresh round of lawsuits.

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Legal fight between Quinn and Union continues

The legal fight between Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and the union that represents prisons workers continues this week.

Quinn had wanted the prisons closed by last Friday. Instead that day an arbitrator said the administration violated its contract with the prison workers' union by moving to close the facilities before they'd finished what's called "impact bargaining."

Union spokesman Anders Lindall says impact bargaining doesn't only affect employees facing layoffs.

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