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.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn took his call for new state gun regulations to the church pulpit.

Quinn has been talking to church-goers about how to reduce gun violence in Chicago.

At Saint Sabina's Sunday on the city's South Side - Quinn invoked the Bible in talking about proposals like expanding background checks and banning certain guns.

"We're not going to stand by and let children and others be killed," Quinn said. "No no no. We're going to listen to what Paul said: Love is patient. Love is kind. Love never fails."

(via Wikimedia Commons/J. Pelkonen)

Illinois lawmakers are considering a change that would keep more teenagers out of adult court. The measure, which so far has had bipartisan support, would send 17-year-olds charged with non-violent felonies into the juvenile court system.

Since 2010, 17-year-olds charged with misdemeanors have been sent to juvenile court, while those charged with felonies are sent to adult court.

Flickr/Mid-America Public Safety Police/Fire

Illinois lawmakers are considering a plan that would make it easier for police to get search warrants. A  proposal in the state legislature would allow police and judges to talk over an online video chat.  Currently most warrants have to be obtained in person.

(via Flickr/kcdsTM)

Groups on both sides of the concealed carry debate in Illinois say the state is no closer to crafting a court-ordered law than they were the first day of this legislative session.

Richard Pearson is executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association. He says lawmakers are sidelining the plan by bypassing the usual committee process:

"We've had committee meetings from one end of the state to the other, and out of this we have gotten nothing," Pearson said.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is defending his decision to reappoint the director of the state's prison system to a second two-year term.

Republicans have criticized Corrections Director S.A. "Tony" Godinez for prison overcrowding and understaffing. But Governor Quinn, a Democrat, says Godinez has done a good job leading the department.

"They understand the importance of public safety for everyone. For the prison guards, for the public, and for the inmates, and Tony understands that, and he's going forward," Quinn told reporters.

(Flickr/ Jason Dunnivant

The Illinois Senate has passed a pension overhaul, but it only affects suburban and downstate teachers. It doesn't touch state employees' and university workers' retirement benefits.

The measure was approved by the Illinois Senate and forces teachers to choose between taking a reduced pension, or retaining access to state-backed health care upon retirement.

It took two tries, passing only after Democratic Senator Dave Koehler of Peoria switched his vote.

(via Flickr/jglazer75)

By a margin of 96-to-4, members of Illinois' largest public employees' union voted to ratify a new contract with the state.

AFSCME and Governor Pat Quinn's administration reached a deal in late February, but in order for it to take effect, a majority of the union's 35,000 members had to agree to it.

AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall says the negotiations may have been the toughest the union has ever experienced.

(National Institutes of Health)

Ambulance and fire agencies in Illinois have seen their budgets crunched. Some clients pay using Medicaid,  the Illinois-backed insurance for the poor. But the state is months behind on those payments.

According to Josh Ross, operations manager for America Ambulance in Springfield, Illinois is nearly six months behind. That's a total of $330,000.

"The Medicaid problem is kind of a double-edged sword," Ross said.  "On one is the fact we're not receiving the payments, but the other is the fact that the actual reimbursement is so much lower."

(via Flickr/Jennifer Boriss)

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.

(via Flickr/ilovebutter)

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.

(via Flickr/jglazer75)

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.

via 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.