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.

(Official Department of Justice Photo/via Wikimedia Commons)

Some reporting also via Amanda Vinicky, Illinois Public Radio

Updated 1:31 p.m. with statement from current Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn.

The man whose prosecutions helped put two Illinois Governors (George Ryan and then Rod Blagojevich) in prison has announced he's stepping down.

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Patrick Fitzgerald's office made the announcement today, effective June 30.  He's been in the position since 2001.

(via Flickr/kev_hickey_uk)

 

Updated 3:42 p.m. with Illinois Public Radio story.

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

Although the NATO protests in Chicago have come and gone, today the Illinois House took a second crack at making it legal to create audio recordings of police. This time the legislation passed.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

St. Louis police express concerns with cameras in patrol cars

Officers with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department are seeking ways to avoid driving patrol cars equipped with cameras over concerns that footage from the cameras is being used against them.

(via Flickr/rosmary)

Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky reported for this story.

Legislators' initial plans for reducing Illinois' Medicaid expenses have been unveiled - but other controversial aspects of the savings plan have yet to be filed as legislation.

A portion of the estimated savings comes from kicking undeserving recipients off the rolls. 

Illinois would no longer just assume people remain eligible for Medicaid, a practice Senator Heather Steans, a Chicago Democrat, says has caused skepticism.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Eads Bridge over budget, behind schedule

Elected officials from Missouri and Illinois will gather tomorrow at the Eads Bridge to break ground on a $36 million rehabilitation project for the 138-year-old structure.

But the St. Louis Post-Dispatch finds that the federally-funded  project is over budget and behind schedule.

(via Flickr/jglazer75)

Will be updated. Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky used in this report.

Democrats in the Illinois Senate are proposing a budget that would hold education spending flat and pay a chunk of the state's pile of overdue bills.

But doing that would require cuts to public safety and most other areas of government, as well as dipping into money set aside for special purposes.

Democratic Senator Dan Kotowski from Park Ridge says the budget proposal addresses citizens' wants.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

County parks audit finds spending on vehicles during budget crisis

An internal audit of the St. Louis County Parks Department has found the department spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on new vehicles, even as county executive Charlie Dooley was threatening to close parks and lay off employees.

Record attendance for St. Louis Zoo

The first four and a half months of the year have been a record one for the St. Louis Zoo, no doubt helped by an unseasonably warm winter and spring.

Officials said Monday that more than one million people had entered the Zoo’s gates in through May 13. The Zoo expects those numbers to go higher once Sea Lion Sound opens on June 30.

A year after record floods, drought conditions in southeast Missouri

What a difference a year makes in southeastern Missouri.

(via Flickr/JimBowen0306)

Reporting from Amanda Vinicky was used in this story.

Like its counterpart in Missouri, the Illinois General Assembly is heading into the home stretch.

Lawmakers there have a bit more time to get through their agenda - their session isn't scheduled to end until the end of May. But unlike lawmakers in Missouri, Illinois legislators have a monumental task in front of them - passing a state budget.

Most state agencies will have their budget cut by 9 percent.

IndofunkSatish/via Flickr

Judge approves settlement in lawsuit over mental health care for the deaf

A federal judge has approved a settlement in a class action lawsuit brought against two Missouri state agencies on behalf of more than a thousand deaf residents.

Plaintiffs in the 2010 lawsuit alleged that the state departments of Mental Health and Social Services failed to provide adequate mental health care for deaf persons in crisis.

The departments were sued under the  Americans with Disabilities Act.

(via Flickr/Jennifer_Boriss)

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Guy Stephens and Brian Mackey was used in this report.

Longtime state employees would no longer be able get free health insurance when they retire under legislation approved by the Illinois House today.

The vote is part of a push to cut pension benefits for government retirees. The governor, House speaker and other officials want to save money by cutting pensions, health care and other costs.

House Republican Leader Tom Cross says it's the first of many difficult votes to come.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Mo. House, Senate push for elimination of Sue Shear Institute

The Missouri House has approved legislation that would strip state funding from an institute that trains women for careers in politics.

The Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life is located at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and bills itself non-partisan. Its detractors, however, argue the Institute caters to Democrats - a characterization that Springfield Democrat Sara Lampe strongly disputes.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Mo. General Assembly sends probation and parole reforms to Gov. Nixon

The Missouri General Assembly has sent Gov. Jay Nixon a measure that could reduce the amount of time some non-violent felons in the state spend on probation and parole.

The state Senate approved the measure yesterday 24-3, shortly after the state House did the same thing without opposition.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Updated at 6:15 am Wednesday. Reporting from Amanda Vinicky in Springfield and Jacob McCleland in Cape Girardeau was used in this report.

An Illinois legislative commission has signaled its opposition to Gov. Pat Quinn's plan to close two prisons and a state center for people with developmental disabilities.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Counterproposal for Edward Jones Dome upgrades due tomorrow

The St. Louis Rams have until tomorrow to offer their own price tag for upgrades to the Edward Jones Dome in downtown St. Louis.

The Rams' lease requires the Dome to be in the "top tier" of stadiums in the National Football League. That tems is not clearly defined, but it's generally meant within the top 25 percent. Otherwise, the Rams are free to depart St. Louis in 2015.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Will be updated.

Updated 2:07 p.m. with more information on downstate schools, cause of pension problem.

Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn wants to raise the retirement age for Illinois public employees and require them to contribute more money to their retirement funds.

Those are the key parts of what Quinn calls a "bold plan" to shore up state pension systems. They're now about $85 billion short of the money they'll eventually need.

(via Wikimedia Commons)

Gov. Pat Quinn says saving the Illinois Medicaid program will require cutting services, raising cigarette taxes and cutting payments to health-care providers.

Aides to the Democratic governor told The Associated Press on Thursday that Quinn is proposing a cigarette tax increase of $1 per pack. They expect the tax to generate about $337 million, which would then be matched by the federal government.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

MoDOT resurrects controversial I-55 ramp proposal

The Missouri Department of Transportation is again pushing a proposal to build two-lane ramps to ease the congestion at Interstate 55 and the Poplar Street Bridge.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Amanda Vinicky contributed reporting from Springfield.

Ill. lawmakers have packed agenda when they return to Springfield

State lawmakers in Illinois have about seven weeks left to untangle a host of thorny problems.

(University of Illinois website)

This story will be updated. Information from Amanda Vinicky at Illinois Public Radio was used in this report.

For the second time in three years, the University of Illinois is looking for a new president.

Flickr/soundfromwayout

Blagojevich headed to prison today

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich left his Chicago home this morning and is heading to Colorado to begin a 14-year federal prison term for corruption.

He is expected to report to the prison by 2 o’clock this afternoon.  

Blagojevich is the state's second governor in a row to be sent to prison for corruption.

The famously talkative Democrat embraced the public spotlight one last time yesterday evening, seeming to relish the attention of reporters' microphones and hovering television helicopters.

(via Flickr/neil_conway)

Mo. House approves test program that helps children visit moms in prison

Missouri House members are calling for a pilot project to help women in the state's prisons have more contact with their children.

Legislation approved by the House would require the Corrections and Social Services departments to start a two-year test program to provide transportation for children and a caretaker to visit their mothers in prison.

The measure was approved Thursday on a vote of 126-23 and now moves to the Senate.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Child abusers could face tougher penalties under Mo. legislation

People who injure or kill a baby by shaking the child could face tougher penalties under legislation moving through the Missouri House. The House has endorsed a measure expanding Missouri's child abuse law to specifically cover causing a baby's death or injury by shaking.

UPI/Tom Uhlenbrock

Obama to speak at Joplin commencement

President Barack Obama will speak at the high school graduation ceremony in Joplin. A White House official says Obama will deliver remarks at the commencement, scheduled for May 21.

The president is going back to Joplin after visiting in the days immediately following last year's tornado. More than 160 people were killed by the tornado, the worst to hit the United States in decades. Among the dead were seven students and one staff member at the high school.

(UPI/Caleb Cattivera)

Nixon declares state of emergency for severe storms, possible tornadoes hit southwestern Mo., southern Ill.; at least four confirmed dead

(via Wikimedia Commons)

Even though the recession is over and Illinois' budget is padded with last year's income tax hike, money is still tight in state government. This puts Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn in a difficult position as he lays out his budget for the next year.

The Governor will give his budget address today at noon at the Illinois Capitol and it will be full of gloom.  And he is not even wading into the thick of the fiscal mess.  Illinois Public Radio’s Amanda Vinicky explains.

“The toughest budget we’ve ever faced.”

Flickr/Jason Dunnivant

Ill. Gov to propose closing 14 major facilities in budget address

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn's administration says the cuts and consolidations will result in more than 1,100 layoffs.

The cuts come in all sizes. At the large end is Tamms Correctional Center, a southern Illinois prison that houses about 400 inmates  -- which is just over half of capacity.

Flickr/AMagill

Snow to fall on St. Louis region today

A winter weather advisory is in effect until midnight. The National Weather Service says the winter storm will bring snow into Central Missouri this morning and will spread eastward across the St. Louis area during the day and continue into tonight.

Flickr/orangeacid

Parkway School District to cut spending

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Parkway School Board has approved cutting spending by about $7.5 million to $9.6 million during the next two school years. The school board approved the cuts Wednesday night.

Reductions include eliminating 20 positions from administration and support staff, mostly through attrition.

Flickr/rinkjustic

More time to pay off payday loans under proposed

Payday loans are unsecured loans of $500 or less that must be paid off within 31 days.  Sen. John Lamping, a St. Louis County Republican, told a Senate committee Monday that people should get at least 90 days to pay off those loans. The bill would also make it illegal for payday lenders to roll over or extend loans beyond 90 days.

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