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

Illinois had offered health insurance coverage to all children. But now there's an income cap to get the state-backed coverage - critics call it shortsighted.

As the name "All Kids" suggests, all children were eligible, but as of July 1, only families within 300 percent of the poverty level can apply.

That's an income cap of $67,000 for a family of four.

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Reporting by Illinois Public Radio’s Amanda Vinicky used in this report.

The cuts Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn made to hospitals probably won’t be the final deal. The administration is using the move in an effort to further its agenda.

Illinois reimburses hospitals when they take on low-income patients who are on Medicaid, and state law sets the rate hospitals are to be paid.

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Reporting by Illinois Public Radio’s Sean Crawford used in this report.

Illinois has a reputation not only as a hotbed for public corruption, but also as a place where high ranking officials are prosecuted for misdeeds. Former U.S. Senator Peter Fitzgerald, who is known for his clashes with the GOP’s old guard, is partly to thank for that.

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Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Luke Runyon used in this report.

Asian carp - the invasive fish that's plagued Illinois rivers and is threatening the Great Lakes could soon become a staple at food banks.

Todd Main, with the state Department of Natural Resources, says there's more than two hundred million pounds of Asian carp swimming in the state's rivers.

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

Murderers convicted in Illinois will no longer be sentenced to death row as the state ban on capital punishment takes effect Friday.

It won't remain in place long if Republican Representative Dennis Reboletti of Elmhurst has his way.

Reboletti says he will try pass a law reinstating the death penalty.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

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

Mere hours before the start of a new fiscal year, Ill. Governor Pat Quinn signed a new state budget into law. But not without making some changes to it.

Immediately after legislators sent Quinn a budget, he panned it for not spending enough - especially when it comes to education.

Flickr/SDNG photo by OC Chad Carlson

Second Breach on Missouri River Reported

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported the first breach on the levee near the Missouri-Iowa border yesterday. The second breach, which is about 10 feet wide, was reported this morning.

The corps says the Iowa National Guard has been dropping thousands of pounds of large sandbags to help fill the breaches, but the damaged areas are expected to fully breach as water levels rise.

Flickr/ jglazer75

Ill. General Assembly Approves Budget

Schools are traditionally an area Illinois legislators have left untouched when they're looking to cut spending. But the budget the General Assembly approved Monday night gives 3 percent less to education for the coming year that begins in July.

Overall cuts are wide ranging and total $2.3 billion less than what Gov. Pat Quinn proposed  in Feb. That was enough for Republicans in the House, but the Senate GOP says it's still too rich.

(Screen capture via Illinois House Republicans website)

Updated at 3:52 - Replaced story from the Associated Press with story from Illinois Public Radio.

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Luke Runyon was used in this report.

Republicans at the Illinois statehouse Thursday countered new legislative boundaries drawn by the ruling Democrats. The GOP touts its map as far superior, but at this point it may be moot.

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Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Luke Runyon used in this report.

A plan to prohibit public disclosure of licensed gun owners is headed to the Governor, who has indicated he supports it.

The 42 to 1 Senate vote Friday would overturn a ruling earlier this year by Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office that the names are public under the Freedom of Information Act.

Madigan responded after the Illinois State Police refused to release the names to reporters.  Roughly one million people are registered to own firearms in Illinois.

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Illinois Legislators Return to Springfield

When Illinois legislators return to the Capitol Monday afternoon, it could be the beginning of the end. The General Assembly is scheduled to meet daily through the end of this month, when they're supposed to adjourn.

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

Legislators have given their equivalent of an "A" to an education measure heralded as landmark. After heavy negotiations, it's on its way to the governor's desk.

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The Illinois state House has rejected a measure that would have allowed Illinois residents to carry a concealed weapon.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

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

Governor Pat Quinn sent a message Tuesday asking lawmakers to reject a plan that would allow concealed carrying of firearms.  But an Illinois House committee ignored Quinn and advanced the measure.   It could be called for a floor vote this week.

Quinn says he doesn't want residents carrying loaded guns.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Updated 1:51 p.m. April 28:

Via the Associated Press:

The Black River is receding at Poplar Bluff, Mo., and some 1,000 evacuees are now allowed to go home.

Officials in the southeast Missouri community of 17,000 residents on Thursday lifted a mandatory evacuation order for a large section of town, where river water has been pouring over the top of the levee.

Residents in the impacted area can return home whenever they choose.

Many will find a mess left behind by the murky water. Officials don't yet know how many homes were damaged in Poplar Bluff and in a rural area of Butler County also protected by the levee.

The National Weather Service said Thursday that after a crest of 21.4 feet on Tuesday, the Black River at Poplar Bluff was down to 19.1 feet.

Updated 11:14 a.m. April 27:

Via the Associated Press:

The Army Corps of Engineers says it will wait until this weekend to decide whether to intentionally break a southeastern Missouri levee along the Mississippi River.

The Corps has said it may have to blow holes in the Birds Point levee to ease rising waters near the Illinois town of Cairo which sits near the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.

Missouri has sued (see 12:58 update) to block the effort because it would swamp farmland. A hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

But Corps spokesman Bob Anderson tells The Associated Press that even if a judge gives the go-ahead, the agency will wait until it gets a better forecast of the river crests to see if the breach is necessary. That decision isn't likely to come until at least this weekend.

Updated 5:06 p.m. April 26:

Via the Associated Press:

Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon is defending the idea of intentionally breaching a Missouri levee to reduce flooding in Cairo.

Missouri officials object to the plan, saying it would endanger 130,000 acres of prime farmland.

But Simon told The Associated Press on Tuesday that farmers will be compensated for their losses and will be able to use the land next year. On the other hand, flooding could devastate the poor town of Cairo.

She noted an Illinois levee was intentionally breached during 1993 flooding.

Simon also says the Army Corps of Engineers would not break the Birds Point levee until water had already topped the levee.

The Corps of Engineers says it will put off a decision until at least Wednesday.

Updated 4:20 p.m. April 26:

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill says she has concerns about the intentional breaching of the levee at Birds Point (via a press release):

“While emergency responders and volunteers work to save lives and protect property as best they can, the Army Corps of Engineers are working to find a solution to alleviate the stress from our levees.  I have grave concerns about the plan to intentionally breach Bird’s Point Levee that is being considered. In the effort to prevent more damage, we may do additional significant harm to the agricultural economy of the region that will last well after the flood waters recede.”

The release says McCaskill has already communicated her concerns with the Army Corps of Engineers' leadership.

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Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Luke Runyon used in this report.

The Illinois Department of Transportation doesn't keep statistics on accidents unless a moving car is involved.  That's why Ed Barsotti with the League of Illinois Bicyclists says "dooring" was invisible in state record books.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky added to this report at 5:29 p.m. April 12, 2011.

Gov. Pat Quinn is taking his push for workers' compensation reform to Illinois business leaders.

Participants in Business Lobby Day in Springfield applauded the Democrat when he called for fixing a system critics say costs employers too much and is driving them from the state.

(via Landmarks Illinois)

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Luke Runyon used in this report.

Several aging buildings in Illinois have a better chance of survival now that they’ve been added to Landmarks Illinois’ list of the Ten Most Endangered Historic Places for 2011.

Two of the properties are over 100 years old, and others, includes Belleville Turner Hall, a community and civic center in Belleville, Ill., which dates back to the 1920s and ‘30s.

(via Wikimedia Commons/United States Senate)

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Luke Runyon used in this report.

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk says Libyan rebels should be given weapons to help them quickly overthrow Moammar Gadhafi's regime.

The Illinois Republican says furnishing weapons will help end the Libyan war and limit costs for the United States and its allies. 

Kirk spoke with reporters Friday. He says the conflict in Libya needs to be finished quickly. 

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Updated 3:20 p.m. with Illinois Public Radio story including more detail and comment from Rutherford.

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

Illinois' treasurer invests the state's money. The Comptroller pays the bills. A measure approved by the Senate today would merge the two constitutional offices.

Supporters say it makes "sense" - literally and metaphorically. According to projections, the consolidation would result in a savings of $12 million.

View Locations of found radiation from Japan in IL in a larger map

The map above depicts the locations highlighted in the following story where trace amounts of radiation from Japan have been found in Illinois - Will County and Springfield, Ill.

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Sean Crawford used in this report.

Trace amounts of radiation from Japan have shown up in Illinois. But state officials say there's no reason for concern.

Minute levels of radioactive materials have been detected in both northern and central Illinois.  The state's Emergency Management Agency says radioactive iodine was found in grass clippings in Will County and in an air sample collected at a lab in Springfield.

(via Flickr/jglazer75)

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

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn's proposed budget is virtually ignored in the Illinois House leaders' bipartisan plan.

Saving money by consolidating school districts and revisions to the tax code.  These were highlights of the governor's budget plan.

But they may be doomed.  Speaker Mike Madigan dismissed them.

"I have no comment on them, I just don't plan to pursue them," Madigan said.

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Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Luke Runyon used in this report.

Illinois State Republican lawmakers continue to push for a rollback of the recently passed income tax increase, but still haven't given their list of cuts to make up the difference. Senate Democrats are calling their bluff.

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

A new Illinois law is supposed to clamp down on state government's habit of overspending. But, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn waited until after his budget presentation to sign it.

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Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Luke Runyon used in this report.

School officials say Illinois Governor Pat Quinn's decision to slash school transportation spending could hurt instruction, even though he wants to increase the amount the state spends per pupil.

The budget Quinn unveiled in Springfield yesterday cuts $95 million from the state school busing fund.

via Flickr/alancleaver_2000

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Luke Runyon also used in this report.

A plan to collect money from Illinois tax deadbeats produced more than expected.

Gov. Pat Quinn's office said Monday that offering delinquent taxpayers a chance to pay up without punishment brought in $314 million. It was originally expected to produce about $250 million.

Experts believe much of that overdue tax money would have been collected eventually. The amnesty program simply brought it in faster.

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

According to an Illinois Supreme court stay issued today (which you can read below), the state can continue collecting higher taxes on liquor, coffee and grooming products.  But that may be only temporary.

The tax bumps have been in place since 2009.

Lawmakers intended for them, as well as proceeds from the legalization of video poker, to pay for a $31 billion infrastructure plan. 

Reporting from Sean Crawford, Illinois Public Radio also used in this report.

An Illinois appellate court has thrown out legalized video gambling and higher taxes on liquor and candy that were supposed to fund a $31 billion state construction plan.

The court ruled the 2009 law violated the state Constitution's prohibition on bills that deal with more than one subject.

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