Dick Durbin

(screenshot via Google Maps)

Residents of a small northwest Illinois village say they're eager for economic opportunities after the sale of a prison to the federal government. 

The Chicago-Sun Times reports that the sale of Thomson Correctional Center could bring up to 1,600 inmates and just as many jobs to struggling Thomson where fewer than 600 people reside.

(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.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

We recognize today as the anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Please see our resources for stories related to that commemoration here.

Mo. judge to hear case against worship disruption law

A federal judge will hear arguments today in a lawsuit over Missouri's new law making it a crime to disturb a worship service.

Attorneys for the ACLU are seeking a temporary injunction to block the law that took effect last month.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

The East St. Louis Housing Authority will use a portion of a federal grant it received in February to boost security at its seven main housing projects in the city.

The funds will allow for the construction of a perimeter fence at the John DeShields homes, new exterior lighting at the same site, and security cameras at all seven of the authority's major properties. The authority will also be able to hire eight full-time security guards.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

New Illinois laws aim to protect elderly

New laws signed by Gov. Pat Quinn this weekend are aimed at protecting the elderly in Illinois by increasing oversight of caregivers and making it easier for authorities to respond to cases of abuse or neglect.

One of the new pieces of legislation allows prosecutors to ask a court to freeze a suspect's assets if he is charged with financial exploitation of an elderly person. That's meant to keep a defendant from spending stolen money before restitution is collected.

vxla / Flickr

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin is urging railroad companies to conduct frequent track inspections to prevent rail derailments resulting from heat-related track buckling.
 
The Illinois Democrat's remarks during a Sunday press conference come as investigators continue to examine the cause of a July 4 train derailment that killed two people.
 
A Glenview husband and wife were crushed by the wreckage of a Union Pacific freight train derailment that caused a suburban Chicago railroad bridge to collapse. It sent train cars crashing onto the couple's car on the road below.
 

UPI/Paul Newton/The Southern

Southern Ill. denied federal disaster aid

The parts of southern Illinois destroyed by deadly storms and a tornado last month will not be declared federal disaster areas.

U.S Senator Dick Durbin says FEMA's decision will make it tough on local government, businesses and individuals affected by the storms.

(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

A U.S. senator is stepping up his efforts to limit nightclub hours in East St. Louis.

Sen. Dick Durbin said Monday that earlier closing times for nightclubs and liquor stores would improve safety for city residents. The Illinois Democrat specifically challenged Mayor Alvin Parks Jr. to do his part in reducing crime rates. (Read the full letter from Durbin to Parks).

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin is touting new measures to increase security for public housing residents in East St. Louis. The federally-funded plan includes installing cameras at six high-rise properties and hiring a new security coordinator.

"We're going to be putting up lighting and fencing," Durbin said. "We're going to move forward to try to make sure the almost 4,500 residents of public housing in East St. Louis have a safer place to live."

(via Flickr/Eddie~~S)

$1.3 million ATM Solutions money restolen

The $6.6 million robbery of ATM Solutions in St. Louis in 2010 is believed to be the largest heist ever in St. Louis. It turns out the robbers themselves were victimized, too - at least $1.3 million was re-stolen. 

Durbin supports calls for repeal of Defense of Marriage Act

Some U.S Senators will be looking to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act this year.

The law prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriages.

Ill. Democratic Senator Dick Durbin says he wants it repealed as it relates to federal benefits.

"I believe that we should have marriage equality in this county, that we should treat people fairly, that we should not discriminate against them in this circumstance," said Durbin.

(via Wikimedia Commons)

Reporting from WBEZ's Susie An used in this report.

Illinois U.S. Senator Mark Kirk says North Korea faces instability after the death of dictator Kim Jong Il.

Kirk, a Republican, says regardless, the U.S. should attend the funeral of Kim Jong Il if invited by North Korea.

"We should sent a delegation because we should always try to build a new relationship with the regime even though it looks pretty bleak at this point," Kirk said.

(via Wikimedia Commons/United States Senate)

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says Democrats will continue to push for votes on a payroll tax cut extension after it failed.

Senate Republicans on Thursday rejected a Democratic plan to pay for the $120 billion tax cut extension with an extra tax on income above $1 million. Durbin says Congress is "going to go back to this next week and the following week."

(via Flickr/Nero.Lives)

Four U.S. senators and health officials from the cities hosting the World Series are urging the baseball players union to agree to a ban on chewing tobacco at games and on camera.

The senators, including the No. 2 Democrat Dick Durbin of Illinois, and the health officials from St. Louis and Arlington, Texas, made the pleas in separate letters, obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press. The World Series between the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals begins in St. Louis Wednesday night.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Reporting from WBEZ's Tony Arnold and Ammad Omar used in this report.

Republicans are criticizing President Barack Obama for visiting his home state Wednesday.

The Democratic president is scheduled to visit Western Illinois as part of a Midwestern tour.

Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady says Mr. Obama's policies have not helped the state's economy.

(Elena Schneider/Medill News Service)

Durbin opposes short-term extension of debt-ceiling

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Ill. has announced that he wants to extend the debt ceiling until after the 2012 election. He says Republican House Speaker John Boehner’s plan to raise the ceiling as budget cuts are made would do nothing to help the economy, and won’t keep credit agencies from downgrading the nation’s debt. Rather, he says it would lead to higher interest rates.

 New conservative ad campaign targets Mo. Sen. McCaskill, among others

(Official Portrait/via Wikimedia Commons)

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says a Metro East port project is getting more money.

Durbin announced the $8.5 million from the Department of Transportation. The money is to help build a transportation hub that Durbin says can help reduce congestion on the Mississippi River.

Durbin's office says the project got $6 million last year. The project includes a harbor, rail lines and a rail and truck facility in Madison County, Ill.

The Illinois Democrat says the facility can help the Metro East's economic competitiveness.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill has drafted a letter to the Federal Trade Commission asking that an investigation be launched into recent allegations of price fixing of gasoline by U.S. oil refiners.

The letter, a release states, comes after a report in the Kansas City Star "analyzed the ballooning profit margin by oil refiners in recent months."

(via Wikimedia Commons)

Reporting from WBEZ's Tony Arnold used in this report.

Illinois' two U.S. senators are saying party leaders are trying to avoid a government shut down. Lawmakers are facing a Friday deadline to finalize the federal budget.

Illinois' senior U.S. senator, Democrat Dick Durbin, said budget negotiations with House Republicans and Speaker John Boehner are close to wrapping up.

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk says the size of the evacuation zones around the six nuclear power plants in Illinois should be reviewed.

Kirk and fellow U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin held a forum Friday with a panel of four nuclear experts that resembled a congressional hearing to talk about safety in Illinois in the wake of the disaster in Japan.

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