Illinois | St. Louis Public Radio

Illinois

Experts say billions in a multi-year plan won't go far enough to address infrastructure repairs and upkeep.

Illinois will host what could be the most expensive race for governor in U.S. history. The huge increase in campaign spending raises a lot of questions about the rise of big money in politics. Between now and the election, Illinois Issues will examine the impact in a series we're calling Money Machines.

A measure that has passed the Illinois House would require hospitals to have Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) who can treat and examine victims of sexual assault. Some say it would mean better collection of forensic evidence and better treatment of victims.

As the midterm election draws near, some state lawmakers want to change the way Illinois’ political districts are drawn. They want to do that by giving voters a chance to change the constitution.
 

The Lincoln-Douglas Square in Alton commemorates one of the city's claims to fame. It also welcomes visitors to the town of almost 27,000 people. March 21, 2018.
Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

When Lauren Pattan and James Rogalsky started looking for a building to house their brewery, they didn’t plan to move from St. Louis to Alton, where they’d both grown up. But they found the perfect building on Landmark Boulevard, right near the riverfront and off Alton’s old Antiques Row on East Broadway, and it swayed them.

The downtown stretch of Broadway, Rogalsky said, had been “neglected for the last several decades.” But in the last few years, new businesses have opened on the street. Established food staples moved from the city’s traditional main street to Broadway. A tattoo parlor opened at the same intersection as beauty and art supply shops, and a self-serve craft beer bar cropped up.

Illinois Takes On Sexual Harassment

Apr 5, 2018
Illustrator Pat Byrnes​

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, state lawmakers have tried to address sexual harassment in a variety of ways. We explore what's been done and what some say may be ahead.

Pickup trucks and construction equipment crowd the lawn of the Illinois Executive Mansion and the block across the street.

Gov. Bruce Rauner and his wife, Diana, have raised the money for the $15 million mansion makeover, which is slated to be complete by the end of the summer. And the governor is eyeing the city-owned block, dubbed the “Y-block” for the YWCA that used to sit there, as an extension of that project.

Facebook is facing tough questions in the wake of the 2016 presidential election. Did Russians use social media to sway the election? Why is there so much fake news? Why isn’t Facebook more transparent?

Ledy Van Kavage, a senior legislative attorney, with the Best Friends Animal Society.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

A new slate of laws meant to protect animals will go into effect in Illinois come Jan. 1. The number of laws passed in the recent legislative session has skyrocketed the state to be considered the first-ranked in the nation in terms of animal welfare, by the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

Missouri, on the other hand, is ranked 36th. 

School Illustration
Illustration by Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Officials in Metro East K-12 school districts say they have teacher shortages in some subject areas. But new teacher licensing rules that went into effect July 1 may help.

The longest time of solar eclipse totality will be viewed in southern Illinois come Aug. 21.
vbloke | Flickr

The Aug. 21 total solar eclipse event creeps ever closer. While the path of totality crosses quite a bit of Missouri, and even part of St. Louis, the longest duration of the eclipse will actually be in southern Illinois. 

In Murphysboro and Makanda, totality will last for a whopping two minutes and 40 seconds. At one point in the Shawnee National Forest, just south of Carbondale, eclipse viewers will see totality for two minutes and 44 seconds. According to eclipse enthusiasts, those seconds make a big difference.

The Illinois State Capitol.
J. Stephen Conn | Flickr

On our Friday “Behind the Headlines" segment, we take a look at a top news story from the week. This week, we turned our attention to the Illinois budget and, then, to Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens' actions this week. 

Illinois Misses Deadline To Pass Budget, Consequences Hover

Jul 1, 2017
The Illinois capitol building in Springfield, Ill.
The Illinois capitol building in Springfield, Ill. / Jeremy Wilburn | Flickr

  A $36.5 billion plan to rebuild Illinois' crumbling finances passed a critical test on Friday, but a powerful legislative leader said no deal would be reached before a midnight deadline — meaning Illinois will enter its third consecutive fiscal year without a budget.

The Illinois State Capitol.
J. Stephen Conn | Flickr

The state of Illinois has been without a budget for the past two years and could enter a third straight year without a spending plan if a budget is not sent to Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner by Friday.

 

 

The Illinois Senate passed a budget package Tuesday after a similar plan failed last week. The difference was several new “yes” votes from liberal Democrats. No Republicans supported either plan.

File photo | U.S. Department of Education

A report released Wednesday singles out Missouri for being the only state in the nation that requires science and social studies teachers to pass tests in all of the subject matters in which they are certified.

Sam Werkmeister, 30, sits on his porch in Granite City on March 30, 2017. Werkmeister is recovering from an addiction to opioids, which began with prescription pills.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio.

Sam Werkmeister, a father of two, nearly died six times last year.

He started taking pain pills to get through shifts at a restaurant. That led him to a full-blown addiction to opioids. After a relapse last summer, it took Werkmeister six months to gather the courage to go back into treatment. 

“It’s called carfentanil, and it’s really cheap,” he said, as he sat on a worn couch in the Granite City group home he shares with a half dozen other men. “It destroyed my life.”

The Illinois State Capitol in Springfield.
File photo | Seth Perlman | Associated Press

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner delivered his State of the State address Wednesday and said he was optimistic about Illinois’ future despite the historic budget impasse that has dragged on for more than a year. 

Areli Muñoz Reyes, who is enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, attends St. Louis Community College at Forest Park.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

For the past two years Missouri legislators in Jefferson City have sent a strong message to undocumented students in the region: you can go to college in Missouri, but we won’t make it easy.

That's what it looks like, at least, to Areli Muñoz Reyes a student  St. Louis Community College at Forest Park who started in the fall of 2015. Already worried about what will happen to undocumented students under the administration of Donald Trump, she’s also facing steep tuition rates without the state-funded scholarship she worked hard for.

Much of Monroe County bordering the Mississippi River is in a flood plain. This view of the plain is from the bluffs near Valmeyer in 2013.
File Photo | Mary Leonard | St. Louis Beacon

Only 14 counties nationwide have a lower poverty rate than Monroe County, Illinois, located directly south of St. Louis, according to a new census report.

The mostly agricultural area located across the Mississippi River from Jefferson County had a median household income of just under $80,000 in 2015, and about 5 percent of the population was considered low-income.

Pages