Illinois | St. Louis Public Radio

Illinois

"Get to Know M.E." http://www.get2knowthemetroeast.com

In March 2015, 23 businesses and organizations collaborated to create the “Get to Know M.E.” campaign (M.E. standing for “Metro East”) to counter the negative images some people may have about the Metro East.

Founded by Carol Bartle, the campaign’s goal is to help everyone in the Metro East get to know their communities better and to embrace each other as neighbors, all while working to improve the overall image outsiders may have about the region.

File photo | WUIS Radio

Illinois' new Republican governor is calling for deep spending cuts to address a state budget billions in the red without raising taxes.

Gov. Bruce Rauner said during his first budget address Wednesday that Illinois has been living beyond its means.

File photo | WUIS Radio

 Gov. Bruce Rauner has laid out a first-year agenda he says will make Illinois more competitive and "empower" people and local governments.  The Winnetka Republican delivered his first State of the State address Wednesday.    He says Illinois must make changes to become more welcoming to businesses.  

"Our workers compensation, unemployment insurance and liability costs all rank among the worst in America. Those costs add up to far more than just numbers on an accountant's balance sheet," Rauner said. "They impact real people with real jobs and real families."

The city of Quincy, Ill., is celebrating its 175th anniversary this year, which will include concerts at its riverfront park on the east bank of the Mississippi River.
Lpangelrob, via Wikipedia

After holding a kick-off event Tuesday evening, Quincy, Ill., is launching a yearlong series of events to celebrate its 175th anniversary.

Quincy's Mayor Kyle Moore said various community events and concerts will round out the festivities throughout the year. An anniversary bash in May during the city's dogwood celebration will feature a parade with a #Quincy175 theme and a Saturday night street concert. Four regional acts will perform. 

Proposition B asks to voters to allow their local city or county to continue collecting sales tax on cars bought out of state
File photo | St. Louis Public Radio

There’s a new effort underway to shut down the East St. Louis Election Board.

Illinois State Rep. Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon) is sponsoring a bill to close it. Kay’s district includes portions of Madison and St. Clair County, but not East St. Louis.

If the bill passes, the St. Clair County Clerk will take over responsibility for elections in East St. Louis.

Illinois Gov.-Elect Bruce Rauner shakes the hand of a diner at Red Apple Family Restaurant in Maryville, Ill. on January 10, 2015.
Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

With the countdown to inauguration day down to two, Illinois Governor-Elect Bruce Rauner stepped into Red Apple Family Restaurant in the Metro East Saturday with a Carhartt jacket on his back and a smile on his face.

The discerning eye could note a silver Illinois-shaped pin stuck to the lapel of the tan work coat.

The crowded red-roofed eatery in the village of Maryville was the Republican’s first stop Saturday—the second day of his pre-inauguration tour.

Adam, 37, Michaela, 3, and Kristy Frederick, 37, on a family hike in Colorado. The family moved to the state in 2013, in the hopes of treating Michaela's frequent seizures with an oil made from medical cannabis.
Frederick Family

 The state of Illinois has already missed a self-imposed deadline to license medical marijuana cultivators and dispensaries by the end of 2014.

The law allows people suffering from one of about 40 conditions to use medical marijuana with a doctor’s approval. It passed the Illinois legislature more than a year ago, but with a Republican governor soon to take office, it’s unclear exactly when state regulators will issue permits to the future suppliers.

In the meantime, patients continue to wait.

In Denver, One Family Delays a Homecoming

State comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, shown in this state photo, died December 10, 2014 from complications of a stroke at the age of 70.
via Illinois Comptroller website

(Updated 3:54 p.m., Wed., Dec. 10 with more reaction.)

Judy Baar Topinka, a leading figure in Illinois politics for decades, died suddenly Wednesday morning. Topinka, the state comptroller, won re-election to a second term in that office in November. Her office says she suffered a stroke. She was 70 years old. 

Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

The motto of the Excel Bottling Company in Breese, Ill., is “Good Things Don’t Have To Change.”

And they really mean it.

Here, on the corner of Broadway and Clinton streets, four generations of the Meier family have been selling soda for nearly 80 years.

They make it the old-fashioned way -- with pure cane sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup -- using  vintage bottling equipment that was already “secondhand” when it was purchased in 1936.

Incumbent Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican nominee Bruce Rauner met for the first formal debate of the general election season Thursday in Peoria. The panel included Illinois Public Radio/WUIS Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky and Illinois Issues Executive Editor Jamey Dunn.

Watch or listen to the full debate:


Illinois state Rep. Mike Bost's impassioned floor speech from 2012 is getting some attention. Democrats are using it to paint him as an ill-tempered extremist, while Republicans say it showcases his passion for his constituents.
Mike Bost's campaign

On the surface, Mike Bost and Moses don’t have that much in common. But some not-so-flattering political ads may create a different impression.

Bost – a Republican state representative from Murphysboro – is engaged in a highly competitive race against U.S. Rep. Bill Enyart, D-Belleville, for the 12th congressional district seat. It’s become vigorous enough to force the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to spend lots of money to paint Bost in a bad light.

sign for medical marijuana
Wikimedia Commons

The opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a new industry has a Metro East entrepreneur moving forward with plans for a medical marijuana operation, even though there is no guarantee of being granted a license by the state of Illinois.

Mitch Meyers is a partner with NCC LLC, which stands for Nature's Care Company. She says the company has already invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into a potential cultivation center and dispensary near Marissa in St. Clair County.

Flickr | alancleaver_2000

Illinois voters will consider this November whether to amend the state constitution over rights for crime victims.

Victims already have certain rights, including: to be told about court dates, to attend trials and to give impact statements.

But some advocates believe a constitutional amendment is needed to better protect these rights.

Alan J. Dixon
Wikipedia

Updated with tentative funeral arrangements.

Alan J. Dixon, a two-term Democratic senator from Illinois and long-time figure in Illinois politics, died today. According to a report in the Belleville News-Democrat, Mr. Dixon had had heart problems for the past two years and had recently been in Barnes-Jewish hospital. "He came home on Thursday and he was in good spirits," Jeff Dixon, the senator’s son, told the News-Democrat. "We had dinner with cold Budweiser followed by a glass of red wine."

Mr. Dixon was 86. He would have turned 87 on Monday.

The Illinois Capitol in Springfield
Flickr | jglazer75

No one says the $35.7 billion 2015 budget approved by the Illinois Legislature late last week is balanced. As the Belleville News Democrat reported, “Democratic Sen. Dan Kotowski, a Senate budget negotiator, described the plan as ‘incomplete’ but the best lawmakers could do this session.

Washington is just starting to rebuild.

Much of the central Illinois town was wiped away by a half-mile-wide tornado in November. In all, 1,108 homes were destroyed or rendered uninhabitable — a huge share of the housing stock in a city of 15,000.

"Early on, people were asking me how long it was going to take to rebuild the city, and I said we'll do it in a year," says Mayor Gary Manier. "That was wishful thinking."

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Every week, St. Louis Public Radio's Chris McDaniel, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum talk about the week’s politics. 

We’ve broken another barrier on the show: U.S. Rep. John Shimkus is the first political figure from Illinois to be a guest on the podcast. The Collinsville Republican has represented large areas of southern Illinois since 1997 and plays a major role on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

A hike in the minimum wage, sending more children to preschool and more grants for low-income college students are all part of the agenda Governor Pat Quinn laid out Wednesday in his State of the State address.

Five years to the day after he first became governor, Pat Quinn tried to make the case that Illinois is "making a comeback." It's also the anniversary of when lawmakers removed his predecessor from office. Ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich is now serving a federal prison sentence for corruption.

Quinn says he's helped restore integrity to state government.

(via Flickr/kcdsTM)

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has appointed the seven men and women he wants to review objections raised by local or state police to applications for concealed-carry permits.

(via U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is seeking public feedback on the state's first-ever regulations for high-volume oil and gas drilling.

The DNR published proposed regulations for hydraulic fracturing today, which begins a public comment period that will last until Jan. 3.

(via Flickr/Of Small Things)

Gun owners in Illinois who want a concealed-carry permit before April 2014 will have to file a new lawsuit in federal court.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Many taxpayers have focused in recent weeks on the copper-plated doors newly installed at the Capitol. Critics rap them as exorbitant; preservationists and architects deem them appropriate for the grand, historic building and stress they should last for at least 30 years.

But what about barred doors that restrict opportunity and could diminish the Land of Lincoln during those decades? Mettle, not metal, should command our interest and energy.

(Illinois General Assembly website)

A longtime Illinois state lawmaker says he's running for a southern Illinois congressional seat.

State Rep. Mike Bost of Murphysboro won't seek re-election in the state's 115th District and instead will pursue the 12th Congressional District seat. 

The Republican has been a state lawmaker for 18 years.

The U.S. House seat Bost will pursue is held by Democrat Bill Enyart, who was elected last November and announced in May he'll be seeking another two-year term.

The 12th District stretches from the Illinois suburbs of St. Louis to the state's southernmost tip.

(via Flickr/Of Small Things)

Updated at 11:50 a.m., Friday, June 7 & 3:14 p.m. 

The Illinois State Police on Friday issued a response to Gibbons' letter. The state police, along with the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police and the Illinois Sheriff's Association, say they will continue to enforce state law which prohibits the carrying of "an immediately accessible firearm on your person or in your vehicle regardless of whether it is concealed." Violating the law can result in an arrest.

Our original story:

Wikimedia Commons

The sponsor of same-sex marriage legislation is facing a backlash for not calling it for a vote before the Illinois General Assembly adjourned on Friday. 

Gay rights activists praised Rep. Greg Harris in 2011 for helping pass civil unions. Some of those same activists are now criticizing him.

(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.

Former Ill. Comptroller Dawn Clark Netsch Dies

Mar 5, 2013
(photo from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum website)

Updated at 11:05 a.m. with statement from Ill. Governor Pat Quinn.

Updated at 10:10 with statement from Ill. Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

Former Illinois comptroller Dawn Clark Netsch has died at age 86.

Netsch's former chief of staff and longtime friend Wendy Cohen says Netsch died early Tuesday. The Democrat announced in January that she had been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, a fatal nerve disorder.

The agreement between the St. Louis County Family Court and the Justice Department, almost a year and a half in the making, is aimed at correcting violations in young people's due process and harsher treatment directed at black children.
Bloomsberries | Flickr

The full U.S. appeals court for the 7th Circuit will not reconsider its ruling that Illinois' ban on the concealed carry of weapons is unconstitutional.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan had asked all 11 judges to hear the case. Today's decision by six of those judges allows the earlier 2-1 ruling to stand. One judge, Michael Kanne, did not participate in the petition for a full court hearing.

(via Flickr/jglazer75)

It's the start of Illinois' new legislative session, and Governor Pat Quinn laid out, yesterday, what he wants lawmakers to accomplish.  

In his fifth state of the state address since becoming governor, Quinn laid out a wide-ranging agenda which includes letting same-sex couples get married, raising the minimum wage, and prohibiting the sale of assault weapons.

Host Don Marsh talked with Illinois Public Radio/WUIS statehouse bureau chief Amanda Vinicky about the speech and politics in Illinois.

(via Flickr/myoldpostcards)

Updated 11:33 a.m. to show that Ryan left the halfway house.

Attorney Jim Thompson says Ryan was released from the halfway house a short time after arriving there. Thompson, also a former Illinois governor, traveled with Ryan to his home in Kankakee, where he will remain in home confinement.

Speaking from Ryan's living room, Thompson said Ryan was beaming and surrounded by his smiling grandchildren.

Original story:

Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan has been released from federal prison in Indiana - but is not yet totally free.

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