Illinois

Republican National Convention
12:49 pm
Mon August 27, 2012

Ill. RNC delegates waiting out Isaac storm with state politicking

Mimosas at the hotel where Illinois delegates for the Republican National Convention are staying this week.
(Amanda Vinicky/Illinois Public Radio)

Tropical Storm Isaac has dismantled Illinois Republican’s convention plans. With national convention events canceled, they're no longer spending Monday nominating Mitt Romney as their candidate for president. That leaves an opportunity for them to focus on state politics.

Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky reports from the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

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Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn
10:23 am
Sun August 26, 2012

Quinn rejects plastic bag recycling bill

Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn.
(via Flickr/ChrisEaves.com)

Gov. Pat Quinn has vetoed a bill that would have required plastic bag manufacturers to set up collection and recycling programs, calling it a "roadblock" for local communities to make their own choices.

He rejected the proposed law Sunday.

Illinois State Parks
2:19 pm
Sat August 25, 2012

Retirements leave gap at Ill. state parks

Wallula Junction Flickr

Since late last year, almost a quarter of Illinois state park superintendents have retired, taking with them in many cases 30 or more years of experience that will be hard to replace.
 
The loss of that institutional knowledge is one more cost of the state's deep financial crisis. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is among state agencies hit hard by years of budget cuts.
 

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Illinois pensions
1:41 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

Possible credit rating downgrade looms for Illinois over pension issues

A interior view of the dome of the Illinois State Capitol building in Springfield, Ill.
(via Flickr/jglazer75)

A failed special session that was supposed to lead to the passage of pension reform has pushed Illinois closer to a downgrade of its credit rating.

Gov. Pat Quinn ordered lawmakers back to Springfield last Friday to deal with the state's massively underfunded pension systems, but the chambers could not agree on a deal.

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Enterprise zones
3:44 pm
Tue August 7, 2012

Quinn signs extension of tax breaks for Illinois businesses

Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation extending a widely used economic development tool.
(via Flickr/ChrisEaves.com)

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation that extends the life span of a popular economic development tool in the state.

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Drought
12:21 pm
Sat August 4, 2012

Hot summer means early, sweeter apple crop in Illinois

ollesvensson Flickr

With hotter-than-usual temperatures, orchards in southern Illinois are reporting their apple crops are weeks ahead of schedule.

Tom Range of Braeutigam Orchards in Belleville says they picked Gala apples last week. Normally they pick them in the middle of August.

Another surprise this year - the sugar content of the fruit is very high, making for sweeter fruit.

Sherry Chase of Mills Apple Farm in Marine explains that the apples "tend to be sweeter because the sugars are more concentrated."

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Human Trafficking
12:12 pm
Sat August 4, 2012

Illinois getting tougher on human trafficking

If a vote on the latest proposal for temporary pay cuts passes at a East St. Louis Fraternal Order of Police meeting on Thursday, 16 police officers laid off Jan. 1 could be reinstated (via Flickr/davidsonscott15).

Illinois is getting tougher on those involved in human trafficking and forcing the vulnerable into prostitution.
 
 Gov. Pat Quinn signed a law Saturday that strengthens the ability of prosecutors to target those behind what he called "a tragic trade."
 
The measure also offers greater protection to the victims, who are often from vulnerable groups like runaways, abused children and immigrants.

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Juror Pay
8:53 am
Sat July 21, 2012

New law lets Illinois jurors turn down pay

Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn.
(via Flickr/ChrisEaves.com)

People who serve on juries in Illinois are now required to accept small payments for their time, but that's about to change.
 
Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation Friday that gives jurors the option of refusing the money if they don't need it. The law takes effect in January.
 
Current law requires counties to pay jurors from $4 a day to $17.20. They can also get money for mileage and child care.
 

Drought
2:44 pm
Sun July 15, 2012

No drought relief in sight

(via Flickr/KOMUnews/Malory Ensor)

Dry conditions are expected to get worse in the coming days, and it will take a whole lot more than scattered thunderstorms to break the drought. 

“We’re way, way, way below normal in rainfall,” National Weather Service Meteorologist Fred Glass said.  “Most of the area is in severe drought conditions, it’s going to quite a bit of rain to make that up, probably in many areas 8-12 inches, and in some areas in excess of 12 inches.”

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Ill. Unemployment Benefits
10:30 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

Illinois looks for inmates collecting unemployment

(via Flickr/KellyB.)

The Illinois Department of Employment Security says it has started checking the roll of people receiving unemployment benefits for those who might be ineligible because they're in jail.
 
Spokesman Greg Rivara says the department found 420 people receiving benefits who were behind bars sometime during the first two weeks of the review. Now the department will check to see if they might have been only briefly locked up and were still eligible or if they really weren't available to work. Availability to work is a key part of the criteria to determine unemployment eligibility.

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