Illinois

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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Illinois Gambling
8:17 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Quinn: Won't sign gambling bill for ethics law

Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says he won't sign a gambling expansion bill in exchange for a promise that legislators will pass an ethics measure in the fall.
 
Quinn made the comment Monday at a ceremony during which he signed a measure into law that expands a tax credit program for businesses that hire veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
 
The Legislature passed a bill earlier this year that would create five new casinos - a land-based site in Chicago and four more on riverboats.
 

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Illinois Law
2:47 pm
Thu July 5, 2012

Aiding a fugitive relative? That's a felony in Ill. now

(via Wikimedia Commons/J. Pelkonen)

A new Illinois law is supposed to make it harder for fugitives to give authorities the slip.

Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation Thursday that's designed to close a loophole in the state's criminal code that effectively exempts relatives from punishment if they aid a family member on the lam.

But the new law makes it a felony for immediate family members to help fugitives avoid arrest. A conviction could result in a maximum three-year prison sentence and a $25,000 fine.

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Illinois State Budget
10:22 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

Quinn changes mind on closing transition centers

Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn.

Illinois officials say Gov. Pat Quinn has decided three state facilities helping former prison inmates transition into society will remain open, a reversal of plans to close them because of budget constraints.
 
Illinois Department of Corrections spokesman Stacey Solano said Monday the governor plans to keep the Fox Valley Adult Transition Center open. Kelly Kraft of Quinn's budget office also said the Peoria and Chicago's North Lawndale adult transition centers were also saved.

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