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Illinois

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This is a developing story - check back for updates.

Updated 12:49 p.m. with more on Judge Zagel's remarks, 1:19 p.m. with more detailed quotes, 2:01 p.m. with Blagojevich's reaction

Former Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been sentenced to 14 years in federal prison - becoming the fourth Illinois governor in 40 years to be sent to prison.

(via Flickr/anneh632)

Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn and the state's top four lawmakers have reached a deal to keep seven state facilities open until June.

Quinn had targeted mental health centers and centers and developmentally disabled, as well as a prison in Lincoln, for closure, saying the legislature had failed to appropriate enough money to operate them for the entire year.  The closures could have resulted in nearly 2,000 layoffs.

Ill. legislative committee OKs smaller tax-break package

Nov 28, 2011
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Updated 3:47 p.m.:

A package of tax breaks for Illinois businesses made it through a legislative committee despite major concerns by lawmakers.

The House Revenue Committee approved the measure 6-0 Monday. But two important legislators said they may oppose the bill when it comes up on the House floor.

The package would cost state government about $250 million a year. That's down from $850 million in an earlier proposal.

(IEMA website)

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Sean Crawford used in this report.

Illinois is asking for broad input on homeland security planning.  
 
Illinois Emergency Management Agency Director Jonathon Monken says he wants to engage the whole statewide community, not just those whose job it is to make sure Illinois is prepared.  In the past, the state took comments primarily from first responders and public health officials.  But Monken says this time, his agency wants to also hear from businesses, faith based groups and individual residents.  
 

Quinn opposes slot machines at racetracks

Oct 17, 2011
(Robert Altman)

Gov. Pat Quinn says he doesn't support slot machines at Illinois racetracks.

Quinn on Monday discussed his objections to a gambling bill passed by lawmakers but not yet sent to him.

Quinn laid out a framework for gambling expansion that includes five new casinos in Chicago, southern Cook County, Lake County, Rockford and Danville.

He says the Illinois Gaming Board should choose the location in Lake County and not the Park City location passed by lawmakers.

Quinn also says he opposes slot machines at Chicago's O'Hare or Midway airports.

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Illinois's 44 regional superintendents have decided not to appeal a court ruling that upheld Gov. Pat Quinn's right to cut funding for their salaries from the current state budget.

Quinn announces business agreements in China

Sep 19, 2011
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Gov. Pat Quinn has announced two business agreements between Chinese and American companies.

Quinn was in Beijing during an eight-day trade mission Monday.

He says China-based Goldwind plans to build a $200 million wind farm in Lee County in north-central Illinois. Construction on the Shady Oaks project begins this fall.

Ill. unemployment up sharply to 9.9 percent

Sep 15, 2011
(via Flickr/KellyB.)

Illinois' unemployment rate shot up almost half a percentage point in August to 9.9 percent. And state officials are blaming the continuing struggles of the national economy and weak consumer confidence.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security said Thursday that Illinois' unemployment rate surged from 9.5 percent in July.

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Updated 1:25 p.m.

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Sean Crawford used in this report.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has followed through on his promise to veto legislation electric utilities fought hard to pass.  Quinn says it would be too costly for power customers.

Quinn to close seven state institutions, lay off 1,900 workers

Sep 8, 2011
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Sean Crawford and WBEZ's Sam Hudzik was used in this story.

Gov. Pat Quinn says he will need to lay off 1,900 state employees and close seven state facilities to live within a budget sent to him by the General Assembly.

"Decisions made by members of the General Assembly I may or may not agree with, but once they have adopted their budget, it is now the law of our state," Quinn told reporters in Chicago today. "We have to implement this in a responsible manner."

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A federal judge has ruled against state employees in a dispute over whether Gov. Pat Quinn can cancel raises promised in union contracts.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees said Thursday it will appeal the ruling.

State job cuts, facility closures possible in Ill.

Sep 6, 2011
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Updated with comments from Quinn, unions and lawmakers.

Reporting from WBEZ's Sam Hudzik and Illinois Public Radio's Sean Crawford was used in this report.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says job reductions will be necessary to help Illinois deal with a record budget deficit.

Sources told the Chicago Tribune that thousands of state workers could receive layoff notices.

Group of Ill. lawmakers heads to Cuba for "trade mission"

Sep 5, 2011
(Illinois General Assembly website)

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Sean Crawford used in this report.

About a dozen Illinois state lawmakers are headed to Cuba this week for what's being called a trade mission.

Representative Jack Franks says the visit could boost state exports to Cuba.  The Democrat from Woodstock will be leading the week-long trip.  It's been 12 years since former Governor George Ryan traveled to Cuba in a high profile effort to build a new market for Illinois' farm economy.  Franks says trade with Cuba has fallen off since then.

(Robert Altman)

$2.6 million dollars is waiting to be distributed to Illinois’ horse racing industry but the law’s wording is keeping that from happening.

More than a decade ago Illinois legislators promised horse tracks 15 percent of the tenth casino’s gross revenue receipts.

That license was caught up in the courts for years.

Finally a new owner opened the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines in July, yet the portion slated for horse racing remains in the state’s Gaming Fund.

Lawmakers send electric rate bill to Gov. Quinn

Aug 29, 2011
(via Flickr/lobo235)

Legislation to raise electric rates to help pay to modernize the state's power grid is on its way to Gov. Pat Quinn, who has repeatedly promised to veto it because of the burden it places on consumers.

Judge sides with Ill. governor in regional superintendents' pay dispute

Aug 26, 2011
(via Flickr/alkruse24)

Updated 5:12 p.m. with statement from Gov. Pat Quinn

Updated 1:20 p.m. with statement from superintendents

A circuit judge has upheld Gov. Pat Quinn's authority to eliminate salaries for regional school superintendents across Illinois.

Judge will rule Friday on Ill. superintendents' pay

Aug 25, 2011
(via Flickr/frankjuarez)

A Sangamon County judge says he is "aghast" at the hardships created by Gov. Pat Quinn's decision to cancel salaries for the state's regional school superintendents.

But Judge John Schmidt also indicated Thursday that he's reluctant to interfere with the executive branch by ordering Quinn to restore the money.

Ill. regional school chiefs sue to get paid by state

Aug 19, 2011
(via Flickr/Lauren Manning)

Illinois' 44 regional school superintendents have gone to court to get paid by Gov. Pat Quinn.

The Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools filed a lawsuit in Sangamon County Friday seeking paychecks the Democratic governor cut off in July.

(via Flickr/James Jordan)

Two men in Illinois are the first human cases of West Nile virus in the state.

The Illinois Department of Public Health says a Cook County man in his 80s got sick earlier this month. A 30-year-old from south-central Illinois became ill in July. In 2010, the first human case was reported on Aug. 31 - 61 people eventually tested positive.

Illinois unemployment up for 3rd straight month

Aug 18, 2011
(via Flickr/KellyB.)

State officials say unemployment in Illinois inched up to 9.5 percent in July, the third consecutive month it has increased.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security says there were 24,900 fewer jobs reported last month.

Unemployment for Illinois was 9.1 percent in June. But the rate one year ago in July was 10.1 percent.

The numbers were released Thursday and are based on data from the state agency and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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