Illinois | St. Louis Public Radio

Illinois

New Ill. law creates environmental justice commission

Aug 16, 2011
(via Flickr/jglazer75)

Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation creating a commission to ensure minorities and the poor aren't disproportionately affected by environmental pollution.

The Environmental Justice Act was sponsored by Democratic Sen. Toi Hutchinson of Chicago Heights and Rep. Will Davis of East Hazel Crest.

Quinn wants to work out regional school superintendent pay

Aug 15, 2011
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says he wants to work with regional school superintendents on who should pay their salaries.

Superintendents across Illinois are working for free after Quinn in early July eliminated the funds that pay them and their assistants. That's because there's a budget dispute over where the money to pay them should come from.

Quinn said Monday he thinks "we can work that out" but provided no details.

Ill. gambling bill still up in the air while horse racing industry gets influx of cash

Aug 11, 2011
(Robert Altman)

A decision by lawmakers to approve a massive expansion of gambling in Illinois has been followed by two months of delay as Gov. Pat Quinn studies the measure and decides where he stands.

Quinn has met with a revolving door of supporters and opponents, but he's given no details on what changes he'd like to see. Skeptical lawmakers continue to use a legislative maneuver to hang onto the bill until Quinn explains what he wants.

Quinn to sign Ill. Dream Act for scholarship money

Jul 29, 2011
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

A spokesman says Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn will sign a bill to allow the children of immigrants, both legal and illegal, to get private college scholarships and enroll in state college savings programs.

Quinn spokesman Grant Klinzman says the governor will sign the bill Monday.

Called the Illinois Dream Act, the measure creates a panel to raise private money for college scholarships. Supporters say this will help illegal immigrants who graduate from Illinois high schools go on to college because they may otherwise not be able to afford it.

(via Flickr/List)

Another heat-related death has been reported in Madison County, Ill.

Mildred M. Guide, 79, of Collinsville, Ill. is the latest person to fall victim to this season's sweltering weather, the Madison County Coroner announced in a statement.

According to the coroner's statement, Guide's home had a working air conditioner installed, but that it had been turned off. The temperature inside the house was reportedly near a possible 100 degrees.

Two dogs, kept as family pets, were also found dead inside the home, the coroner's statement said.

The first heat-related death reported in Madison County this season was that of 51-year-old Mitsunari Uechi on July 11.

Quinn continues to defend budget without raises

Jul 25, 2011
(via Flickr/ChrisEaves.com)

Gov. Pat Quinn is defending signing a budget that state officials say didn't fully fund 12 of 14 agencies even before the Chicago Democrat canceled raises for thousands of state workers.

Ill. unemployment rises for second straight month

Jul 21, 2011
(via Flickr/KellyB.)

Unemployment in Illinois increased to 9.2 percent in June, the second straight month the state jobless rate increased.

The state Department of Employment Security on Thursday laid part of the blame on weak consumer confidence they said was hindering the national economy.

The national unemployment rate hit also 9.2 percent in June. That was up from 9.1 percent.

Ill. state schools chief says budget cuts hurt reform

Jul 18, 2011
(via Flickr/xavi talleda)

Illinois' education chief says the state hasn't provided enough money to institute a new education reform law that's been praised nationwide.

Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law last month legislation that makes it harder for teachers to strike and easier for districts to fire them, among other things. The bill had support from unions and advocacy groups.

(via Flickr/CarbonNYC)

About 20 percent of seniors and people with disabilities will lose prescription drug coverage because of cuts in the Illinois state budget.

State officials are sending letters to 43,000 participants saying they won't qualify for "Illinois Cares Rx" as of Sept. 1. Those who are still enrolled will pay more out of pocket for their prescriptions.

(via Flickr/taberandrew)

Illinois home foreclosure activity rose 4 percent in June compared to the previous month, but was down 25 percent from one year earlier.

A report released Thursday by Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac shows Illinois with 6,541 homes receiving initial foreclosure filings last month.

Another 1,944 properties were scheduled for auction sale and 2,529 properties were repossessed by banks.

Looking at the first six months of the year, Illinois foreclosure activity fell 29 percent compared to the same period last year.

Coroner: Heat blamed in southwestern Ill. death

Jul 11, 2011
(via Flickr/List)

The sweltering summer temperatures that have gripped the Midwest are being blamed in the suspected heat-stroke death of a 51-year-old man in southwestern Illinois.

Madison County Coroner Stephen Nonn says Mitsunari Uechi was found unresponsive Sunday night in his Granite City mobile home by his live-in mother and later was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Nonn says the home's air conditioner wasn't working, and the man's body temperature was 104 degrees when he arrived at the hospital.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

A major state employee union has asked an arbitrator to decide whether Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn can cancel scheduled raises for thousands of workers.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees sought the ruling Thursday. Quinn announced last week he was canceling the $75 million in raises to help deal with the state's budget crisis.

Illinois drops writing from standardized exam

Jul 6, 2011
(via Flickr/albertogp123)

Illinois is down to just reading and arithmetic. Writing skills will no longer be tested during the state's standardized exams for high school juniors every spring.

The Chicago Tribune reports that eliminating the writing exams will save about $2.4 million amid the state's budgetary shortfalls.

Illinois had already dropped writing assessments for elementary and middle school students last year.

Ill. state-backed health coverage for kids now has income cap

Jul 5, 2011
(via Flickr/rosmary)

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky used in this report.

Illinois had offered health insurance coverage to all children. But now there's an income cap to get the state-backed coverage - critics call it shortsighted.

As the name "All Kids" suggests, all children were eligible, but as of July 1, only families within 300 percent of the poverty level can apply.

That's an income cap of $67,000 for a family of four.

Quinn: Ready for court battle over canceled raises for Ill. state workers

Jul 5, 2011
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says he's ready to go to court over canceling pay raises for nearly 30,000 state workers.

Quinn defended his decision to deny the raises by blaming the General Assembly for not appropriating the necessary money. He said Tuesday the state can't provide the increase unless lawmakers set aside enough money.

The raises are required under state government's union contracts.

Ill. Gov. Quinn's budget cuts to hospitals aren't set

Jul 5, 2011
(via Flickr/ChrisEaves.com)

Reporting by Illinois Public Radio’s Amanda Vinicky used in this report.

The cuts Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn made to hospitals probably won’t be the final deal. The administration is using the move in an effort to further its agenda.

Illinois reimburses hospitals when they take on low-income patients who are on Medicaid, and state law sets the rate hospitals are to be paid.

Blagojevich to seek mistrial, unlikely to succeed

Jul 5, 2011
UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Reporting by WBEZ’s Robert Wildeboer used in this report.

Within the next few weeks, attorneys for ousted Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich will be asking Judge James Zagel for a mistrial. That’s unlikely to succeed, which means they’ll move on to a higher court. Still, Blagojevich’s testimony could cause problems for an appeal.

Former Sen. gets credit for recent Ill. corruption prosecutions

Jul 5, 2011
(via Flickr/myoldpostcards)

Reporting by Illinois Public Radio’s Sean Crawford used in this report.

Illinois has a reputation not only as a hotbed for public corruption, but also as a place where high ranking officials are prosecuted for misdeeds. Former U.S. Senator Peter Fitzgerald, who is known for his clashes with the GOP’s old guard, is partly to thank for that.

Invasive Asian carp: protien-rich offering for Ill. food banks?

Jul 4, 2011
(via Flickr/lsgcp)

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Luke Runyon used in this report.

Asian carp - the invasive fish that's plagued Illinois rivers and is threatening the Great Lakes could soon become a staple at food banks.

Todd Main, with the state Department of Natural Resources, says there's more than two hundred million pounds of Asian carp swimming in the state's rivers.

Death row dies in Ill.

Jul 1, 2011
(via Flickr/neil conway)

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky used in this report.

Murderers convicted in Illinois will no longer be sentenced to death row as the state ban on capital punishment takes effect Friday.

It won't remain in place long if Republican Representative Dennis Reboletti of Elmhurst has his way.

Reboletti says he will try pass a law reinstating the death penalty.

Pages