Reporting from Amanda Vinicky from Illinois Public Radio.
A new session of the Illinois General Assembly begins today, when candidates who won in November's elections take the oath of office. The outgoing class of legislators left the incoming one with quite a burden.
Tuesday night, the previous General Assembly adjourned without doing anything to reduce Illinois' $97 billion pension debt, though there were a few last minute tries.
Negotiations for a complete overhaul of Illinois' underfunded pension systems continue. But the president of the state Senate is again pushing a measure his chamber approved months ago.
Governor Pat Quinn has been adamant that something pass before the General Assembly's current session ends for good on Wednesday.
In May, the Senate passed legislation that reduces state workers' and legislators' own retirement benefits. But the House never took it up. Senate President John Cullerton says representatives should do so when they return to Springfield on Sunday.
Buying fuel can be a challenge for people with disabilities. Legislation awaiting action by the governor aims to make it easier. Illinois is making an effort to comply with federal disability law.
Illinois law says service stations are required to pump gas for people with disabilities. But in order to get that help, drivers have to honk or find some other way to get the attention of an attendant.
Ann Ford, with the Centers for Independent Living, says that can lead to frustration.
Amanda Vinicky contributed reporting from Springfield, Ill.
In what's being called an "unprecedented" step, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has terminated the state's contract with its largest employee union.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees helped Quinn win the governor's office in 2010, but the relationship soured almost immediately. The governor, a Democrat, has tried to close state facilities, lay off workers, rescind guaranteed salary hikes and reduce the pensions of state employees, all in an effort to cut costs.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn can't proceed with plans to close prisons - at least for now.
A state appeals court has denied his administration's request to dissolve a temporary restraining order that prevented him from closing prisons in Tamms and Dwight, three halfway houses and juvenile detention centers in Joliet and Murphysboro.
The Fifth District Appellate Court entered its order on Wednesday, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees received it on Friday.
The Illinois state government is seeking to make more local and state data available online and is challenging entrepreneurs to create applications with the information that will serve the public.
Gov. Pat Quinn announced the Illinois Open Technology Challenge on Saturday and said it would start on a pilot basis in four communities around the state: Belleville, Champaign, Rockford and Chicago's south suburbs.
The governor said the project would increase transparency at the local level and create jobs.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn was on board Friday when an Amtrak train reached speeds of 111 mph for the first time along a Chicago to St. Louis route. The train hit the mark on a stretch between Dwight and Pontiac before braking back to normal speeds of 79 mph. By the end of November, paying passengers will get to experience the higher speeds on that initial section between Dwight and Pontiac.
Updated at 5:45 p.m. with additional comments from Gov. Quinn and comments from Sen. Durbin. Brian Mackey contributed reporting.
Updated at 2 p.m. with statement from Gov. Pat Quinn.
The federal government has agreed to purchase the underused Thomson Correctional Center in northwest Illinois to relieve crowding in its facilities, despite fervent opposition from members of Congress.