Last week, the Illinois Department of Corrections broke a rather unenviable record. On Tuesday, the department housed 49,172 inmates. The previous record was sent in Oct. 2011 when the population hit 49,135.
The population has been steadily rising since Ill. Gov. Pat Quin suspended an early release program in the middle of a heated primary election against Dan Hynes two years ago. Quinn recently signed into law a new early release program that should help bring down the number but it hasn't yet been implemented.
A union for Illinois government workers says negotiations with the state are at a "virtual standstill."
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees says concessions demanded by Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn are "an insult to every state employee."
Quinn spokesman Abdon Pallasch says the state can't afford to keep salaries and benefits at their current levels. He told The (Springfield) State Journal-Register that even after cuts, state employees would have generous benefits.
The legal fight between Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and the union that represents prisons workers continues this week.
Quinn had wanted the prisons closed by last Friday. Instead that day an arbitrator said the administration violated its contract with the prison workers' union by moving to close the facilities before they'd finished what's called "impact bargaining."
Union spokesman Anders Lindall says impact bargaining doesn't only affect employees facing layoffs.
Two major Illinois prisons and other facilities will stay open for at least another month after an arbitrator ruled Gov. Pat Quinn's administration violated workers' rights in rushing to close them.
Arbitrator Steven Bierig concluded Friday that the state departments of Corrections and Juvenile Justice did not properly negotiate with workers over the impact of closing the supermax Tamms prison, the Dwight women's lockup and several juvenile facilities.
UPDATE: As of 9:25 a.m., Quinn has vetoed this bill. Gov. Pat Quinn isn't giving any hints about what he'll do with a gambling bill that Illinois lawmakers sent to his desk. Today is the deadline for Quinn to take action on legislation that would establish five new casinos in the state. It would also allow slot machines at horse racing tracks.
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.
Republican Congressman Todd Akin is highlighting his Christian faith while asking for help in reviving his Senate campaign. A fundraising appeal sent Wednesday by Akin notes he has asked both God and voters for forgiveness for comments that women's bodies have a way of avoiding pregnancy in cases of rape.