Reporting from Amanda Vinicky was used in this story.
Like its counterpart in Missouri, the Illinois General Assembly is heading into the home stretch.
Lawmakers there have a bit more time to get through their agenda - their session isn't scheduled to end until the end of May. But unlike lawmakers in Missouri, Illinois legislators have a monumental task in front of them - passing a state budget.
Most state agencies will have their budget cut by 9 percent.
Gov. Pat Quinn says saving the Illinois Medicaid program will require cutting services, raising cigarette taxes and cutting payments to health-care providers.
Aides to the Democratic governor told The Associated Press on Thursday that Quinn is proposing a cigarette tax increase of $1 per pack. They expect the tax to generate about $337 million, which would then be matched by the federal government.
Reporting from KSMU's Jennifer Moore used in this report.
As we mentioned this morning, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon will travel to Brazil this month on a trade mission. The trip comes on the heels of the news that Missouri saw its strongest year ever for exports in 2011.