Statehouse http://wuis.org en State Police Cancels New Trooper Training, Citing Budget http://wuis.org/post/state-police-cancels-new-trooper-training-citing-budget <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>The Illinois State Police graduated 37 state troopers today Friday, the last class the academy will graduate for a while. State police officials say they can't train more due to the state's budget.</p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The 37 cadets took their oath in the auditorium of the Illinois State Police Academy in Springfield — in the last graduation ceremony it'll see in a while. This class was the fifth to graduate in a year.</span></p> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 21:35:19 +0000 Hannah Meisel 30055 at http://wuis.org State Police Cancels New Trooper Training, Citing Budget Feds' Immigrant Numbers For Illinois May Not Tell Whole Story http://wuis.org/post/feds-immigrant-numbers-illinois-may-not-tell-whole-story <p></p><p>Federal officials say 305 unaccompanied children caught at the U.S.-Mexico border were placed with Illinois sponsors this year, but officials say hundreds more could be at shelters. &nbsp;</p> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 20:45:39 +0000 Associated Press 30046 at http://wuis.org Feds' Immigrant Numbers For Illinois May Not Tell Whole Story Listen to State Week - July 25, 2014 http://wuis.org/post/listen-state-week-july-25-2014 <p></p><p>This week's topics include the Illinois Inspector General's investigation into possible political hiring at the Illinois Department of Transportation.&nbsp; Also, an overview of the state's rules and regulations regarding medical marijuana.</p><p></p> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 19:53:38 +0000 Bob Meyer 30032 at http://wuis.org Listen to State Week - July 25, 2014 Inspector General Discloses Political Hiring Investigation http://wuis.org/post/inspector-general-discloses-political-hiring-investigation <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>As Gov. Pat Quinn battles a lawsuit accusing his administration of political hiring, the state watchdog charged with investigating ethics violations is asking to get involved.</p><p></p><p>Confidentiality restrictions prevent the Inspector General from saying what he is or isn't looking into.</p> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 23:56:17 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 29989 at http://wuis.org Inspector General Discloses Political Hiring Investigation Business, Labor Leaders Urge Quinn Administration To Finish Fracking Rules http://wuis.org/post/business-labor-leaders-urge-quinn-administration-finish-fracking-rules <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>Business and labor leaders are urging Illinois' Department of Natural Resources to finish the rules for hydraulic fracturing. The coalition says it's left wondering if the governor's administration might be dragging the process for political reasons.</p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">It's been over 400 days since the General Assembly passed a law to allow hydraulic fracturing in Illinois. Proponents say the technique of drilling for natural gas deep in the ground will lead to job and revenue growth.</span></p> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 22:18:30 +0000 Hannah Meisel 29986 at http://wuis.org Business, Labor Leaders Urge Quinn Administration To Finish Fracking Rules Illinois' Credit Prognosis: Negative http://wuis.org/post/illinois-credit-prognosis-negative <p>Wall Street's view of Illinois' financial health has taken a hit, thanks largely to the state budget that took effect at the start of this month. Pensions also continue to be a drag.&nbsp;</p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">When Illinois Democrats passed the state's latest budget, many seemed to hold their nose. Credit ratings agencies are more direct: Standard &amp;&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Poors</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;has revised Illinois' credit outlook to "negative."&nbsp;</span></p> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 23:29:40 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 29898 at http://wuis.org Illinois' Credit Prognosis: Negative Durbin Files Legislation Reacting To Hobby Lobby Decision http://wuis.org/post/durbin-files-legislation-reacting-hobby-lobby-decision <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>U.S. Senator Dick Durbin wants companies exempt from offering birth control in their healthcare plans to make that known to potential employees.</p><p></p><p>It's a response to the ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court last month, which determined certain business owners don't have to pay for contraceptives that violate their religious beliefs. These so-called "closely held" companies — typically small, family owned businesses — are exempt from the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate.</p> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 21:09:59 +0000 Hannah Meisel 29888 at http://wuis.org Durbin Files Legislation Reacting To Hobby Lobby Decision Republican Attorney General Candidate: Pension Changes Unconstitutional http://wuis.org/post/republican-attorney-general-candidate-pension-changes-unconstitutional <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>The Republican candidate for Illinois Attorney General is criticizing incumbent Lisa Madigan for defending the state's pension overhaul law, which he thinks is unconstitutional.</p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">A clause in the state's constitution says that once earned, pension benefits shall not be diminished.</span></p> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 21:29:36 +0000 Hannah Meisel 29817 at http://wuis.org Republican Attorney General Candidate: Pension Changes Unconstitutional Trucker Asks: Are Police Above The Law? http://wuis.org/post/trucker-asks-are-police-above-law <p>It has been just over half a year since Illinois made it illegal to talk on your phone while driving without the use of a hands-free device. There are some exceptions: you can hold your phone if your car is stopped -- say at a railroad crossing for a freight train -- and in park or neutral, or if you pull off onto the shoulder. The law also makes an exemption for law enforcement. A recent YouTube sensation that raises the question: should police get special treatment?</p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 17:12:00 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 29775 at http://wuis.org Trucker Asks: Are Police Above The Law? Fire Closes State Building Today http://wuis.org/post/fire-closes-state-building-today <p>The Illinois Secretary of State's office has closed its Howlett Building in Springfield for the day because of a small fire.</p><p>Secretary of State spokesman Dave Druker says the fire happened about 1:15 a.m. Tuesday in a mechanical room at the building, which is part of the Illinois State Capitol complex. &nbsp;</p><p>He says firefighters quickly put out the blaze but the air conditioning in the building isn't working and crews need to work on mechanical issues. &nbsp;</p><p>Druker says the agency hopes to reopen the office building on Wednesday. &nbsp;</p> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 11:53:05 +0000 Bill Wheelhouse & Associated Press 29760 at http://wuis.org Fire Closes State Building Today Attorney General Wants To Send Concealed Carry Cases Out Of Court http://wuis.org/post/attorney-general-wants-send-concealed-carry-cases-out-court <p></p><p>Illinois gun owners who've been denied a concealed carry permit can appeal. But instead of going through the courts, Illinois' Attorney General wants a state panel to decide those cases.</p><p>There are about 200 concealed carry denials before Illinois courts, brought by people who say they shouldn't have been deemed dangerous or a threat to public safety by Illinois' Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board.</p><p>Until recently, applicants didn't actually know why they were rejected.</p> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 05:06:00 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 29672 at http://wuis.org Attorney General Wants To Send Concealed Carry Cases Out Of Court No School For Kids On Election Day http://wuis.org/post/no-school-kids-election-day <p>Illinois students could get a day off of school come election day. Schools are often at the heart of a community, metaphorically, if not literally. That's part of the reason they've long been voting sites.</p><p></p><p>But with shootings at schools across the country, some lawmakers are concerned the practice is dangerous.</p><p>Most of the time visitors need to sign in before entering a school; they say allowing anyone in on election day is asking for trouble.</p> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 22:26:27 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 29575 at http://wuis.org No School For Kids On Election Day Listen to State Week - July 18, 2014 http://wuis.org/post/listen-state-week-july-18-2014 <p></p><p>This week, GOP gubernatorial hopeful Bruce Rauner proposed more ways to fix the state's budget woes.&nbsp; Also, a state legislative commission has pushed back the investigation into Governor pat Quinn's controversial Neighborhood Recovery Initiative until October.</p><p></p> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 20:53:15 +0000 Bob Meyer 29570 at http://wuis.org Listen to State Week - July 18, 2014 Prosecutors Say Blagojevich Attorneys Misread Ruling http://wuis.org/post/prosecutors-say-blagojevich-attorneys-misread-ruling <p></p><p>Prosecutors responding to a new argument in Rod Blagojevich's appeal say the former governor's lawyers have misrepresented a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in another case. &nbsp;</p><p>Blagojevich's lawyers say an April ruling by the high court found that soliciting contributions is corruption only when a politician makes explicit promises to take official action for a donation. &nbsp;</p> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 20:25:49 +0000 Associated Press 29556 at http://wuis.org Prosecutors Say Blagojevich Attorneys Misread Ruling Supreme Court Won't Take Up Term Limits http://wuis.org/post/supreme-court-wont-take-term-limits <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>An effort to institute term limits in Illinois has hit a major road block. The state Supreme Court says it will not rush to hear the case.</p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The Supreme Court's decision could be the end of Republican Bruce </span>Rauner's<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> term limits initiative.</span></p><p>Limiting how long legislators can be in Illinois' General Assembly has been a staple of his campaign for governor.</p> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 22:22:22 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 29509 at http://wuis.org Supreme Court Won't Take Up Term Limits Rauner Proposes Tax Changes http://wuis.org/post/rauner-proposes-tax-changes <p>Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner has presented a plan he says will help grow Illinois' economy and create jobs.</p><p>The Winnetka businessman spoke today at a family-owned manufacturing company in Schaumburg.&nbsp;</p><p>Rauner wants to eliminate the income tax increase Democrats approved in 2011, phasing the rate back to 3 percent from 5 percent. He also says he would freeze property taxes and impose a sales tax on services such as charter flights, travel agencies and sewer service. &nbsp;</p> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 19:50:48 +0000 Associated Press 29483 at http://wuis.org Rauner Proposes Tax Changes Illinois To Require Bulletproof Vests http://wuis.org/post/illinois-require-bulletproof-vests <p>A new law signed Wednesday is intended to keep police officers safe, by requiring they get protective gear.</p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">A bulletproof vest will become part of an officers' standard equipment issue. Contingent on money, of course.</span></p><p>The new law includes provisions to help ensure there is funding.</p><p>It law requires communities and the state apply for a federal grant, that provides matching funds specifically for the purchase of bullet proof vests.</p> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 11:52:00 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 29436 at http://wuis.org Illinois To Require Bulletproof Vests Election-Year Fight Over What's Next In Probe Of Quinn's NRI http://wuis.org/post/election-year-fight-over-whats-next-probe-quinns-nri <p>After a day-long meeting Wednesday, a legislative commission will meet again Thursday morning in Chicago. They're set to begin with a call to the U.S. Attorney's office. Democrats and Republicans are at a standstill over what to do next in their probe of Gov. Pat Quinn's controversial anti-violence program.</p><p></p> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 23:02:16 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 29433 at http://wuis.org Election-Year Fight Over What's Next In Probe Of Quinn's NRI Republicans Call "Contempt" As Witnesses Fail To Show At NRI Hearing http://wuis.org/post/republicans-call-contempt-witnesses-fail-show-nri-hearing <p>A legislative hearing convened to probe a troubled anti-violence program run by Gov. Quinn is underway in Chicago. Federal prosecutors have asked lawmakers to hold off taking testimony, because it may obstruct their investigation.&nbsp;</p><p></p> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 17:31:26 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 29403 at http://wuis.org Republicans Call "Contempt" As Witnesses Fail To Show At NRI Hearing How The NRI Hearing Could Play Out For Quinn's Campaign http://wuis.org/post/how-nri-hearing-could-play-out-quinns-campaign <div>Governor Pat Quinn's troubled anti-violence program will be in the spotlight today (7/16) when a bipartisan legislative commission meets in Chicago. &nbsp;</div><div></div><div><p>It's not yet clear how lawmakers will proceed, given that the federal government wants them to put a hold on their investigation until mid-October, just before the November election, when Quinn will face Republican Bruce Rauner.</p><p><br />Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown says that's what Quinn's campaign wants.</p><p></p> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 14:36:39 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 29390 at http://wuis.org How The NRI Hearing Could Play Out For Quinn's Campaign Quinn Signs Law Designed To Add Accountability To Grants http://wuis.org/post/quinn-signs-law-designed-add-accountability-grants <p></p><p>Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation overhauling the state's grant oversight and accountability process. &nbsp;</p><p>Quinn's office said Wednesday that he has signed the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act. The governor says it will give Illinois a comprehensive set of uniform rules for grant applications and make those who receive grants more accountable to taxpayers.</p><p>The signing comes on the same day as legislative hearings are to begin on a controversial Quinn program.</p> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 12:16:50 +0000 Bill Wheelhouse & Associated Press 29383 at http://wuis.org Quinn Signs Law Designed To Add Accountability To Grants Applicants Denied Concealed Carry Licenses Will Learn Why Under New Emergency Rules http://wuis.org/post/applicants-denied-concealed-carry-licenses-will-learn-why-under-new-emergency-rules <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>A year after Illinois <a href="https://ccl4illinois.com/ccw/public/home.aspx">legalized concealed carry</a>, new rules are out to determine the process for deciding who can't carry a gun in public. The Illinois State Police <a href="http://www.isp.state.il.us/media/pressdetails.cfm?ID=810">issued the emergency rules </a>Monday 7/14 afternoon.</p><p></p> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 11:07:00 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 29284 at http://wuis.org Applicants Denied Concealed Carry Licenses Will Learn Why Under New Emergency Rules Bill Backlog Improvement Could Be Temporary http://wuis.org/post/bill-backlog-improvement-could-be-temporary <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>The amount of money Illinois owes to companies and organizations that have provided goods and services for the state is at its lowest level since 2010, but that improvement could be short-lived.</p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">At one point, Illinois had a stack of overdue bills totaling about $10 billion.</span></p><p>It took so long for the state to pay back its vendors that some were forced to close their doors - they couldn't pay their bills.</p> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 01:12:48 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 29285 at http://wuis.org Bill Backlog Improvement Could Be Temporary Governor Campaigns Rip Each Other's Records http://wuis.org/post/governor-campaigns-rip-each-others-records <p></p> Mon, 14 Jul 2014 22:11:38 +0000 Associated Press 29281 at http://wuis.org Governor Campaigns Rip Each Other's Records Republican Bruce Rauner Defends His Personal Tax Bill http://wuis.org/post/republican-bruce-rauner-defends-his-personal-tax-bill <p>Bruce Rauner -- the Republican nominee for Illinois governor -- says he followed the letter of the law when filing his taxes.&nbsp; But he won't say whether it was fair.</p><p>Rauner, a businessman, has said his wealth puts him in the top .01%.<br />Even so, a Chicago Tribune analysis showed that in several recent years, he paid no Social Security or Medicare taxes.<br />Rauner has released limited parts of his tax returns.</p><p>It's believed he took advantage of I-R-S rules to legally cut his tax burden.<br />Rauner defended that ...</p> Mon, 14 Jul 2014 12:20:00 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 29122 at http://wuis.org Republican Bruce Rauner Defends His Personal Tax Bill Listen to State Week - July 11, 2014 http://wuis.org/post/listen-state-week-july-11-2014 <p></p><p>More details are emerging on the Illinois Inspector General's probe into political hiring at Metra.&nbsp; Also, a call for further investigation into Governor Quinn's Neighborhood Recovery Initiative.</p><p></p><p></p> Fri, 11 Jul 2014 19:27:02 +0000 Bob Meyer 29088 at http://wuis.org Listen to State Week - July 11, 2014 WUIS Archive: Alan Dixon Was Gracious In Defeat http://wuis.org/post/wuis-archive-alan-dixon-was-gracious-defeat <p>Former U.S. Senator Alan Dixon died Sunday in his southern Illinois home.<br /><br />The 86-year-old Belleville Democrat spent more than four decades in public office - 30 years in state government before going on to serve in Congress from 1981 to 1993.<br /><br />But Chicago Democrat Carol Moseley Braun unseated Dixon in 1992.&nbsp; Braun became the first African American woman to serve in the Senate.<br /> Fri, 11 Jul 2014 14:43:00 +0000 Peter Gray 29007 at http://wuis.org WUIS Archive: Alan Dixon Was Gracious In Defeat Number Of Statehouse Reporters Down More Than One-Third Since 2003 http://wuis.org/post/number-statehouse-reporters-down-more-one-third-2003 <p>As traditional news sources cut back on statehouse reporters, other outlets seek to fill the gaps in coverage.</p><p>The Pew Research Journalism Project took a look at statehouse press corps across the country. State populations are generally predictive of the size of their statehouse press corps. At the time of the survey, Illinois had 22 full-time statehouse reporters. Texas had the most at 53. South Dakota had the fewest with two.</p> Fri, 11 Jul 2014 13:21:29 +0000 Jamey Dunn 29038 at http://wuis.org Number Of Statehouse Reporters Down More Than One-Third Since 2003 Series Part 3: Death In Illinois Prisons http://wuis.org/post/series-part-3-death-illinois-prisons <p>Illinois taxpayers pay a private company more than a hundred million dollars a year to give health care to prison inmates.</p><p>Yet no one in Illinois knows how good, or bad, the care is.</p><p>But that will likely change soon.</p><p>As part of our series “Of natural causes: Death in Illinois prisons,” WBEZ’s Robert Wildeboer reports.</p><p>On July 28, 2012 Elawndoe Shannon put in a request for sick call at the prison where he was housed in Lawrence, Illinois.</p><p>Two days later, he died.</p> Fri, 11 Jul 2014 04:41:00 +0000 Rob Wildeboer 28943 at http://wuis.org Series Part 3: Death In Illinois Prisons Tourism In Illinois Sets New Record http://wuis.org/post/tourism-illinois-sets-new-record <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>Illinois' tourism numbers set another record in 2013, bringing in over 100 million visitors to the state. State agencies say they aim to grow those numbers more in the face of budget cuts.</p><p></p><p>For the third year in a row, Illinois broke its own record for visitors to the state. In 2013, travelers spent $34.5 billion dollars in Illinois, according to the state's office of tourism.</p> Thu, 10 Jul 2014 21:57:33 +0000 Hannah Meisel 29697 at http://wuis.org Tourism In Illinois Sets New Record