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Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Sixty four agencies are suing the state for $100 million. They've got contracts that say they're owed that money, but Illinois hasn't paid up: The funding is caught in the prolonged stalemate between lawmakers and the governor.

One of those agencies is the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

NPR Illinois' Amanda Vinicky spoke with its director -- Polly Poskin -- about the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed last week in Cook County.

Schools across the U.S. served more than 5 billion meals in the national school lunch program to millions of students last year. Each one of the meals has to meet federal rules for nutrition. Now, those rules are up for debate and Congress could impose changes on the cafeteria.

Rep. Frank Mautino reviews a COGFA report.
WUIS/Illinois Issues

  Republican lawmakers are piling the pressure on Illinois' Auditor General. They're pressing him to respond to allegations of improper campaign spending.

Legislators chose one of their own, former Democratic State Rep. Frank Mautino, to take over as the state's financial watchdog. He started in January.

Almost immediately, some came to regret that choice. Published reports detail what critics say appear to be excessive, unethical -- some say possibly illegal -- campaign finance reports.

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Legislators have ratified an amendment to the Illinois constitution but it's up to voters whether the provision will be enshrined in state law.

Over the years, when lawmakers have been short on cash for state needs, they've dipped into funds that are supposed to pay for infrastructure.

The idea is to put an end to that practice.

The proposed constitutional amendment would put transportation funding in a figurative "lock box."

Doris Fogel lights one of six candles at the Holocaust Memorial Ceremony.
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week was Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yom HaShoah, when we mark the slaughter of millions of Jews, political dissidents, gays and others at the hands of the Nazis.

Illinois marks the occasion with an annual memorial service in the Old State Capitol. The event includes the recollections of a Holocaust survivor, and today we're going to hear one such story, from back in 2014.

A push to change Illinois' flat income tax into a graduated tax died on the vine this week. And Illinois Republicans have some difficult decisions to make now that Donald Trump appears to have won the party's presidential nomination.

Trump and Rauner
Trump by Michael Vadon/Flickr / Rauner by Brian Mackey/WUIS

A member of Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration says the Republican governor will not endorse Donald Trump as the GOP standard-bearer in the November election.

WIUM

A $454 million bill to increase funding for financially struggling Illinois colleges and universities has cleared the state Senate. 

Claudia Quigg headshot
mattpenning.com / NPR | Illinois Public Radio

Forgive me a moment of bragging about my only grandson.

I visited Charlie a couple days after midterm grades were reported to parents. Charlie’s a pretty sharp guy and he especially shines in math.

Eager to hear about his progress, I asked about his grades. I noticed his parents' faces turn beet red as they exchanged a knowing glance.

"Charlie's in big trouble, Gam," remarked his concerned dad. "Tell her about math, Charlie."

With that, Charlie took a deep breath and confessed.  He had gotten a D in math.

springfieldchoralsociety.org

There will be a rare performance of Bach's Mass in B Minor in Springfield this Saturday. It's being performed by the Springfield Choral Society as part of the Liturgical Arts Festival of Springfield. Details regarding the time and location of the performance are in the flyer above. Marion van der Loo is the conductor of the group, she joined us to preview the event:

Ben Woloszyn

About eight years ago, Rebecca Ginsburg established the Education Justice Project -- a program that provides prisoners at the Danville Correctional Center with upper level college courses, workshops and other educational services. Ginsburg is a professor of education policy at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, and today, she’s making her second visit to the White House to participate in a roundtable discussion on criminal justice reform.

Illinois Issues: A Schooling in Democracy

May 5, 2016
Chicago Public Schools Board of Education

State lawmakers are considering whether school board members in Chicago should be elected — as they are in all other Illinois school districts.

Income tax space on a Monopoly game board
StockMonkeys.com

Despite recent hype over the possibility of legislators putting questions on the November ballot to change the constitution, the Illinois House adjourned Wednesday without even voting on proposed amendments. Their lack of action means voters won't be asked whether they want to change how they're taxed.

flickr/jmorgan

A plan to move Illinois to a graduated income tax is dead. Wednesday was the final scheduled session day for lawmakers to advance it. Instead, the Illinois House adjourned without taking a vote.

Illinois' constitution only allows income to be taxed at a flat rate.

Rep. Christian Mitchell and other Democrats wanted to amend the constitution, so the state could charge the wealthy more. He says a package was carefully crafted, so that for most Illinois residents -- it'd lead to a tax cut.

You don't need to be a millionaire to make a million dollar difference in your community.

Whatever your stage in life, it is a good idea to think about and plan for how your affairs will be handled.  A few simple steps today can give you peace of mind tomorrow by ensuring that you and your loved ones are well protected.  Your estate plan can also be used to support charitable causes that matter most to you and your community.

When most people in the U.S. hear the word immigrant they probably think of someone coming to the country from Mexico. However in Illinois cities, like Champaign, there are growing populations of immigrants from African countries as well.

foggy playground
Allen / Flickr.com/roadsidepictures

On Monday, an organization called Illinois Voices sued the Illinois State Police and attorney general’s office. It’s targeting what it says are unconstitutionally vague and burdensome restrictions on people who have to register under the state’s sex offender laws.

The case is Does 1-4 v. Madigan, No. 16 CV 4847 (N.D. Ill.). Download the complaint here (PDF).

At East Alton-Wood River High School, as well in schools across the state, the measurement of academic improvement is based on a single test given over two days once a year. “It’s silly to measure a school’s performance by that,” says the Superintendent.
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Yet again, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and Governor Bruce Rauner are at odds. This time, over a constitutional amendment introduced by the Speaker. It may not matter -- the plan is dead if it doesn't advance Wednesday.

Above all else, Gov. Rauner, a Republican, says education comes first.

But apparently, he doesn't want to secure that with a constitutional guarantee.

His political foe, Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan wants the constitution to say adequate education funding is a fundamental right.

Rauner isn't on board.

ilga.gov

The sponsor of a proposal to move Illinois to a graduated income tax says he is going forward with it Wednesday after working to shore up support.

The State Legislative Leaders Foundation

A deadline is approaching for the legislature to act on proposed amendments to the Illinois constitution. They only have until the end of this week. Here's a rundown of where various proposals stand. 

WUIS

A group of Illinois legislators failed to endorse Gov. Bruce Rauner’s plan to close the youth prison in Kewanee. But Tuesday's vote will not necessarily keep the facility open.

csu.edu

Thanks to a law signed last week, Illinois' public universities and community colleges are finally getting state money for the first time since last summer. Now, more could be on the way.

The bipartisan deal is sending $600 million to higher education.

But it wasn't spread out evenly.

Most schools got 30-percent of last year's funding.

Chicago State University got 60-percent.

Senator Donne Trotter, a Chicago Democrat, says that's because CSU was on the precipice of a shutdown.

flickr/ Howard Weliver

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recommended that the city of Galesburg offer residents bottled water or filters after tap water there tested for high levels of lead.  

USER: Hendrike, Wikipedia // USER: Deviation56, Wikipedia

Instances of prescription opioid abuse have been steadily climbing in the past couple decades across the country, and here in Illinois. According to the state's department of public health more than half of the overdose deaths in Cook County in 2014 were due to heroin. 

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NPR Illinois' Sean Crawford talks with State Journal-Register Business Editor Tim Landis.

flickr/eggrole

An advisory board voted Monday to make a number of additional health conditions eligible for Illinois' medical cannabis pilot program. But Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration has previously rejected the board's recommendations.

Amanda Vinicky

As the state budget impasse has entered an eleventh month, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says he's hopeful a "grand bargain" can be worked out by the end of May; but he's leaving the bargaining to others.

Alex McCray was in the news a lot last week — he was on TV, in the newspaper, and here on NPR Illinois -- because he had reached a settlement with the Williamsville School District expanding services for transgender students.

 

Here's a more extensive talk with McCray, and with David Root, superintendent of schools for the Williamsville-Sherman school district.

We've put together a roster of moms, and a dad or two, who will join us on Illinois Edition to take on issues that matter to those trying to successfully raise children in these hectic modern times. Rachel Otwell, NPR Illinois reporter and the mother of a toddler, hosts the rotating panel.

After a dearth of redistricting opportunities, there's a chance Illinois voters could be faced with several options in the November election.

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