The Illinois Supreme Court returns from its summer recess next week, and one of the items on the docket could be the announcement of its next chief justice. The court appears ready to name Rita Garman to the post.
Garman would be the second woman to head the Illinois Supreme Court — and in fact, only the second woman to lead one of Illinois' three branches of government.
Based in Danville, Garman has been a lawyer since 1968, a judge since 1974, and on the Supreme Court since 2002.
The flow of traffic in Springfield could change dramatically in the coming decade.
Transportation planners seeking to re-route trains recently scored a major victory in the fight for funding.
The federal government announced August 30th a $14.4M grant to help pay for the first of several construction projects along 10th Street. Crews could begin work by summer 2014, but design work must be completed first.
Legislators writing an overhaul of the state's pension systems could be nearing the end of their work.
Feedback's been plentiful since late last month, when a draft of a pension plan drawn up by a bipartisan legislative committee was leaked. Unions hate it - saying it overreaches in cutting retirement benefits. Business groups say it doesn't go far enough to save the state money. Not to mention complaints, including from the governor, that the committee is taking too long.
This week officially kicks off campaign season. Tuesday was the first day candidates could begin collecting signatures to get on the primary ballot. Still some of the leading candidates can't start yet.
In order to get on the ballot, candidates have to prove voters want them there. In the case of Democrats and Republicans running for governor, that means getting signatures from no less than 5,000 and no more than 10,000 members of his party.
Gov. Pat Quinn says he does not support an opponent's proposal to amend the Illinois Constitution.
Republican venture capitalist Bruce Rauner is not only campaigning to take Quinn's job, he's also leading an effort to change the Illinois Constitution to make it harder for lawmakers to override a governor's veto.
Springfield is defending its policies on panhandlers after a new lawsuit accused the city of violating free-speech rights by barring panhandlers from asking for money. The suit filed on behalf of panhandlers this week in federal court says police wrongly tell panhandlers that what they're doing is illegal. Springfield's ordinance is a bit confusing. It prohibits vocal requests for money, but allows someone to hold a sign making a similar request. The city passed the measure back in 2007 for the downtown area.
Farmers across the country received more than $17-Billion in federal crop insurance payouts after last year’s drought. A report by one environmental group blames farmers for not doing enough to shield the soil against the heat.
The city of Springfield is still nearly two years away from a mayoral election. But half-way through a term he had said would be his last, Mike Houston is now hinting at the possibility of re-election.
Mayor Houston says he's not made any decisions about his political future at this time, but he says they may come in sring 2014.
Houston says his decision-making will be likely affected by long-term challenges facing the city, such as road and sewer improvements, consolidation of train traffic and a search for a source of water to supplement Lake Springfield:
President Obama has plans for higher education in the U-S. His ideas are a mix of old and new, aimed at keeping college affordable for students but also trying to raise the bar on quality of instruction. In Illinois, some of what the President wants is already part of the landscape. For example, Illinois has moved toward tying a small portion of state funding to graduation rates and other metrics. The Illinois Board of Higher Education's Executive Director says some of the other changes the President is pushing won't be so easy.
During Republican Day at the state fair over the summer, candidate for governor Bruce Rauner said Illinois is in a "death spiral." He repeated the phrase in an interview about his petition drive, seeking a 2014 ballot question to institute legislative term limits.
Venture capitalist Bruce Rauner is drumming up his campaign for governor with a second campaign. Rauner, a Republican, is trying to get a question on the 2014 ballot that could lead to major changes in state government. He says he'll donate a sizable portion of his personal fortune into the effort. Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky spoke about it with him at length in the following interview:
Of the four Republicans running for governor, venture capitalist Bruce Rauner is the only one who's never before served in government. But he's already looking to change it, and in significant ways.
Rauner is heading a petition drive to institute term limits, to make it harder for legislators to override a governor's veto, and to reduce the size of the General Assembly. His plan adds a handful of members to the Illinois House, but takes away 18 senators.
Rauner says that'll make elections more competitive.
State Senator Kirk Dillard has selected a west-central Illinois lawmaker to join him on the ballot in his bid to be the state’s next Governor. State Representative Jil Tracy stood before a crowd of about 150 in Quincy’s Washington Park and accepted Dillard’s request to run as lieutenant governor.
The Quincy Republican says she took a close look at all of the Republican candidates for Governor before making her decision.
This is the thirteenth installment of the 2013 edition of My Farm Roots, Harvest Public Media’s series chronicling Americans’ connection to the land. Click here to explore more My Farm Roots stories and to share your own.
Matt Pauly has traveled the world – he’s lived in New York, Paris, South Korea – but he’s still a farm boy at heart.
Farmers in the Midwest were devastated by a crippling drought in 2012. The federal crop insurance program paid out a record $17.3 billion. And in rural America, that money is still paying dividends. To understand the impact, Harvest Public Media reporter Bill Wheelhouse took a tour of Livingston County, Illinois. Farmers here received by far the biggest insurance payout in the nation.
On this sweltering day in mid-August, surrounded by healthy 8-foot tall corn stalks, Doug Wilson peels back the husks to see how his corn is looking. The verdict?
Gov. Pat Quinn is again making a push for raising Illinois' minimum wage. The Chicago Democrat has been visiting black churches in the Chicago area as he ramps up his 2014 re-election bid. On Sunday, he told congregants at Missionary Baptist Fellowship Church that helping those who live in poverty is a principle as old as the Bible. Illinois last raised the minimum wage in 2010.
Organizers of this year's Farm Progress Show say they'll wait to decide whether to keep an onsite annex when the nation's largest outdoor farm show returns to Decatur in 2015. This year's three-day show had about 600 vendors _ the most in its 60 year history. With so many vendors, organizers added an annex for new exhibitors.
Christian County officials say they may need a new jail to replace an aging facility that's often overcrowded and has a bad roof and leaking pipes. The jail in Taylorville was built in 1975 and was originally designed to hold about two dozen inmates. It's since been updated, but some weekends has as many as 60 inmates. When it's that crowded, some inmates have to sleep on the floor on mats. Sheriff Bruce Kettlekamp says the prison is ``busting at the seams.''
West central Illinois is now in what is being called a moderate drought. That's despite a relatively cool and wet start to the summer.
The US Drought Monitor's latest map shows moderate drought for the western half of Sangamon County and farther west all the way into Missouri.
The state's climatologist, Jim Angel, says most droughts move slow and take 3-6 months to develop. However, sometimes they can move fast if conditions are right, leading to the term “flash drought”. This situation appears to be developing west central Illinois.
The federal government has awarded a $14.4 million grant for a railroad underpass in Springfield that will improve service along the emerging 110-mph Amtrak route between Chicago and St. Louis. Four members of Congress from Illinois announced the award Friday. The Carpenter Street underpass is part of work to consolidate rail traffic on a line east of downtown. It will eliminate three street-level crossings, improving the safety of faster rail service through the state capital. It will also keep first responders from getting stuck at crossings.
Rep. Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) bested Rep. Raymond Poe (R-Springfield) as Illinois House Republicans’ new leader. Despite a “scuffle” over the leadership post in past days, Durkin and Poe presented a united front after the closed-door caucus meeting at the Statehouse Inn in Springfield Thursday.
In a rare turn of events, Illinois' General Assembly will have a leadership change mid-way through the two-year legislative session. It's set in motion by House Republican Leader Tom Cross's decision to step down, he's expected to soon announce a run for state treasurer. Republican members of the House met Thursday in Springfield to choose his replacement. Longtime Rep. Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) claimed the title.
Rosie Flores started a Kickstarter project in 2011 to record, "The Female Elvis," Janis Martin. Martin died shortly after the sessions. Flores completed the project and has now released the recording. Flores has partnered with Marti Brom in a rockabilly tribute to Martin. They will play WUIS' Bedrock 66 Live Saturday, September 7 at 8 p.m.
State Sen. Kwame Raoul says he's not jumping into the 2014 race for Illinois governor.
The Chicago Democrat has been weighing a run for months and had boosted his fundraising. But he said in a statement Thursday he must focus on his role as chairman of a legislative conference committee that's working on Illinois' pension crisis. He says he made his decision after talking with his family and evaluating his resources. He also says he didn't want to ``create unnecessary divisions.''
The Illinois Supreme Court will meet in Chicago for at least the next year while the court's usual home in Springfield is undergoing a major renovation.
The $12.6 million project began this summer. Workers are completely redoing the century-old building's ventilation system, as well as restoring the historic murals that line the walls of the courtroom.
Spokesman Joe Tybor says the move to Chicago is a big change for the justices.
Republican members of the Illinois House have a new leader: longtime Rep. Jim Durkin of suburban Western Springs. Lawmakers met in Springfield today to choose a replacement for outgoing House Minority Leader Tom Cross.
Republicans aren't just the minority party in the Illinois House. They're in the super-minority, with 47 members to Democrats' 71. Durkin says he'll work to slim those margins.
Though he hasn't decided who to support in the Republican primary race for governor, Niles Township committeeman Joe Hendrick is happy to pose with one of the candidates, Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) at GOP Day at the state fair. Four years ago when he was Republicans' nominee for governor, Brady didn't have any say in who his running mate would be; for the first time this election gubernatorial candidates get to choose a lieutenant governor, before the primary.
For the first time, candidates for governor in Illinois will choose their second in command. They used to get stuck with whomever primary voters choose for lieutenant governor -- whether the two got along or not. It's an opportunity for candidates to find a running mate they work well with, or perhaps someone to balance out the ticket. Still, the new selection process might have unintended consequences.