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Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner wants to reduce the state's prison population by twenty-five percent in the next 10 years. But the state's budget impasse is putting ex-offenders at greater risk of returning to prison.

Lawmakers Consider Giving Obama A State Holiday

Feb 8, 2016
President Barack Obama
The White House

As the president prepares to visit the state capitol and speak to lawmakers, some in Illinois are wanting to designate a holiday in his honor.

cityofchicago.org

Chicago Public School's fiscal problems continue. Meanwhile, some universities are trying to figure out how to keep their doors open without state funding. 

For this week’s Past Due, Jamey Dunn sat down with Sean Crawford to give an update about the budget impact on education in Illinois. 

University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Susan Koch previously served as an administratro at Northern Michigan University.
University of Illinois

Susan Koch, Chancellor of the University of Illinois at Springfield, met with the faculty senate Friday to talk about state funding and other issues. She told the roomful of college professors that she was hesitant to tell them news that might send them out onto the job market, but, she said, a recent study by the Chronicle of Higher Education showed state appropriations for colleges all over the nation rose over 4 percent. Not counted in that average were Pennsylvania and Illinois — the two states where lawmakers have failed to agree on a budget, and appropriations have fallen by 100 percent. 

A Push To Make Obama's Birthday A State Holiday

Feb 8, 2016
npr.org

This week, we'll celebrate Lincoln's Birthday.  Should President Obama also get a holiday in his home state?  Some lawmakers think so.

Governor Bruce Rauner issued an amendatory veto Friday on legislation that would reopen the Illinois State Museum- if it gets private funding.

With the state budget impasse ongoing, lack of money continues to affect Illinois colleges and universities as well as Chicago Public Schools.  Chris Mooney, director of the University of Illinois' Institute of Government and Public Affairs, joins the panel.

WVIK

Money keeps state government going.  From services to employee paychecks.  So, how does the State of Illinois function when it's piling up more bills than it can cover?   

Tony Colantino

This week we are joined by a young Springfield woman and artist who has her hand in dozens of projects concerning everything from community gardening through feminist-rock.

Dusty Rhodes / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Illinois Speaker of the House Mike Madigan today announced that he will re-convene hearings on the state’s education funding formula. The state's current formula relies heavily on property taxes, creating a big disparity among schools based on their geographic location. Some districts can spend more than $32,000 per student every year, while others scrape by on a fraction of that amount. 

WUIS

The fate of the Illinois State Museum could be decided in the next couple of days. The museum closed to the public last October as a cost-saving measure as the budget stalemate dragged on.

New Illinois Law On Human Trafficking Takes Effect

Feb 4, 2016

Human trafficking knows no boundaries. It can include people from foreign countries as well as U.S. citizens.

Corey Woodruff

Stephen Houldsworth is a self-described "grumpy old gay man" (though his life's work aimed at bettering society suggests that characterization should be taken with a grain or two of salt.) His one-man performance involves a collection of stories about family, AIDS, race and mosh-pits. 

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

Megan and Tom are bucking a trend with their own courageous path.  For years they worked to climb the career ladder in order to qualify for a mortgage that would support the HGTV-worthy dream home they envisioned.

Poverty rates for the biggest racial minority groups in Illinois are two to three times higher than those for whites.

Amanda Vinicky

Eight years, tops, and he's out. That was a promise Bruce Rauner made on the campaign trail. The promise of term limits helped get him elected as Illinois' governor. But he hasn't been able to persuade lawmakers to get on board with putting a hard deadline on their own careers; same goes for redistricting.

In his latest attempt at persuasion, Rauner --- a Republican — cited Illinois' most powerful, well-known Democrat: None other than President Barack Obama, who of course will soon be returning to Springfield to address Illinois lawmakers.

What each man has said lately about term limits and redistricting is the subject of this latest edition of The Players, your guide to who's who in Illinois politics and what they're up to.

flickr/ rabiem22

Commentary — Might we be seeing light at the end of the tunnel? Or is it the headlamps of the ongoing train wreck that is Illinois, picking up speed? Such questions came to mind listening to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s State of the State address last week.

WUIS

Governor Bruce Rauner says action he has taken without the General Assembly will help the state attract businesses and jobs. 

Bedrock 66 Live Music Concert Series is host to an amazing group of roots, revival and rock & roll playin’ in a travelin’ band touring acts from across the country. All live shows are recorded and played back on WUIS at a later date. The most wonderful and current live music schedule in the Sangamon Valley AND one of the most unique broadcast events in the state, all roadhouses in your Central Illinois community.

Jukebox Cassanova is Bernie Flesch on lead vocals and guitar, Gary Hawthorne on drums, Matt Combs on upright bass, and Mick Conboy on lead guitar. They joined us for the 2015 'Thank You Fest' and played a set for an audience in the Suggs Studio here at the NPR Illinois station. They were joined by band Ragna Rye who we'll hear from at a later date.

Photo provided by: Kathryn Harris

A group that is devoted to the legacy of Springfield's favorite son will install its first African American and first female president this month.

WIU students demonstrating.
Rich Egger / Tri States Public Radio

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner said the state can fund higher education if it changes how it buys products and services. He said changes could save Ilinois taxpayers around a half a billion dollars a year, but procurement reform wouldn't cover all of the state's higher education spending.

Amanda Vinicky

The Illinois State Board of Elections decided Monday in favor of three presidential candidates, but the decision could be appealed to a circuit court.

Today we get ice from our freezer. But without refrigeration, our ancestors had to buy it from local icemen who were busy harvesting this time of year. Tara McClellan McAndrew brings us this historical account. It's an installment of our history series, sponsored by the Sangamon County Historical Society. Eric Woods provides additional narration:

 

CLICK HERE for more information about ice harvesting.

Courtesy of District 186

Springfield school board last night approved a request to add baseball to the athletic program at Franklin Middle School. 

Springfield currently has only one middle school team participating in America's greatest past-time -- baseball. That team represents the Lincoln Magnet School/Ball Charter collaborative. The board unanimously supported Franklin Middle School's request to field a team. It will be coached by Brett Troemper, a science teacher at Franklin and assistant baseball coach at Springfield High.

Dylan Stuckey

Richie Hofmann is a 28 year old poet living in Chicago. He will be coming to Springfield this week to read poems from his new book, called Second Empire.

Electronic cigarettes don't contain tobacco, but the vaporized solution users inhale does contain nicotine.

Sen. Julie Morrison, a Democrat from Deerfield, says she doesn't consider them safe.

Morrison says she'd kept stories about young people "openly and blatantly using these products publicly, because there was no reason they shouldn't. There was nothing in law that prevented them from doing that.”

Morrison is sponsor of a new law, signed Friday, that she says closes a loophole.

WUIS

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

WIU students demonstrating.
Rich Egger / Tri States Public Radio

The Illinois Senate President is encouraging Governor Bruce Rauner to rethink his priorities on student aid legislation, but the governor was quick to repeat his promise of a veto.

Senate President John Cullerton says he'll hold onto legislation for a couple of weeks, to give the governor time to "cool off," then he'll send it to Rauner for action.

In a statement, Cullerton urges Rauner to "not act rashly, but in the best interest of students, their futures, and the future of Illinois."

Congressman Rodney Davis (Facebook page)

Military police from Illinois' National Guard will soon be in Afghanistan; they'll do security there for much of this year.

Per tradition, Lt. Col. Michael Hough reads the mobilization order: 233rd Military Police Company, ordered to Active Duty in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel, Afghanistan," sending some 30 soldiers on a mission, first to Texas for training, then to Afghanistan.

"We all enlisted at a time of war; this is what we enlisted to do," said one of them, Sgt. Michael Johnson, the team medic, is Sgt. Michael Johnson.

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