News

Should criminals bear the cost of their own rehabilitation?

Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

State employees have begun receiving pink slips, as a budget impasse looms -- a total of 171 workers will lose their jobs. Workers have gotten notice that they'll be out of work by the end of September.

Lisa Ryan/WUIS

A bipartisan legislative commission has rejected Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposal to close two state facilities.  

On a pair of 7-2 votes, the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability issued non-binding decisions against shuttering the Illinois State Museum and the Department of Corrections' Hardin County Work Camp in southern Illinois.

IHPA

It takes a lot to upstage Abraham Lincoln.  But if anyone could, it might have been Marilyn Monroe.

The actress visited the small east central Illinois town of Bement, in Piatt County, 60 years ago this week.  Bement is known for being the site where Lincoln and Stephen Douglas met to plan their famous debates.  But in 1955, it was Marilyn's town. 

John Cullerton
Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

Local property taxes would be frozen for two years under a measure approved Tuesday by the Illinois Senate. That's on Gov. Bruce Rauner's wish-list, but Republicans are still against the plan.

After a failed attempt last month, Democratic Senate President John Cullerton shepherded his proposal through.

How much money local governments could ask taxpayers for would be stuck for a couple years -- something Rauner, a Republican, insists happen before he'll negotiate with Democrats on the budget.

Amanda Vinicky / WUIS / Illinois Issues

  The governor and Democratic legislators yesterday came to a budget agreement, but only a minor one. A broader stalemate continues.

Anything to do with state spending this year has pretty much been split down party lines. Democrats passed a spending plan, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed almost all of it. That's what has Illinois into its second month without a budget. Then, yesterday, a thaw. Senators -- from both parties -- voted to spend $5 billion dollars, of federal money; the state just serves as a pass through.

John J. Kim, Chicago Tribune

Black mold, crumbling plaster, leaking ceilings, broken stairs... A home with these problems probably doesn't sound like the ideal residence for a multimillionaire like Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner. But that's exactly the issues that have cropped up after years of neglect at the Executive Mansion, aka the Governor's Mansion, in Springfield, which is 160 years old. 

Al Riddley
Brian Mackey / WUIS

Non-profit groups say the ongoing fight over the state budget could lead to tragic consequences for thousands of Illinoisans.

The agencies have state contracts for everything from taking care of people with disabilities to placing children in foster care. But the partisan fight over state spending means they're not being paid.

Al Riddley, on the board of the Illinois Partners for Human Service, says the groups are being led on a "death march."

"Perhaps it's time to change our state motto from 'Land of Lincoln' to 'We Don't Care,'" Riddley says.

WUIS

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has asked a full appellate court in Chicago to rehear his appeal after three judges recently overturned five of his 18 corruption convictions.  

The imprisoned Democrat's lawyers filed the request Tuesday with the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Chicago Tribune reveals info about new science test required for 5th, 8th and 10th graders this year.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-illinois-science-test-met-20150804-story.html#page=1

On this weeks WUIS/SJR Business Report Bill and Tim talk about Obama's energy announcement and Illinois coal,  a Sangamon County wind farm and an update on local hospital construction.

The University of Illinois’ Urbana campus chancellor and athletic director don’t expect any personnel changes in the women’s basketball program – after a law firm hired by the university found no evidence of racial discrimination or player abuse.

A Chicago firm said the claims of a racially hostile environment… in a lawsuit filed by seven former players… are unsupported.

Lisa Ryan/WUIS

A panel of lawmakers will weigh in Wednesday on the planned closure of two state facilities.  But the final decision rests with the governor. 

Courtesy of IBHE

Last anybody heard, Gov. Bruce Rauner wanted to cut higher education spending drastically, by more than 30 percent. But with the budget  stalled in the legislature, colleges have no idea how much money they’ll get.  

James Applegate, director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, says this kind of chaos costs money.

“This is an extremely inefficient way to run a shop,” he says.

 

flickr/dcJohn

A Chicago alderman has proposed a penny per ounce tax on sugary drinks in that city.  There is also an effort to make that happen statewide.

tspr.org

The heavily debated package is a point of contention among the candidates.

While the fight over the state’s budget got most of the attention, lawmakers did approve several bills during the regular legislative session. Democratic leaders put a hold on sending much of the legislation lawmakers approved to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s desk directly after the spring session ended. But as of press time, all of the bills on this list had been sent to the governor.

As white-nose syndrome continues to spread in Illinois, new research offers promise for combatting the fatal bat disease.

White-nose syndrome is caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates it has killed at least 5.7 million to 6.7 million bats since it was first found in New York in 2006.

Social Media Users Press For Governor's Recall With Petitions

Aug 1, 2015
Rauner takes oath
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

A number of recall petitions from people dissatisfied with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner are circulating on social media platforms, but these efforts do not meet the legal requirements for recall in the state.

As of press time, the petition with the most support, posted on thepetitionsite.com, has more than 9,000 signatures with a goal set at 600,000.

Merrill Cole, an English and literature professor at Western Illinois University, added his name to the petition. Cole says he is against the governor’s “entire agenda.” Rauner’s office declined to comment on the petitions.

Rita Crundwell showing a horse
American Quarter Horse Association

Illinois’ male public officials and politicians aren’t the only ones behaving badly. A recent study looked at the cases of 29 Illinois women involved in corrupt acts over a 25-year period.

That’s the number rounded up by graduate student Ryan Ceresola. The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale published the study this June.

The destination for the planned Barack Obama Presidential Library and Museum in Chicago has yet to be named. But right now an exhibit held by the Southside Hub of Production in Hyde Park offers a taste of what one can expect from the library.

This exhibit, curated by University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign art education professor Jorge Lucero, aims to showcase the profound significance of the first African-American president, he says.

With essay titles like “We Can’t Breath,” a new book co-edited by an Illinois State University professor aims to combat “modern-day lynchings of black men such as Trayvon Martin, Eric Gardner and Michael Brown.’’

The Department of Education last year released the names of dozens of schools under investigation for poor handling of sexual assault cases. Two of those were in Illinois: the University of Chicago and Knox College in Galesburg.

The issue was on the radar of lawmakers. Late in the spring legislative session the House and Senate approved a bill to improve collegiate responses to campus sexual assault. The legislation was sent to the governor in June.

A pilot internship program for youth who age out of the foster care system would be designed in January, if approved by the governor.

The unpaid program, which aims to discourage youth homelessness, would operate for a two-year period before being assessed for long-term implementation, state Sen. Mattie Hunter, a Democrat from Chicago, says. The program would be offered to youth who’ve aged out of the system when they are 21 years old.

Photographs by Tony Wedick

 

One hundred miles west of Chicago lies Nachusa Grasslands, a 3,500-acre prairie restoration site.

The dry prairie, oak savannahs, grasslands and wetlands draw hundreds of different plant and animal species, including the endangered Blandings’ turtles and 180 different birds such as dickcissels and grasshopper and Henslow’s sparrows. The more than 700 plants include the state’s largest population of the federally threatened prairie bush clover, according to The Nature Conservancy.

Crime And Punishment

Aug 1, 2015

Dennis Hastert, former U.S. House Speaker from Illinois, in June pleaded not guilty to bank-related charges and lying to federal investigators about paying $3.5 million to hide alleged sexual misconduct.

The Yorkville Republican who was speaker for eight years, was a teacher and wrestling coach at Yorkville High School from 1965 to 1981.

Resignation

Aug 1, 2015

  Donald Stolworthy, Gov. Bruce Rauner’s choice to head the Illinois Department of Corrections, resigned from the position in May. Stolworthy had been on the job for just two months. Rauner’s office did not give a reason for his resignation. The governor named Gladyse Taylor acting director in June. Taylor has served as the department’s assistant director and as acting director of the department in 2010 under then-Gov. Pat Quinn. Rauner named Taylor to Illinois Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform earlier this year.

Auditor To Retire

Aug 1, 2015

William Holland, Illinois’ long-serving auditor general, announced recently that he will retire at the end of December.

Appointment

Aug 1, 2015

Joseph Wright was selected by Gov. Bruce Rauner to run the state’s medical marijuana pilot program. Most recently, Wright served as Rauner’s assistant general counsel. In that role, he was liaison to the legal staff at the Illinois Department of Agriculture, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and the Illinois Racing Board. He previously served as a law clerk at the Illinois Attorney General’s Office and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

Posthumous Honor

Aug 1, 2015

Henry Gerber in Chicago in 1924 set up the country’s first chartered advocacy organization for gay rights — the Society for Human Rights. In June, Gerber’s Chicago home received designation as a National Historic Landmark, one of about 2,500 recognized.

The house is the second LGBT site in the nation to receive the historic site designation, according to the U.S. Department of the Interior. The first is the Stonewall Inn in New York City.

Pages