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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.

Caterpillar says it plans to close five plants and trim about 670 jobs in
Illinois and several other states, in the latest phase of a larger cost-cutting
campaign announced last year.

For almost a year, presidential candidates have been crisscrossing Iowa, wooing voters in a state that relies on agriculture for about one-third of its economy. But even here, most voters live in cities or suburbs and don’t have a first-hand connection to the farm.

Illinois Issues

Illinois’ longest-serving state Senate president died Friday. He was 78.

Philip Rock, a Democrat from Oak Park who had once given serious consideration to running for governor against Jim Thompson, took his seat in the Senate in 1971 and was elected to lead it in 1979. 

Illinois Issues/WUIS

Next month, President Barack Obama will return to the place where his political career began -- Springfield, Illinois -- to address state legislators.


Governor Bruce Rauner gave his second annual State of the State address before a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly this week.  Doug Finke of the State Journal-Register joins the panel.

flickr/DennisCarr

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is coming to Illinois to help assess damage from early-winter floods that struck nearly two dozen counties.  
 

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Thursday vowed to ``do everything possible to help people and communities'' affected by the late December and early January flooding.  

College of DuPage

College campuses (and the politics behind them) are taking center stage in Springfield's festering stalemate.

After seven months without funding, the Illinois legislature Thursday passed a bill to pay for tuition waivers for low-income college students. It would also send money to community colleges, but it's doubtful the political wrangling over this issue is finished. Illinois has gone nearly eight months without a budget.

Dave Heinzel

A motley crew of area musicians and artists have banded together to highlight the talent of fellow creatives in the area. It’s been a lofty undertaking, and so far three episodes of The Studio Show have been released on YouTube. I sat down with some of the guys behind the project, Arlin Peebles, Keil Isham & Dave Heinzel.

CLICK HERE to follow the show on Facebook and HERE to watch.

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

I can still hear his voice when I close my eyes.  Mr. White, my sixth grade teacher, read aloud slowly to our class every day after lunch.  We came in from recess, sweaty from the kickball field, and collapsed gratefully into our desks.  He’d dim the lights and begin the next installment of whatever book he was reading to us.

He read fiction that kept us on the edge of our seats as we wondered about the fate of each character.  He read biographies that inspired us.  He read poetry that sounded like music when he read it.

Gov. Bruce Rauner says he wants to get the state out of legal agreements called consent decrees. The deals are a big part of the reason the government is still operating without a budget; they also impact the lives of thousands of Illinois residents. But unless you are affected by one, you've probably never heard of them. 

Amanda Vinicky

Roughly one year ago, Gov. Bruce Rauner stood before lawmakers and unveiled his so-called "turnaround agenda." He didn't use that phrase this time around. But Wednesday, the governor used his state-of-the-state address to continue fighting for his stalled vision. Rauner has spent months berating Democrats for failing to get on board. Not this time. He gave a more conciliatory message, and talked about "mutual respect." That wasn't enough for some of his critics, who don't trust the governor, or his change in tone.


ilga.gov

House Speaker Michael Madigan says he's open to considering a new pension overhaul and is ``anxious'' to see legislation. 

The Scene With The Studio Boys

Jan 27, 2016
WUIS

This week we are joined by the hosts of Springfield's entertainment/art program on YouTube called The Studio Show. Arlin Peebles and Keil Isham have been conducting their own interviews with local artists and featuring bands. You can see their show here and tune in now to hear more about it:

Brian Mackey/WUIS

 Gov. Bruce Rauner will give his second annual State of the State address at noon Wednesday. After a year of stalemate, he's expected to make some effort to bridge a bipartisan divide.

In the year since the governor first laid out his agenda for the state, none of it has passed. Rauner has been unequivocal. Despite Democrats' resistance, and pressure on groups demanding a budget, he's not dropping his controversial prescription for a so-called "turnaround."

"We're not going to back down on it, we're not going to give in on it," he said Monday.

Amanda Vinicky

Illinois residents will hear from their Governor Wednesday when Bruce Rauner gives his annual state of the state address. It comes at a difficult time in Illinois government: For nearly eight months there has been no budget.

Social service agencies that depend on state funding are closing programs, the backlog of unpaid bills is piling up, and some public universities are moving forward with layoffs.

But Rauner also says Illinois has had important achievements in the year since he took office. He says he'll talk about those during his speech.

photo courtesy of Arlin Peebles

Arlin Peebles may be one of our area's most seriously unsung musicians. Pardon the lousy pun, but while he's not a name as recognizable as say - Tom Irwin, he has a sizable catalog of original songs and a talent for lyrics and composition. Arlin's authentic, and he just may be one of your new favorites, whether you're tied to Springfield or not.

GorlitzPhotography/flickr

State Journal-Register Business Editor Tim Landis tells us about traditional Springfield taxis going more high tech, with a ride-hailing app for smartphones.  Is it brought on by competition from Uber?

After more than 3 decades away, the Illinois Pork Expo is returning to Springfield and the Prairie Capital Convention Center next month.  It will combine with the annual legislative lobby day at the statehouse.

And Jeff Parsons finds more legal trouble, this time in Texas.  

WIU students demonstrating.
Rich Egger / Tri States Public Radio

The Western Illinois University Board of Trustees voted 5-to1 during a special meeting Monday to authorize staff reductions for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2016.  Staff cuts are just one part of Western’s plan for cutting spending by roughly $10 million due to declines in enrollment and state financial support.

John Cullerton
Illinois Senate

Changing how Illinois funds its schools is Senate President John Cullerton's top priority as a new legislative session gets underway. Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat, says Illinois shouldn't fund schools at all next year until it comes with a more equitable way to do it. John Cullerton says the way Illinois funds schools "crushes dreams" and "stifles growth."

Gov. Bruce Rauner Creates New IT Agency

Jan 25, 2016
Bruce Rauner
brucerauner.com

Illinois has doesn't have a centralized information technology infrastructure. It's a patchwork of old systems.

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

 

 Many Illinois residents likely are going about their days, without feeling any direct impact of the state's budget impasse. Some may not even realize there is no budget -- decisions by lawmakers and judges have kept money flowing to certain areas. But agencies left out of those deals are getting increasingly desperate.

If you're the parent of a Springfield student, you probably spent the winter holidays reminding your kid to study, or supervising homework projects. That's because this year, final exams began a week after students returned from winter break. District officials didn't plan it that way just to take all the fun out of Christmas.

Millkin University Choir

The Millikin University Choir is wrapping up its winter tour in the capital city this Saturday night (January 30).  The performance will take place at the Central Baptist Church, 501 S. Fourth St.  The show starts at 7 p.m. 

Last year's scheduled stop was canceled due to illness.  Phil Maxwell, who directs the church's choir, says that was a disappointment.  But he's looking forward to this visit.

"They should be well polished since they have been on tour since January 14," he said.

When you hear the word ACES, you probably think of kids who make good grades. But in the documentary Paper Tigers, ACES is an acronym for Adverse Childhood Experiences, such as the loss of a parent, that can affect how kids cope with school.

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