News

Illinois Lottery

The Illinois Lottery is backtracking on a warning that it would have to stop selling tickets over the Internet.

Illinois lawmakers may soon take up the controversial question of which bathrooms should be used by transgender students.

Jack McCoullough has been serving a life sentence for a 1957 kidnapping and murder. He was convicted in 2012 — more than 50 years after the crime happened.

Last week, the local prosecutor told a judge that he reviewed evidence showing McCoullough did not commit the crime. Now age 76, McCullough is hoping to get out of prison.

wikimedia

This week, authorities in Illinois are finalizing the results of this month’s primary elections.

Turnout was record-setting, and that left an unknown number of voters disenfranchised by ballot shortages and long waits at the polls. But officials say they don't believe there was any nefarious intent.

Peoria Co. Sheriff's Office

Authorities say an Illinois airport was evacuated for about three hours after a passenger had a bag that appeared to contain tubes of explosive material, although security officials determined it wasn't a bomb.

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

Insight emerges when we expose our stories to the light of day in the presence of someone we trust.  While this phenomenon holds true for us at any age, telling our stories is especially helpful for children.

ICPR website

The state of Illinois may be running a deficit, but many of its leaders' campaign accounts are flush.

The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform tracks their spending, and has ideas on how to improve the system.

For this episode of The Players, your look into who's who in Illinois government and politics and waht they're up to, Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky talked about campaign finance and spending on the 2016 primary with ICPR's Director, Sarah Brune.

Illinois Issues: What Can Save The Bees?

Mar 31, 2016
University of Illinois Bee Lab

Bees are essential to our lives, yet they are dying by the thousands. Experts say there's no one solution for protecting them. 

Illinois Issues: The Next Pension Time Bomb

Mar 30, 2016

Illinois has more than $100 billion in pension debt. So far, attempts to fix it have been mostly illegal.

Amanda Vinicky

Some of the primary races in early March were the most expensive in state history, but it will remain a mystery where all of the money to fund them came from. That does not appear to concern Gov.Bruce Rauner.

The Scene: Vachel Lindsay & Contemporary Poetry

Mar 30, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

This week we talk about a "SlutWalk" planned for this weekend, and Nikki Overcash joins us to discuss one of Springfield's literary heroes and ways to celebrate National Poetry Month in town (click here for a list of those events.) Tune in!

Amanda Vinicky

It had been a long time coming, but Illinois' pilot program for medical marijuana has finally kicked off last November. It's been slow growing for the industry so far, and there are many restrictions.  The business HCI Alternatives has two medical marijuana dispensaries in the state now. 

Illinois Supreme Court
Brian Mackey / WUIS

Some see a recent Illinois Supreme Court ruling on public employee wages as a potential key to ending the state’s budget impasse.

Rachel Otwell sat down with Past Due host Jamey Dunn to talk about the case.

WBEZ

Prosecutors say they won't retry former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich on five counts tossed by a federal appeals court and have requested a resentencing date. 

Jeff Bossert

Unions landed a victory Tuesday: A tie at the U-S Supreme Court on a case perceived as do-or-die for public employee unions means current rules will remain in place. But Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says he'll continue to try to ban so-called "fair share" fees.

Wednesday night a legislative commission will hear from supporters and critics of shutting down the Illinois Youth Center in Kewanee. The Department of Juvenile Justice announced in February it planned to close the prison.

The Illinois Youth Center in Kewanee is about 150 miles southwest of Chicago. For a juvenile prison, it's big: 11 buildings on 100 acres of land, with room for 350 kids.

Dept. of Juvenile Justice Director Candice Jones says the closure helps the agency move toward national best practices, which favor smaller, regional facilities.

Rod and Patti Blagojevich
WBEZ / Flickr

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has been pursuing an appeal of his corruption conviction and 14-year prison sentence. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court said it would not take up the case.

Sean Crawford talks with the State Journal-Register's Tim Landis.

When Rivers Can't Be Controlled, Farmers Are Left In Limbo

Mar 29, 2016

Driving along rough and muddy gravel roads next to what was once a rich soybean field, farmer Adam Thomas gazes out on an upended mess of tubes, wheels and hoses from a nearby farmer’s irrigation system.

WUIS

The Illinois Supreme Court will be asked to re-visit an opinion it just issued March 24. State employees' salaries are at stake. 

Susan Koch, chancellor of the University of Illinois in Springfield, hosted a budget forum last week. And despite receiving no state funding for more than nine months, she had some good news to share with faculty and staff at the forum. 

The Supreme Court has rejected former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's appeal of his corruption convictions that included his attempt to sell the vacant Senate seat once occupied by President Barack Obama. 

Amanda Vinicky

 Gov. Bruce Rauner says he supports one of Illinois' top industries: Agriculture. But critics say a recent plan goes against his own assertion that he's a “strong advocate” for it.

A pair of Illinois Supreme Court rulings this week are a mixed bag for government employees. The justices struck down a law intended to reduce benefits for Chicago city employees, but also found that AFSCME members cannot be paid bargained-for raises unless the General Assembly specifically authorizes the spending.

Illinois Supreme Court
Brian Mackey / WUIS

The Illinois Supreme Court Thursday said the state does not have to pay unionized employees what it says in their contracts, unless legislators specifically appropriate the money.

The Black Sheep Cafe

It's a bit of a slow week as families gear up for spring break, but we still have plenty to talk about. We discuss an art show, a unique chance for women to make a vision board, a feminist spoken word duo and two books dealing with very different artists. Tune in!

Brian Mackey / WUIS

The Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday struck down another attempt to control the cost of government pension benefits.

This time it was Chicago city employees and retirees whose pensions were being targeted. The retirement system for one set of workers is projected to be insolvent in about a decade.

In 2014, the Illinois General Assembly changed the rules, but in Thursday's 5-0 ruling, the Supreme Court found that unconstitutional.

Illinois Public Radio’s Brian Mackey spoke with his colleague Amanda Vinicky about the decision.

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

More than whatever is happening in the headlines, our days are made (or destroyed) by the kindness (or lack of it) displayed by the people whose orbits we cross personally.

A quick errand provides an example.  On a good day, you pull into a parking lot where another driver waves you into the spot nearest the door and takes a farther spot himself.  As you enter the store, the lady ahead of you holds the door and greets you with a smile.  When you bump into someone in a crowded aisle, you hear a quick apology and a gentle laugh about the narrow passage.

WUIS

The Illinois Supreme Court has declared that former Gov. Pat Quinn was correct in 2011 when he denied state workers a promised 2 percent pay raise because lawmakers had not appropriated the money.

Creative Commons via Flickr.com/rustypenny

In the March 17 issue of Illinois Times, Springfield’s alt-weekly newspaper, Bruce Rushton looks at how some state lawmakers are spending money they'd collected to fund their political campaigns.

Searching through public documents, he found thousands of dollars spent at the Ritz-Carlton in the Cayman Islands, maintenance on luxury automobiles, and a purchase at a men’s clothing store — that last one was classified as “work attire.”

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