The ten members of the bipartisan, bicameral conference committee formed to come up with a pension package gather in Chicago in July, for one of the panel's few public meetings. Gov. Pat Quinn did not attend.
A huge new rail yard has been buzzing on the outskirts of Decatur, Ill. Agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) recently opened the 275-acre facility that would be at home at any major port city on the coast. But it’s in the heart of Illinois farm country because farmers have been taking advantage of a new method of shipping out their products.
Next week, Illinois lawmakers could consider mandatory prison sentences for people charged with illegal gun possession. Supporters say it would help reduce violent crime in places like Chicago and East St. Louis. But a prominent gun-rights group is opposed to the change.
In places where shootings are a big problem, some politicians and prosecutors want a three-year minimum sentence for gun crimes.
But the National Rifle Association worries lawful gun owners could be caught up under the proposal.
Rep. Mike Zalewski, a Democrat from Riverside, sits on the pension conference committee. "There's some concern over ... frankly whether pension systems should get in the business of the market... and philosophically do we really want to go down this road when there's members of these systems that believe all we need to do is make our payment, rightfully so," he says of defined contribution plans.
With an eye toward reaching an agreement in time for the upcoming veto session, legislators on a special pension committee met Friday in Chicago. The conversations focused on giving state employees and teachers a new style of retirement plan.
Lincoln Memorial Garden & Nature Center may well be Springfield's most celebrated destination for nature-enthusiasts. With over 100 acres of wilderness and trails, it provides a serene landscape along Lake Springfield for residents and tourists to soak in some sun and fresh air, free of charge.
Archer Daniels Midland is on the lookout for a new home for its world headquarters. And it's not being limited to the midwest. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports ADM leaders met with Atlanta officials.
ADM has said it won't comment on sites in the running. Other reports this week has the company looking at Minneapolis. Chicago and St. Louis have also been mentioned as possibilities.
This week's topics include gubernatorial hopeful Bruce Rauner's choice for his Lt. Governor running mate, the state deal with Amtrak to keep shorter-run rail lines running, and new license requirements for all-terrain-vehicles.
Do you have an idea to show off the history of your community or a special location? The Sangamon County Historical Society is offering to give money to local projects that create interest in the history of the county. An online application is available for the grants of up to $1,000. Roger Whitaker is President of the Society. Speaking on WUIS' Illinois Edition, he says the group has already helped other projects become a reality:
Is it worth it to leave one state for another due to taxes? The National Center for Policy Analysis, a non partisan public policy research group, developed a way to help you determine the answer. It's an online state tax calculator. Pam Villareal is a senior fellow for the Center. She spoke with WUIS' Sean Crawford:
A new gallery in Springfield, called the "DEMO Project" is run by artists and aims to bring alternative contemporary works to the community. Located on the Springfield Art Association's campus in the Enos park neighborhood - the gallery will welcome artist Kathleen Scott with a reception on Friday night from 6 to 9. Scott's work is an installation utilizing paper cutting, stop-motion animation, and her own original music.
Along the plaza across from the Old State Capitol, in a former Osco store, you can find a tribute to the men and women who fought in Korea more than 60 years ago.
But the Korean War National Museum does more than simply honor veterans. It attempts to educate visitors about the causes of the conflict. Operating on donations, the museum shows videos and displays items that shows what life was like at that time for those too young to remember the war.
An unnamed district 186 employee has admitted to stealing money from the Springfield public school system, according to the interim superintendent Bob Leming. Leming told WUIS a police investigation started last week - and while the Southeast High School employee in question apparently admitted guilt, the investigation is still underway with the Illinois State Police.
The legend of the Piasa "bird" goes back to the 1600's, when Marquette and Joliet saw a large painting near the Mississippi River where Alton is now located. But what has been passed down through the years is different than what the original artwork was meant to convey.
Dr. Duane Esarey has researched the Piasa and he'll dispel the myths Wednesday during the state museum science series lecture. He spoke with WUIS' Sean Crawford and straightens us out on the subject. He says it all goes back to the early explorers' description of what they saw:
The Springfield public school board is on the hunt for more revenue. The latest idea is actually one that was tried before. Board vice president Adam Lopez says the district should push again for a one percent sales tax hike. While a parent's group wants a property tax referendum, Board President Chuck Flamini says raising the SALES tax would mean tourists and others coming in to the area to shop would contribute.