News http://wuis.org en Inspector General Finds Old Metra Practice Could Lead To Fatigued Conductors http://wuis.org/post/inspector-general-finds-old-metra-practice-could-lead-fatigued-conductors <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>Officials at Chicago area rail transit agency Metra are being reprimanded for allowing workers to switch shifts without properly filling out paperwork. Illinois' inspector general says this practice could have led to fatigued conductors operating trains.</p><p></p> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 00:34:21 +0000 Hannah Meisel 30217 at http://wuis.org Inspector General Finds Old Metra Practice Could Lead To Fatigued Conductors State Fair Officials Fined For Violating Gift Ban...For Beer Tickets http://wuis.org/post/state-fair-officials-fined-violating-gift-banfor-beer-tickets <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>Two individuals are being fined for violating ethics rules in their capacities of running Illinois' two State Fairs. Both incidents involved free beer tickets.</p><p></p> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 00:13:06 +0000 Hannah Meisel 30216 at http://wuis.org State Fair Officials Fined For Violating Gift Ban...For Beer Tickets Clout On The Business Side of Medical Marijuana http://wuis.org/post/clout-business-side-medical-marijuana <p></p><p>Illinois has set its regulations for medical marijuana in the state.&nbsp;&nbsp; While, those who may benefit medically are looking forward to the substance becoming available, those who are interested in making money growing it and selling it are getting there ducks in a row.&nbsp; Kurt Erickson, Springfield Bureau Chief for Lee Enterprises newspapers has been covering the issue he joined a roundtable discussion with Bill Wheelhouse, Amanda Vinicky &amp; Brian Mackey.</p><p></p> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 14:39:36 +0000 Bill Wheelhouse 30166 at http://wuis.org Clout On The Business Side of Medical Marijuana Illinois Farmers Market Prices Survey http://wuis.org/post/illinois-farmers-market-prices-survey <p>The University of Illinois Extension Service is now regularly surveying prices at farmers markets around the state.</p><p></p><p>According to The News-Gazette in Champaign the surveys of 11 farmers markets around Illinois are being conducted as part of a three-state effort that includes Kentucky and Tennessee.</p><p>The weekly price surveys are being published on the University of Kentucky Center for Crop Diversification's website. &nbsp;</p><p>The idea is to give produce farmers an idea of what prices look like across the region. &nbsp;</p> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:25:31 +0000 Bill Wheelhouse & Associated Press 30158 at http://wuis.org Illinois Farmers Market Prices Survey UIS Enforcing Campus Housing Requirement http://wuis.org/post/uis-enforcing-campus-housing-requirement <p>About two years ago, the University of Illinois Springfield had decided to make a new mandate for student housing. The rule entailed that both honor and traditional students must live on campus for their 1st and 2nd year of schooling. Even though the rule was made two years ago, the regulation was not implemented on campus, until now.</p><p>With the cost of housing along with more incoming students and their parents wanting to save money, could this requirement really be worth it in the long run?</p> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 08:10:00 +0000 Kaitie Devlin 29952 at http://wuis.org UIS Enforcing Campus Housing Requirement State Police Cancels New Trooper Training, Citing Budget http://wuis.org/post/state-police-cancels-new-trooper-training-citing-budget <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>The Illinois State Police graduated 37 state troopers today Friday, the last class the academy will graduate for a while. State police officials say they can't train more due to the state's budget.</p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The 37 cadets took their oath in the auditorium of the Illinois State Police Academy in Springfield — in the last graduation ceremony it'll see in a while. This class was the fifth to graduate in a year.</span></p> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 21:35:19 +0000 Hannah Meisel 30055 at http://wuis.org State Police Cancels New Trooper Training, Citing Budget Feds' Immigrant Numbers For Illinois May Not Tell Whole Story http://wuis.org/post/feds-immigrant-numbers-illinois-may-not-tell-whole-story <p></p><p>Federal officials say 305 unaccompanied children caught at the U.S.-Mexico border were placed with Illinois sponsors this year, but officials say hundreds more could be at shelters. &nbsp;</p> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 20:45:39 +0000 Associated Press 30046 at http://wuis.org Feds' Immigrant Numbers For Illinois May Not Tell Whole Story Listen to State Week - July 25, 2014 http://wuis.org/post/listen-state-week-july-25-2014 <p></p><p>This week's topics include the Illinois Inspector General's investigation into possible political hiring at the Illinois Department of Transportation.&nbsp; Also, an overview of the state's rules and regulations regarding medical marijuana.</p><p></p> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 19:53:38 +0000 Bob Meyer 30032 at http://wuis.org Listen to State Week - July 25, 2014 Inspector General Discloses Political Hiring Investigation http://wuis.org/post/inspector-general-discloses-political-hiring-investigation <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>As Gov. Pat Quinn battles a lawsuit accusing his administration of political hiring, the state watchdog charged with investigating ethics violations is asking to get involved.</p><p></p><p>Confidentiality restrictions prevent the Inspector General from saying what he is or isn't looking into.</p> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 23:56:17 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 29989 at http://wuis.org Inspector General Discloses Political Hiring Investigation Man Robbed By Fake Police On I-55 http://wuis.org/post/man-robbed-fake-police-i-55 <p></p><p>Illinois State Police say a driver was robbed on Interstate 55 near Litchfield by men who impersonated police officers. &nbsp;</p><p>According to the Belleville News-Democrat the man told police he was pulled over around 10 p.m. Tuesday by a sports utility vehicle with a flashing red light on its dashboard. &nbsp;</p><p>The man said that when he stopped, three men wearing ski masks held him at gunpoint as they robbed him of more than $5,000 in cash. The robbers then tied him up with duct tape and left him in his car along the highway. &nbsp;</p> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 22:39:48 +0000 Associated Press 29987 at http://wuis.org Man Robbed By Fake Police On I-55 Business, Labor Leaders Urge Quinn Administration To Finish Fracking Rules http://wuis.org/post/business-labor-leaders-urge-quinn-administration-finish-fracking-rules <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>Business and labor leaders are urging Illinois' Department of Natural Resources to finish the rules for hydraulic fracturing. The coalition says it's left wondering if the governor's administration might be dragging the process for political reasons.</p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">It's been over 400 days since the General Assembly passed a law to allow hydraulic fracturing in Illinois. Proponents say the technique of drilling for natural gas deep in the ground will lead to job and revenue growth.</span></p> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 22:18:30 +0000 Hannah Meisel 29986 at http://wuis.org Business, Labor Leaders Urge Quinn Administration To Finish Fracking Rules Illinois' Credit Prognosis: Negative http://wuis.org/post/illinois-credit-prognosis-negative <p>Wall Street's view of Illinois' financial health has taken a hit, thanks largely to the state budget that took effect at the start of this month. Pensions also continue to be a drag.&nbsp;</p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">When Illinois Democrats passed the state's latest budget, many seemed to hold their nose. Credit ratings agencies are more direct: Standard &amp;&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Poors</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;has revised Illinois' credit outlook to "negative."&nbsp;</span></p> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 23:29:40 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 29898 at http://wuis.org Illinois' Credit Prognosis: Negative Durbin Files Legislation Reacting To Hobby Lobby Decision http://wuis.org/post/durbin-files-legislation-reacting-hobby-lobby-decision <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>U.S. Senator Dick Durbin wants companies exempt from offering birth control in their healthcare plans to make that known to potential employees.</p><p></p><p>It's a response to the ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court last month, which determined certain business owners don't have to pay for contraceptives that violate their religious beliefs. These so-called "closely held" companies — typically small, family owned businesses — are exempt from the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate.</p> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 21:09:59 +0000 Hannah Meisel 29888 at http://wuis.org Durbin Files Legislation Reacting To Hobby Lobby Decision "The Civil War" Becomes A Downtown Musical http://wuis.org/post/civil-war-becomes-downtown-musical <p>You may know the story of the war between the states.&nbsp; But what is often overlooked is the emotional drama the period had on those who lived through it.</p><p>The musical "The Civil War" brings that part of the story to the stage in downtown Springfield starting Thursday night.&nbsp;</p><p>"It's not a history lesson, although you learn a lot," Co-director Phil Funkenbusch said. "It's really a concert theatre piece."</p><p>"Instead of telling the story of the Civil War, it's really telling the stories about the people involved in the war."</p> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 15:47:00 +0000 Sean Crawford 29555 at http://wuis.org "The Civil War" Becomes A Downtown Musical Court OKs FutureGen Financing Plan http://wuis.org/post/court-oks-futuregen-financing-plan <p>A court says state regulators can force Illinois electricity customers to help pay for the $1.6-billion FutureGen project.</p><p>The 2-1 decision Tuesday by the Illinois Appellate Court OKs a state plan to charge an estimated $1 to $1.40 a month to help pay for the long-delayed project. &nbsp;</p><p>Ken Humphreys is CEO of the FutureGen Alliance. The group of coal companies is working with the U.S. Department of Energy on the project. Humphreys says the court decision will keep the project moving. &nbsp;</p> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 12:18:58 +0000 Bill Wheelhouse & Associated Press 29845 at http://wuis.org Court OKs FutureGen Financing Plan Republican Attorney General Candidate: Pension Changes Unconstitutional http://wuis.org/post/republican-attorney-general-candidate-pension-changes-unconstitutional <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>The Republican candidate for Illinois Attorney General is criticizing incumbent Lisa Madigan for defending the state's pension overhaul law, which he thinks is unconstitutional.</p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">A clause in the state's constitution says that once earned, pension benefits shall not be diminished.</span></p> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 21:29:36 +0000 Hannah Meisel 29817 at http://wuis.org Republican Attorney General Candidate: Pension Changes Unconstitutional With GED, Illinois Bundles Job Training http://wuis.org/post/ged-illinois-bundles-job-training <p>Illinois is trying to expand educational opportunities for adults who didn't finish high school. That means moving beyond the GED.</p><p>The <a href="http://blogs.census.gov/2012/02/27/ged-recipients-have-lower-earnings-are-less-likely-to-enter-college/">Census Bureau says</a> average monthly earnings of a high school grad are nearly 10 percent higher than those of someone with a GED. And while a third of high school grads eventually earn a bachelor's degree, the GED number is 1 in 20.</p> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 17:22:37 +0000 Brian Mackey 29782 at http://wuis.org With GED, Illinois Bundles Job Training Trucker Asks: Are Police Above The Law? http://wuis.org/post/trucker-asks-are-police-above-law <p>It has been just over half a year since Illinois made it illegal to talk on your phone while driving without the use of a hands-free device. There are some exceptions: you can hold your phone if your car is stopped -- say at a railroad crossing for a freight train -- and in park or neutral, or if you pull off onto the shoulder. The law also makes an exemption for law enforcement. A recent YouTube sensation that raises the question: should police get special treatment?</p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 17:12:00 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 29775 at http://wuis.org Trucker Asks: Are Police Above The Law? Fire Closes State Building Today http://wuis.org/post/fire-closes-state-building-today <p>The Illinois Secretary of State's office has closed its Howlett Building in Springfield for the day because of a small fire.</p><p>Secretary of State spokesman Dave Druker says the fire happened about 1:15 a.m. Tuesday in a mechanical room at the building, which is part of the Illinois State Capitol complex. &nbsp;</p><p>He says firefighters quickly put out the blaze but the air conditioning in the building isn't working and crews need to work on mechanical issues. &nbsp;</p><p>Druker says the agency hopes to reopen the office building on Wednesday. &nbsp;</p> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 11:53:05 +0000 Bill Wheelhouse & Associated Press 29760 at http://wuis.org Fire Closes State Building Today Houston Says District 186 Needs To Build Credibility Before Asking For Tax Hike http://wuis.org/post/houston-says-district-186-needs-build-credibility-asking-tax-hike <p></p><p>WUIS is asking the candidates for Springfield mayor to talk about education issues facing the community. Springfield Mayor Mike Houston says he's concerned that most new single family homes in the area are in suburban school districts.&nbsp;&nbsp; He says an increase in funding for District 186 is probably needed, but says the school board needs to build credibility first.</p><p></p> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 11:47:20 +0000 Bill Wheelhouse 29688 at http://wuis.org Houston Says District 186 Needs To Build Credibility Before Asking For Tax Hike Attorney General Wants To Send Concealed Carry Cases Out Of Court http://wuis.org/post/attorney-general-wants-send-concealed-carry-cases-out-court <p></p><p>Illinois gun owners who've been denied a concealed carry permit can appeal. But instead of going through the courts, Illinois' Attorney General wants a state panel to decide those cases.</p><p>There are about 200 concealed carry denials before Illinois courts, brought by people who say they shouldn't have been deemed dangerous or a threat to public safety by Illinois' Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board.</p><p>Until recently, applicants didn't actually know why they were rejected.</p> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 05:06:00 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 29672 at http://wuis.org Attorney General Wants To Send Concealed Carry Cases Out Of Court Crop Insurance Programs Subject Of Intense Farm Bill Lobbying http://wuis.org/post/crop-insurance-programs-subject-intense-farm-bill-lobbying <p></p><p>After two years of debate, the U.S. Congress passed a Farm Bill this year that replaced direct subsidies to farmers with an ever increasing multi-billion dollar federal crop insurance program.</p><p>During that time, at least 80 groups spent more than $50 million in lobbying efforts that included ensuring their interests in the often criticized program were well-represented.</p> Sat, 19 Jul 2014 06:46:00 +0000 Pam Dempsey & Robert Holly 29546 at http://wuis.org Crop Insurance Programs Subject Of Intense Farm Bill Lobbying No School For Kids On Election Day http://wuis.org/post/no-school-kids-election-day <p>Illinois students could get a day off of school come election day. Schools are often at the heart of a community, metaphorically, if not literally. That's part of the reason they've long been voting sites.</p><p></p><p>But with shootings at schools across the country, some lawmakers are concerned the practice is dangerous.</p><p>Most of the time visitors need to sign in before entering a school; they say allowing anyone in on election day is asking for trouble.</p> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 22:26:27 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 29575 at http://wuis.org No School For Kids On Election Day Listen to State Week - July 18, 2014 http://wuis.org/post/listen-state-week-july-18-2014 <p></p><p>This week, GOP gubernatorial hopeful Bruce Rauner proposed more ways to fix the state's budget woes.&nbsp; Also, a state legislative commission has pushed back the investigation into Governor pat Quinn's controversial Neighborhood Recovery Initiative until October.</p><p></p> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 20:53:15 +0000 Bob Meyer 29570 at http://wuis.org Listen to State Week - July 18, 2014 25 Years Since Chicago Bound Flight Crashed In Iowa http://wuis.org/post/25-years-chicago-bound-flight-crashed-iowa <p>It has been 25 years since the passengers on United Flight 232 braced themselves for impact and prepared to die. &nbsp;</p><p>Back in 1989, the jetliner carrying nearly 300 people from Denver to Chicago lost all hydraulic power after the rear engine exploded. It crash-landed in Sioux City, Iowa, cartwheeling down the runway in flames and breaking apart in a cornfield. &nbsp;</p> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 20:39:15 +0000 Associated Press 29557 at http://wuis.org 25 Years Since Chicago Bound Flight Crashed In Iowa Prosecutors Say Blagojevich Attorneys Misread Ruling http://wuis.org/post/prosecutors-say-blagojevich-attorneys-misread-ruling <p></p><p>Prosecutors responding to a new argument in Rod Blagojevich's appeal say the former governor's lawyers have misrepresented a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in another case. &nbsp;</p><p>Blagojevich's lawyers say an April ruling by the high court found that soliciting contributions is corruption only when a politician makes explicit promises to take official action for a donation. &nbsp;</p> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 20:25:49 +0000 Associated Press 29556 at http://wuis.org Prosecutors Say Blagojevich Attorneys Misread Ruling Illinois Among The Highest Risk For Earthquakes http://wuis.org/post/illinois-among-highest-risk-earthquakes <p>Illinois and Missouri are on the list of states with the highest risk for earthquakes.</p><p>A new federal earthquake map dials up the shaking hazard just a bit for about one-third of the United States and lowers it for one-tenth of the nation. &nbsp;</p><p>The U.S. Geological Survey updated Thursday its national seismic hazard maps for the first time since 2008, taking into account research from the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami off the Japanese coast and the surprise 2011 Virginia temblor. &nbsp;</p> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 12:23:40 +0000 Bill Wheelhouse & Associated Press 29527 at http://wuis.org Illinois Among The Highest Risk For Earthquakes Supreme Court Won't Take Up Term Limits http://wuis.org/post/supreme-court-wont-take-term-limits <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>An effort to institute term limits in Illinois has hit a major road block. The state Supreme Court says it will not rush to hear the case.</p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The Supreme Court's decision could be the end of Republican Bruce </span>Rauner's<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> term limits initiative.</span></p><p>Limiting how long legislators can be in Illinois' General Assembly has been a staple of his campaign for governor.</p> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 22:22:22 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 29509 at http://wuis.org Supreme Court Won't Take Up Term Limits Decatur Vies For Ag Research Center http://wuis.org/post/decatur-vies-ag-research-center <p></p><p>Decatur is among the finalists for a national agriculture research center. &nbsp;</p><p>The (Decatur) Herald &amp; Review reports Thursday (http://bit.ly/1yyldBp ) that the National Corn Growers Association wants to create a facility to support and develop farming research. &nbsp;</p> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 21:47:23 +0000 Associated Press 29503 at http://wuis.org Decatur Vies For Ag Research Center Rauner Proposes Tax Changes http://wuis.org/post/rauner-proposes-tax-changes <p>Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner has presented a plan he says will help grow Illinois' economy and create jobs.</p><p>The Winnetka businessman spoke today at a family-owned manufacturing company in Schaumburg.&nbsp;</p><p>Rauner wants to eliminate the income tax increase Democrats approved in 2011, phasing the rate back to 3 percent from 5 percent. He also says he would freeze property taxes and impose a sales tax on services such as charter flights, travel agencies and sewer service. &nbsp;</p> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 19:50:48 +0000 Associated Press 29483 at http://wuis.org Rauner Proposes Tax Changes