Judy Carmichael has been to Springfield many times. She came often as a child to see relatives. But the renowned jazz pianist has never played a show in the city. That is, until this Friday night. Judy Carmichael, who also hosts the program Jazz Inspired that airs here on WUIS, will perform at the Sangamon Auditorium.
She's known as an accomplished stride player and her shows include original work as well as that of such legends as Count Basie, Fats Waller and Gerhswin.
Gov. Pat Quinn is set to get about $74,000 in back pay now that Illinois lawmakers have finally approved a pension deal.
The governor used his line-item veto power this summer when he halted legislators' salaries, saying they shouldn't get paid until they addressed the nearly $100 billion pensions crisis. He also stopped accepting his own paychecks. A judge disagreed with Quinn in September and the comptroller began issuing checks to lawmakers. But
Eugene Power says working with young musicians allows him to see their musical journeys. He's taught high school band and has worked with youth in other settings. Recently, he was named the Sangamon Valley Youth Symphony music director and conductor.
"You can be involved with music in many, many ways throughout your entire life," Power said. "And that's what I like to see... students kind of catch fire with that and carry it with them."
A bill aimed at fixing Illinois' hundred billion pension crisis is before Gov. Pat Quinn. A spokeswoman for Senate President John Cullerton said Wednesday that the bill had been sent to Quinn. The move came a day after the Illinois General Assembly approved the bill that is estimated to save the state $160 billion over the next 30 years.
The plan reduces benefits for current and retired public employees. Among other things, it also raises the retirement age on a sliding scale for some employees.
Illinois is just the latest state to vote on legislation to overhaul public pension plans.
Heather Kerrigan is a contributor with Governing Magazine. She says this year alone, state and local governments around the country have proposed more than 1,000 pieces of legislation to shore up pensions. And she says almost all of them face the same challenge.
Springfield's top city attorney has submitted his resignation after helping the mayor and aldermen through a difficult legal battle.
Mayor Mike Houston appointed Mehlick this summer, following the departure of former Corporation Counsel Mark Cullen. Cullen and other city officials are named in the lawsuit filed on behalf of Springfield resident Calvin Christian. Christian accuses them of knowingly and intentionally destroying the documents he was seeking through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan presents the conference committee report on Senate Bill 1, the legislation overhauling Illinois pensions. Madigan says "hopefully the Court will rule in favor of the constitutionality of the bill."
Illinois legislators may have passed a pension overhaul, but unions representing teachers and public employees have vowed to sue to stop it from taking effect. If they're successful, that could force lawmakers to go back to the drawing board.
Lawmakers made preemptive efforts to fend off a legal challenge. The measure contains a statement that details the terrible condition of Illinois' finances and what lawmakers have tried to do about it -- a clear attempt to justify cutting pension benefits.
The Illinois General Assembly approved sweeping cuts to state employee pensions Tuesday. The move comes after years of stalemate over how to address a hundred-billion dollar liability — the worst-funded pension plans of any state.
Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, is the sponsor of a Senate bill to give ADM a tax credit in exchange for creating new jobs in Chicago and Decatur, if the company moves its global headquarters from Decatur to Chicago.
While much of the attention was focused on pensions, state legislators yesterday also dealt with measures intended to get a trio of companies to call Illinois home. But they only got halfway there.
Decatur-based Archer Daniels Midland is shopping for a new world headquarters. The agribusiness giant may well choose Chicago; but it wants a tax break from Illinois, like in a measure approved by the Senate.
The Illinois General Assembly has approved sweeping changes to pensions for state employees. Governor Pat Quinn says he will sign the legislation. It's intended to fix the worst-funded state retirement system in the country.
Illinois is roughly $100 billion short of the money it promised to pay state employees, university workers, and public school teachers.
After years of debate, lawmakers finally agreed on a solution to the problem: cutting benefits, mainly by reducing the three-percent annual increase retirees have gotten on their pensions.
Illinois' House Speaker told a bipartisan legislative committee that the state's pension systems are ``just too rich'' to be afforded in the future. Madigan is a Chicago Democrat and the state's longest-serving House Speaker. He says Tuesday that a $160 billion reform proposal was designed to keep long-term low-income workers in mind.
This morning, legislators on a special, bipartisan panel formed to reach a compromise on Illinois' pension situation will once again meet in Springfield. Already, most of the committee's members have signed off on a deal. Beyond that, the measure's fate is uncertain.
A Christmas tree and other holiday decorations bring a festive spirit to the capitol on Monday -- today the statehouse will be bustling during last-minute negotiations ahead of a landmark pension vote.
Illinois legislators will be asked today (12/3) to take what many say could be the most important vote of their careers. They've been called back to Springfield to take up a measure that would drastically alter the state's retirement plans. Doing so would have obvious ramifications for state employees, teachers and university workers whose pensions are at stake. But the impact of a vote is far more widespread. What happens could also affect everything from the state's credit rating and Illinois' next budget, to the 2014 elections. The outcome is anything but certain.
Although pensions are atop the agenda Tuesday in Springfield, the Illinois General Assembly could consider a set of tax breaks for some of Illinois' biggest corporations.
Decatur-based Archer Daniels Midland is moving its corporate headquarters, and wants a tax break to remain in Illinois, most likely Chicago. Office Depot, newly merged with OfficeMax, is deciding whether to put its combined headquarters in Florida or Naperville.
The deal would let the companies keep money they deduct from employee paychecks for Illinois taxes.
Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-Hinsdale, says the Senate should gather all of its members, and spend a couple of days hearing from experts, as well as from state workers whose pensions would be affected by pension changes.
The four Republicans running for Illinois governor are taking diverging stances on the pension measure that's bringing the General Assembly back to Springfield tomorrow. The package drafted by the legislative leaders would cut state workers', teachers' and university employees' retirement benefits.
Whether there's enough support for the leaders' plan to pass is uncertain, but it will get Sen. Bill Brady's vote.
A bipartisan committee of lawmakers has approved a plan to deal with Illinois' $100 billion pension problem. The measure now moves to the House and Senate for consideration.
The Associated Press confirmed with six members of the 10-member panel that they had signed the measure Monday after arriving in Springfield for a special session. Leaders announced the plan last week. It comes nearly five months after a special committee was formed to tackle the problem.
U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk says a pension-reform deal under consideration in Springfield ``falls short of finding the savings needed to solve Illinois' fiscal crisis.''
The Republican senator issued his statement Monday morning. The deal that legislative leaders announced last week could go to a vote in the Illinois General Assembly as early as Tuesday. Kirk says state lawmakers shouldn't pass a bill that he says lawmakers and voters haven't had time to read.
A new study shows cancer rates are higher in downstate Illinois. Smoking may be the reason.
A report from the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and the Illinois Department of Public Health of public health says the southern two thirds of Illinois have higher cancer rates and lower survival rates than those in the northern part. The study looks at two decades worth of cancer statistics. SIU Med School's David Steward says the likely culprit is lung cancer, which is especially higher in Men.
The UIS Visual Arts Gallery hosts multiple exhibits throughout the year that highlight the work of contemporary artists from all over the country. But once annually, the gallery walls are filled with mostly local art - and it's all for sale to the highest bidder. Jeff Robinson heads the UIS gallery - he recently told us all about plans for this year's silent auction, December 2nd through the 12th:
Details are out on what the leaders of Illinois' General Assembly want to do to the state's retirement systems. They've released an outline of their deal.
After years of debate about what to do about the $100 billion dollars of unfunded liability Illinois has racked up for its pension systems, legislative leaders announced on Wednesday they had agreed to a deal. But they were tight-lipped about what all it involved.
That information has now been spelled out in a one-page overview, a memo passed out to members of the House and Senate.
Earlier this week, legislative leaders announced a deal to bring a pension overhaul before the full chambers. It is estimated to save $160 billion over the next 30 years. Illinois has the nation's most underfunded retirement systems.
On Friday, the leaders' staff sent around the memo below that highlights changes for public employee pensions. Lawmakers are expected in Springfield to vote on legislation Tuesday, December 3. Employee unions have already indicated opposition and if it passes, a legal challenge is likely.
House Speaker Michael Madigan talked to reporters about pensions during the end of the spring legislative session; he and Senate President John Cullerton were at odds then over how to deal with the state's underfunded retirement systems.
The leaders of Illinois' General Assembly have reached a deal on pensions. But now they have to persuade legislators to go along with it. The House and Senate will meet in Springfield Tuesday (12/3) to debate the measure.
It's the first time the four leaders of the House and Senate have come together on a plan dealing with the state's pensions, which are the worst-funded in the nation. Details are forthcoming, but House Speaker Michael Madigan came out of a meeting in Chicago saying it will save $160 billion.