News

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.

Community College Students Hurting In Budget Battle

Jan 22, 2016
College of DuPage

Illinois community colleges students are caught up in a political battle between the Republican governor and Democratic legislators.

Talks on fixing the state pension debt resumed, but Governor Bruce Rauner and Senate President John Cullerton can't seem to agree on what they agreed to and Rauner declared contract negotiations with AFSCME at an impasse.  Also this week, the governor announced his support for the state taking over the entire Chicago Public Schools system.  Meanwhile, Illinois higher education continues to go unfunded.  WBEZ's Tony Arnold joins the panel.

WUIS

A new pension plan introduced Thursday by Republican Governor Bruce Rauner as a bipartisan deal immediately crashed and burned. 

Illinois State Labor Relations Board logo
Illinois State Labor Relations Board

The future of some 36,000 state government employees lies -- in part, anyway -- with the Illinois Labor Relations Board.

The union that represents most state workers -- AFSCME -- and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration had been at the bargaining table for a about a year when, on Jan. 15, Rauner announced he'd had enough.

He says there's no point to further talks. They're at an impasse. But neither side can make that choice unilaterally. So Rauner's filed a charge with the labor board, asking it to decide.

The Scene: Drag Queens & The Symphony

Jan 21, 2016

It's that time, take a listen:

Events discussed this week include:

Office of State Rep. Tom Morrison

Legislation sponsored by a Northwest suburban lawmaker would require school boards to tell students they could only use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their sex. Males with males. Females with females.

Republican Rep. Tom Morrison of Palatine says he sponsored the legislation to create an “objective standard."

"The vast majority of students are minors, and so it is appropriate that if they’re in school,  we need to make sure that we ensure their privacy within those changing areas.”

alastairwillis.com

A preview of this weekend's Illinois Symphony Orchestra concert -  "Sensational Strings" - featuring music by Mozart, Kernis, and Dvorak.  Yona Stamatis talks with ISO Music Director and conductor Alastair Willis.
 

Sensational Strings - Illinois Symphony Chamber Orchestra
Friday, January 22, 7:30 PM, First Presbyterian Church, Springfield.
Saturday, January 23, 7:30 PM, Second Presbyterian Church, Bloomington.

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

Your 3-year old can name all the states in the country, but you catch him as he prepares to stick a knife into an electrical outlet.

Your 8-year old is a regular piano prodigy, but he borrows his dad’s cell phone and leaves it in the front yard, overnight.  In the rain.

Your 16-year old is inducted into National Honor Society the evening before he posts on social media that his parents are gone for a few days and he has the house to himself.

When their terms are up, sitting judges who want to hold onto their seats usually run for election as nonpartisan candidates. It's called "retention." But this year, three St. Clair County circuit court judges who are running like they're new to the bench. And they're doing it as Democrats.

Dusty Rhodes / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Illinois colleges and universities have gone seven months with zero state funding – that includes funding of MAP grants that help poor students pay tuition. Now, some business and labor leader have joined students calling for lawmakers to resolve the budget stalemate. 

WBEZ

Gov. Bruce Rauner says that if Illinois takes over Chicago Public Schools, he'll stand up to the teachers' union on contract negotiations. 

Black Lives Matter Champaign-Urbana

It’s one of the largest activist movements since the civil rights era of the 1960s. It’s more than just a hashtag, and it’s about more than police. What's the impact of Black Lives Matter as an organization and a philosophy? And will it be enough to bring about lasting and significant changes in Illinois and across the country? 

UIS

Lynn Pardie will step down from the Provost position in May, according to an announcement sent to the university campus today. 

flickr/401(K) 2012

A new analysis found that Illinois lost out on millions of dollars when it sold bonds last week.

Martin Luby, with the University of Illinois’ Institute of Government and Public Affairs, compared the recent bond sale to one in 2006, when Illinois had a much better credit rating. This week for Past Due, Jamey Dunn talked with Luby about his report. 

Dusty Rhodes / WUIS/Illinois Issues

The state budget impasse has largely spared public schools, thanks to Governor Bruce Rauner’s decision to fund them for the entire year. But some school districts are still hurting. 

Bernard Sieracki is no stranger to Illinois government.  He's lobbied for decades.  But what he witnessed 7 years ago this month stood out.

flickr/ TaxCredits.net

  A new analysis found that Illinois lost out on millions of dollars when it sold bonds last week. 

afscme31.org

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union leaders say more confusion is on the way because of Gov. Bruce Rauner's recent announcement that he's stalling negotiations. The union's been bargaining on behalf of 36,000 workers.

voting booths
flickr/ Mortimer62

In a tight election, sometimes something as minor as where a name falls on the ballot can make a difference. The order for presidential candidates in Illinois has been determined as long as they all actually remain on the ballot.

Legacypointe.net

On this week's WUIS/State Journal-Register Business Report, we discuss Legacy Pointe development, or lack of it.  

III Tomassos Italian Bistro closed earlier this month and that has people talking again.  Many wondering, where is the outlet mall that was proposed?

In Springfield's downtown, one building will stay and another will go. 

We also talk about then Deer Run Mine in Hillsboro, which has closed following a fire.  Will it reopen?

Office of Rep. Andre Thapedi

Chicago State University won’t have funds to operate by March 1 if  state money is not released, officials there have said.

Killeen: U of I Is "Fiscally Prudent"

Jan 18, 2016
University of Illinois

University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen says he agrees with some of the concerns about excessive spending at public universities raised by an aide to Governor Bruce Rauner.

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