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You don't need to be a millionaire to make a million dollar difference in your community.

Whatever your stage in life, it is a good idea to think about and plan for how your affairs will be handled.  A few simple steps today can give you peace of mind tomorrow by ensuring that you and your loved ones are well protected.  Your estate plan can also be used to support charitable causes that matter most to you and your community.

When most people in the U.S. hear the word immigrant they probably think of someone coming to the country from Mexico. However in Illinois cities, like Champaign, there are growing populations of immigrants from African countries as well.

foggy playground
Allen / Flickr.com/roadsidepictures

On Monday, an organization called Illinois Voices sued the Illinois State Police and attorney general’s office. It’s targeting what it says are unconstitutionally vague and burdensome restrictions on people who have to register under the state’s sex offender laws.

The case is Does 1-4 v. Madigan, No. 16 CV 4847 (N.D. Ill.). Download the complaint here (PDF).

At East Alton-Wood River High School, as well in schools across the state, the measurement of academic improvement is based on a single test given over two days once a year. “It’s silly to measure a school’s performance by that,” says the Superintendent.
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Yet again, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and Governor Bruce Rauner are at odds. This time, over a constitutional amendment introduced by the Speaker. It may not matter -- the plan is dead if it doesn't advance Wednesday.

Above all else, Gov. Rauner, a Republican, says education comes first.

But apparently, he doesn't want to secure that with a constitutional guarantee.

His political foe, Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan wants the constitution to say adequate education funding is a fundamental right.

Rauner isn't on board.

ilga.gov

The sponsor of a proposal to move Illinois to a graduated income tax says he is going forward with it Wednesday after working to shore up support.

The State Legislative Leaders Foundation

A deadline is approaching for the legislature to act on proposed amendments to the Illinois constitution. They only have until the end of this week. Here's a rundown of where various proposals stand. 

WUIS

A group of Illinois legislators failed to endorse Gov. Bruce Rauner’s plan to close the youth prison in Kewanee. But Tuesday's vote will not necessarily keep the facility open.

csu.edu

Thanks to a law signed last week, Illinois' public universities and community colleges are finally getting state money for the first time since last summer. Now, more could be on the way.

The bipartisan deal is sending $600 million to higher education.

But it wasn't spread out evenly.

Most schools got 30-percent of last year's funding.

Chicago State University got 60-percent.

Senator Donne Trotter, a Chicago Democrat, says that's because CSU was on the precipice of a shutdown.

flickr/ Howard Weliver

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recommended that the city of Galesburg offer residents bottled water or filters after tap water there tested for high levels of lead.  

USER: Hendrike, Wikipedia // USER: Deviation56, Wikipedia

Instances of prescription opioid abuse have been steadily climbing in the past couple decades across the country, and here in Illinois. According to the state's department of public health more than half of the overdose deaths in Cook County in 2014 were due to heroin. 

flickr/WattPublishing

NPR Illinois' Sean Crawford talks with State Journal-Register Business Editor Tim Landis.

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An advisory board voted Monday to make a number of additional health conditions eligible for Illinois' medical cannabis pilot program. But Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration has previously rejected the board's recommendations.

Amanda Vinicky

As the state budget impasse has entered an eleventh month, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says he's hopeful a "grand bargain" can be worked out by the end of May; but he's leaving the bargaining to others.

Alex McCray was in the news a lot last week — he was on TV, in the newspaper, and here on NPR Illinois -- because he had reached a settlement with the Williamsville School District expanding services for transgender students.

 

Here's a more extensive talk with McCray, and with David Root, superintendent of schools for the Williamsville-Sherman school district.

We've put together a roster of moms, and a dad or two, who will join us on Illinois Edition to take on issues that matter to those trying to successfully raise children in these hectic modern times. Rachel Otwell, NPR Illinois reporter and the mother of a toddler, hosts the rotating panel.

After a dearth of redistricting opportunities, there's a chance Illinois voters could be faced with several options in the November election.

flickr/emilydickinsonridesabmx

The Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site is already a National Historic Landmark and a World Heritage Site. Now, there's an effort to elevate the status of an area running through Collinsville Illinois to a National Monument.

For a couple of years, the National Park Service has surveyed the St. Louis area Cahokia Mounds.

Gov. Bruce Rauner's mission of modernizing Illinois government continues. At issue this time is a hearings process he says is outdated and overburdened.

The state gets roughly 100, 000 requests for administrative hearings each year.

"Administrative law is the body of law that regulates the operation and procedure of government agencies," says Sadzi Olivia, the chief administrative law judge for the Dept. of Children and Family Services.

If it sounds bureaucratic, that's because it is.

LinkedIn

  The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is set to get a new leader in July.

When it opened in 2004, the presidential museum was touted as a world-class complex, and a tourist-luring gem for Springfield.

Rachel Otwell

Welcome to our second episode! We have an interview with science editor for The Guardian, James Kingsland. His new book is called: Siddhartha's Brain: Unlocking the Ancient Science of Enlightenment. He also has a blog about neuroscience and Buddhist psychology, called Plastic Brain

Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert was sentenced in a hush-money scandal and admitted to molesting children; Governor Bruce Rauner said he hopes for a 2-year budget deal with legislative leaders by the end of May; and the governor insists contact negotiations with AFSCME are at an impass.  Kerry Lester of the Daily Herald joins the panel.

The Scene With Photographer David Brodsky

Apr 28, 2016
brodskyphotoart.com

This week The Scene is joined by guest host David Brodsky, who often takes pictures of unwitting subjects. You can find a profile piece about him here. A collaborative show will include his work, it's called Translations and opens on Friday night. Take a listen to learn more:

Illinois Supreme Court
Brian Mackey / WUIS

A youthful mistake could be a burden for life, according to a study released Thursday by the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission.

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

The advent of warmer weather coincides with the release of yet one more bit of evidence about the positive impact of outdoor play.

While teachers have observed more young children wearing eyeglasses, no real research offered much  explanation for this phenomenon.  Some theorized that children spend more time indoors looking at screens, missing out on using their eyes for much long-distance viewing.

WUIS Public Radio

UIS ethnomusicologist Yona Stamatis speaks with Maestro Alastair Willis and featured musicians Wu Tong and Mike Block about this weekend's Illinois Symphony Orchestra Concert - Musical Pictures of the Silk Road.

The concert will present Borodin’s "In the Steppes of Central Asia" and Zhao Lin’s "Duo for Sheng & Cello" featuring Chinese rock star Wu Tong on sheng and Silk Road Ensemble cellist Mike Block.  Mussorgsky’s epic "Pictures at an Exhibition" brings Alastair Willis’s tenure as Music Director of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra to a brilliant close.

UIS Community Garden Facebook Page

We're more than halfway through Earth Week. At the University of Illinois Springfield, there are still events planned. 

flickr/ Jim Bowen

Looking beyond our state’s borders and into Illinois’ past for a playbook to end the current budget standoff. 

Recently, Illinois Issues looked at the issue of whether the Pregnancy Fairness Law, which was enacted last year, has been effective. This is a story about a woman for whom the law came too late.

Illinois business leaders say the state could significantly grow jobs related to math and science if it can develop the workforce needed to do those jobs.

Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner said he's hopeful he and Democratic lawmakers can reach a two-year budget deal by the end of next month. The state's already gone 10 months without a budget and that's crippled higher education and human services.

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