News

Humans have been growing hemp for centuries. Hemp-based foods have taken off recently. So have lotions and soaps that use hemp oil. There’s evidence that different compounds in cannabis could be used as medicine and hope that its chemical compounds could hold keys to treatments for Parkinson’s disease and childhood epilepsy.

Illinois Department of Transportation

Illinois law is pretty straightforward: one child, per seat, each with his or her own seat belt. Rep. Mary Flowers, a Democrat from Chicago, wants to change the law for drivers who don't have enough room in their car for each kid. She proposes allowing two children, if they're between the ages of 8 and 15, to buckle into a single seat belt.

"It's a financial burden on a poor family. If they're trying to comply with the law, they should not be penalized because they don't have a bigger vehicle," Flowers said.

http://chicagosinglesclub.storenvy.com/

Chicago Singles Club probably sounds like a dating site - but it actually is an operation that records and releases free singles, of the musical variety. Chicago Singles Club is in its second year and features some of Chicago's best and most unique independent artists. We spoke with one of the founders, Jeff Kelley, to find out more:             

@GovRauner

If Illinois had political gravity, it could be said that all things orbit around Chicago. Gov. Bruce Rauner and his wife Diana vow to change all that by living in the mansion and running state government from Springfield.

  Some might find it surprising that a governor would need to make such a statement. The historic mansion, 150 years old and just a few blocks from the statehouse, is considered the official residence of the governor, but not all have made it their home.

childcarecenter.us

Gov. Bruce Rauner has consistently said he's waiting to give details on his plans for Illinois' finances until his budget address, on February 18th. But decisions by previous lawmakers may force him to make closely-watched decisions sooner.

Illinois has a program that helps low-income parents pay for day-care. But -- because the previous General Assembly cut funding for it by millions from the current state budget - state money for has run out.

That's alarming for advocates like Emily Miller, who is with Voices for Illinois Children.

Jamey Dunn headshot
mattpenning.com 2014 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

You might think it goes without saying, but don’t believe everything you read on the Internet. If you took everything you saw on Facebook as truth, for instance, you might believe that by reposting a long legal disclaimer you could copyright the pictures and personal information you share on the social media platform and keep Facebook from stealing them to use for other purposes, such as marketing. Alas, your Facebook “friends” have steered you wrong. You already own content you post, but you also signed on to Facebook’s legal terms.

Bruce Rauner at Inauguration 2015
Brian Mackey/WUIS

News Analysis — Modern American audiences read George Orwell’s 1984 with a sense of relief. The fascist and communist mind control Orwell knew and feared is all but dead, clinging to life in a dwindling number of totalitarian tide pools around the globe. But the production of political propaganda, on the other hand, remains a growth sector.

wax figures of the Lincoln family inside the museum
Rachel Otwell / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Springfield’s Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum should stay paired with the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency — but changes are needed. That was the finding of a study done as a result of measures in the legislature calling for the two to separate. House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Chicago Democrat, has been behind the push for the separation. But experts in the field of historic preservation say not so fast.

Schlosser, a retired Rantoul police lieutenant with 20 years of experience, has been director of the University of Illinois’ Police Training Institute since 2012. Among other degrees, he holds a doctorate in education from the U of I, and his studies have focused on what he calls the intersection of policing and race. This an edited, condensed version of his conversation with Managing Editor Maureen Foertsch McKinney.

Q. As an academic, I believe your research focused on the intersection of race and policing.

An osprey in flight
Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Ospreys, brought to Illinois as part of a project to restore the endangered hawk species, have flown the coop for warmer climates. But those working with the birds hope to see them return to the state in the near future. 

A group of volunteers are working to bring a skill to youth in the juvenile justice system that could give them an edge in the workforce.

Tinkerers and the technologically savvy have been using 3-D printing for years to make models, parts and just about anything. The printers rapidly manufacture items from a set of instructions. They typically render in plastic, but they can make things out of metal and other materials, too.

A recent study sought to gauge corruption at the state level in a novel way, by polling reporters who cover state government. Even by this new measure, Illinois was found to be one of the most corrupt states in the nation.

A team of economists is calling for changes to the way the federal government figures the cost associated with carbon emissions. 

The Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) is what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other federal entities use to estimate the monetary damage caused by carbon dioxide emissions. The current SCC is estimated to be $37 per metric ton of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. The number is used to consider the value of plans to address climate change by cutting emissions.

  More food passes through Illinois annually than any other state in the nation, according to a new report.

Megan Konar, with the University of Illinois’ Institute of Government and Public Affairs, found that of the 400 million tons of food that move around the country annually, more than 70 million tons pass through the state. The volume of food that passes through Illinois would be enough to feed every resident for about five and a half years.

A summer program that provided jobs for youth in Chicago successfully reduced violent crime, according to a recent analysis.

A researcher working with the University of Chicago Crime Lab and the University of Pennsylvania set out to determine if the city’s One Summer Plus program had an impact on crime. The program offers summer jobs and on-the-job mentoring to middle and high school students living in neighborhoods with high rates of violent crime. 

Jason Barickman on the statehouse floor
Senate Republicans

An Edgar protégé moves from business into a front-and-center role in politics.

As a freshman member of the Senate, Jason Barickman had little say in his appointment to serve on the Legislative Audit Commission. But the dull-sounding assignment soon landed him in the middle of one of the biggest controversies of the 2014 race for governor.

Lloyd Karmeier
Brian Mackey / WUIS

No justice of the Illinois Supreme Court has lost a retention election since the up-or-down system was put in place 50 years ago. Last fall, Justice Lloyd Karmeier came close. He squeezed into another decade on the bench with just 2,921 votes to spare — less than eight-tenths of a percentage point above the required 60 percent threshold. His brush with late retirement — Karmeier turned 75 in January — was brought about by a nasty, last-minute advertising blitz for which the judge was ill-prepared.

Eric Skiff

  

The struggles of the middle class cannot be blamed entirely on the country's economic collapse. 

Rape Laws - Illinois Makes Major Moves Forward

Feb 1, 2015
demonstrators with signs
Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Legal system makes major moves forward in its handling of sexual assault, especially in Illinois

In December, a Chicago area man was convicted of raping a woman in a hotel room following their date in 2009.

This personal account is a sidebar to the feature story Rape laws by Kristy Kennedy

Three different men sexually assaulted me when I was a sophomore in college. That was 30 years ago or so. In that time, I’ve come to re-evaluate what it means to be to be raped. And I’ve kept in mind what I can do to help protect my daughter, who at 22 is a little older than I was in the early 1980s when I was assaulted while a student at Eastern Illinois University.

View from above of people painting sections of pavement
Steve Myers

 
Betsy Dollar’s office at the Springfield Art Association, which she heads, is a hodgepodge of computers used for digital art classes, important files, various books and pieces of art. Her dog, Jake, who tends to accompany her to work, is napping under the desk. Dollar is in the middle of a messy project, using clay to restore a historic ceiling medallion that was damaged at Edwards Place, a home that is part of the Springfield Art Association campus and was the original center of artistic activity for the group some 100 years ago. This is the office of a person who does far more than push papers and handle bureaucratic duties; it’s headquarters for a woman who does a little bit of everything to keep the organization she loves running.

Rauner names novice politician to replace Topinka Leslie Munger stepped into the role of Illinois Comptroller, filling the office that Judy Baar Topinka left vacant when she died in December. 

The day of fiscal reckoning is drawing near for Gov. Bruce Rauner. After almost two years of vague generalizations and vacuous campaign slogans, the state’s brand-new Republican chief executive finally will have to deliver the budgetary goods, a proposed spending plan for the fiscal year starting July 1. On February 18, Rauner will have to lay out in excruciating detail his Fiscal Year 2016 budget, one rooted in the fiscal realities of a multibillion-dollar drop in revenue and hundreds of millions of dollars in new spending.

...WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 9 PM THIS EVENING TO 9 PM CST SUNDAY... A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 9 PM THIS EVENING TO 9 PM CST SUNDAY. * TIMING...RAIN THIS EVENING WILL BECOME MIXED WITH SNOW OVERNIGHT...THEN CHANGE OVER TO ALL SNOW SUNDAY MORNING...WITH AREAS SOUTH OF I-72 TAKING THE LONGEST TO FULLY BECOME ALL SNOW. THE SNOW WILL CONTINUE THROUGH SUNDAY EVENING. * ACCUMULATIONS...TOTALS OF 3 TO 6 INCHES WILL BE POSSIBLE BY SUNDAY NIGHT...WITH THE HIGHER AMOUNTS NORTH OF THE I-72 CORRIDOR.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has selected 54 year old Don Tracy, a Springfield attorney and businessman, to become Chair of the state's Gaming Board.   He would replace Aaron Jaffe.

A statement from the administration says Tracy has the background and experience to lead the board "dealing with an important industry in Illinois."

Tracy is a partner in the firm Brown, Hay and Stephens LLP.  He is also general outside counsel and part owner along with his siblings of DOT Foods, the nation's largest food re-distributor.

NWS

A winter storm will bring accumulating snow to the area Saturday night through Sunday evening. 

Current indications are for 7 to  9 inches of snow north of a Rushville to Danville line. 

Springfield could see 6 to 8 inches. 

Some blowing and drifting of snow will be possible Sunday afternoon and evening.

The National Weather Service points out the forecast for accumulation could change as new computer models track the storm.

State Week logo
Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

Discussion of the new Bruce Rauner administration's latest actions - just a few days before Governor Rauner's first State of the State Address.

 The poverty rate in Illinois has held steady in recent years despite the nation’s post-Great Recession status.

That’s according to a report issued this week by the Chicago-based Heartland Alliance’s Social IMPACT Research Center. The group reported that the 14.7 percent poverty rate in Illinois for the 2013 (the most recent data available for the analysis) has been unchanged since 2012. The 2011 poverty rate was slightly higher than that at 15 percent.

WUIS

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is defending paying his staff members significantly more than his predecessor, saying he'll pay what he has to for top
talent.
 
The Republican told reporters Friday that some of his administration hires from the private sector were taking pay cuts to work in state government.
 
 The Associated Press found annual salaries of ten top staffers in Rauner's administration outpace those of comparable aides to former Gov. Pat Quinn by
roughly $380,000 _ or 36 percent.
 

Amanda Vinicky

...SEVERAL INCHES OF SNOW EXPECTED SATURDAY NIGHT AND SUNDAY...
 
  A WINTER WEATHER SYSTEM IS EXPECTED TO DEVELOP IN THE SOUTHWEST
  STATES INTO SATURDAY AND LIFT NORTHEAST INTO THE OHIO RIVER VALLEY
  SUNDAY AFTERNOON. AS THE SYSTEM DEVELOPS...A MIX OF RAIN AND SNOW
  WILL MOVE INTO CENTRAL ILLINOIS SATURDAY AFTERNOON AND EARLY EVENING.
  DURING LATE SATURDAY EVENING AND OVERNIGHT THE PRECIPITATION WILL
  CHANGE OVER TO ALL SNOW. THE SNOW WILL BECOME MODERATE DURING THE
  OVERNIGHT HOURS...WITH 3 TO 4 INCHES OF ACCUMULATION POSSIBLE BY

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