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 Access to guns could be restricted from someone going through a personal crisis. It comes after a series of mass shootings where advocates say warning signs were missed. State representatives advanced the legislation Wednesday.

It's not a lifetime ban. Rather, Rep. Kathleen Willis, a Democrat from Addison, stresses she wants to temporarily keep guns away from someone suffering a mental breakdown, contemplating suicide, or otherwise going through a rough patch.

A concerned close friend or relative could ask a circuit court to prevent them from buying, or possessing a gun.

mergerecords.com/ivy-tripp

Katie Crutchfield, a.k.a Waxahatchee, has - much to her own surprise, become an indie-rock darling with national recognition. Her newest album, Ivy Tripp, has been critically acclaimed (ie: here &  here), as have her previous two records. The name of the project comes from a creek in Alabama – which is Crutchfield’s home state. 

Stateville Correctional Center
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Last December, the state of Illinois tentatively agreed to settle a class action lawsuit over the treatment of prisoners with mental illness. But changes to mental health at the Department of Corrections have been slow in coming, in part because Illinois has gone more than 9 months without a budget.

Muhammad Mahdi Karim

As summer comes to the Midwest, it brings mosquitoes with it. This year, it also brings fears of the Zika virus, which has been linked to serious birth defects in South America. 

Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois/Illinois Issues

Governor Bruce Rauner has proposed increased funding for elementary and secondary schools.  But Democrats don't want to add money to a formula they say is fundamentally inequitable. Instead, they're proposing a new way to calculate how much state aid flows to each school district.

Homeless Youth Protest Lack Of State Funds

Apr 5, 2016
Sarah Mueller / NPR | Illinois Public Radio

About 50 Illinois homeless youth and service providers essentially ambushed Gov. Bruce Rauner Tuesday. Their goal was to bring attention to a lack of state funding for job training, counseling and affordable housing.

Brian Mackey/WUIS

Gov. Bruce Rauner has created a task force charged with finding fraud in taxpayer-funded health care programs.

The Republican Tuesday used his executive authority to form the group. It'll seek ways to prevent waste in state- and federally funded Medicaid , the state employee's health insurance and even costs of caring for inmates in Illinois prisons. Rauner says the cost of state-run health care programs increases when no one watches to stop abuse and fraud.

Illinois lawmakers are moving to make it easier for transgender individuals to change the gender marker on a fundamental document: their birth certificates. Democrats on a House committee approved the legislation Tuesday on a partisan vote of 8 to 6.

Alexandria Dinardo, who was born and raised in Springfield, was born male; that's what Dinardo's birth certificate still says.

flickr/ wonderferret

Two central Illinois dentist offices have recently closed, citing the lack of payments from the state for dental care given to public employees. 

Local artist Wendy Allen along with Carol Bridges, an artist from Indiana, have a show and workshops coming up in Springfield, including a talk about "The Intersection of Art and Spirituality" at The Pharmacy in Springfield on Wednesday. Both work with textiles and have colorful artwork that celebrates various spiritual aspects and lives of women.

Amanda Vinicky

A stalemate persists, as Illinois begins a tenth month without a budget. Legislators are back in Springfield after a spring break. They now have a few months to also find an agreement on a new budget, to cover next year.

Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno says the urgency to pass a budget has heightened.

"It has been urgent all along, but I think in large part people have been shielded from that urgency, because they don't all use all the services of the state of Illinois," Radogno said.

Food-a-rama at the Illinois State Fairgrounds
Brian Mackey / WUIS

Most of the grandstand acts for this summer's Illinois State Fair have been announced.

Illinois was without a budget for last year's state fair, which means some vendors have been waiting since August to get paid.

Illinois still has no budget. But the show (and the fair) must, evidently, go on.

Officials announced a series of country acts including Dierks Bently, Little Big Town, Cole Swindell, and Jake Owen. 

Amanda Vinicky

Mothers and their midwives are behind an effort to bring one of Illinois' black-markets above ground.

Trish Sherman Pfeiffer of Carbondale gave birth to her oldest son in the hospital, where he ended up with an infection.

"So he actually became sick because of the hospital care," she said.

She decided to have her next child at home, with the assistance of a Certified Professional Midwife -- someone with training, but who isn't a nurse.

Springfield is the seat of state government, yet one of the more influential grassroots groups in Illinois has no official presence in the city.  The Illinois League of Women Voters wants to change that. 

ilga.gov

In some Illinois school districts, transgender students are allowed to use the bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity, rather than their anatomy. But an Illinois lawmaker wants to change that.

A mix of tourists and lobbyists milled about the rotunda of the Illinois Statehouse on Tuesday.
Brian Mackey / NPR | Illinois Public Radio

Spring break is over for Illinois legislators, who return to the Capitol this week.

Chassy’s payments stayed out of the public eye primarily through a mechanism under fire in states across the nation: The use of private university foundations to discreetly accept donations that would be public record if given directly to the university. In this case, it was the University of Illinois Foundation that administered the Monsanto payments. DISCLOSURE: The University of Illinois Foundation (UIF) administers the gift funds of NPR Illinois.

As Chicago State University moves closer to closing, Gov. Bruce Rauner this week said he's “very upset" about Illinois not having a budget. But didn't he once outline just this sort of plan as a way to advance his agenda of hobbling public employee unions? Meanwhile, several things happening in and around the U.S. Supreme Court are reverberating in Illinois.

Illinois Lottery

The Illinois Lottery is backtracking on a warning that it would have to stop selling tickets over the Internet.

Illinois lawmakers may soon take up the controversial question of which bathrooms should be used by transgender students.

Jack McCoullough has been serving a life sentence for a 1957 kidnapping and murder. He was convicted in 2012 — more than 50 years after the crime happened.

Last week, the local prosecutor told a judge that he reviewed evidence showing McCoullough did not commit the crime. Now age 76, McCullough is hoping to get out of prison.

wikimedia

This week, authorities in Illinois are finalizing the results of this month’s primary elections.

Turnout was record-setting, and that left an unknown number of voters disenfranchised by ballot shortages and long waits at the polls. But officials say they don't believe there was any nefarious intent.

Peoria Co. Sheriff's Office

Authorities say an Illinois airport was evacuated for about three hours after a passenger had a bag that appeared to contain tubes of explosive material, although security officials determined it wasn't a bomb.

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

Insight emerges when we expose our stories to the light of day in the presence of someone we trust.  While this phenomenon holds true for us at any age, telling our stories is especially helpful for children.

ICPR website

The state of Illinois may be running a deficit, but many of its leaders' campaign accounts are flush.

The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform tracks their spending, and has ideas on how to improve the system.

For this episode of The Players, your look into who's who in Illinois government and politics and waht they're up to, Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky talked about campaign finance and spending on the 2016 primary with ICPR's Director, Sarah Brune.

Illinois Issues: What Can Save The Bees?

Mar 31, 2016
University of Illinois Bee Lab

Bees are essential to our lives, yet they are dying by the thousands. Experts say there's no one solution for protecting them. 

Illinois Issues: The Next Pension Time Bomb

Mar 30, 2016

Illinois has more than $100 billion in pension debt. So far, attempts to fix it have been mostly illegal.

Amanda Vinicky

Some of the primary races in early March were the most expensive in state history, but it will remain a mystery where all of the money to fund them came from. That does not appear to concern Gov.Bruce Rauner.

The Scene: Vachel Lindsay & Contemporary Poetry

Mar 30, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

This week we talk about a "SlutWalk" planned for this weekend, and Nikki Overcash joins us to discuss one of Springfield's literary heroes and ways to celebrate National Poetry Month in town (click here for a list of those events.) Tune in!

Amanda Vinicky

It had been a long time coming, but Illinois' pilot program for medical marijuana has finally kicked off last November. It's been slow growing for the industry so far, and there are many restrictions.  The business HCI Alternatives has two medical marijuana dispensaries in the state now. 

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