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(This story first appeared on the Illinois Issues blog last summer that appeared to set the stage for overturning the pension law.  Jamey Dunn looked at what other choices remain for state leaders)

McFarland

Even if you're not a baseball fan, you are probably familiar with Jackie Robinson.  He broke the color barrier in the major leagues when he played with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.  

But that was in the National League.  Can you name the first African American to play in the junior circuit? And did you realize one team waited 12 years after Robinson before putting a black player on the field?

Springfield's new mayor is promising to work in a collaborative fashion to address the city's needs.  Jim Langfelder took the oath of office Thursday afternoon in a ceremony at Sangamon Auditorium.

He says his administration will be transparent and will work for all parts of the city.  He says his top priority is stabilizing the utility CWLP.  He also called for establishing wi fi downtown and developing a second water source.

WUIS

It's time for THE SCENE! This week Scott Faingold and I are joined by Aaron Phillips, who is an integral part of the local hip hop scene and hosts Torch Tuesday nights at Bar None in Springfield. He told us much more though, so take a listen to this week's edition:

Events discussed this week include:

Lisa Ryan/WUIS

After partisan debating over the budget, Democrats and Republicans came together in America's pastime.

Lawmakers put aside partisan differences to play softball. Forget Republicans versus Democrats; this match pits Senate against the House.

Rep. Anthony DeLuca, a Democrat from Chicago Heights, was named Most Valuable Player for the House. DeLuca says the annual game is a way for lawmakers to become teammates rather than opponents.

"There's a lot of camaraderie. It's good," he said. "People that don't normally talk to each other are talking, and it's good for that."

Univ. of Illinois

The University of Illinois Board of Trustees has voted to give retiring President Robert Easter a bonus as he prepares to retire.

Easter will receive the additional $167,200 even though he is leaving office May 18.

Board Chairman Ed McMillan says the award was performance based and a part of the president's contract.

"So it wasn't a raise it was actually the payment of the performance bonus objectives which was established at the beginning of the year," McMillan said.

Claudia Quigg headshot
mattpenning.com 2010 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Mothers do many things.  They wash, wipe, pick up, put down, stack, mix, measure, talk, sing, read, play, redirect, and laugh.  And that may be in the first 15 minutes of the day.  Most mothers are veritable whirling dervishes of activity.

And yet a mother’s most important job may look deceptively passive.  A mother’s most significant task may be to simply look at her children.

A mother sees subtle changes from day to day. She notices those newly-braced teeth shifting before the first week is out. She’s first to observe when a child is about to outgrow his shoes.

WUIS

Springfield Mayor Mike Houston will leave office  Thursday, when his successor Jim Langfelder is sworn in.  

Langfelder won the primary in March and the April general election. 

Houston, who served two terms about 30 years ago, returned to city politics to win in 2011.  But voters denied his latest effort.  

Houston says he has told Langfelder that he will help him in the transition if asked:

"By the same token, I know he has a father who has served as mayor of Springfield for 2 terms, that he will be relying on very very heavily," he said.

House floor
Brian Mackey/WUIS

Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposal to cut the state budget took a spectacular fall Wednesday in the Illinois House.

The new Republican governor's plan reduces Illinois' budget by $6 billion for the next fiscal year.

That means doing away with, or spending less, on everything from healthcare for the poor, autism services and support for older foster kids.

No GOP legislator has actually introduced a bill that would precipitate those cuts. So in a surprise move, the Democratic Speaker of the House, Michael Madigan, took it upon himself.

Exelon is amping up its threat to close three nuclear power plants, unless there's help from the legislature.

The company says it's not a bailout and instead argues its trying to level the playing field. Illinois already gives some incentives for renewable sources, like energy and wind.

Supporters of Exelon's measure, like Democratic Rep. Larry Walsh, Jr. of Joliet, say nuclear power deserves that push.

Lisa Ryan/WUIS

Olympic gold medal winner Jackie Joyner-Kersee says she never imagined as a girl growing up in East St. Louis that she would one day speak at an event hosted by the governor. Gov. Bruce Rauner introduced her, but didn't stay for her speech.

"To the head table, I am honored to be in your presence. To, you know, the governor, he left," she said.

Rauner was scheduled to be in Chicago three hours after he left. He was originally supposed to give a presentation, but that was taken out of the program.

May brings the final shows of the season for both the Sangamon Valley Youth Symphony and the Civic Orchestra. 

It also marks the end for Music Director Eugene Power, as he will be leaving the area soon.  

The Sangamon Valley Youth Symphony will perform Saturday May 9 at Springfield High Auditorium.  The doors open at 1:30 p.m. and the concert is at 2 p.m. 

The Civic Orchestra performs Sunday May 17 at 4 p.m.  at the Hoogland Center for the Arts Theatre 3. 

The HyVee Chain has a new service, which a hi-tech grocery trade publication tells us about.

Read it here

Amanda Vinicky

Illinois just overhauled its workers' compensation system in 2011, but lawmakers are considering further changes at the behest of businesses and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. The full Illinois House spent much of Tuesday in a rare, full committee meeting focused on workers' compensation. But they didn't vote.

Businesses say workers' comp is one of their biggest competitive disadvantages compared with companies in neighboring states.

Lisa Ryan/WUIS

As Illinois faces major budget problems, everyone has a different answer for which services to cut and which taxes to raise.

Mike Nobis is worried. His commercial printing company has been in Quincy, Illinois for 108 years. He says he's struggling to compete with other companies, especially those across the border in Missouri.

Illinois' current sales tax does not cover most services. Nobis says if that tax is expanded to cover the printing industry, he might go out of business.

Tim Landis and Bill Wheelhouse discuss the appointment of a new state fair director and what his charge may be.

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

*Update - according to the Illinois State Board of Elections, the hearing originally scheduled for May 7, has been delayed until the morning of June 10.

The State Board of Elections will hold a hearing to determine whether Governor Bruce Rauner's campaign violated state elections law.

Bruce Rauner's campaign spent at least $65 million to win the governor's office. Now, state election authorities are looking into whether he missed a deadline to report some of that success.

As the number of farms hit with avian flu grows over 100 nationwide, regulators are implementing containment plans meant to stop the virus’ spread, spare millions of at-risk birds and thousands of poultry farms.

Farms in many states, including Iowa, Missouri and Kansas, are struggling to contain an active outbreak.

“A rapid response is extremely important in an infectious disease outbreak like this,” said Jim Roth, head of the Center for Food Safety and Public Health at Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Govs. Dan Walker and Bruce Rauner
file / WUIS

If you follow state government long enough, you start to hear the same things over and over again. That holds even across four decades.

Last week, I produced an obituary for the late Gov. Dan Walker, who died at the age of 92. In listening to several of his speeches from 1975 and '76, I was struck by the similarities to the sorts of things we hear from politicians today — particularly Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Both of these men came in after unpopular tax hikes, and both downplayed their wealth with folksy images. So I'm asking the question: Are they essentially the same guy?

Amanda Vinicky

It was weeks after Abraham Lincoln's death in mid-April, that has body made it from Washington, D.C. back to Springfield, Illinois. The lifting of a replica coffin from a car designed to look like Lincoln's funeral train began a series events this weekend in Springfield, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the president's death and burial.

Pamela Nation

Friday was Girl Scout Day at the Capitol, and hundreds of Girl Scouts marched to the Statehouse to learn more about government and the history of Illinois.

About 2,000 Girl Scouts gathered in the Illinois capital to earn their Citizenship badge.

Kate Peters of Girl Scouts of Central Illinois says during part of the expo, the girls spoke to women in different careers.

“How impactful for them to see stuff like that and know, 'hey one day that can be me,'" Peters said. "One day, one of these girls will be governor of Illinois.”

potter
Jaegar Moore / flickr.com/97408355@N06

 Some social service agencies and funeral homes are set to resume business as they had before the now-infamous Good Friday elimination of several state grants.

Gov. Bruce Rauner aides announced Thursday that the state received an unexpected influx of tax revenue that will be used to restore the $26 million in grant suspensions. The money will fund programs such as support for those with autism and epilepsy, indigent burials and utility assistance.

President-elect Barack Obama
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Gov. Bruce Rauner this afternoon signed a law to help bring President Barack Obama's presidential library to Illinois. The General Assembly rushed to pass the measure just over a week ago.

At a private bill-signing in his office at the capitol, Rauner said he looks forward to having the President's library "come here, to the great state of Illinois."

"It'll be a wonderful institution for the people of our great state and to help drive economic development and tourism, and visitors from all over the United States," he said.

Dan Walker
file / WUIS/Illinois Issues

This week, Governor Bruce Rauner restored $26 million in funding for some of the social service programs that were cut in April.  Also, former Illinois Governor Dan Walker died at the age of 92.  Kurt Erickson of Lee Enterprises' Springfield Bureau joins the panel discussion.

violin
Jose Zaragoza / flickr.com/jose_zaragoza

Yona Stamatis talks with Alastair Willis, Dale Rogers, and Ralph Shank about the Illinois Symphony Orchestra's "Lincoln Train" concerts this weekend at Sangamon Auditorium and the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts.

Stella Cole

 

    

http://franky242.net/shop/image/pile-of-black-coal/

There's a new player in a battle over energy policy that's playing out at the Illinois Capitol. Exelon wants support for its nuclear plants, a renewable energy coalition wants to require more wind and solar, and now a coal company and its supporters want in on the action.

The latest push would give the state's coal industry a boost.

Jamey Dunn headshot
mattpenning.com 2015 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Illinois’ medical marijuana law went into effect January 1, 2014, but so far, not a single patient has received treatment under the pilot program.

Brian Mackey headshot
mattpenning.com 2014 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Imagine two nurses, Jane and Dan, finishing long, overnight shifts at a hospital. Like many medical professionals, their shifts vary from week to week, so they’re not quite used to the nocturnal work pattern. And their jobs are demanding, with lots of walking and near-constant activity. Needless to say, both Jane and Dan are tired. On the way home, their cars approach highway construction sites. By this point, both drivers are drowsy, and have begun to nod off. Neither notices the two flashing arrow signs directing them into the left lane. 

Although talk of Illinois’ budget has dominated the spring session of the General Assembly, legislators have continued advancing bills on a broad array of topics. They include measures dealing with beverages, drunken driving, the mining of sand and the death penalty.

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