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Education Desk
6:27 am
Tue January 6, 2015

Full Time Police To Return To Springfield High Schools

The Springfield School Board has approved the full-time staffing of police officers at the city's three public high schools.  

Board members voted unanimously Monday. It will cost more than $115,000 to provide policing at the schools throughout the rest of the school year.  

Superintendent Jennifer Gill tells The State Journal-Register that the city is helping the school district with the cost. She says the officers will likely start working full time next week.  

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
11:51 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

State Police Forbidden From Making Arrests Based On Immigration Status

Lawrence Benito, the CEO of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, says he didn't know in advance Gov. Pat Quinn was going to issue the executive orders, but he applauds the action.
Credit Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, http://icirr.org/content/lawrence-benito

Immigration status alone will no longer be a valid reason for the Illinois State Police to detain someone, under an order issued Mon., Jan. 5 by Gov. Pat Quinn.

In the executive order, Gov. Quinn says that "community policing efforts are hindered" when immigrants who are victims of, or witness to, crimes are wary of cooperating for fear they'll be deported.

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Higher Ed
4:57 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

U Of I Suggests Keeping Tuition Flat

The University of Illinois Springfield campus
Credit UIS.edu

Incoming freshmen from Illinois would see no increase in base tuition at the University of Illinois next fall under a proposal announced by the school's leadership.
 
It will go to the full board on Jan. 15 at a meeting in Chicago.
 
The proposal calls for in-state tuition that matches rates for the current
school year. That's $12,036 a year in Urbana-Champaign, $10,584 in Chicago and
$9,405 in Springfield.
 
University officials say holding the line on tuition will help middle-class

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Comptroller Appointment
3:51 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Rauner Chooses Topinka Successor

Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner's choice as successor to the late Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, Leslie Munger of Lincolnshire.
Credit Munger '14 Campaign Website http://votemunger.com/about-leslie/

  Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner has announced his choice for Illinois' next comptroller -- someone who, like himself, is a relative newcomer to state politics.

Residents of Illinois' 59th House district are probably familiar with the name Leslie Munger: their mailboxes, no doubt, were flooded all fall with campaign brochures featuring her name.

Her failed, but tight, race against incumbent Democratic state Rep. Carol Sente of Carol Stream was chalked up to be one of the slimiest of the season.

Despite that loss, Munger will be coming to Springfield.

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Sports
1:18 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

St. Louis Rams Owner Plans L.A. Stadium

The Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis is the home of the NFL's Rams
Credit flickr/Chris Vreeland

A newspaper reports the owner of the St. Louis Rams plans to build an NFL stadium in Los Angeles County, boosting the chances that pro football could return to the region.  

The Los Angeles Times says Stan Kroenke has partnered with Stockbridge Capital Group, owners of the 238-acre Hollywood Park site in Inglewood.  

Kroenke and Stockbridge say they plan to add an 80,000-seat NFL stadium and 6,000-seat performance venue to a massive development of retail, office, hotel and residential space.  

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Statehouse
6:14 am
Mon January 5, 2015

Quinn's Final Week. What Is Coming Up.

Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

Gov. Pat Quinn enters his final week in office with a speech and special session on the agenda, but it's unclear how hard lawmakers and leaders will work with the Democrat on a possible special election or other issues.  

Quinn has called legislators to Springfield Thursday. He wants legislation for a special election to replace late Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka. Senate President John Cullerton supports the idea, but House Speaker Michael Madigan says it's an executive branch issue.  

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Music
10:27 pm
Sun January 4, 2015

Nightsounds' Favorite Albums Of 2014

Credit Todd Gehman (flickr.com/pugetive)

Elbow
The Take Off and Landing of Everything »

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1975 - 2015
10:31 pm
Sat January 3, 2015

WUIS Just Turned 40

A 1976 panel from "State Week in Review." From left: Bill Day, Illinois Issues; Ed Armstrong, The State Journal-Register; Burnell Heinecke, The Chicago Sun-Times; Rich Bradley, WSSR (now WUIS); and Bill Miller, director of the Public Affairs Reporting program at what was then Sangamon State University.
Credit WUIS

A new radio station came into the world at noon on January 3, 1975. The first voice broadcast on WSSR-FM was that of Dale Ouzts, director of broadcast services for Sangamon State University, reading technical specifications about the station. Next was a newscast from Rich Bradley, who would continue to be the station's news director for 35 years.

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State Week
5:02 pm
Fri January 2, 2015

Listen to State Week - Jan. 2, 2015: The State Year In Review Edition

Clockwise from top left: the late Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, the Illinois Capitol, Gov. Pat Quinn, Treasurer Dan Rutherford, Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner, and state Sens. Kirk Dillard and Bill Brady.
Credit WUIS

This week, Daily Herald political editor Mike Riopell joins the regular panel to look back at some of the top stories in state government and political for 2014, and what's ahead in the new year.

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Statehouse
4:30 pm
Fri January 2, 2015

Hamos To Resign Next Week

Julie Hamos
Credit ilga.gov

The director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services says she'll resign Jan. 9 as Republican Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner prepares to take office.  

Julie Hamos is a former Democratic state representative who oversees the state's $18 billion Medicaid program. She released a statement Friday about her resignation. She says leading the department has been ``one of the most fulfilling jobs'' she's ever had _ ``as well as the hardest.''  

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Regional
2:01 pm
Fri January 2, 2015

Sangamon County Homicides Up In 2014

Sangamon County has seen a slight increase in homicides in 2014.   The State Journal-Register (http://bit.ly/13NaFns ) reports seven homicides were investigated in the past year, compared to five in 2013. Police made arrests in five of the 2014 homicide cases.  

Chief Deputy Joe Roesch of the Sangamon County Sheriff's Office says investigators spent weeks working on the first homicide. Three people were eventually arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the Jan. 31 shooting death of 24-year-old Justin Sharp.  

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Education Desk
5:55 am
Fri January 2, 2015

Illinois School Construction Will Require Storm Shelters

Credit flickr/Frank Juarez

Illinois now requires new school construction to include storm shelters.

You can't predict when or where a tornado will strike, but supporters of the new law say schools should be more prepared. 

The law orders districts that take on new construction or remodeling to include a safe place for students to go in the event of a severe storm.  Not everyone agreed with the change.  

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Business
3:52 pm
Thu January 1, 2015

New Law Requires Home Sellers Disclose Door, Window Problems

A "sale pending" sign is pictured on a house. (Dan Moyle/Flickr)

Starting this year, home sellers in Illinois need to provide more information to potential buyers. 
Illinois already requires disclosure of problems like asbestos, radon, lead paint... and even if a home was used as a meth lab.  Add to that list... issues with doors and windows.

Some may be warped or leak... and lead to bigger concerns.  

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Illinois Issues - Editor's Note
12:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

Introducing The 'Illinois Issues Initiative' Reporters And Their Beats

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

January marks a new phase in our journalism.  Due to the merger between WUIS and Illinois Issues, we now have a number of journalists that enable reporting on a beat model.  A beat allows a reporter to learn events and people more thoroughly than general assignment reporting.  Each reporter is focusing on key issues in the state.  We're calling it the "Illinois Issues Initiative."  Here are the beats:

ILLINOIS ECONOMY
Bill Wheelhouse

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Illinois Issues - Past Due
12:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

Introducing The 'Past Due' Blog

Credit mattpenning.com 2014 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Editor's Note:
January marks a new phase in our journalism.  Due to the merger between WUIS and Illinois Issues, we now have a number of journalists that enable reporting on a beat model.  Beats allow a reporter to learn the events and people more thoroughly than general assignment reporting.  Each reporter is focusing on key issues in the state.  We're calling it the "Illinois Issues Initiative."  Here are the issues:

PAST DUE
Jamey Dunn

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Illinois Issues - Economy
12:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

Introducing The 'Economy' Blog

Credit mattpenning.com 2009 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Editor's Note: 
January marks a new phase in our journalism.  Due to the merger between WUIS and Illinois Issues, we now have a number of journalists that enable reporting on a beat model.  A beat allows a reporter to learn events and people more thoroughly than general assignment reporting.  Each reporter is focusing on key issues in the state.  We're calling it the "Illinois Issues Initiative." 

ILLINOIS ECONOMY
Bill Wheelhouse 

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
12:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

Introducing The 'Leadership' Blog

Credit mattpenning.com 2010 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Editor's Note:
January marks a new phase in our journalism.  Due to the merger between WUIS and Illinois Issues, we now have a number of journalists that enable reporting on a beat model.  A beat allows a reporter to learn events and people more thoroughly than general assignment reporting.  Each reporter is focusing on key issues in the state.  We're calling it the "Illinois Issues Initiative."

ILLINOIS LEADERSHIP
Politicians:  Just Like Us
Amanda Vinicky

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Illinois Issues - Education Desk
12:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

Introducing The 'Education Desk' Blog

Credit mattpenning.com 2014 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Editor's note:
January marks a new phase in our journalism.  Due to the merger between WUIS and Illinois Issues, we now have a number of journalists that enable reporting on a beat model.  A beat allows a reporter to learn events and people more thoroughly than general assignment reporting.  Each reporter is focusing on key issues in the state.  We're calling it the "Illinois Issues Initiative." 

EDUCATION DESK
Dusty Rhodes

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Illinois Issues - The Scene
12:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

Introducing 'The Scene' Blog

Credit mattpenning.com 2014 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Editor's Note:
January marks a new phase in our journalism.  Due to the merger between WUIS and Illinois Issues, we now have a number of journalists that enable reporting on a beat model.  A beat allows a reporter to learn events and people more thoroughly than general assignment reporting.  Each reporter is focusing on key issues in the state.  We're calling it the "Illinois Issues Initiative." 

THE SCENE
ARTS AND CULTURE
Rachel Otwell

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Illinois Issues - Code Switch
12:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

Introducing The 'Code Switch Illinois' Blog

Credit mattpenning.com 2014 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Editor's note:
January marks a new phase in our journalism.  Due to the merger between WUIS and Illinois Issues, we now have a number of journalists that enable reporting on a beat model.  A beat allows a reporter to learn events and people more thoroughly than general assignment reporting.  Each reporter is focusing on key issues in the state.  We're calling it the "Illinois Issues Initiative." 

CODE SWITCH ILLINOIS
Maureen Foertsch McKinney

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
12:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

No. 42 - What Will Bruce Rauner Do?

Bruce Rauner
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

“I just wanna save our state,” Bruce Rauner says in a matter-of-face tone, his wife Diana’s hand resting on his khaki-clad knee. He shakes his head side-to-side, at once casual but firm: “I’m not runnin’ ’cause I want a political career.”

This is the Bruce Rauner you likely have “met” on your television screen. He’s friendly. Pragmatic. Warm. A family man.

Normal. Just like you. Except that this guy, uninterested in a political career, was in the midst of spending more than $27 million to launch one.

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Illinois Issues - Economy
12:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

The Fifth Inning - Illinois' Economic Recovery Is Just Warming Up

Mark Selvaggio, President of Selvaggio Steel in Springfield says workers compensation cost and unpredictable tax environment are slowing manufacturing.
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

For fans of baseball, the midwinter tradition is underway — counting down the days until the pitchers and catchers report for spring training.

When evaluating Illinois’ recovery from the recession, James Glassman uses a baseball analogy. The head economist for commercial banking with JP Morgan Chase says Illinois has only reached the fifth inning in the recovery.

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Illinois Issues - State Of The State
12:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

Paying To Keep People Out Of Prison

Illinois has a clear ambition for what it would like to do with members of its criminal class, and it’s right there in the name of the state agency set up to deal with them: the Department of Corrections. But there is a wide gap between ambition and practice. This is not to blame the department: politicians enacted the policies that have swelled the prison population, and politicians are largely responsible for the dire financial condition of the state that has squeezed agencies like the DOC.

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Illinois Issues - State Of The State
12:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

Direct Democracy Yields Minimum Results

We’ve all had this experience: you’re asked a question, give your opinion, then watch your interlocutor ignore the answer.

If you didn’t care what I thought, why’d you ask?

That would be a fair question among the 2,339,173 Illinois voters who cast a ballot in favor of a higher minimum wage in November.

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Illinois Issues - Ends And Means
12:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

How To Address High Property Taxes? Look To The Past.

Charlie Wheeler
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

Property taxes are excessively high and oppressive and the legislature should do something about it.

Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner, explaining his call for a property tax freeze, whatever that means?

Lame duck Gov. Pat Quinn in his budget address last spring, urging lawmakers to send every homeowner a $500 refund check?

Good guess, but nope.

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Illinois Issues - State Of The State
12:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

Introducing The 'State Of The State' Blog

Credit mattpenning.com 2011 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Editor's note: 
January marks a new phase in our journalism.  Due to the merger between WUIS and Illinois Issues, we now have a number of journalists that enable reporting on a beat model.  A beat allows a reporter to learn events and people more thoroughly than general assignment reporting.  Each reporter is focusing on key issues in the state.  We're calling it the "Illinois Issues Initiative." 

STATE OF THE STATE
CAN GOOD GOVERNMENT ABIDE GOOD POLITICS?
Brian Mackey

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Statehouse
5:47 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

Rauner Pitches In $10 Million To Push Agenda

Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

Republican Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner funneled record-setting amounts of his own money to win November's election. Paperwork filed with the state late in the afternoon on Wed., Dec. 31 shows he isn't stopping there.

Rauner is capping off 2014 with a massive infusion of cash into his campaign fund. He reports about $20 million in the final days of December, from just five contributors.

As with his campaign for governor, Rauner's biggest contribution to himself, comes from himself. The private equity investor gave another $10 million to his "Citizens for Rauner" fund.

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Illinois Issues - State Of The State
5:16 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

Voices In The News 2014

Credit WUIS

  As we get ready to welcome 2015, we thought we’d take a few minutes to reflect on the past year in Illinois state government and politics. Most of the action was in the campaign for governor, in which Bruce Rauner became the first Republican to win that office since the late 1990s. Here now are some of the voices that made news in 2014.

Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-Hinsdale: “If you’re a Democrat or an independent, there’s no action coming up on your side of the ballot on March 18. Come on over to ours and save your state.”

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Statehouse
5:15 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

State Pension Payment Set To Go Up In 2015

Credit WUIS/Brian Mackey

The new year will see an increase in the amount Illinois pays into the state's five publicly-funded pension systems.  

The State Journal-Register in Springfield reports (http://bit.ly/13TU5CI) Illinois' auditor general on Wednesday released a report by the state actuary showing a more than $680 million increase in pension payments in 2015 to $7.5 billion.  

The report doesn't explain the increase. However, it noted three of the five pension systems lowered the estimated rate of return they expect from investments.  

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Statehouse
4:27 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

Fmr. Lawmaker Rosemary Mulligan Dies

Rosemary Mulligan
Credit ilga.gov

The brother of former state lawmaker Rosemary Mulligan says she has died after her health suffered in recent months.  

Stephen Granzyk says the 73-year-old Republican died Tuesday, months after moving into a retirement community in the Chicago suburb of Des Plaines.  

Mulligan represented the Northwest suburbs in the Illinois House from 1993 to 2013. She was considered a social moderate with expertise in the state's human services budget and the disabled.  

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