News

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.

construction zone
dmitri_66 / flickr.com/dmitri66

News Analysis — 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.

Most Illinois public schools don’t monitor students’ social media and other cyber accounts off school premises and on nonschool devices. But since there are a few that do, Rep. Dwight Kay wants to require that school officials get permission from a judge before they access students’ login information. Under the current Right to Privacy in the School Setting Act, which Kay wants to expand, college students attending state schools can’t be required to give their social media login and password information to school officials — unless administrators believe school rules have been violated.

American flag next to tornado wreakage
Lee Strubinger

Illinois’ congressional delegation is trying to get the Federal Emergency Management Agency to revise how it distributes aid after natural disasters.

A sex trafficking researcher is urging community members to take action to help thwart victimization.

“We have awakened to this issue of sex trafficking,” says Jody Raphael, a professor at DePaul University College of Law in Chicago, who has investigated the sex trade in Illinois for about the past 15 years. “We really need to have some activism going in our communities.”

The recent boom in apartment construction in areas of north Chicago and around the Loop threatens  to displace middle and low-income Chicagoans from homes and apartments.

Construction has been big business in Chicago. Over 8,700 new apartment units are expected to be completed by 2016. But new development is clustered around north Chicago and the Loop, rather than poor neighborhoods.

An inmate at the Illinois Department of Corrections has filed a class-action lawsuit alleging systematic abuse by hundreds of prison guards and administrators.

The named plaintiff is Demetrius Ross, an inmate at the Illinois River Correctional Center. Illinois River is a medium security prison in Canton, about 30 miles outside Peoria. Ross alleges that members of a special IDOC unit known as “Orange Crush” conducted violent, humiliating shakedowns in at least four prisons.

Members of the Illinois General Assembly’s Latino Caucus are calling for increased blood donations from Latinos because they are more likely to have the type in highest demand.

While the Latino population makes up 17 percent of the Illinois population, just an estimated 4 percent are blood donors, says Margaret Vaughn, who is government affairs direction for the Illinois Coalition of Community Blood Donors.

Two recent studies indicate that capping the size of settlements awarded in medical malpractice cases may have far less impact on health care than previously thought.

New dads get depressed, too. And they should be evaluated and treated for post-partum mental health issues just as mothers are.

That’s according to the author of a recent Northwestern (University) Medicine study, which is the first of its kind to focus on the effects on children of fathers with post-partum depression, according to a university release. Many previous studies have looked at the impact of post-partum depression in mothers and the interactions between parents.

A federal initiative seeks to make school meals more nutritious while boosting local economies. However, Illinois school districts have barely cracked the surface in competing for these dollars.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Farm to School program aims to link locally sourced food to free K-12 lunch and breakfast programs by providing grants for research, planning, nutrition education, technical staff, conferences and implementation. The program has been awarded $5 million nationwide annually since 2010.

Brass rail outside the Governor's office
Amanda Vinicky / WUIS/Illinois Issues

The pink slips started coming in January.

Employees hired at Democrats’ discretion over the past dozen years were losing their state jobs — an early rattle in Gov. Bruce Rauner’s promised “shakeup” of state government, accompanied by other corresponding rattles, including waves of appointments naming Republicans to take the ousted workers’ places.

Sen. Andy Manar speaks in front of student
Senate Democrats

There he was, then-Gov. Jim Edgar, appearing before a joint session of the General Assembly, imploring members of the GOP-led House and Senate to raise the state income tax, lower property taxes and level out the disparities between rich and poor school systems in Illinois.

It was 1996, and Edgar was coming off a re-election where he trounced Democratic Comptroller Dawn Clark Netsch by attacking her plan to fix the state’s school-funding inequities.

Car mounted license plate reader
Garrett Brnger / WUIS / Illinois Issues

It doesn’t take much time at all, fractions of a second, to be marked and mapped, recorded and reported.

The automatic license plate reader cameras don’t look like much — just a pair of strobe lights on the back of a squad car, or maybe a cartoon character, depending on whom you ask.

The Funeral Train

May 1, 2015
Lincoln's funeral train
Library of Congress

 A Mourning Country Stood Watch As The Body Of The Slain President Returned To Springfield

Overgrown Tinley Park Mental Health Care Center sign
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Dawn Kelly takes seven medications daily to treat her bipolar disorder. She has been on the meds since her 2011 diagnosis. Had it not been for a switch over from one Medicaid plan to another, the 40-year-old mother, who lives in East Peoria, would likely be dead.

New Governor Continues To Fill Board, Agency Head Jobs

May 1, 2015

Gov. Bruce Rauner has chosen a new head of the Illinois Lottery, and filled top spots on boards and commissions.

The governor picked B.R. Lane to be superintendent of the Illinois Lottery. Lane has worked in the gaming industry. She was manager of regulatory compliance for gambling equipment company International Game Technology, which makes video poker and slot machines.

Executive Inspector General Steps Down

May 1, 2015

The state official who led an investigation into political hiring under former Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration is resigning.

Executive Inspector General Ricardo Meza stepped down last month, after more than four-and-a-half years investigating allegations of misconduct in the governor’s office, 40 state agencies and public universities.

Much of what Meza’s office does is kept secret, like investigations that don’t produce findings of wrongdoing. Even some of those that do can be kept confidential.

Charles N. Wheeler III
WUIS/Illinois Issues

  In a few days, Springfield will culminate a months-long observation of the 150th anniversary of the death of Abraham Lincoln with a historic re-enactment of his funeral procession. The procession, including a re-creation of the original Lincoln hearse, horse-drawn carriages and military and civilian Civil War re-enactors, will wend its way from the railroad station where the slain president’s body arrived, past the Old State Capitol and his home and eventually end at his tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery.

Features a pair of authors published by Twelve Winters Press, JD Schraffenberger and Rachel Jamison Webster. A longer excerpt of Rachel’s interview is availabe in issue 8.1 of Quiddity. Also featured in this episode is poet and 8.1 contributor Charlotte Pence reading a poem “Lemons Are Not Nipples” from her debut collection Many Small Fires (Black Lawrence Press, 2015) Author and spouse Adam Prince discusses the poem with Charlotte. Closing out the show is the 2014 Linda H.

flickr/dborman

A top official with Gov. Bruce Rauner's office confirms, Illinois will restore $26 million in funding for a tobacco quitline, programs for autistic children and other social service grants. Projections show the state is taking in more money than expected.  While some cuts will remain, the windfall frees up money to reverse the cuts Rauner made with little warning on Good Friday, in early April.
 

The news has Joanne Guthrie-Gard beaming -- one of those "couldn't wipe it off her face" smiles. "I'm ecstatic. I'm so excited," she says.

ALPLM
ALPLM

While other agencies are bracing for budget cuts, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum could get everything it's asking for in next year's budget.

ALPLM could receive a boost of $2 million more than it's expected to spend in the current budget year, according to Gov. Bruce Rauner's spending proposal.

Lisa Ryan/WUIS

Cuts the governor is proposing for next year's budget are a concern for transportation officials.

Gov. Bruce Rauner's plan includes $20 million worth of cuts to Amtrak. Laura Calderon, the director of the Illinois Public Transportation Association, says that means about six million trips will be eliminated downstate.

"This impact is not just on transit. It has a much broader impact on the economy, on the schools, on the universities," she said. "It really does hit everyone."

Dan Walker sign
file / WUIS/Illinois Issues

A former governor of Illinois has died. Dan Walker ran the state for one term in the 1970s. A Democrat, he focused much of his brief political career on fighting members of his own party.

At a time when most Democratic politicians in Illinois were cogs in a massive political machine, Dan Walker was a nobody.

Several mayors from around the state say the millions of dollars the governor thinks they have stored up doesn’t exist. Gov. Bruce Rauner has called for halving the portion of the state income tax shared with local governments, called the Local Government Distributive Fund, and said those governments can tap millions in cash reserves. But the mayors warn that if the governor moves ahead with his plan, vital services — like police and fire — would be cut, and municipal workers would be laid off.

The mayors were at the state capitol Wednesday to lobby against Rauner’s proposal.

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