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Illinois Issues - State Of The State
12:00 am
Sun March 1, 2015

Will Rauner Get Tough On Getting Tough On Crime?

Statehouse reporter Brian Mackey writes the State of the State column for Illinois Issues magazine.
Credit mattpenning.com / WUIS/Illinois Issues

News Analysis — Gov. Bruce Rauner made a stunning declaration last month in his State of the State address.

“The conditions in our prisons are unacceptable,” Rauner said. “Inmates and corrections officers alike find themselves in an unsafe environment. It’s wrong.”

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Illinois Issues – Editor's Note
12:00 am
Sun March 1, 2015

Why The Butterflies Are Gone

Jamey Dunn
Credit mattpenning.com 2014 / Illinois Issues

When I was a teenager, I came home one day to find monarch butterflies covering a tree in my parents’ backyard. Hundreds of them had swarmed the leaves and branches. And there they sat, opening and closing their brightly painted wings in the sun.

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Politics
5:12 pm
Sat February 28, 2015

Butler Named New 87th District Rep

Republican County Leaders Saturday selected Tim Butler as a replacement in the Illinois 87th House District.  He'll fill the seat Rich Brauer held until he resigned to take a job with the Rauner Administration.
Butler has served as an aide to Congressman Rodney Davis, as his District Chief of Staff. Previously, he worked for Congressman Ray LaHood.
 GOP Leaders from four counties that make up the district (Sangamon, Logan, Menard and Tazewell) accepted applications over the past week before unanimously selecting Butler.

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
7:30 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

2015 Budget - CapitolView

Host Amanda Vinicky and guests Andy Maloney (Chicago Daily Law Bulletin) and Patrick Yeagle (IL Times) discuss issues with the 2015 Budget, runoff in Chicago Mayoral race, and Exelon's nuclear prop-up plan.

CapitolView is a production of WSEC-TV/PBS Springfield, Network Knowledge.

Illinois Issues - Past Due
4:16 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Illinois Not Alone In Post-Recession Budget Woes

Illinois’ budget is in even worse shape than previously thought. Illinois has the biggest unfunded pension obligation in the nation. Illinois slapped with the lowest credit rating of any state. These are the grim headlines Illinois residents endure on a regular basis. You can’t live in this state and not have at least a vague idea that our budget is in the dumps.

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Election 2015
2:42 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Rauner’s Budget Poses Risk For Emanuel’s Re-election

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, second from left, awaits the inauguration of Gov. Bruce Rauner in this January 2015 file photo.

If Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is looking for a silver lining on his disappointing first round re-election bid, he ought not study Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed budget. The state’s largest city has some big problems that the governor’s fiscal plans could aggravate.

Chicago has issues of “looming pension crisis in the city and at the board of education, ongoing problems with guns and gangs and drugs, still a feeling that too many neighborhoods are being neglected and there aren’t enough jobs,” Andy Shaw, head of the non-partisan Better Government Association, said election night.

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State Week
1:44 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Listen to State Week - February 27, 2015

Credit Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

This week, continuing concerns over the state's budget, Governor Rauner holds his first cabinet meeting, and Rahm Emanuel faces a run-off election in his bid to remain Mayor of Chicago.

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Business
10:31 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Kentucky Provides Model For Rauner's "Empowerment Zones"

A teamsters truck is parked outside the Warren County, KY courthouse on the day the fiscal court gave final approval to a local right-to-work law
Credit Lisa Autry / WKU Public Radio

Just over a month since taking office, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has already laid out a clear agenda. He’s detailed significant spending cuts, proposed a pension overhaul and targeted the power of unions. That includes a proposal to allow some parts of the state to become what he calls 'right-to-work' zones.  Neighboring Kentucky recently began a similar experiment, and could offer some clues as to what to expect in Illinois.

The governor first outlined his plan for what he called worker empowerment zones in late January, during a visit to Decatur.

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This I Believe 2015
7:45 am
Fri February 27, 2015

A Daily Realization

Maggie Lenkart - Southeast H.S.
Credit Rachel Lattimore / WUIS / Illinois Issues

I recently stumbled upon a neat little web series entitled “The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows” by John Koenig. Every short video consists of a newly invented word he explains in depth. One word in particular jumped out at me: sonder.  “sonder,” n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as yours. This feeling has always been something I have taken note of. As a little girl, strapped tight in my car seat, gazing out the window at the cars passing down the busiest street in town, I would think:  “Where are they going?

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Code Switch Illinois
4:01 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Income Levels Influence Success In Avoiding Pregnancy, Report Says

Credit The Brookings Institute

A report released today found that women who are the poorest are five times more likely to have an unplanned pregnancy as opposed to wealthy women.

The Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institute prepared a report that compared sexual activity, contraception use and abortion rates among women representing different economic levels. Women who were the poorest had the greatest number of unintended pregnancies, while abortion rates were highest for the most affluent, according to researchers.

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Statehouse
3:52 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Parents, Day Care Providers Worry About Child Care Funding

Day care centers may have to shut down if Illinois does not find a way to fund the Child Care Assistance Program.
Credit childcarecenter.us

Parents and child care providers continue to worry about when-- or if-- the state is going to come through with money to keep a subsidized daycare program running.

The state and federal government provide assistance for working parents who can't afford the cost of child care, but Illinois hasn't put aside enough money to pay.

Jacqueline Cervantes owns Pica Boo Day Care in Cicero. She watches eight children, and all of their families receive financial help from the state.

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Illinois Issues - Past Due
3:18 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Unraveling Transportation Funding

The need for infrastructure investments across the country is great and has been in the news a lot lately. The American Society for Civil Engineers (ASCE) estimates that the country will need to spend $3.6 trillion by 2020. The same group gave the country's infrastructure a D+ rating for 2013. Illinois got a C-.

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The Scene
3:02 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

The Scene: Paintings, A Doc & Psychedelic Rock

work from the exhibit opening at the UIS Visual Arts Gallery, Lyle Salmi: Sublime Light
Credit http://www.uis.edu/visualarts/gallery/current-exhibition/

Tune into this week's Art Beat with Scott Faingold of the Illinois Times:

Events discussed this week include:

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The Scene
2:46 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Bedrock 66 Live! Features Celtic And Psychedelic Rock

The Tossers
Credit http://www.thetossers.com/

Kicking off the 2015 Bedrock 66 Live! series is Athens, GA country-folk psychedelic band, New Madrid. Joining New Madrid will be Chicago's Celtic-Punk band The Tossers. Tickets available at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1149492

Here is what Pichfork had to say about New Madrid's 2014 release "Sunswimmer"

Pitchfork: New Madrid “Manners”

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Energy Battle Begins
2:28 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Profitable Exelon Seeks Legislation To Save Unprofitable Nuclear Plants

Exelon Senior Vice President Joe Dominguez says "nuclear power has thus far been excluded from the programs that actually provide compensation for zero carbon electricity." His corporation proposes Illinois institute a low carbon portfolio standard.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

After issuing warnings it may have to close down half its nuclear fleet, Exelon today introduced a proposal it says would keep them open. It signals the start of what's expected to be a long debate over Illinois' energy policy. 

Exelon is one of Illinois' biggest, and most powerful corporations.

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Let's Talk Kids
1:12 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Let's Talk Kids - "A Future President"

Credit mattpenning.com 2010 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

On a plaque marking Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace near Hodgenville, Kentucky, is recorded this scrap of conversation:

“Any news down t’ the village, Ezry?”

“Well, Squire MacLain’s gone t’ Washington t’ see Madison swore in, and ol’ Spellman tells me this Bonaparte fella has captured most o’ Spain.  What’s new out here, neighbor?”

“Nuthin’, nuthin’ a’tall, ‘cept fer a new baby born t’ Tom Lincoln’s.  Nuthin’ ever happens out here.”

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This I Believe 2015
7:45 am
Thu February 26, 2015

A Universal Language

Shelton Cottle - Beardstown H.S.
Credit Rachel Lattimore / WUIS / Illinois Issues

One sunny September afternoon, one of my friends and I were searching the farthest reaches of our brains for some activity to keep us occupied. We often played the guitar together, but since the fall weather was so unusually pleasant, we could not just sit in some dingy basement and play to the termites in the rafters. We decided to take our music to the great outdoors; specifically, our town square.

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Education
8:42 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

PARCC Standardized Test Causes Problems

Raise Your Hand is a group of parents and Illinois residents who advocate for public education issues.
Credit Raise Your Hand

Different states have incorporated Common Core standards in different ways. Illinois students will begin taking the related test, called PARCC, next week.

A discussion about student testing raised voices and emotions among those for and against the controversial test, which stands for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. It consists of math and reading exams given to students starting in third grade.

John Barker from Chicago Public Schools says CPS is a strong proponent of the common core standards.

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
7:35 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

Rauner Tells Cabinet: I'll Take Your Arrows

Gov. Bruce Rauner gathered his cabinet together for a meeting at the capitol.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

Just over 50 top state officials came together this afternoon for their first cabinet meeting with Illinois' new governor, Bruce Rauner. Journalists were invited to hear the Republican's opening remarks.

Rauner's Cabinet gathered in one of the capitol's largest, and nicest, committee rooms; members milled about, making small talk and introductions.

Some were recently appointed by the governor and are new to Illinois government; others are holdovers from former Gov. Pat Quinn's administration.

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The Scene Blog
12:54 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

Local Lady Digs For Family Roots On PBS Program

Nikki Overcash on the Genealogy Roadshow
A still from the PBS program

How much do you know about your roots? Many of us have legends in our families about being related to famous people, but it's hard sometimes to know just where the truth lies. Nikki Overcash decided to find out about a tale that had been passed down in her family, rumors have it she's a descendent of the pirate known as Blackbeard. She did so by reaching out to the PBS program called Genealogy Roadshow.

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Statehouse
10:24 am
Wed February 25, 2015

Senator Starts Petition To Try To Stop Budget Cuts

Sen. Scott Bennett, D-Champaign, wants to stop budget cuts to the University of Illinois.
Credit Illinois General Assembly

Gov. Bruce Rauner proposed a large budget cut for higher education, including the University of Illinois.

Illinois Sen. Scott Bennett is trying to stop the governor from slashing the U of I's budget, and he's beginning to fight that battle with a stack of paper and a list of names. Bennett, who is from Champaign, where the University of Illinois' main campus is located, has started a petition in opposition to Rauner's plan.

Bennett says the names he collects signify more than a line on a budget.

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This I Believe 2015
7:45 am
Wed February 25, 2015

I Believe In The Piano

Jacob Pearson - Rochester H.S.
Credit Rachel Lattimore / WUIS / Illinois Issues

The frost tapped on my window as I sat at the antique desk in my room on that icy winter afternoon. Eternal mounds of snow pressed its hands up against our front door, and it concealed me from the exploration I longed for. I could hear the bitterness of the air outside whispering to me, teasing me of the arctic temperatures that loomed about. I was concealed inside on this day, and with nothing to keep myself busy, my mind was just as frozen as the world around me. My pencils and artwork lay untouched as my creative gears wouldn’t thaw.

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Election 2015
9:19 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

Houston Shredded: Springfield Mayor Loses Primary

Incumbent Springfield Mayor Mike Houston was running for a fourth (albeit non-consecutive) term in 2015.
Credit City of Springfield

Incumbent Springfield Mayor Mike Houston lost his bid for re-election in Tuesday's primary election. Houston had just 19 percent of the vote in the five-way race.

  With all 102 precincts reporting, Springfield Treasurer Jim Langfelder and Sangamon County Auditor Paul Palazzolo won the primary and will advance to the general election on April 7.

Ward 2 Ald. Gail Simpson and community activist Samuel Johnson trailed the field.

Here are the complete returns:

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Budget FY16
6:07 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

Credit Rating Agency Says Rauner's Budget Will Be Difficult To Enact

Credit flickr/dborman

A major credit rating agency has come out with a blunt assessment of Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed budget for Illinois.

The budget Rauner presented last week calls for massive cuts in state spending -- without any increase in taxes.

Moody's Investor Service dismisses the chance that parts, let alone all, of the plan will ever become a reality.

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Business
11:20 am
Tue February 24, 2015

WUIS / SJ-R Business Report - Sprucing Up Springfield; Karpman Furs Closing

Credit wikipedia

The State Journal-Register's Business Editor Tim Landis joins us to talk about a sprucing up of Springfield in advance of the Abraham Lincoln re-enactment this spring.

We also discuss Springfield picking up the pace of demolishing abandoned properties and a long time business, Max Karpman Furs, is about to close for good.  

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History
10:07 am
Tue February 24, 2015

History Series: The Importance Of "Poles" In Campaigning

Credit courtesy of Tara McClellan McAndrew

Today is the primary election for municipal offices, and we're bringing you a story about a campaign tradition back in Abraham Lincoln's era. Our historical stories are sponsored by the Sangamon County Historical Society and written by Tara McClellan McAndrew, local history columnist for the State Journal-Register. The actors who joined her in this piece were Tom Hutchison and Doug McDonald. 

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This I Believe 2015
7:45 am
Tue February 24, 2015

Unique Flavors

Kanisha Granderson - Lanphier H.S.
Credit Rachel Lattimore / WUIS / Illinois Issues

I believe in ice cream. Different flavors, different colors and smells. Some taste good and some not so good. The happiness you get when you find the flavor you like. The first bite and joy. I loved the flavor Jamoca. It was my favorite. Its coffee taste, brown color and smell - so deeply good. I wanted to try something new. I tried butter pecan. It was the new best. Its vanilla coating, walnuts on top and inside. I had switched. Like the click of a light switch but I wasn’t always so comfortable or confident about trying new things.

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Congress
5:48 am
Tue February 24, 2015

Lawmaker Billed For Private Planes, Concerts

Aaron Schock

Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock spent taxpayer and campaign funds on private planes to fly around the country on aircraft owned by some of his donors.  

An Associated Press review of his expense records found the flights. There also were other travel and entertainment charges, including for a massage company and music concerts.  

Schock's use of congressional and political funds to pay for trips on supporters' aircraft raises new questions amid an ethics inquiry already underway. The expenses include a trip for $11,400 and apparent trips before last November's elections.  

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Smart Grid Rate Extension Bill
4:03 am
Tue February 24, 2015

First Bill To Land On Rauner's Desk Presents Potential Political, Legal Issues

Illinois' new governor has his first opportunity to determine the fate of legislation. Gov. Bruce Rauner's decision could affect how much you're paying for electricity.

The measure at hand, House Bill 3975, took a strange and winding path to get to Governor Bruce Rauner's desk, beginning with one governor and one General Assembly, and carrying over into another administration and new legislative session. The plan allows Ameren and Commonwealth Edison to continue asking customers to pay for upgrades to the electric grid; in many cases that means a higher electric bill.

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Statehouse
6:24 pm
Mon February 23, 2015

Medical Society Wants To Prevent Misuse Of Opiates

Illinois is in good standing for the per capita prescription of pain killers. According to ISMS, Illinois had a per capita oxycodon use of .05, ranking 50th in the United States.
Credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/emagineart/4742089272/

Prescription pain pills can lead to addiction — that’s why they’re not supposed to be easy to get. The Illinois State Medical Society, or ISMS, is proposing legislation it says will fight addiction to prescription pain medication.

Dr. William McDade, the president of ISMS, says expanding the state's prescription monitoring database would help prevent "doctor shopping," where a patient gathers multiple prescriptions from different doctors.

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