The topics on this edition of State Week in Review include Republican Tom Cross' announcement that he is stepping down from the position of House Minority Leader and raising the speed limit for Illinois interstate highways.
This week's panel consists of Sean Crawford, Charlie Wheeler, Amanda Vinicky, and Brian Mackey.
The president of the University of Illinois says he hopes faculty and staff members will be able to get a raise next year. Bob Easter made his comments Thursday ahead of the start of the school year, which kicks off Monday. The Champaign News-Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/152WQuj ) Easter spoke during a meeting with faculty from the school's three campuses. He says it's his ``goal to have a salary program next year.'' Many U of I employees got a 2.75 percent merit-based raise this year.
With national unemployment at its lowest level since the start of the Great Recession, the numbers keep going the wrong way in several parts of Illinois.
Peoria, Danville, and Decatur all saw unemployment increase by more than a percentage point.
Still, Gov. Pat Quinn defends his administration's efforts at building the economy. Thursday, he announced that a German manufacturer will move its U-S headquarters to Schaumburg, a Chicago suburb, a move Quinn says could create 40 jobs.
Thursday's unemployment numbers show Decatur is once again lagging the rest of Illinois. That long-term trend is partly responsible for a new law aimed at changing the way Illinois handles economic development.
In Decatur, 13.2 percent of job-seekers can't find work. State Sen. Andy Manar — a Democrat whose district includes Decatur — says that's part of the reason he thought it was time to blow up the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and start over.
Illinois has the second highest unemployment rate in the nation. And Decatur has the highest in the state.
Caterpillar announced hundreds of layoffs this summer and that is now showing up in the jobless rate. Decatur's rate has gone up to 13.2 percent, 2 full percentage points above where it was a year ago. And it's also at the highest level it's been this time of year in about three decades.