Health Desk
6:07 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Unmet Needs: Living With Mental Illness In Central Illinois

Debra and Zach Medlyn
Credit Sean Powers

According to federal labor statistics, there are more psychiatrists working in Illinois than most states, with the bulk of that service concentrated in the Chicagoland area. But mental health providers say there are major gaps in service across Illinois, especially downstate. 

Zach Medlyn, 27, of Champaign did not start hearing the voices until about seven years ago, when he was a student at the University of Illinois.

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Early childhood education
2:22 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Study: Pre-K Education Provides For Economic Growth

Credit flickr/LizMarie_AK

  As Illinois navigated the economic downturn, lawmakers made lots of cuts -- including to early childhood education.

Advocates say over the years, that cut off 25,000 kids from access to preschool.

Business leaders say it's time to restore the funding, in the name of economic efficacy later on.

A new report from Cornell University claims that for every dollar invested in early childhood programs, the local economy recoups $1.94.

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Politics
9:46 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Quinn, Rauner Announce Campaign Donations

Credit flickr/dborman

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican gubernatorial challenger Bruce Rauner have filed their latest campaign reports with the state.  

Rauner on Tuesday announced he raised more than $9 million in the first three months of the year.  
Quinn says he raised $5 million in the first quarter, much of it from labor unions. He spent little of it defeat a little-known challenger in last month's Democratic primary.  Quinn finished the quarter with $8.8 million in his campaign fund.  

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Statehouse
9:04 am
Wed April 16, 2014

The Vanishing Millionaire Tax

Brian Gaines
Credit IGPA

House Speaker Michael Madigan pulled his plan for a so-called "millionaire tax" last week.   The plan would have raised taxes on those earning $1 million or more a year, with the proceeds going to schools.  It would have required a constitutional change. 

Professor Brian Gaines has studied the idea.  He's with the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois.  He called Madigan's change of heart a bit surprising:

Brian Gaines' essay on the "millionaire tax" -

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Regional
11:22 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

City Approves More Video Gaming Despite Upcoming Ordinance

Despite concerns over gambling parlors cutting into the bottom line of local bars and restaurants, the Springfield City Council last night approved zoning changes to allow more of the establishments to open shop.  Aldermen Cory Jobe voted in favor, even though he's pushing an ordinance to require video gambling only at places that earn 60 percent or more of revenue from food and beverage sales. 

Jobe says the city is skirting the spirit of the law.  But he says there’s no conflict in his vote.

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Susan is the deputy news director who handles assignments and planning by the news staff. She's also a general assignment reporter who began her career at MPBN working at the State House in 1992. Since then she has covered major political and environmental stories, winning national awards for her beat reporting twice from the Society for Environmental Journalists. Her coverage of labor issues, including an investigative series on independent contractors, has also been recognized by the Public Radio News Directors, Inc and by the Associated Press. Susan is a graduate of the University of Montana where she got her first job in public radio news while still a student.

Statehouse
4:37 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Rutherford: Dismiss Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Lawyers for Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford are asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit by an ex-employee alleging sexual harassment and forced political work on state time.  

The motion in U.S. District Court in Chicago seeks to end the lawsuit by Edmund Michalowski.
Michalowski worked for the former Republican candidate for governor for three years before leaving in January and filing the lawsuit.  

The document contends Michalowski's claims that he was disciplined for not doing campaign work on state time are not plausible.  

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Federal Spending
1:43 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Durbin Calls For A Return of 'Earmarks'

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin speaks with reporters in this file photo.
Credit Hannah Meisel/WUIS

It's been a few years since Congressional "earmarks" were eliminated from federal transportation spending. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says it's time to bring them back.

Earmarks have a bad name — remember the "bridge to nowhere," a plan to spend nearly $400 million on a bridge to an island in Alaska with 50 residents?

Durbin says earmarks should have been reformed, not eliminated. He says legislators are in touch with the transportation needs of their districts and states.

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Gas tax
10:49 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Gas Station Owners Warn Against Fuel Tax Increase

Credit Amanda Vinicky

  A coalition of Illinois gas station owners say they're wary of a plan to increase motor fuel taxes. Opponents say it would cause too much pain at the pump.

Engineers, the state Chamber of Commerce, and local mass transit agencies have a strategy to shore up the state's deteriorating highway network and other infrastructure needs: a strategy that includes raising Illinois' tax on gas, which hasn't seen an increase in 24 years.

For now, it's just a plan; no state lawmaker has committed to supporting that proposal.

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