Associated Press

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U.S. House of Representatives

Federal prosecutors have indicted former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert on bank-related charges.

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Plans to build a medical marijuana facility in the south-central Illinois city of Litchfield have run into obstacles.
 
 Department of Agriculture officials say the permit in that district is now under review. Department spokeswoman Kristi Jones declined to provide details.
 
 In February, Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration named Compass Ventures as the  winner of the lone permit to grow marijuana in the four-county district.

Brian Mackey/WUIS

A federal judge has allowed Gov. Bruce Rauner's lawsuit over union fees paid by non-union workers to proceed -- without the governor.

flickr/lewismarien

Employees with a dredging contractor are working around the clock to remove sediment from the bottom of Lake Decatur as part of a $91 million project.  

The Decatur City Council approved the six-year project last February. It's being carried out by Great Lakes Dredge & Dock and is expected to increase the lake's capacity by 30 percent.  

The (Decatur) Herald & Review reports that a 220-foot dredge collects sediment and pushes it about eight miles through a submerged pipeline to a 523-acre sediment site in Oakley.  

Credit Little_brown_bat;_close-up_of_nose_with_fungus,_New_York,_Oct._2008._(5765048289).jpg

Illinois wildlife officials say a fungal disease that's killed millions of bats in the U.S. has turned up in Adams, Carroll and Pike counties.  

 That brings to 11 the number of counties where white-nose syndrome has been confirmed since it was first found in Illinois two years ago.  

Named for the white fungus that appears on the animals' noses, the disease was first detected in New York in 2006. It's extremely lethal, killing 90 percent or more of hibernating bats in some caves.  

agr.ga.gov

Mitsubishi is recalling more than 130,000 cars because of two separate issues that could lead to reduced visibility for drivers and raise the risk of a crash.
 
 Nearly 77,000 cars are being recalled because the windshield defroster might fail as a result of a faulty blower motor. The cars affected include Lancer model years 2009 to 2011, Lancer Sportback model years 2010 to 2011, Lancer Evolution model years 2010 to 2011 and Outlander Sport model year 2011.
 

Gov. Bruce Rauner says the Illinois Supreme Court's decision striking down the state's public pension overhaul was ``fair and right.''  

The Republican governor says he has long believed that the 2013 law aimed at reducing a $111 billion shortfall was unconstitutional.  

That was the view of the justices who unanimously ruled against it Friday. They said the measure violated the state constitution because it would leave pension promises ``diminished or impaired.''  

Wild birds are believed to be behind the first major widespread outbreak of bird flu in the United States, with the virus confirmed in the animals in 10 states. Here are some questions and answers about how wild birds remain healthy even when carrying the virus and spread it to backyard and commercial flocks of chickens and turkeys. 

HOW DID THE VIRUS ARRIVE STATESIDE? 

 A House committee has approved a measure that would
privatize the state's economic development agency and turn the Abraham Lincoln
Library and Museum into a stand-alone institution.
 
 The House executive committee on Wednesday unanimously passed legislation
merging two ideas from House Speaker Michael Madigan and Gov. Bruce Rauner.
 
 Madigan has pushed for the Lincoln Library to be a stand-alone agency instead
of under the Historic Preservation Agency, which would be eliminated under the

seiunv.org

 The son of former White House cabinet member and longtime Congressman Ray LaHood remains the overwhelming favorite as the field takes shape for the race to replace ex-U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock.  

Monday is the final day to file nominating papers for the July 7 primary. Donald Rients of Benson and Mike Flynn of Quincy have filed paperwork to challenge Darin LaHood in the Republican primary. Adam Lopez of Springfield and Rob Mellon of Quincy have filed to run as Democrats.  

While the headline sounds like its from the 1980's, AP Business Writer Marcy Gordon wrote about a new report from a group led by Paul Volcker.

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker is calling for a reshaping of the U.S. financial oversight regime, which he says is splintered and ineffective.

Verizon is giving its customers have more control over the channels they pay for as the cacophony of cord cutting reshapes cable TV.

Verizon's FiOS Custom TV, available Sunday, gives customers the option to buy a $55 base package with more than 35 channels plus two additional themed channel packs.

There's currently seven channel packs to choose from, including genres such as sports, children and lifestyle. Customers can add more channel packs _ which include about 10-17 channels on average _ for $10 each. They may also swap out channel packs after 30 days.

Stephenson County Animal Control officials say a northern Illinois woman charged with animal cruelty has turned 84 dogs over to officials.  

 Animal Control Warden Kristen Laue said 45-year-old Tina McKinnon of Freeport turned the dogs over Wednesday.  
 

According to the Journal Standard in Freeport,  McKinnon was charged with felony aggravated cruelty to animals after the animals were found in her home March 16.  
 

Credit flickr/eggrole

Illinois residents have petitioned the state to add more than 20 medical conditions to the medical marijuana program, including anxiety, migraines, insomnia and post-traumatic stress disorder.  

The Associated Press obtained the petitions through a Freedom of Information Act request. Names of petitioners were blacked out to protect patients' privacy. Individuals identifying themselves as veterans of Vietnam and Iraq asked that PTSD be included, adding emotional pleas for help.  

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS

 Gov. Bruce Rauner has issued his first two pardons since becoming governor nearly three months ago.
 
 The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports over the weekend
that the pardons by the Republican went to Neil Hebert and Michael Sullivan.
Rauner rejected 57 other clemency petitions.
 
 The 43-year-old Hebert was convicted of theft in Champaign County when he was
20. He served two years of probation. The News-Gazette says Sullivan was
convicted of burglary in Cook County in 1979.
 

(Information in the following story is from: Chicago Sun-Times, http://chicago.suntimes.com/)  

A new TV show is set to focus on the grandchildren of a couple who lost six kids in a 1994 van crash linked to the investigation and conviction of former Illinois Gov. George Ryan.  

The Chicago Sun-Times reports the show about the Tennessee-based Willis family will premiere May 5 on TLC.  

Sandi and Jesse Jackson Jr. at the 2008 Democratic Convention in Denver
WUIS/Illinois Issues

A friend and former House colleague of Jesse Jackson Jr. says Jackson is being released from a federal prison Thursday and into a halfway house.  

Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy told The Associated Press he recently spoke with Jackson at the minimum security federal prison camp in Montgomery, Alabama.

The son of the civil rights leader has been serving a 2 1/2-year sentence after pleading guilty to illegally spending $750,000 in campaign funds on personal items.  

Unemployment continued to fall in Illinois in February, hitting 6 percent for the first time since 2008.  

The Illinois Department of Employment Security said Tuesday that the jobless rate fell to that level from a January rate of 6.1 percent. The national unemployment rate was 5.5 percent in February.

Unemployment has now fallen in Illinois for 11 of the past 12 months. In February 2014, the jobless rate was 7.9 percent.  

Lawmakers are scheduled to consider a new plan introduced by House Speaker Michael Madigan to end weeks of negotiations over plugging a $1.6 billion hole in this year's state budget.

WUIS/Brian Mackey

Illinois' Democratic attorney general has delivered a blow to Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's efforts to weaken labor unions.
 
 Lisa Madigan on Friday issued formal opinions saying two of Rauner's proposals would be illegal.
 
 One would allow local governments to create so-called ``right to work zones''
where union membership would be voluntary. The other would let local governments opt out of prevailing wage agreements, which require workers on government
projects to receive wages that reflect local compensation for similar jobs.
 

A person familiar with the case tells The Associated Press
that the Justice Department is formally investigating whether Rep. Aaron Schock
of Illinois, who has submitted his resignation, committed crimes with his office
expenditures and business dealings.
 
 The government is convening a federal grand jury in Springfield, Illinois, this
source says, and the FBI has started issuing subpoenas to compel people close to
the Republican congressman to testify. The source spoke only on grounds of

wuis

Gov. Bruce Rauner's office has instructed state agencies to begin diverting ``fair share'' fees from nonunion members' paychecks away from unions.  

A memo obtained by The Associated Press directs departments to create two sets of books to do it.  

The Republican governor signed an order last month ending the practice of collecting union fees from non-union members. He labeled it a First Amendment violation and asked a federal court to overturn the state requirement.  

Unions collect the fees to defray the cost of work that also benefits nonmembers.  

Darin LaHood
Illinois General Assembly

Illinois state Sen. Darin LaHood has announced his candidacy for U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock's soon-to-be-vacant congressional seat.

The Republican from Dunlap made the announcement Wednesday on WMBD radio in Peoria.

LaHood says he has received "a lot encouragement" to run and that he'll campaign on his state Senate record, which includes being a strong advocate for ethics reform.

LaHood has served in the Senate since 2011. His father is former U.S. Transportation Secretary and Congressman Ray LaHood, who preceded Schock in Congress.

Amanda Vinicky

Republican Rep. Aaron Schock of Illinois says he's resigning his House seat amid questions about his spending.

In a statement on Tuesday, Schock said he would step down effective March 31.

Schock, a four-term lawmaker, said he was taking the step with a "heavy heart." He said that questions about irregularities in his campaign finance and congressional spending accounts over the past six weeks have proven to be a "great distraction" and have made it too difficult for him to serve.

flickr/JennDurfey

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has added an extra layer of regulatory protection for a central Illinois aquifer by declaring it a primary source of drinking water.  

The EPA on Wednesday said the Mahomet aquifer is primary water source for more than 750,000 people in central Illinois. That guarantees extra scrutiny of any project there that includes federal finances.  

 An Illinois lawmaker has announced he will receive treatment for recently diagnosed esophageal cancer.  

State Rep. Frank Mautino of Spring Valley says his doctor found a mass in his esophagus during a routine physical in late January. The 52-year-old Democratic lawmaker says he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer after a biopsy was conducted in February.  

Mautino told The (Ottawa) Daily Times  during a phone interview on Monday that doctors have told him the cancer is 97 percent treatable.  

Il Dept. of Corrections

A suburban Chicago man who spent 20 years in prison for abduction and rape has been exonerated after DNA evidence indicated he was wrongfully convicted.  

Despite the decision Monday by Lake County prosecutors to drop the case against 41-year-old Angel Gonzalez of Waukegan, the man was not allowed to walk away from Dixon Correctional Center.  

Gonzalez attended the hearing in Lake County Court. But he was sent back to Dixon, where he still faces a three-year term for a late 1990's conviction of damaging state property at another prison. 

nissanusa.com

 Nissan is recalling 625,000 more cars in the U.S. as part of a growing problem with faulty latches that can allow hoods to fly open while cars are moving.
 

WUIS Education Desk logo
Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

 Illinois' longtime House speaker is forming a bipartisan task force to examine a way to fix the state's  school funding formula.  

Michael J. Madigan's office announced Thursday the panel would include lawmakers from various regions of the state. It's scheduled to meet for the first time next Wednesday in Springfield.  

The last major school funding formula overhaul took place in 1997. While there's wide agreement the current formula doesn't effectively distribute state dollars to students across the state, how it should be changed remains under debate.  

A South Bend museum is lending a carriage once belonging to President Abraham Lincoln to a museum in Washington, D.C.  

The Lincoln carriage is being moved Thursday from the Studebaker National Museum to the National Museum of American History. The South Bend Tribune (http://bit.ly/1Gn7fJ2 ) reports it will be on display at the Smithsonian museum this spring in an exhibition commemorating the 150th anniversary of the president's assassination.  

The carriage carried Lincoln and his wife to Ford's Theatre, where he was shot on April 14, 1865.  

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