Associated Press

The Illinois Department of Human Services has hired a Boston-based company to run an opioid help hotline despite receiving proposals from at least three Illinois providers.

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Chicago Tribune

After fumbling the answer to a question about whether a former Ku Klux Klan leader is a racist, the campaign of Republican Bruce Rauner clarified the governor's opinion of David Duke.

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The Pantagraph

Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed legislation to change the climate for women in Illinois prisons.

The measure Rauner signed Tuesday at Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln creates a women's division in the Illinois Department of Corrections with tailored programs and services.

Illinois Medicaid officials say they're reviewing new federal guidelines that would let states require ``able-bodied'' Medicaid recipients to work.

The attorney for a man accused in the 2014 death of a Southern Illinois University student from suburban Chicago says he will file a motion for a change of venue.

The Southern Illinoisan reports Attorney Michael Wepsiec on Friday told Jackson County Circuit Judge Mark Clarke that social media discussions are part of his basis for moving the trial of Gaege Bethune.

A Missouri panel is recommending increasing the state's 17-cent fuel tax by 10 cents for gas and 12 cents for diesel to pay for road and bridge work.

The Illinois Community College Board is planning to roll out several alternative ways people can earn their high school equivalency certificate other than passing a test.

The State Journal-Register reports that the board plans to offer the other methods by the fall of 2018 and get more people into the workforce pipeline.

A report finds that incidents of alleged abuse and neglect of residents under the care of the Illinois Department of Human Services have increased by half since 2010 and the time it takes to completely investigate them has grown.

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SWIC

Southwestern Illinois College President Georgia Costello is planning to retire next year after a decade of leading the school.

Illinois is no longer the nation's fifth-largest state.

U.S. Census Bureau estimates released Wednesday show Illinois' population fell by 33,703 people between July 1, 2016 and July 1 of this year. The state now trails Pennsylvania in population by about 3,500 people, making Illinois the sixth-most-populous state in the U.S.

Illinois taxpayers will be paying an in-between rate on 2017 income as a result of the state's tax increase.

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Southern Illinoisan

Two former officials with the Alexander County Housing Authority face a civil fraud complaint accusing them of using public housing money for personal use.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced the complaint Tuesday against former housing authority executive directors James Wilson and Martha Franklin.

The labor union representing Illinois prison guards says assaults on staff are way up - and state officials aren't doing enough about it.

Roberta Lynch is the head of AFSCME. She says too often, the Department of Corrections only increases staff or repairs equipment AFTER correctional officers are assaulted.

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MLB

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill is asking the Department of Homeland Security to give ``full consideration'' to an effort by the St. Louis Cardinals to enhance security and anti-terrorism measures at Busch Stadium.

A report from an Illinois agency says residents who buy insurance on the state's health care exchange could see rate increases for the lowest-priced plans by 2018.

People
WDTV

A small plane from southern Illinois that went missing has been located in a mountainous area in West Virginia.

Bridgeport police Chief John Walker told The Exponent Telegram another plane was able to spot the missing aircraft.

Illinois' scores for the ACT college entrance exam have increased statewide for 2017 as the number of students taking the test has dropped.

Students posted a 21.4 score across all four subjects on the exam. The statewide score is the highest in the last five years.

The Illinois Senate is advancing the education funding reform compromise.

The bill restructures how money is paid out to districts, aiming for a more equitable system.

The Illinois House approved a new school funding plan Monday that will increase state money for all districts and provide $75 million in tax credits for people who donated to private school scholarships.

Illinois' legislative leaders say they've reached a tentative agreement in the state's school funding fight, but details are still being worked out.

School superintendents from southern Illinois are pushing lawmakers to reach an agreement on overhauling the state's school funding formula.

Some spoke in Springfield Wednesday.

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NASA

The Illinois State Police is urging motorists to be prepared for Monday's eclipse.

For starters... Trooper Joey Watson says you need to plan on a lot of traffic in southern Illinois...especially on Interstate 57, Highway 51 and Route 13.

The sponsor of a plan overhauling how Illinois funds schools says Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed changes are an ``all-out assault'' on public education that would mean less state spending on schools over time.

The Democrat-controlled Legislature appears headed to another showdown with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner after sending him the school funding reform bill Monday afternoon.

A major credit rating agency says Illinois' rating won't be lowered to ``junk'' but warns the state still faces serious financial challenges and long-term risks.

Moody's Investors Service on Thursday affirmed Illinois' current rating with a negative outlook, saying a downgrade remains possible in the next two years.

A major bond-rating agency says Illinois' fiscal challenges linger despite approval of the first state budget in two years.

Moody's Investors Service issued a report Friday. It notes that an income tax increase approved this month will generate nearly $5 billion more a year.

Illinois has tapped nearly $700 million in existing funds to make the first payment to colleges and universities they've received in seven months.

Comptroller Susana Mendoza announced the payment Thursday.

The Illinois State Board of Elections says it won't provide information about registered voters to President Donald Trump's voting commission.

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U.S. Coast Guard

The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating after a tow boat sank in the Mississippi River near Cairo, leading to a rescue of the crew.

Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs is offering some suggestions to help make sure the state avoids junk bond status.

Although Illinois now has a budget, the state's fiscal condition remains on very shaky ground and a rating downgrade could still happen. Treasurer Frerichs says for starters, the governor needs to pay a visit to the bond houses in New York.

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