Illinois Information Service

New teachers would be guaranteed a starting salary of at least 40 thousand dollars under legislation pending in the Illinois Senate.

Senator Andy Manar is sponsoring the bill and says some teachers are living in poverty and that it's time they get paid what they deserve.

The Illinois legislature is back in town this week and Governor Bruce Rauner is outlining a to do list for lawmakers.

Items on the governor's agenda include passing term limits, pension reform and most importantly...a solid spending plan for the new fiscal year.

The Illinois Department of Public Health is confirming a second death linked to synthetic cannabinoids.

So far, there have been 56 cases of severe bleeding found in synthetic cannabinoid users...and two have died.

Identity theft leads the latest top 10 list of consumer complaints from Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office.

Madigan says data breaches like the one at Equifax pushed ID theft to the number one complaint received last year.

The U.S. Postal Service has designed a stamp to commemorate Illinois' bicentennial.

The forever stamp celebrates the 200th birthday of the state on December 3rd.

Governor Bruce Rauner will outline his budget proposal for the new fiscal year in his annual address Wednesday.

Passing a budget certainly hasn't been easy the past few years...and the state continues to face many fiscal challenges.

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Hello MD

A Chicago area lawmaker plans to introduce a measure aimed at tackling the opioid crisis by providing medical alternatives to prescription painkillers.

Senator Don Harmon of Oak Park sponsors the bill. It lets those prescribed opioids for pain relief get a temporary card to use medical marijuana instead.

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USGS

Wednesday is the 206th anniversary of a major earthquake in the New Madrid Seismic Zone.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency is encouraging people to prepare for earthquakes.

The Illinois Community College Board and some lawmakers have outlined strategies to try to respond to a future of work that will demand advanced skills and training.

A new plan in Illinois aims to end youth tackle football programs… and it bears the name of Dave Duerson, a 1985 Chicago Bear who killed himself. 

The proposed law bans tackle football for children under 12 throughout the state… with the goal of preventing CTE, a degenerative disease of the brain caused by repetitive brain trauma.

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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.

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Serve Illinois

The state's "Serve Illinois" program is highlighting volunteer opportunities in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Illinois lawmakers are holding a hearing on the Legionnaires disease outbreak at the Quincy Veteran's Home.

Legislators are questioning state officials about the how, what and when of the deadly outbreak that has killed 13 people since 2015. They're also looking at solutions to prevent more deaths such as replacing all the pipes in the home since the bacteria can be found in plumbing.

Influenza is hitting Illinois a little harder this flu season.

More cases of the flu are being  confirmed now than at the same time last year.

Illinois lawmakers heard testimony Tuesday on the economic benefits of legalizing recreational marijuana.

Supporters says legalizing pot would raise hundreds of millions of dollars in much needed tax revenue for the state.

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Secretary of State

Secretary of State Police will target holiday shoppers abusing disability parking at malls statewide, including University Mall in Carbondale.

The enforcement will start on Black Friday since it marks the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season and is one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

The Illinois Senate is voting to extend the statute of limitations for misconduct claims in the legislature.

The Illinois House approved a measure Thursday that prohibits fees for freezing your credit.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says the state's proposal for Amazon's second headquarters is strong.

States still have a few days to submit their bids so Governor Rauner says he doesn't want to give too much away about Illinois and Chicago's proposal. He says this will be a lengthy process.

A drug used to combat opioid overdoses will be more readily available in Illinois.

The Illinois Department of Public Health is releasing a standing order for naloxone...commonly known as narcan.

The massive Equifax data breach is prompting new legislation in the Illinois House.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan says freezing your credit report is the best way to safeguard your information...but for most people, that costs 10 dollars for each reporting agency.

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.

Governor Bruce Rauner signs a bill to protect taxpayers from police pension fund abuse.

The legislation addresses a loophole in current law, that lets retired police officers who return to duty collect two pensions from the same pension fund.

The Du Quoin State Fair kicks off Friday in southern Illinois.

Spokesperson Morgan Booth says this year's fair features free entertainment, harness racing, livestock shows, food, carnival rides and a great grandstand concert lineup.

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.

Governor Bruce Rauner is threatening a special session if lawmakers don't send him the education funding reform bill they passed.

The measure is sitting in the Senate and Governor Rauner says lawmakers have until noon on Monday to advance it.

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.

The Illinois State Comptroller is voicing an optimistic, yet cautious message now that the two-year-old state budget impasse is over.

Susana Mendoza says the bond rating agencies can rest assured the state can continue honoring its commitments to bond-holders and the pension funds.

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Amanda Vinicky

The Illinois Capitol Building was on lockdown for about two hours Thursday afternoon as authorities investigated a "hazmat situation."

Capitol Police Sgt. Mike Moore says authorities were called because of the presence of an unknown substance.

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