Illinois Information Service

Several car seat safety checks are being held around southern Illinois this weekend.

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Flickr

New eligibility guidelines for free and reduced school lunches are being released and low-income families are encourage to apply to the program.

Income limits are set each year and Roxanne Ramage with the Illinois State Board of Education says the breakfasts, lunches and after school snacks help make sure students don't go hungry.

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Flickr

In many school districts, students who are unable to pay for lunch can be shamed - or denied lunch.

Senator Steve Stadelman of Rockford says some kids that can't afford a lunch have been made to feel bad by schools requiring them to wear a wristband or handstamp.

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State of Illinois

Governor Bruce Rauner signed agriculture bills over the weekend at the DuQuoin State Fair.

One increases truck haul weights for farmers.

A new Illinois law puts owners of dangerous dogs on alert.

Dogs can already be deemed "dangerous" by authorities...and now owners whose dog has killed another pet and still let them run loose could be punished by the courts.

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State of Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner Friday signed four pieces of legislation related to public safety.

One encourages police officers to seek mental health treatment, without jeopardizing their career.

100 fire departments across the state are splitting more than two million dollars in fire safety grants.

State Fire Marshal Matt Perez says departments will use the money for things like safety equipment, protective clothing and breathing apparatuses. He says these small equipment grants are a huge help.

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consumercare.net

The CDC is investigating a multi-state salmonella outbreak linked to Kellogg's Honey Smack cereal.

73 cases from 31 states have been confirmed so far...including one in Illinois.

Illinois lawmakers have reached an agreement on a new budget hours before the May 31st deadline.

State Senator Heather Steans, a Chicago Democrat, says the package is similar to what Governor Bruce Rauner proposed. She says the final product is a result of compromise.  

A bipartisan group of Illinois legislators has introduced a bill that would reinstate the death penalty for convicted mass murderers and killers of first responders.

Southern Illinois Democratic State Rep. Jerry Costello helped craft the bill. He says the death penalty is the ultimate crime deterrent.

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SIU

A professor at the SIU School of Law says ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment is the right thing for the State of Illinois to do.

Gov. Rauner
Illinois CMS

Gov. Bruce Rauner Monday asked the Illinois General Assembly to reinstate the death penalty for mass murderers and those who kill law enforcement officers.

The proposal is part of a public safety initiative the Governor unveiled in an amendatory veto of House Bill 1468.

A central Illinois lawmaker is working with Attorney General Lisa Madigan to protect student loan borrowers from losing professional licenses as they work to pay off their debt.

The Illinois Senate is voting to give home care workers a raise.

Workers in the state's Community Care Program make about 11 dollars an hour. Senator Mattie Hunter of Chicago is sponsoring the bill bringing them up to nearly 20 dollars an hour starting July first, saying they play a vital role in caring for the elderly.

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.

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