Illinois Information Service

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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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.

Illinois' two-year budget impasse is over.

The Illinois House Thursday afternoon overrode Governor Bruce Rauner's veto ... giving final approval to a spending plan and tax increase. From the Statehouse, Brian Mackey reports.

Illinois House lawmakers intend to attempt an override of a budget-package veto in that chamber Thursday.

Deputy majority leader Representative Lou Lang says Democrats will attempt to reverse Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto of the $36 billion spending plan when enough members show up to vote.

House lawmakers are taking a big step towards ending the budget impasse.

The House voted 90 to 25 for an amendment containing a full year budget. Speaker Mike Madigan says it's a good sign...but notes there are still details to hammer out and a vote on the actual bill must still be taken.

The Illinois House has approved a plan to keep emergency 911 call centers funded past June 30.

But the measure includes fee hikes opposed by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Senate President John Cullerton says his chamber has previously accomplished everything Gov. Bruce Rauner has outlined on a special session agenda called to force a budget deal.

Illinois state Republicans are introducing a new package of bills they say is their effort to end the budget impasse.

 

The Republicans’ proposal includes some of the same ideas that were sticking points for Democrats, including the length of a property tax freeze and how much to raise income taxes.

Legislation headed to the governor's desk is designed to help protect students who take out loans for college.

The Student Loan Bill of Rights requires lenders to explain repayment options to struggling borrowers and to inform graduates that they may be eligible to have their loan forgiven under certain circumstances.

Lawmakers have approve funding for 9-1-1 centers throughout Illinois.

The funding mechanism for call centers ends June 30...so this new legislation is needed to keep 9-1-1 up and running.

The first signs of West Nile Virus are popping up in Illinois.

The virus has been confirmed in a batch of mosquitoes in Godfrey in Madison County.

Illinois Senate Republicans officially opened their third annual Memorial Day Wall of Remembrance display in the state Capitol Rotunda Tuesday.

With the Illinois legislative session scheduled to end on Wednesday, lawmakers were busy trying to deal with some measures still needing action.

The Illinois Senate has approved a $5 billion income tax increase to fund what Democrats say would be a balanced, $37.3 billion budget.

A Democratic majority pushed the measures through despite opposition from Republicans.

New legislation aims to keep more students at Illinois colleges and universities.

Democratic Representative Lou Lang says high school grads are leaving Illinois in droves for out of state schools...with up to 35 percent never returning. He says his three-pronged bill could help slow that trend.

The Illinois Senate has scheduled a do-over for some pieces of legislation that are part of the so-called grand bargain budget compromise.

Democrats who control the Senate on Tuesday used a procedure to move bills that have already been approved by the Senate back into position for votes again.

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Governor Bruce Rauner is activating the state's Emergency Operations Center to help flooded communities.

The center helps coordinate emergency and relief efforts to rain soaked areas. The governor says a big focus now is on river flooding that will increase throughout the week.

House republicans says the governor's office is rescinding the layoff of 124 Illinois Department of Corrections nurses.

The plan was to replace the nurses with private contractors...but Representative Tim Butler of Springfield says they will not lose their jobs after all. He says he hopes both sides can return to the bargaining table very soon.

House Democrats are working on a proposal to fund fiscally starving social services and higher education.

The more than 750 million dollar plan uses money sitting in unused special state funds, directing dollars towards state colleges and universities as well as MAP grants.

Seventeen school superintendents sued the state of Illinois Wednesday.  They're asking Governor Bruce Rauner and the state board of education to come up with a funding formula that would help schools meet the state's learning standards.

The University of Illinois is proposing a financial aid package designed to keep students at Illinois schools.

The U of I's "Invest in Illinoisans" plan would provide 170 million dollars a year in aid to undergrads and hopefully stem the tide of kids heading to other states.

An Illinois House committee has cleared a proposal that would require public universities to admit first-time freshman applicants who finish with a GPA in the top 10 percent of their high school's graduating class.

The News-Gazette reports the House Higher Education Committee passed the bill Wednesday despite opposition from the University of Illinois and the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

Governor Bruce Rauner has consistently praised the Senate leadership in its bi-partisan approach to create a spending plan called the Grand Bargain.

During his budget address Wednesday, Rauner repeated his call for term limits, worker's compensation and pension reform and reining in state employee health insurance costs.

New legislation aims to give the public a stronger voice in Illinois elections.

The measure, sponsored by Senator Dan Biss of Evanston, creates a small donor match program for constitutional officers and legislative elections. He says that way, everyday people, not just the wealthy can make an impact in political races.

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Lawmakers in the Illinois House want you to be ready for anything... and are declaring October "Zombie Preparedness Month" in Illinois.

Representative Chris Welch of Westchester is leading the charge against the undead, hoping it spurs families into action.

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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commision says it has resolved two lawsuits against a group of affiliated coal mining companies accused of hiring practices that effectively excluded women from working in the underground mines and in other coal production positions.

Two lawsuits alleged that various coal companies didn't hire some applicants for underground and production jobs because of their gender.

The Illinois Policy Institute introduced a budget reform plan that it says balances the state budget and closes Illinois' projected $7.1 billion budget deficit without a tax increase.

Institute CEO John Tillman says raising taxes will not fix Illinois. He says the state must reform the way it spends the taxpayers' money.

The state's new "Life Insurance Policy Locator Service" has already helped families recover more than one point seven million dollars in benefits.

The service makes it easier for Illinoisans to determine if a loved one who has passed away has any life insurance policies they may not know about.

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