Illinois Information Service

State universities and community colleges would get a boost under a measure approved Thursday by the Illinois Senate.

Several guns bills have been proposed this legislative session in Illinois.

Some of the bills have gained some traction...where others have stalled.

People
Facebook

A group of downstate lawmakers Thursday urged their colleagues to pass a budget that would include equitable funding for public school children.

People
Amanda Vinicky, Illinois Public Radio

Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin - each collects private donations to help run their state fairs. But despite faulty infrastructure that will cost an estimated 180 million dollars to repair ... Illinois does not.

House lawmakers passed a bill Tuesday that would reopen the Hardin County Work Camp.

The camp closed in January as a cost-cutting move.

People
Chicago Tribune

Governor Bruce Rauner and two Illinois lawmakers talked more specifics Tuesday about procurement reform legislation mentioned by the governor last week in his State of the State address.

Illinois will stop giving the ACT college entrance exam and instead start giving high school juniors the rival SAT.

The Illinois Department of Public Health is awarding more than $1 million in Carolyn Adams Ticket for the Cure lottery grants to 37 not-for-profit organizations across Illinois.

There are just a few days left to sign up through the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace if you want coverage to begin January first.

The Illinois Public Health Association and the Illinois Association of Public Health Administrators are calling on lawmakers for help.

State counselors are available to help seniors navigate the current Medicare enrollment period.

The Illinois State Board of Education has developed a toolkit to help educators understand and explain what to expect from the upcoming results for the PARCC exam.

Preliminary scores from the PARCC student assessment test have been released...and more detailed numbers will follow.

The Secretary of State's office says the budget deadlock in Springfield is taking its toll on the office.

With no budget in place...bills to vendors like utility companies aren't getting paid.

The Illinois State Board of Education is releasing preliminary results from the new "PARCC" test, which was developed to assess how much students are learning.

The PARCC test replaces the I-SAT's for grade schoolers and the Prairie State Achievement Exam for 11th graders.

A comprehensive package to fight the growing problem of heroin abuse is set to become law in Illinois.

The House and the Senate have now both overridden the governor's partial veto of the bill...requiring Medicaid coverage of heroin treatment and addiction services.

Comptroller Leslie Munger says Illinois' unpaid bills backlog could potentially jump past $8 billion by next year without a state budget.

Munger reiterated the consequences of having no spending plan to legislators and Gov. Bruce Rauner Wednesday. Both sides remain at impasse for the fiscal year that started back on July 1.

New federal rules designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants have coal advocates speaking out.

A bi-partisan group of lawmakers Wednesday talked about the need for Illinois to have time to digest the 2,000-page Clean Power Plan.

Human service providers from throughout Illinois spoke to the media Tuesday in Springfield about the impact of the state budget stalemate.

Seatbelt usage in Illinois has hit an all-time high.

A little more than 95 percent of Illinois drivers and front seat passengers are wearing their safety belt...up from 94 percent last year.

Illinois' Attorney General is asking a judge to clarify what the state can and can't pay for, when there's no budget in place.

Lisa Madigan says state law and the constitution place severe constraints that limit the government's ability to pay its bills.

Investment fraud costs Illinois residents millions of dollars each year.

Secretary of State Jesse White announced the kick-off of a new public awareness campaign aimed at encouraging people to investigate before they invest.

Secretary of State spokesperson Dave Druker says they want to remind people that they should "investigate before they invest" and make sure their advisor or broker is legit.

He says victims of investment scams are oftentimes seniors.

Before investing, visit www.AvoidTheScam.net.

 

May was warm and wet in Illinois.

State climatologist Jim Angel says statewide average rainfall was five point six inches last month...which is about an inch above normal. He says a few areas like Red Bud received more than nine inches of rain in May.

He says the driest area was in southeastern Illinois...mainly along the Indiana border from around Champaign to Carmi.

May was warmer than normal...by more than two degrees.

(Nancy Stone, Chicago Tribune)

Illinois' attorney general has filed lawsuits against five companies and is accusing them of scamming people who need to repay student loan debt.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed the lawsuits Monday. She says the scammers charge borrowers costly upfront fees with the false promise that their debt will be forgiven or decreased.

Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka's office is launching a new app to provide easier access to state payment and fund information.

Brad Palmer, WSIU Radio

Governor Pat Quinn is announcing more than $11.5 million in disaster relief for communities hit hard by last November's tornadoes.

AP

The State Department of Public Health says an Illinois man infected with "MERS" is no longer contagious.

Director Dr. Lamar Hasbrouck says the man likely contracted the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) from the original case that popped up in the U.S. earlier this month...but has now tested negative for his ability to spread the virus. The man did not require medical care.

Hasbrouck says they are still determining just how contagious MERS is. But, he saysi t seems to be spread by close contact with an infected person.

Associated Press

Gov. Pat Quinn has gone to one of Illinois' most popular entertainment districts to press his message that guns and alcohol are a ``toxic mix.''

Quinn spoke Friday outside Wrigley Field, standing with the many bars and restaurants of Chicago's Wrigleyville neighborhood as a backdrop.

Quinn says letting people carry guns into bars and restaurants is ``a prescription for violence and disaster.'' He says it'll also further hurt Illinois' image around the world...not to mention the state's sizable tourism industry.

 

July is Elder Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month in Illinois.

It's estimated about five percent of seniors in Illinois suffer abuse each year...and most cases go unreported.

State Department on Aging spokesperson Kimberly Parker says a 24-hour hotline takes calls about possible abuse...with nearly 12 thousand coming in last year alone.

This month's awareness campaign coincides with the Department on Aging extending its adult protective services to people with disabilities ages 18 to 59 who live in a domestic setting.

Visitors now have even more time to enjoy their favorite Illinois historic sites.

State historic preservation agency spokesperson Chris Wills says six sites have extended their hours and are now open seven days a week.
 
In addition...Wills says two sites are now open for the season...one of which is the Pierre Menard Home in Randolph County.

For more information on all the historic sites across the state...visit the website: www.illinoishistory.gov.
 

noaa.gov

It's been a pretty quiet start to 2013 when it comes to severe weather in Illinois.

So far in 2013 only two tornadoes have been reported in Illinois. That's a far cry from the 22 already on the books at this time last year.  That includes the deadly February tornado in Harrisburg that killed eight people.  But state climatologist Jim Angel says that could easily change as the temperatures begin to warm up.   Angel says there have also only been 25 reports of hail and 62 reports of wind damage so far in Illinois this year. 

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