Illinois Public Radio

It's up to an arbitrator to decide if Governor Pat Quinn was right to cancel pay raises for 20-thousand state workers or whether Illinois could have afforded it.

Law enforcement officials in Missouri and Illinois are adding another piece of advice to the list for holiday travel this week – be prepared.

State Farm

There are plenty of questions and hardly any answers about the Affordable Care Act now that the Supreme Court has upheld the law.

Missouri Department of Transportation

Crews building the new bridge across the Mississippi River north of downtown St. Louis have hit an important project milestone.

Forty thousand state workers in Illinois will stay on the job under their current contract.

US Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court could decide the fate of President Obama's health care law as early as today (Monday).

Justices could strike down the law or a portion of it. But supporters say that won't end the debate.

Democratic Senator Dick Durbin says if it's overturned, he's ready to go back to the drawing board on health care.

"The problems are still out there. The cost of health insurance is going to continue to increase. More and more people will fall out of coverage or have to buy very poor health insurance. And that's going to force us to do something."

It's doubtful Illinois' pension crisis will be resolved soon.

Legislative leaders and the governor met today Thursday to negotiate who should pay retirement costs for downstate and suburban teachers ... the state or school districts.

The state picks up the tab now, but it doesn't pay for Chicago teachers' retirement benefits.

Top lawmakers say they're going to spend five weeks studying school funding equality. THEN they'll work on what to do about Illinois' hugely underfunded government pensions.

The General Assembly's proposed budget included enough money to convert the "super-max" prison at Tamms into a medium security facility. But Governor Pat Quinn isn't pursuing that option. And longtime critics of Tamms say he's making the right decision.

Legislators from deep Southern Illinois ... where Tamms Correctional Center is located ... say closing the prison will damage the already-weak local economy.

That's why, despite making steep cuts in other areas of government, they found enough money to keep Tamms open and convert it into a medium-security prison.

For the first time in its history, the Illinois State Board of Education has taken over a public school district.
The board voted unanimously Thursday to dissolve the seven-member elected board of the East St. Louis Public Schools and replace it with an appointed oversight authority.

Governor Pat Quinn's office announced early this morning that he has signed a measure that will require retired state and public university employees to kick in more money for their health insurance.

That will officially do away with the current method of allowing those who retire with at least 20 years of service to get free health coverage. Those who retire with less time worked get a portion of insurance costs paid for.

Restoring the Birds Point-New Madrid Levee to its original height may take a little more time.
A bid protest halted construction at the Southeast Missouri levee.

A&M Engineering and Environmental Services from Tulsa, Oklahoma protested the type of contract the Army Corps of Engineers awarded to rebuild the levee. A&M also challenged the government's evaluation of their proposal.

Army Corps of Engineers officials will review the bid process to determine the merits of the protest.

Illinois will hire a state actuary to report on pension systems.

Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation today (Mon) requiring an actuary who will monitor the state's five pension systems. It's effective immediately.

The actuary will report to the auditor general.

State Representative Barbara Flynn Currie says it's like having a second set of eyes to look over figures already provided by the systems.

Lawmakers failed to pass bigger reforms that address closing an $83 billion funding gap. But top leaders are trying to work out a compromise.

State Lawmakers are relying on local tax dollars to fund Regional superintendents in the coming year.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a two-point-seven-billion-dollar Medicaid reform package into law.

The Illinois legislature has sent a measure to the Governor targeting companies that fraudulently add charges to phone bills. It's a scam called "cramming."

Researchers have completed the most comprehensive census to date of the trillions of microbes living in and on the human body.

A judge says electronic messages between city officials sent during an open meeting should be public record.

A credit ratings agency is disappointed that the Illinois legislature adjourned without taking action on lowering pension costs.

A legislative committee says there's enough evidence for the Illinois House to punish state Representative Derrick Smith.

WSIU Staff

The budget now before the governor includes funding to keep the Tamms Super Maximum security prison open along with the Illinois youth Center in Murphysboro and the Murray Developmental Center in Centralia.

Creative_Commons: by mhowry on Flickr

Illinois legislators adjourned their spring session early Friday Morning -- 90 minutes past their midnight deadline.

A house committee today is schedule to consider an amendment to a bill that would place a 2-year moratorium on Hydraulic Fracturing in the Illinois.

An Illinois House committee today approved a new Republican plan to control state pension costs.

If you have cable T-V, you're already paying a five percent fee that goes to state government.  Now state lawmakers are looking to impose the same fee on satellite TV providers.

Illinois lawmakers continue to wrestle with the state's soaring pension costs.  The General Assembly is set to adjourn Thursday, yet it remains unclear which, if any, of the various proposals to reduce pension costs will pass.  Unions are fighting efforts that would reduce benefits for state workers, university employees, and public school teachers.   But many lawmakers, including House Speaker Michael Madigan, say an overhaul is necessary.  They point to Illinois' $83 billion unfunded pension liability that continues to grow.  Madigan talks with Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky about

Illinois lawmakers have approved restricting public universities from using state funding or tuition money to cover costs of campus job searches.

Two lawsuits filed Wednesday are part of efforts to legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois.

WSIU Staff

While much of the attention at the state capitol has been on pension and Medicaid reform,  southern Illinois lawmakers have been working to try and keep the state's only super maximum security prison open.

The Illinois House is considering a six-percent cut to state universities in next year's budget. That's nearly double the reduction in the budget plan that passed the Senate last week.

The dollar amount of the cuts would vary depending on the size of the institution:

For the three campuses of the University of Illinois ... in Urbana, Chicago and Springfield ... that amounts to a reduction of more than $42 million dollars.

Southern Illinois University would lose more than 14-point-seven million dollars.

In honor of Memorial Day. the Illinois House of Representatives paid tribute to Illinois military personnel who died in the past year.