Illinois Public Radio

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn wants to reduce the cost of the state's Medicaid health care system for the poor.

Doctors who agree to treat Medicaid patients will get paid less for doing it under one scenario Quinn is considering.  It deals with something called "the reimbursement rate." For example, a dentist might get about $75 for filling a cavity for someone with private insurance. But for a Medicaid patient, the dentist only receives about $30 from the state. 

Crime victims are fighting for greater standing in the Illinois court system.  

The Illinois House has approved a measure that would constitutionally guarantee it.  Victims of crimes and their family members want to be notified whenever an attacker's prison sentence could be reduced.   They want their safety to be a mandatory consideration when a judge decides bail, or conviction terms.   And they want to speak during those proceedings.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is shrugging off poll numbers that show a majority of residents disapprove of the job he's doing.  

A Chicago Tribune poll found 54% of Illinois residents are unhappy with Governor Quinn.  The Governor, however, says no worries... Quinn says polls come up and down and he's  pretty resilient. Quinn says he thinks the people of Illinois understand you have to have a Governor with the fortitude to take on the difficult challenges that need to be addressed to make Illinois a better state.  

Amanda Vinicky, Illinois Public Radio

Former Polish President Lech Walesa is headed back to his homeland after visiting Illinois this week.

Chicago  mayor Rahm Emanuel is pushing for a statewide handgun registry.

Mayor Emanuel says handgun violence affects all of Illinois - NOT just the city of Chicago. But he admits it could be difficult to get downstate lawmakers on the same page. Emanuel says he didn't go into this because he thought it would be a slam dunk.

Against a backdrop of business leaders gathered at State Farm Insurance in Bloomington, Governor Pat Quinn Thursday detailed his Illinois Pathways Initiative.

State Board of Elections

Thursday was the first day Illinois voters could request an absentee ballot for next month's primary.

Residents can vote in person or by mail after filling out an application. Jim Tenuto works for the State Board of Elections. He says absentee voting is a good option for those who will be out of state on March 20th or have difficulty leaving their homes. He says  the trend seems to be making it easier for people to vote.
 
Early voting starts February 27th.

An Illinois House committee has voted to ban drivers from talking on their cell phones unless they are using a hands free device.

It's going to take a lot to fix Illinois' troubled college savings program. That's the message legislators heard Tuesday while grilling the head of the state agency that oversees College Illinois.

Governor Pat Quinn is not saying a whole lot in response to criticism of his State of the State address.

Asked where he would get the money to support some of the tax breaks he is pushing, such as abolishing the state tax on natural gas and creating a new tax credit for families, Quinn said it would all be laid out in his budget address February 22nd.

Quinn says what he is focused on at the moment is his job creation agenda. He says his number one priority is economic growth and jobs. He says more will be said about the state's financial challenges come the budget address.

Illinois Public Radio

The state's largest public employees union says Governor Pat Quinn is two-faced.

Earlier this week during his state of the state address, Governor Pat Quinn laid out an agenda that includes tax cuts and increased education spending. The state's largest public employees union says that belies Quinn's reasoning for withholding members' pay raises.

The Illinois General Assembly is considering a measure that would bar employers from asking job applicants for their social media passwords.   

Top lawmakers are hopeful there will be a jobs package ready for a vote, when they return for the second half of the veto session.

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) says there is a way to replace revenue that would be lost by offering tax relief to people and businesses.

Meanwhile Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) says it is not just businesses struggling because of the state's tax hike.

Illinois' Auditor General says the state needs to do a better job keeping track of its vehicle fleet.

The legislature ordered an audit of the state fleet in the interest of making sure there's adequate oversight of the vehicles.

The findings show cause for concern because there's not enough monitoring.

Auditor General Bill Holland says the state's tracking and accounting for the use of Illinois' more than 16 thousand vehicles is - in one word - "deficient."

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