Illinois

A new Illinois statute aims to boost flu shot rates among healthcare workers by making it harder for employees to decline the vaccine.

Lawmakers say this is important in light of last year’s flu season that killed more people than car crashes and drug overdoses. But some on the frontlines of public health worry that a law that’s not enforced will have little effect.


States like Hawaii, South Dakota and Alaska have replaced Columbus Day with the designation of ‘Indigenous Peoples’ Day.' It's a trend that goes back decades, and in 2017 a law was signed that brought Illinois up to speed with that trend. Sort of.

Illinois recipients of Temporary Aid for Needy Families - also known as TANF - will see an increase in the amount of their monthly grants in October. A $22 million boost was negotiated in the budget this year. Advocates for the poor say the difference may mean more families will be off the streets.

Ask The Newsroom: The State Of State Parks

Sep 26, 2018
Ranger standing at trailhead.
Kevin Boucher/WSIU

Recently, we received a question from Mark Porter, who wanted to know more about the state of state parks in Illinois. Mark asked:

 

“What is the governor doing to protect our natural resources in Illinois and what is being done to support the State Parks and county forest preserves?”

 

Election authorities around Illinois expect to be ready when early voting begins this Thursday.

Still, reform groups say rule changes are needed after problems arose during the primary. A ballot challenge in the crowded attorney general race delayed the start of early voting in some counties early this year.

Illinois’ new school funding formula — approved last year — could already be facing revisions. That's because lawmakers had such a tough time agreeing on this new formula, they tried to ensure they'd never have to fight so hard again. So they built in a Professional Review Panel, and empowered the group to recommend recalibrations as needed.


​One idea under consideration: Adding a racial equity component, to address the historic underfunding of predominantly black districts.

Governor Bruce Rauner signed a measure on Tuesday that will allow medical cannabis to be used as an alternative treatment for conditions often treated with opioids, such as cancer, HIV, Alzheimer’s and more.

Cahokia Mounds: A Big City 1,000 Years Ago

Aug 28, 2018
image
WSIU/Kevin Boucher

On this WSIU INFOCUS, we hear from researchers analyzing the soil in and around the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site.

DuQuoin State Fair
IL Dept of Agriculture

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with Jak Tichenor about "DuQuoin State Fair Memories," an event on August 26 that will highlight Illinois' Bicentennial as well as the Perry County institution.

Thousands of Illinois Democrats met Thursday in Springfield for the party’s annual state fair brunch.

Candidates repeated familiar attacks on Republicans. But some say they need to do more.

A couple of years ago, Ronald Reagan’s first boyhood home in Dixon was, as The Washington Post put it, “falling apart.” Today, things are looking much better. But the museum’s director says there’s still more to be done.

Governor Bruce Rauner has vetoed legislation intended to prevent wrongful convictions.

Historian and author Gillum Ferguson discusses his book "Illinois In The War Of 1812."

Updated at 10:50 a.m. ET

In a blow to organized labor, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that government workers who choose not to join a union cannot be charged for the cost of collective bargaining.

The vote was a predictable 5-4. Justice Samuel Alito wrote the majority opinion with the court's conservatives joining him.

What Will It Take To Fix Illinois' Teacher Shortage?

Jun 27, 2018
School
Lee V. Gaines/Illinois Newsroom

Chuck Bleyer is worried the southern Illinois school district he heads won’t be able to fill an open teacher position by the time classes start this fall.

State Lawmaker Points To Progress In Cairo

Jun 12, 2018
image
WSIU/Kevin Boucher

Republican Lawmakers gathered with Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner in Marion Tuesday to highlight the recent budget agreement for Fiscal Year 2019, which starts in July 1st. 

How To Stop Gun Violence? Just Ask

May 18, 2018

Conversations around gun violence often revolve around long-term solutions, like improving schools or the local economy.

But even if those things were easy — and they’re not — it would take a generation to realize the benefits.

And for the Illinoisans living and dying in these communities — mostly low-income, black communities — they don’t have time to wait.

For many families and young adults living in Peoria’s South Side, gun violence is too often a part of life and something they’ve been fighting against — with few resources.

Part of the challenge, according to researchers, is getting the broader community to examine a part of itself and confront the barriers that keep families, predominantly minorities, from moving out of poverty.

Abigail Irby Fights For Family, Community Despite Loss

May 16, 2018

In Peoria, at least 251 people were hurt and 26 killed by gun violence between 2015 and 2017.

Abigail Irby moved her family to the South Side of Peoria because she felt called to make a difference. Twenty years later, she's a survivor of the chronic violence felt across the state and says, “I’m not going anywhere until God says it’s time for me to go.”

Alabama colleges are luring more Illinois high school seniors away from in-state universities partly through financial perks.

The Chicago Tribune reports that more than 1,600 Illinois students enrolled at the University of Alabama last fall, up from about 150 students a decade ago.

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with Paul Simon Public Policy Institute Visiting Professor John Jackson about his expectations for the Illinois Primary.

An Illinois labor union is suing Gov. Bruce Rauner over an Illinois law. The case — filed Thursday afternoon in federal court — expects bad news for labor in the (potential) landmark Janus v. AFSCME case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Northern Illinois Clinic Uses Multi-Faceted Treatment Program To Combat Opioid Epidemic

Feb 23, 2018

As the death toll climbs for opioid-related overdoses in Illinois, state leaders are looking for solutions. Advocates have highlighted a Whiteside County Clinic as a state leader in its outpatient drug rehabilitation program. WNIJ's Jessie Schlacks went to Rock Falls to tour the facility:

Whitney Miller is case manager of the Medication Assisted Treatment program - or MAT - at the Whiteside County Clinic.

A panel of state senators today heard budget requests from agencies representing colleges and universities, and lawmakers took the opportunity to ask why neighboring states are able to lure so many Illinois students away.

 

The answer is pretty simple: Other Big 10 schools offer financial considerations that Illinois' flagship campus can't match.

Schools Are Using Poverty Simulations To Build Empathy, But Do They Work?

Feb 21, 2018

About 100 teachers and school support staff spent the better part of three hours inside a junior high school gymnasium in rural, east central Illinois in early January. They were role playing people living in poverty.

The final reading from the from the University of Illinois' Flash Index supports a description of "slow and steady" for the Illinois economy in 2017.

The December Flash Index measured 104-point-one, down one tenth of a percent from November. Anything over 100 indicates a growing economy.

Humans In Southern Illinois - Long Before Statehood

Jan 3, 2018
Photo Provided by Dr. Mark Wagner Director of Center for Archaeological Investigations at SIU Carbondale.

Centuries   before Europeans arrived in Illinois, Native Americans made the state their home.  One expert illustrates just how long southern Illinois has been inhabited.

January Outlook for Illinois: Cold

Dec 27, 2017
Weather
National Weather Service/State Climatologist

The latest winter weather outlook shows Illinois is in for bitterly cold temperatures.

People
Illinois Public Radio/WILL

You’re going to hear a lot of Christmas songs between now and December 25th. And you may hear one that features a little boy asking Santa to replace his two central incisors, after losing them in a slide down the banister. The vocalist that made that song famous was George Rock, a trumpeter hailing from the central Illinois town of Farmer City.

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