state of illinois

At the very southernmost tip of Illinois, the pancake flat cornfields give way to the rolling, forested hills of the Delta.

Here, at the windy confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, it feels more southern than Midwest when you arrive at the old river port and factory town of Cairo, once made famous in Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

But Twain might not recognize Cairo today.

A new poll by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute shows almost ¾ of Illinoisans surveyed say they would supported the decriminalization of marijuana.

The poll found 74% of the people support or strongly support the decriminalization of pot where people in possession of small amounts for personal consumption would not be prosecuted, but could be fined.

The Grand Bargain is a package of interlocking legislation designed to break the budget impasse. How important is school funding to that deal? Important enough that leaders titled it Senate Bill One. Under the plan filed by Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), the state would freeze funding at current levels. Any additional dollars would be distributed based on each district’s demographics and unique needs, channeling the bulk of the money toward low-income districts.

A Cook County judge says the state can't withhold payment from Illinois lawmakers in the absence of a budget.

The Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday decided not to answer a question about whether non-profit hospitals must pay property taxes. The case began with Carle Hospital in Urbana, but has implications across Illinois.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner recently announced that he wants to replace guards in prison watchtowers with security cameras, in an effort to cut down on overtime costs for the cash-strapped state.  In this report WSIU radio spoke with  Eddie Caumiant is a Regional Director with AFSCME Council 31, the Union which represents prison guards.

Prisons
Illinois Department of Corrections

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner wants to replace guards in prison watchtowers with security cameras. It's an effort to cut down on overtime costs for the cash-strapped state.

Ten Republican senators voted for at least one bill in the grand bargain. We asked all of them about Gov. Bruce Rauner's role in stopping them from going further.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration says it plans to lay off state prison nurses to "streamline" medical services and coordinate them with the current health care vendor.

Two state workers who joined Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's lawsuit arguing labor unions shouldn't be allowed to collect fees from non-members say they're appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The airing of grievances over the ongoing state budget impasse continued Monday between Governor Bruce Rauner and Comptroller Susana Mendoza.

State Senator Dale Fowler says he's lending his voice to the call for more help at the troubled Alexander County Housing Authority.

Democratic state Sen. Daniel Biss says he's running for Illinois governor in 2018.

As Illinois remains mired in gridlock and nearing two years without a full budget, voters are pinning the blame on state leaders.

People
State Journal Register

Gov. Bruce Rauner has taken his confrontation with the state's largest public-employee union to the Supreme Court. 

Illinois legislators are considering making it easier for transgender people to change the gender designation on their birth certificates.

The new Republican health care legislation in Congress could cost Illinois $40 billion dollars in federal funding over the next decade. That’s according to the recent report by the Congressional Budget Office.

Democratic state senators Wednesday rejected a push by Republicans to give Governor Bruce Rauner extraordinary budget powers.

It would've let Rauner cut spending across government -with few areas of government off limits ... such as elementary education and debt payments.  At a hearing, Democratic Senator Don Harmon pushed Rauner's budget director, Scott Harry, to say just what the governor planned to cut.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has jumped another hurdle in his push to reduce the cost of home health-care. But, some people affected by the change are warning of dire consequences.

K-L Cleeton runs a video production company from his parents’ home in Effingham. His parents work for him, but not to grab coffee at his film shoots.

People
Chicago Sun-Times

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's office has filed paperwork to ensure a new deputy governor isn't paid from an insurance fund that is $4 billion behind on medical payments.

Gov. Bruce Rauner's office arranged to pay half of the salary for the political ally he hired last month from an employee health care account that is $4 billion behind on paying bills.

Republican Leslie Munger is one of Rauner's deputy governors. Documents reviewed by The Associated Press show that half her $138,000 salary is set to come from health insurance premiums paid by state employees.

Governor Bruce Rauner is accusing three of Illinois’ top Democrats of “coordinating” to shut down state government. All three deny the charge.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan is taking her case over state employee pay to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Madigan is asking the justices to review a lower court order that’s kept state workers getting paid during the 20-month budget stalemate.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, citing the actions of former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, is pushing for the elimination of statutes of limitations on child abuse and assault crimes.

Illinois Senate Democrats are asking state agency heads to answer for Governor Bruce Rauner's decision to pull votes off the "grand bargain."

The governor's own budget proposal depends on the grand bargain - otherwise it's short by $4.6 billion dollars.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration has filed a lawsuit over the way Illinois' comptroller is handling employee pay.

The lawsuit filed Monday in St. Clair County Circuit Court says Democratic Comptroller Suzanna Mendoza is violating a 2015 court order.

A court order revealed late last week makes it much less likely state employees will go on strike anytime soon.

An Illinois appellate court has temporarily barred Governor Bruce Rauner from imposing his contract terms on the state's largest public-employee union. The 4th District Appellate Court sided with AFSCME ... issuing an order prohibiting immediate action by the Republican governor.

The Illinois Senate has adjourned without pushing its stalled budget compromise further, but a Senate Democrat filed legislation Thursday spelling out services that could be subject to the state sales tax to battle a budget deficit.

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Benjy Jeffords, WSIU

Governor Bruce Rauner toured some of the storm-ravaged areas in southern Illinois Thursday.

During his stop in Elkville in Jackson County, the governor said the state will provide all the assistance it can to help tornado victims deal with the disaster.

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