Illinois

Illinoisans are likely to have to pay more sales tax when shopping online after state lawmakers made two big changes to tax rules. State tax collections are expected to increase by $288 million this year.

First, marketplaces – think eBay or Etsy – will be required to collect the 6.25 percent state sales tax on behalf of third-parties selling to Illinois customers. Until this legislation, it’s been up to each seller to collect the tax. And, Rob Karr, president of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, said many do not.

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller takes a look back at the Spring 2019 Legislative Session with Illinois Lawmakers Host Jak Tichenor.


Pleasant Plains is a small but prosperous town about 15 minutes northwest of Springfield. Its schools are all rated “commendable,” and their test results outshine state averages in every subject.

And yet, in March, the high school principal, Luke Brooks, asked Illinois lawmakers to stop requiring algebra.

One year after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed states outside of Nevada to set up their own sports betting rules, some experts are offering Illinois lawmakers tips as a final proposal is drafted. 

Illinois lawmakers want to eliminate medical co-pays for prisoners.

Illinois continues to lose residents, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau released in April. Overall, around 45,000 fewer people lived in the state in 2018 than 2017, a loss of about 0.4%.

About half of that decline is in the Chicago metropolitan region, particularly in Cook County, which saw a 0.5% decrease. The recent numbers show growth in the Chicago region has slowed, but long-term trends find that downstate is shrinking at a much faster and sustained pace.

“If we take that longer view, we’re actually seeing population growth centered up around Chicago,” said Cynthia Buckley, a professor of sociology and social demographer at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign.

Illinois lawmakers are moving forward with a measure that aims to keep your digital devices from secretely recording you without consent. The bill is called the KIDS Act, which stands for Keeping Internet Devices Safe.

While Illinois is struggling with a teacher shortage, some potential teachers are finding barriers to getting a license. Our education reporter Dusty Rhodes introduces us to one of those aspiring teachers.

 

Several of Illinois’ Division I athletic directors say they don’t want gamblers to be able to bet on college sports. Lawmakers heard from them and others Thursday in Chicago as talks continue on how to legalize and regulate sports betting. 

 The Illinois State Board of Education this week hosted a conversation on possible solutions to the state’s teacher shortage. We discussed the highlights on Statewide.

An Illinois toddler died nine years ago after suffering third degree burns from bathwater. The Illinois House last week approved legislation to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

The Illinois State Board of Education used their monthly meeting Wednesday to host a conversation on possible solutions to the state’s worsening teacher shortage. The board is looking for ways to maintain high quality standards without discouraging potential teachers from entering the profession.

 

Afterwards, the agency’s chief education officer, Ralph Grimm, said there is no single solution.

 

“Two and a half hours of testimony I think really reinforced to the board how deep and structural the teacher shortage issue really is across the state, that its effects are felt differently in different parts of the state, but all over the state,” he said.

A suburban parents’ group dropped its lawsuit that attempted to ban transgender students from using school restrooms and locker rooms associated with their gender identity, a move that supporters of transgender students say helps affirm the rights of  students across the state.  

SIU
Jennifer Fuller/WSIU

As Illinois lawmakers begin work on a state budget for next year, SIU leaders are hopeful a spirit of greater cooperation and synergy will lead to a boost in funding.

Governor J.B. Pritzker says he wants to work to stabilize higher education - including Southern Illinois University - as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Lawmakers are considering whether to ask Illinoisans to pay more for gasoline — with the money dedicated to fixing crumbling infrastructure.

A new proposal at the Statehouse would double the motor fuel tax — from the current 19 cents up to 38 cents a gallon. It would also up driver’s license and vehicle registrations fees, with the goal of raising $2 billion a year to pay for road, bridge, highway and rail improvements.

Illinois lawmakers have proposed a variety of plans to tackle the state's severe teacher shortage. This week, State Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), bundled three popular concepts into one bill.​

"These are three things that I hear almost in complete unison from teachers across the state, in small rural districts to larger districts, that in different ways impact the profession,” he told the Senate education committee.

Those three things:

Hundreds of anti-abortion protestors filled the Capitol rotunda today following the passage of a measure that would repeal parental notification of abortion.

Meanwhile, a group of Republican lawmakers are speaking out against legislation intended to expand abortion rights throughout Illinois.

State Representative Terri Bryant, a Republican from Murphysboro, also spoke out against another proposal being considered that would completely overhaul abortion throughout the state. 

The Illinois Department of Agriculture has submitted their final draft of rules for the industrial hemp program. There were a few noteworthy changes made from the initial draft that was posted back in late Dec. 2018. 

Almost two years after Illinois overhauled its school funding formula, educators are still trying to tie up a few loose ends that got overlooked in the 540-page legislation. One of those loose ends omitted funding for about 7,000 students.

Those kids are the ones who need what's called "alternative school," because they've struggled with discipline or truancy, and fallen behind. Many alternative schools are run by regional offices, rather than traditional school districts. And those regional offices weren't incorporated in the overhaul plan.

More than a year ago, Illinois lawmakers approved a total overhaul of the way the state funds schools. That landmark legislation, known as “evidence-based funding,” got a lot of media attention. But at the same time, something else happened that went totally unreported: The state also changed the number of instructional hours required in a school day from five to zero.

Let’s be clear: The new law didn’t force any changes, so most districts carried on with their usual schedules. And as soon teachers unions noticed the five-hour requirement had been dropped, they began to lobby to reinstate it.

Illinois Nurses Call For Safe Patient Limits

Mar 7, 2019

Illinois nurses are calling on state lawmakers to restrict the number of patients under their care.

The end of the Illinois 1ooth General Assembly is this week, when the 101st starts Republicans will be in the super minority.

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WSIU/Kevin Boucher

The public can take a tour of the Illinois State Capitol Building in Springfield, now through mid January 2019.  On this edition of WSIU INfocus, we learn about the history of the building with Vandalia Historian Dale Timmermann.

Earlier this year, I reported for Illinois Newsroom that the Illinois Department of Corrections spent less than $300 on books for its educational programs across more than two dozen state prisons last year. I also reported that figure represents a dramatic decrease in spending since the early 2000s when IDOC was spending roughly three-quarters of a million dollars per year on books in prisons.

Governor-elect J.B. Pritzker now tops Donald Trump as the richest politician in America. Pritzker’s wealth has led to more questions about the role of money in politics, and led critics to question how much the Democrat’s personal wealth may have influenced his election win against Gov. Bruce Rauner.


Every college campus has standards and policies to prevent sexual harassment. But time and again, repeated complaints are filed against professors for saying and doing inappropriate things -- yet they often keep their jobs. Documents and interviews from two recent cases on campuses in Illinois shed some light on the reasons why this remains a persistent issue at many schools.

Democrats dominated in Illinois Tuesday night — easily taking all statewide races on the ballot.  

Just over a million people voted before Election Day in Illinois – and millions more are expected to cast their ballots today.

Illinois State Board of Elections spokesman Matt Dietrich says there have been a few calls regarding problems at polling places. Mostly the issues have been malfunctioning counting machines.

“That’s a pretty routine thing that does tend to happen on Election Day,” he said. “There is a procedure in place for handling those ballots until they can be put into a functioning tabulator.”

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