Unions File Lawsuit Demanding Paychecks

Unions representing Illinois state employees have filed a lawsuit demanding they will be paid in full and on time despite the lack of a 2016 fiscal year budget. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31 and the Service Employees International Union among others filed the lawsuit Thursday in St. Clair County Circuit Court. The unions argue the state's failure to pay employees their full wages under their unions' respective collective bargaining...
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Guy Stephens / WNIJ

A lot of people think of poetry as something academic and distant, and not as a part of daily life.  A display in Aurora, Illinois, aims to change that view.


Five community colleges northwest of Chicago have partnered with NIU to help business students complete a bachelor’s degree while staying in their region.

The Business Dual Degree program enables students who have received their associate degree to continue their education at the NIU Hoffman Estates campus.

The Illinois attorney general has asked a Cook County judge to clarify what bills the state may pay without spending authority during the budget impasse.

Democrat Lisa Madigan announced Thursday that she has been working with Comptroller Leslie Munger to identify essential services that can be funded without appropriation authority from the General Assembly.

Madigan says those include payments specified by state law and those required by court orders.

Andrew Epstein / WNIJ

Illinois residents affected by last month's tornados in Lee and Grundy counties will get extra time to file state tax returns. 

Governor Bruce Rauner's office said Wednesday the deadline to file tax returns and make payments will be Dec. 31. He says that will allow residents to recover from the storms and file their returns on time.

Taxpayers who mail their returns and payments should write “Tornado June 2015” in red ink on the outside of the envelope and at the top of each page. Those filing electronically should check the Illinois Department of Revenue website.

Flickr user Daniel Borman / "Money, Money, Money" (CC BY 2.0)

Doctors who care for patients on Medicaid, drug treatment counselors and probation officers could all go without pay because Illinois is without a new budget. 

But elected officials will keep getting their paychecks.

Without a budget, Illinois loses its spending authority. Much of it anyway. Some spending is built in, automatic: like paying off debt, sending municipalities their cut of the income tax and lawmakers' pay.

Starting this week, Illinois veterans will be able to get an updated driver’s license and ID card with the word “VETERAN” on the front of the card.

Secretary of State Jesse White says the designation will help ensure military veterans living in the state get services and benefits including healthcare, education and employment assistance as well as other discounts.

To obtain a "Veteran" designation on a Driver's License or State ID card, applicants must:

A dead bird found in Winnebago County has tested positive for West Nile Virus, which is much earlier than last year when the first positive bird in the county was found on September 2, according to a news release from the Winnebago County Health Department.

Warmer temperatures can increase the rate of Culex mosquito production, flight activity and virus replication, which results in an increased number of WNV infected mosquitos.

flickr user/Chris "Fireworks" (CC BY 2.0) / http://bit.ly/1NxqYWA

Towns across northern Illinois will be celebrating the 4th of July throughout the weekend, whether it’s a parade, a concert or a firework show.

Fireworks are a big tradition for the 4th of July and will be seen sporadically throughout the weekend in professionally produced displays.

Ordinary citizens, however, are limited in what they are legally allowed to use in terms of fireworks.

Former Illinois Treasurer Employees Sue Over Firings

Jul 1, 2015

Three ex-state employees who claim former Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford fired them last year in retaliation for providing damaging evidence in a sexual harassment investigation have filed a lawsuit.

Wednesday's filing in Cook County Circuit Court says Patrick Carlson, George Daglas and Ashvin Lad were told they were fired for timekeeping abuses. It describes that allegation as a pretext. Rutherford, his former chief of staff and the agency are named as defendants.

Among other demands, the plaintiffs seek back pay, compensation for future wages and emotional distress. 

WUIS/Illinois Issues

It seems familiar: Illinois government enters a new fiscal year without a budget, and those who get state money start to worry. But the government never stopped running before, so why would it shut down this time?

After all, things worked out in 2007 when then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich couldn't agree with fellow Democrats who controlled the General Assembly. Budget negotiations took until mid-September, but state government remained open.