Mike Pompeo On Track To Be Confirmed As Secretary Of State

Updated at 6:35 p.m. ET Mike Pompeo is on track to become secretary of state after a key Republican senator gave a last-minute endorsement of the CIA director. The secretary of state-designate's nomination was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Monday night on a party-line vote. The vote was 10 Republicans for Pompeo, nine Democrats against. One Democrat voted present. There was some drama around the vote. Initially, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. opposed the nomination of Pompeo but...

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In a move not surprising to many, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan was re-elected as the chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party. 

The result was overwhelmingly in Madigan’s favor.  He received 35 out of 36 votes from the state central committee, yet the lingering question remained if he should still spearhead the party—a post he’s held since 1998.  

Madigan says he’s encouraged by the support he’s getting from the party’s committee members – even after one member voted against him.

WNIJ News reporters won four top prizes in the Illinois Associated Press Broadcast News Contest for stories aired in 2017.

WNIJ swept the category for “Best Use of Sound” and also was honored in the “Best Light Feature” and “Best Newswriter” categories.

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Legislation to expand Illinois’ sales tax for online shopping recently passed the Senate. But it faces several more hurdles before it could become law.

The measure would require more out-of-state businesses to tax internet sales to Illinois residents. But its implementation depends on a case now before the U. S. Supreme Court, challenging a similar law in South Dakota.

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Last month, the state's voters decided on the Republican and Democratic nominees for governor. But with the primaries behind them, the winners still have to convince those who wanted someone else at the top of the ticket.

Incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner probably thought he didn't need to worry about his only Republican opponent, state Rep. Jeanne Ives, during the primary campaign. In the past, he'd called her a "fringe candidate" and decided to forgo campaigning against her until just a few weeks before election day.

The Illinois House failed to pass legislation related to the Affordable Care Act on Friday. It would have locked in certain health insurance benefits. 
 

WNIJ and NIU STEAM are partnering to create “The Sound of Science,” a weekly series explaining important science, technology, engineering and math concepts using sound. The feature will air at 1:04 p.m. Fridays as a lead-in to Science Friday. The first “Sound of Science” episode airs today.

“STEM is a topic of great interest to our audience – especially with Science Friday listeners," WNIJ General Manager Staci Hoste explained, "so it makes sense to add NIU STEM experts to the mix of information our listeners get during this very popular national program.”

Terry Schuster

There’s no denying the Bald Hill Prairie Preserve is a pretty special place. Last year, the Byron Forest Preserve District acquired the gravel hill prairie that had been used for cattle grazing for decades. For one thing, Forest Preserve Executive Director Todd Tucker says it’s the second highest point in Ogle County. It has a great view of the Rock River. It’s home to endangered and threatened plants and animals, like woolly milkweed and short-eared owls.

Oh, and the largest tree in Illinois.

"Am I Next? Student lie-in at the White House to protest gun laws" by Flickr user Lorie Shaull / (CC x 2.0) /

The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois is accusing a northern Illinois high school of discriminating against a small group of pro-gun students.

The ACLU sent a letter to Rockton’s Hononegah High School this week, just as many students nationwide are planning school walkouts.

"Sanctuary City" by Flickr User Daniel Lobo / (CC x 2.0)

The federal government cannot withhold public safety grants from cities that refuse to cooperate with President Donald Trump's immigration enforcement policies, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.

The three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago agreed with the decision last year of a lower court judge who imposed a temporary injunction on the administration. The decision says the administration exceeded its authority in establishing a new condition for cities to qualify for the grants.

 Another candidate is complicating Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s reelection campaign. State Sen. Sam McCann (R-Plainview) announced a third-party bid for the state’s top office on Thursday. 

"It's time for a real transformation for the state of Illinois," said McCann in a three-minute YouTube video announcing his candidacy and calling out Rauner for "surrendering to Chicago Democrats."

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Jurors in Arizona found U.S. Border Patrol agent Lonnie Swartz not guilty of second-degree murder in a fatal through-the-fence shooting of a teenager from Mexico, but they deadlocked on a lesser charge of manslaughter.

U.S. District Judge Raner Collins declared a mistrial, meaning that Swartz, 43, could be retried for the 2012 death of 16-year-old Antonio Elena Rodriguez of Nogales, Mexico, who was among a group throwing rocks at border agents during an attempt to smuggle drugs into the U.S.

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From San Francisco to Washington, D.C., e-scooters and dockless bikes have become the latest transportation trend to grip urban spaces — and local governments are struggling to keep up.

The concept is simple: Riders download an app, find and unlock a scooter or bike, and leave it when they're done. Many cost as little as $1, and fans of the services tout them as faster, easier, and greener ways to get where they're going.

Killer robots have been a staple of TV and movies for decades, from Westworld to The Terminator series. But in the real world, killer robots are officially known as "autonomous weapons."

At the Pentagon, Paul Scharre helped create the U.S. policy for such weapons. In his new book, Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War, Scharre discusses the state of these weapons today.

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