Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Democrats Counter Gov. Rauner's Proposals With 'Comeback Agenda'

A group of rank-and-file Democratic state lawmakers unveiled the “Comeback Agenda.” It's a response to Republican Governor Bruce Rauner's "Turnaround Agenda," which was proposed two years ago. Democratic State Sen. Don Harmon says the measure grew out of frustration with the fighting and lack of progress in Springfield. “We wanted to be for something. We wanted to outline a vision of where Illinois could go,” he says. The agenda includes a higher minimum wage, expanded access to child care,...

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ISU Recommending No Tuition Increase Next Year

56 minutes ago

Illinois State University recommends no tuition increase for next year.

ISU missed out on more than 80 million dollars in state funding over the last two budget years. University President Larry Dietz says even after that, the institution is stable. 

"...but it has been these three banner years that have really helped us in terms of the overall enrollment and the overall enrollment really drives the fiscal part of any university anymore." 

The Illinois Senate passed legislation that would block a plan to privatize more than 120 nursing jobs in state prisons.

Governor Bruce Rauner says his plan would save 8 million dollars per year. Private companies, in his view, can do the same work for cheaper. However, Democrats say that’s because private companies don’t pay their workers well. Four Republican senators, including Sam McCann from Plainview, agreed.

“Why can’t we be for working people?" he said. "Why would we let these nurses go, then hire them back the next day...for less.”

SIU President Announces Doomsday Budget Scenario

17 hours ago
SIU.edu

In a letter to the Southern Illinois University system, President Randy Dunn outlined what he’ll be asking from the Board of Trustees when they meet in Carbondale. 

The request includes declaration of a financial emergency.

“This is not ‘exigency,’ for those who are used to that term in a college or university setting, but rather declaration of a short-term crisis, obviously driven in the largest part due to the state budget impasse.”

In addition, the SIU Carbondale campus would have to cut further from its budget – in addition to what was already eliminated.

laurelprussing.com

The mayor of Urbana says she’s not concerned the Trump Administration is again calling to strip federal funds from so-called “sanctuary cities.” 

 

Attorney General Jeff Sessions vowed this week to withhold millions of dollars in Justice Department grants from sanctuary cities. They are communities offering protection to those living in the country illegally. 

 

After seven years of trying, Republicans failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act last week.

That doesn't mean the health care drama is over, though. House Speaker Paul Ryan this week told donors that the party is "going to keep getting at this thing," according to The Washington Post.

But whatever Ryan and his colleagues manage to do, plenty could still change in the Affordable Care Act. Last week's failed bill, after all, was only one part of the GOP's plan.

Bob Dylan will be accepting his Nobel Prize in literature this weekend, according to the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy. In a blog post Tuesday, Sara Danius announced the "good news" that members of the academy will be meeting with Dylan when he makes a tour stop in Stockholm.

Rock Valley College

Rock Valley College's Board of Trustees approved a hike to next fall's tuition.  

They voted 4-1 to increase the per-credit hour rate by $15.  This bring's the rate up to $115 per credit hour. This is still below the state average of $140 per credit hour, and did not change RVC's technology or student activity fees.  

The increase was spurred by a loss of $2.9 million in state funding, along with a $1.6 million budget deficit.  College expenses are also expected to increase by $1 million.  

Illinois Tollway

The Illinois Tollway is beginning repairs on two segments of Interstate 90 in the Rockford area.  

The Spring Creek Road Bridge will undergo repair beginning April 3.  It begins with overnight lane closures, and will follow with a two-week full bridge closure on April 5. During this closure, posted detours will direct eastbound traffic to Bell School Road and direct westbound traffic to Lyford Road and then over I-90 via Rote Road.  

The House of Representatives has gone along with the Senate and voted 215-205 to overturn a yet-to-take-effect regulation that would have required Internet service providers — like Comcast, Verizon and Charter — to get consumers' permission before selling their data.

President Trump is expected to sign the rollback, according to a White House statement.

"Swine" by Flickr User K-State Research and Extension / (CC X 2.0)

Illinois Senator Dave Koehler is introducing legislation to address the state’s growing number of industrial livestock facilities.

Ten years ago, Cindy Bonnet found out she was getting new neighbors in Nora, Illinois: 10,000 cows. It’s what’s known in the industry as a “concentrated animal feeding operation,” or CAFO: basically a big cow warehouse, with a giant trough under it to catch their waste.

Bonnet says a California businessman was behind the venture.

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Saying that Attorney General Jeff Sessions' threat to strip billions in federal grant money from so-called "sanctuary cities" is illegal and unconstitutional, the city of Seattle has sued President Trump and his administration, in a lawsuit that names Trump, Sessions and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly.

In the heart of Beirut, architect Mona El Hallak herds a group of students together outside a monumental mansion — a vast, elegant building whose yellow walls and graceful pillars are ravaged by thousands of bullet holes.

"We are," she shouts over the cacophonous traffic, "at the intersection of Damascus Road and Independence Avenue."

It’s been two years since Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner unveiled his Republican “Turnaround Agenda.” On Wednesday, a group of rank-and-file Democratic legislators responded with their own “Comeback Agenda.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit President Trump in Palm Beach, Fla., next week, for talks that will likely range from economic to security issues. The first meeting between the two leaders will stretch from April 6-7.

Last year, the U.S. trade deficit with China topped $347 billion, with total trade worth more than half a trillion dollars, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

A Chinese spokesperson notes that before the visit to Trump's Mar-a-Lago property, Xi will spend three days in Finland.

Siberian Teenagers Get Resourceful

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