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Illinois House Approves Major Portions Of New State Budget

The Illinois House approved major portions of a new state budget, despite Republican opposition. The Democrats’ budget includes funding many programs Gov. Bruce Rauner planned to cut, even though the state is short about $3 billion to pay for that spending. They say finding the matching revenue is a work in progress. Republicans like Representative David Leitch from Peoria say it's an unbalanced budget. “I'm very concerned that this process may be giving false hopes to community-based...
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Facebook Use Could Be A Personality Indicator

5 hours ago

If you post Facebook updates about your romantic partner, that could mean you have low self-esteem. 

That’s according to a study at Brunel University in London.

Five-hundred fifty-five Facebook users were observed in the study, and the users also completed surveys about self-esteem, narcissism, extroversion, neuroticism, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness.

Rockford Leads In Illinois Population Decline

5 hours ago
Northern Illinois University

New Census data indicates the third largest city in Illinois is leading the state in population decline

Illinois has about 1,300 incorporated villages, towns and cities. From 2010 to last year, Rockford’s population declined by 2.5 percent, or nearly 4,000 people.

That’s the biggest numerical drop of any city during that period.

Flickr user miss_millions / " Prison cells" (CC v 2.0)

Criminal justice advocates say Illinois’s next prison chief needs to be dedicated to reducing the inmate population.

The Illinois Department of Corrections Director Donald Stolworthy resigned last week after just two months on the job. Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office is not saying why Stolworthy is leaving.

Ben Wolf is with the American Civil Liberties Union, which is involved in multiple lawsuits over Illinois prison conditions. He says the next prison chief should be an advocate for reform.

Flickr user Carl Drougge / "Räls och dimma, ett vinnande koncept" (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois lawmakers are urging an increase in safety programs for rail operators. That’s despite the threat of state funding cuts to railroads.

A bipartisan pair of legislators say safety training is too important to be squeezed out of railway budgets, no matter what they're given by the state. They brought in Lou Jogmen, with the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, who says the state is especially at risk.

"Illinois remains in the higher realm of accidents and fatalities,” Logmen said. “Unfortunately, people aren't paying attention."

state of Illinois

Illinois Democrats began to unveil their new state spending plan, which looks a lot like the current one. That's despite Illinois having billions of dollars less, thanks to a rollback of the income tax rate in January. 

Even before the details were made public, Gov. Bruce Rauner's office was out with a statement tearing into the proposal -- and its architect, House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Despite overall cuts to higher education, "MAP" grants could see an increase in the next fiscal year. The grants help Illinois students -- especially ones from low-income families -- pay for college. 

Democratic Rep. Christian Mitchell from Chicago says this will help get rid of the barrier of access for some students. He says those who qualify and are able to get into college should have the money to go so that they can “be productive citizens.”

Residents Can Check Licenses Of Area Swimming Pools

May 25, 2015
flickr user / Oatsy40 / "Swimming Pool" (CC BY 2.0) /

Swimming season is starting in Illinois, and the state has been licensing public pools and beaches.

The Illinois Department of Public Health is in charge of the regulations under the Illinois Swimming Facility Act. The Champaign News-Gazette reports there are 952 city-owned swimming pools in Illinois.

That number goes up every year.

Illinois legislators are back in session Monday as they look toward a May 31 adjournment date. Gov. Bruce Rauner recently sent a direct, and public, message to them about how he wants things to go.

In a recent op-ed penned in the capital city's newspaper, Gov. Bruce Rauner wrote that "Illinois needs a turnaround." He went on to say, "The public understands that, but it appears many state elected officials do not."

That column was a way for Rauner to speak to his supporters.

Americans are paying tribute today, Memorial Day, to the sacrifices of service members in the nation's earliest conflicts and the newest.

President Obama laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, just outside Washington.

Some 5,000 people were at the grounds of the cemetery, which Obama called "more than a final resting place for fallen heroes." It is, he said, "a reflection of America itself. A reflection of our history, the wars we've waged for democracy, the peace we've laid to preserve it.

Police Body Cameras On Lawmakers' List

May 25, 2015
Chris McDaniel/St. Louis Public Radio

In the wake of officer-involved deaths in Ferguson, Baltimore and New York City, Illinois lawmakers are looking at how to change state laws regarding police officers.

In the final days of the General Assembly's session, Rep. Elgie Sims, Jr., D-Chicago, says he'll sponsor legislation that would require police to wear body cameras. He says the package also would ban law enforcement officers from using chokeholds.