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An Illinois lawmaker wants to criminalize recording fights in order to post them online.

Rep. Terri Bryant says she was disturbed by a video of an altercation between two boys from her hometown of Murphysboro that was posted to Facebook. The Republican lawmaker says she wants to show that staging fights or being a willing bystander is unacceptable.

cps.edu

Chicago Public Schools have slashed millions of dollars from school budgets, forcing principals to refigure their plans with the second semester just underway.

The principals received news of the $85 million cut on Tuesday as the school district faces a $1.1 billion budget deficit, no income from the state of Illinois and no contract with the Chicago Teachers Union.

In a written statement, schools CEO Forest Claypool the steps taken were necessary because the district's cash position "becomes tighter every day."

portraits from whitehouse.gov

Members of the Illinois General Assembly will hear from President Barack Obama today.

Obama is returning to Springfield nine years to the day after he was in Springfield to announce he was running for the nation's highest office.

It will be the first time a sitting President has addressed a joint session of the Illinois legislature since 1978.

Then-President Jimmy Carter said that, as a former Georgia state senator, he realized the "extreme importance" of state government.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

People interested in owning something that belonged to Dixon’s jailed former comptroller will get another chance.  The U.S. Marshals service will conduct an auction Feb. 23-March 8 of items that didn’t sell in the previous auction of Rita Crundwell’s possessions that ended last week.  Sauk Media reports opening bids will be lowered on the nearly 200 items in hopes of attracting buyers.  Most are women’s clothing, including western shirts, leather jackets, a fur vest and a fur coat. 

Barack Obama/flickr

The fate of Illinois' budget impasse could be influenced by the leader of the free world. At least, that's what Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder is hoping for.

The state owes the city of Springfield more than $7 million in unpaid utility bills because there's no state budget. Langfelder says he hopes President Barack Obama's speech to state lawmakers Wednesday will help forge a budget compromise.

Some poems were meant to be read aloud. Today's poem, a Valentine to corned beef, was meant to be sung.

It was written by Doe Macarus of Williams Bay, Wisconsin, who sang it for us during a recording in our studios. Macarus wrote the poem in fourth grade after receiving a Valentine's Day card from a boy. Now 84, she submitted it for our "Relationship Poems" contest.

Her poem is one of six selected by our judge, Susan Porterfield, a poet and English professor at Rockford University.

Illinois officials say college students should continue to apply for financial aid, even though the state budget impasse has put grants for needy students on hold.

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission is encouraging students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

The form determines if a student is eligible for most financial aid programs, including the Illinois Monetary Award Program, or MAP grants.

csu.edu

Chicago State University students and faculty members took to the streets to protest the Illinois budget standoff that is threatening to force the closing of the school.

    

During Monday's demonstration outside Chicago's Thompson Center, students demanded an end to what they called a “political game of chess” and free up funding Chicago State and other Illinois public universities rely on to operate.

"Filing taxes - 1040 form" by Flickr User PT Money / (CC BY 2.0)

The Illinois attorney general is warning residents to avoid tax refund anticipation loans.

    

Such loans involve a tax preparer lending you the amount of the tax refund that you expect, minus interest and fees. 

Attorney General Lisa Madigan says it may be tempting to get a return back quickly, but taxpayers should steer clear.

"Really, what those products are – are simply very expensive, very short term loans taken out against your tax refund,” Madigan said.

The three candidates for the Democratic nomination to oppose incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk had their first informal debate Monday. It grew contentious over the issue of Laquan McDonald’s death and prosecuting police officers.

The Chicago Tribune editorial board asked the  candidates if the federal government should investigate practices at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office.

Andrea Zopp and Napoleon Harris are both African-American, and Zopp accused Harris of not leading on the topic of criminal justice in the black community.

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