IDOT Announces $8.4 Billion Improvement Program

May 15, 2015

Illinois Department of Transportation officials announced an $8.4 billion, six-year program to improve roads and bridges.

But IDOT warned it won't be enough to keep the overall condition of the state's infrastructure from deteriorating.

Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn says finding long-term, sustainable funding is urgent. The vast majority of the funding for the new multi-year plan comes from federal aid.

Five years ago,  the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) created its Public Agenda for College and Career Success, which sets a goal of having 60 percent of Illinois citizens obtain some education beyond high school.  

The ten-year initiative is reaching its halfway point, and Illinois State Rep. Bob Pritchard, a Republican who serves Illinois's 70th district, talked about what's in store. 


Illinois marijuana patients may be jumping the gun by submitting applications for diseases that aren’t approved yet. 

The state Public Health department says such applications will be rejected and fees will be refunded.

Health officials say a handful of applications came in from patients with health conditions recommended by an advisory board last week, including migraines, osteoarthritis and PTSD.

Amanda Vinicky / Illinois Public Radio

Illinois lawmakers say “no” to Governor Rauner’s union opt-out plan. Well, Democrats said “no.” Republicans, except for one “no” vote, opted to vote “present.”

Democrats in the Illinois House have voted down a plan similar to Governor Bruce Rauner's proposal to allow local governments to permit workers to opt out of unions. The entire Republican caucus -- with the exception of one member --- voted present because they said the vote was a “political sham.'' That's because Democrats pushed ahead with the vote, even though the Governor never even filed the bill.

A plan that would limit the use of out-of-school suspensions and expulsions is moving through the Illinois legislature. 

The measure would end zero-tolerance policies and the practice of charging fees for minor infractions and emphasize in-house measures over expulsions.

A Chicago youth group pushed the changes for the past two years. Along the way, they dropped a component that sought to limit offenses warranting arrests on campus.

First Pension Proposal Hearing Held

May 14, 2015

An Illinois House committee held the first hearing on Gov. Bruce Rauner’s pension proposal. 

Under his plan, workers would keep all the benefits they earned, but would see a cut to their benefits going forward. Democratic Representative Scott Drury said last week’s Supreme Court opinion, overturning pension changes passed two years ago, rules out that idea.

Rauner's staff argued that the plan is legal because it does not reduce current benefits -- only those yet to be earned. 

Republican Jeanne Ives says employees in the private sector already face that reality.

Guy Stephens / WNIJ

The Rockford Christian Fellowship Band observes its 30th anniversary with a concert at 4 P.M. this Sunday, May 17, at First Evangelical Covenant Church in Rockford.  The group calls itself a “Community Concert Band with a Christian Ministry.

It’s a Tuesday night rehearsal at First Evangelical Covenant Church in Rockford, and the members of the Rockford Christian Fellowship Band are warming up.

state of Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner's right-to-work proposal will get a hearing today in the Illinois House. Unions are putting pressure on lawmakers to vote against the proposal.


The Illinois House is set to vote on the Republican governor's idea of local right-to-work zones, but it's not because Rauner's pushing for a vote. Gov. Rauner unveiled the concept in late January, during an appearance in Decatur, and has talked about it a lot since.

But no actual legislation's been introduced. There are only weeks left in the legislative session.

The U.S. Senate is scheduled to take up several measures today that could clear the way for the president to get his so-called fast-track trade authority. 

That’s according to Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin.

“Pro-Trade” Democrats broke ranks with the president this week and blocked his trade bill.  They say Republicans must give them the chance to add protections before they’ll consider allowing a vote on the bill. Those include provisions to enforce worker safety, block the use of child labor and address currency manipulation. 


A man is being held by police after dropping a gun that went off on a Megabus traveling on I-90 Tuesday night.  No one was injured.  The bus pulled over at the Des Plaines oasis and other passengers held the person until police arrived.  Police aren’t releasing any further details while they investigate but say charges are pending.