Public University Presidents Protest Higher Ed Budget Cuts

Mar 22, 2015
state of Illinois

Presidents from three universities met with lawmakers yesterday to object to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s budget. The proposal includes a nearly 32 percent funding cut for public universities.

Illinois State University says it might have to cut 400 jobs. But University of Illinois President Bob Easter told Senator Chapin Rose, a Republican from Mahomet, that relief from procurement rules could save the U of I 70 million dollars.

Other school presidents have blamed procurement rules for delaying projects and driving up costs.

Madigan Calls Rauner 'Empowerment Zones' Illegal

Mar 22, 2015

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s plan to encourage local right-to-work zones – what he calls “empowerment zones” -- around Illinois violates federal law, according to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

Madigan, a Democrat, issued an opinion on the issue at the request of State Sen. Gary Forby and State Rep. Jay Hoffman, both Democrats and both chair of the labor committee in their respective legislative bodies.

Guy Stephens / WNIJ

Next week, cellist, singer, composer, improviser and Beloit College alumna Helen Gillet comes to the college for a solo concert.  Downbeat Magazine recently named her a “rising star."

Proposed Bill Could Require Locks On Pain Pills

Mar 20, 2015

A northern Illinois lawmaker wants to require locking caps on bottles for prescription pain pills. The caps would have a combination lock that only the person prescribed the medication would know.

State Representative Rob Martwick says it would prevent people addicted to opioids from having access to the drugs.

Rock Valley College

A business incubator based in Rockford is going regional under its new owner. 

EIGERlab opened a decade ago as a place budding entrepreneurs could get help launching their products from concept to customer. Now the mission is the same, but the reach is getting bigger through Northern Illinois University, which acquired EIGERlab from the Rockford Area Economic Development Council.

Officials from across northwest Illinois met in Rockford Wednesday to discuss creating a uniform building code across the region.

City officials says there were around thirty people in attendance.  One of those was Dennis Sweeney, Executive Vice President of the Home Builders of the Greater Rockford Area.  He says there were officials from DeKalb and Dixon as well as Freeport and Rockford at the meeting.  Sweeney says everyone likes the idea of one set of standards across communities in the region.   

individual Facebook pages

Republican State Sen. Darin LaHood made it official: He says he’s already filed paperwork to open a federal campaign account to replace resigning U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock.

Other Republican politicians are still considering their options, and two early possibilities have declared their intentions not to seek the 18th District Congressional seat.

LaHood, 46, is a lawyer from Dunlap. His father, Ray LaHood, held the seat before Schock and also served as Secretary of Transportation in the Obama administration.

But the younger LaHood says he'll stand on his own record.

Flickr user Daniel Borman / "Money, Money, Money" (CC BY 2.0)

Unions and other advocates for raising Illinois' minimum wage won a small victory yesterday. For the first time in years, an increase is advancing in the Illinois House.  

Even Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner says he can get behind it — if it comes after a long list of pro-business legislation.

Democrat Art Turner, from Chicago, got the measure through a committee on a party-line vote.


Gun owners from around Illinois rallied in Springfield Wednesday in support of their Second Amendment rights.  

Illinois Gun Owner Lobby Day, or I-GOLD, involved a march to the Capitol and a rally to get the attention of the governor and legislators.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Criminal charges have been filed against a Freeport-area woman after 143 cats and dogs were seized Monday from her home. Many of them were dead. 

Tina McKinnon, 45, is charged with two counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, plus three misdemeanor charges. Officials say they had been trying to find her home after she reached out to animal control and another local animal rescue organization for help with all of the animals, only to back away.