state of Illinois

Governor Pat Quinn is calling for a meeting today with legislative leaders to discuss Illinois' pension crisis. The move comes after a downgrade of the state's bond rating.


Illinois residents in Winnebago and Whiteside counties are now eligible to register for federal disaster assistance.

According to a release from FEMA, federal assistance in Illinois has reached more than $68 million, distributed among 24,000 individuals and households, since May 10.

The latest summary of federal assistance to individuals and households that suffered losses due to the severe storms and flooding between April 16 and May 5 includes:


A push to bring high speed internet access to smaller communities and rural areas was a key part of President Obama’s 2009 stimulus package.  One of the first projects to gain funding in Illinois was the DeKalb Advancement of Technology Authority, or DATA.  It was followed soon after by iFiber, a project to bring broadband to counties in north central and northwest Illinois.  Both are now moving from the construction phase to implementation.

Gay rights activists praised Rep. Greg Harris in 2011 for helping pass Illinois' civil unions law.  Some of those same activists are now criticizing him for how he's handled a measure to legalize same sex marriage.

Harris was tearful when he announced just before the House adjourned its spring session that there would be no vote because he didn't believe it could pass.

But immediately after, political director of the Civil Rights Agenda, Rick Garcia, put the blame squarely on Harris.

Illinois Republicans Choose New Leader

Jun 3, 2013
Cook County Clerk

Illinois Republicans have a new state party chairman.  Longtime political operative and lobbyist Jack Dorgan was chosen at a state central committee meeting.  Dorgan beat out a field of 6 other hopefuls,  some who said the party is broken.  Dorgan has a different view:

"Well the party's not broke.  We've had some growing pains right now.  We're ready. We're united and we’re going to move forward and show people there is a two party system." -Jack Dorgan

Dorgan has worked on numerous campaigns over 30 years.

Governor Pat Quinn says he will “review” legislation allowing people to carry guns in public. The measure cleared the General Assembly Friday afternoon.

Illinois' Gun License Loophole

May 31, 2013
Alex Keefe / Illinois Public Radio

State lawmakers now have less than two weeks to pass a law allowing Illinoisans to carry concealed guns.

But some say Illinois’ existing system of licensing gun owners is badly broken.

The state is supposed to take away Firearm Owners Identification Cards, or FOIDs,  from felons, the mentally ill and people who have restraining orders against them, like those who have been charged with domestic violence.

FEMA Looking For Temporary Workers

May 31, 2013
Guy Stephens / WNIJ

FEMA is taking applications for temporary, full-time workers in such areas as finance and administration, writing and public information, planning, individual disaster assistance, information technology and  logistics.  

According to a news release, most of the 78 jobs will be located in Aurora, with others located in the impacted areas.

A bill sitting on the governor’s desk would ban Illinois drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving. The measure would still allow motorists to use hands free devices. But some want a law restricting that option as well.

NIU Names Black Choir After Eddie Williams

May 30, 2013
Susan Stephens / WNIJ

The NIU Black Choir is now known as the Eddie R. Williams Black Choir. NIU president John Peters announced the name change Wednesday at Williams' campus retirement party: the executive vice president is retiring after 43 years at NIU.