Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Update, Friday 6:22 pm: Contract negotiations continue between striking Rock Valley College faculty members and the school's bargaining representative. They've been negotiating all day.

Classes are canceled for a second day at Rock Valley College because of a faculty strike. Now the college’s president is making a plea for them to return to work.

state of Illinois

State-employee labor unions have filed a lawsuit to force Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration to pay medical claims for 146,000 state workers and retirees under self-insurance programs.
 The lawsuit was filed Thursday in St. Clair County Circuit Court before a judge considering an earlier lawsuit about government paychecks during the budget impasse.

The Bureau of Prisons says former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has officially completed his 21/2-year prison sentence for spending $750,000 in campaign money on personal items.

Bureau spokesman Edmond Ross says the Illinois Democrat's home confinement in Washington, D.C., will be lifted Friday and his ankle monitor removed. Ross says inmates whose release dates fall on a Sunday are always released two days earlier.

Guy Stephens / WNIJ

Local governments work with a wide array of agencies and partnerships for projects within their jurisdictions.  Another organization aims to cross local boundaries for the good of all.

LaHood Sworn Into Congress; Bustos Approves

Sep 18, 2015

Republican Darin LaHood was sworn into Congress Thursday…and a Democratic lawmaker says she’s ready to work with him.

LaHood last week won a special election to fill the vacant seat in Illinois’s 18th District.

Cheri Bustos, who represents the neighboring 17th District, says she’s well-acquainted with LaHood.

U.S. Department of Labor

An Illinois business partnership is getting several million dollars to help create hundreds of apprenticeships in the state.

The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded the Illinois Advanced Apprenticeship Consortium $3.9 million to fund the creation of 600 apprenticeships over the next five years. The apprentices will attend college through an employer sponsorship and be paid for their work during their time in the program. 

Timber Creek Bed & Breakfast

The Illinois Human Rights Commission has ruled a bed and breakfast in Bloomington-Normal violated the law in denying access to a same-sex couple. Todd and Mark Wathen wanted to use the Timber Creek Bed and Breakfast in Paxton to celebrate their civil union.

Attorney Betty Tsamis represents the Wathens in the case that began four years ago.

“If your business is open to the public and if you’re not a religiously-affiliated business … corporations don’t get to express their religious beliefs in denying goods and services to individuals,” Tsamis said.

Heartland Alliance

The Illinois poverty rate hovers above pre-recession levels at about 14 percent, according to Census numbers released Thursday.

Meanwhile, income in Illinois is stagnant, according to numbers crunched by the Chicago-based Heartland Alliance. 

This is likely a consequence of the state's budget woes, says Kimberly Drew, an economic security specialist at the alliance.

“Many of our anti-poverty programs are essentially imploding because they are not receiving funding,” Drew said. “And this has very real consequences in people's lives."

Lawmaker Concerned About 'Video Gaming Malls'

Sep 17, 2015
Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Video gaming has proliferated in Illinois.

A new state report says that as of June, there were nearly 21,000 video poker machines in Illinois.

Chicago doesn't allow video gaming; even so, there are more terminals in the Chicago metropolitan area than anywhere else in Illinois.

After Cook County, the most machines are in Winnebago, Lake, Will, and Sangamon Counties. The capital city of Springfield tops the list for most video gaming terminals in the state, with nearly 550.

College of DuPage

Trustees of a suburban Chicago college have voted to void the contract of its embattled president about a month after beginning the process of firing him.

College of DuPage trustees voted 4-3 Thursday night to void Robert Breuder's contract. He's on paid administrative leave and is set to retire in March.