Legislature adjourns
4:46 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Senate Joins House in Passing Illinois' 2015 Budget

Credit Brian Mackey / WUIS

UPDATE: Lawmakers adjourned shortly after midnight, shortly after approving a billion dollar road construction program. The Illinois Senate joined the House in approving a 35.7-million dollar budget for 2015. Democrats acknowledge the budget is incomplete, and no Republicans supported it in Friday afternoon's Senate vote.

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Government
7:14 am
Fri May 30, 2014

Illinois Lawmakers Prepare To Wrap Up Session

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton

The Illinois General Assembly is winding down its spring legislative session Friday, and could wrap up a day ahead of Saturday's scheduled adjournment. Observers say just a few big issues remain.

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Public Safety
6:47 am
Fri May 30, 2014

For Disaster Drill Actors, It's The Performance Of A Lifetime

One of the "actors" at this week's disaster drill at NIU
Credit Mike Moen/WNIJ

Disaster preparedness drills are designed to give emergency crews a sense of how to respond to a catastrophe. But those involved say it’s more than just a dress rehearsal. At a drill at Northern Illinois University this week, the players did their best to deliver a convincing performance.

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Attorney General at NIU
5:15 am
Fri May 30, 2014

Stepping Up To Fight Consumer Fraud And ID Theft

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan speaks with reporters at Northern Illinois University.
Credit Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Mountains of personal information have been stolen from some of the world’s largest corporations this year. That’s one of the reasons behind Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s push to educate local leaders on consumer fraud and ID theft

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Arts
7:23 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Meet The Summer Book Series Authors

Gary Lawrence, author of Baffled.
Credit Dan Klefstad

The WNIJ listening area is a hotbed of literature, according to Dan Klefstad, host of Morning Edition and editor for the Book Series. Since the summer of 2012, Dan has interviewed more than twenty writers of fiction, poetry, creative essays and memoirs -- all from northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.

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Illinois
5:08 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Quinn Supports Voter Say On Minimum Wage Hike

Credit WNIJ

Governor Pat Quinn says he supports asking voters whether Illinois' minimum wage ought to be raised to $10 an hour.

The state Senate approved that question today for the November ballot.

Senator Kimberly Lightford (D-Chicago) says polling shows support for the hike across the state. She says a ballot question could give lawmakers the push they need.

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Same-Sex Marriage
5:05 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Illinois' Same-Sex Marriage Law Takes Effect June 1

Civil Union supporters gather on the DeKalb County Courthouse steps during a 2011 rally.
Credit Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Same-sex couples in Illinois will be able to get married starting this weekend.   A new state law takes effect.

Several counties in the state have already begun issuing marriage licenses, whereas some others will start on Friday to accommodate weekend ceremonies.

Mitch Locin -- with Equality Illinois, a gay-rights advocacy group -- says even though licenses were already available in some counties, June 1 is still an important day for Illinois.

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Illinois
4:57 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Lawmakers Restore Cuts To Medicaid

Credit state of Illinois

Two years ago, lawmakers cut non-emergency dental care for adults, and stopped paying for visits to podiatrists.

But now lawmakers say the elimination of that routine care is leading to health problems,  and that patients eventually show up in the emergency room.

Representative Greg Harris (D-Chicago) says the cuts ended up costing the state more in the long run.

“And they brought suffering and hardship to families. They brought over-utilization to our emergency departments, and interfered with the care of other patients in need."

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Illinois
4:53 am
Thu May 29, 2014

House Approves Additional Spending Measures

Credit state of Illinois

One would help pay down the state’s backlog of bills, thanks in part to a recent uptick in state tax collections.

The other would re-authorize existing building programs, spend $10 million to renovate Chicago’s Uptown Theatre, and add $50 million to the pension fund for Chicago teachers. 

Representative Barbara Flynn Currie, a Democrat from Chicago, says that's proportionally far less than the state pays for teachers’ pensions elsewhere in Illinois.

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Illinois
4:50 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Aurora's IMSA Spared Funding Cut In Latest Budget

Rep. Ken Dunkin
Credit ilga.gov

The Illinois Math and Science Academy has been spared a significant cut under the budget approved Tuesday in the Illinois House.

Lawmakers had previously voted to slash $1.8 million from the elite public school's state funding.

Representative Ken Dunkin is a Democrat from Chicago and chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus. He says in prior years, IMSA has gotten increased state funding in order to improve diversity. Dunkin says he has not been satisfied with the results.

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