Minimum Wage
5:04 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Assessing The Minimum Wage Landscape

Credit WNIJ

Despite Democratic majorities and a push from the governor, Illinois' legislative session adjourned without a bump in the minimum wage.

Lawmakers settled for putting a non-binding question on the November ballot asking if that's something voters want.

Part of the problem was that legislators from downstate -- from both parties -- were against a hike.

Andrew Biggs says it doesn't make sense to make sense to have a national, or even statewide, minimum wage. Biggs is a scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, a D.C. think tank that leans toward free enterprise.

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Illinois
5:00 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Report Blames Illinois Exodus On Taxes

Credit Illinois Policy Institute

Illinois is losing more residents than are moving in. For every four people that leave the state, only three people move here.

According to a study by the Illinois Policy Institute, tax rate increases in the state are pushing people away.

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Health
6:23 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Blood Test Could Predict Dementia

British scientists are developing a blood test to predict the onset of Alzheimer's. Researchers identified a set of proteins in the blood which can predict the start of the dementia.

BBC: Alzheimer's Research In "Major Step" Towards Blood Test

The findings appear in the journal Alzheimer's & Dementia.

Illinois
6:05 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Rutherford Fires Three Top Administrators

Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford
Credit treasurer.il.gov

Treasurer Dan Rutherford dismissed the officials after an investigation by the treasurer's inspector general. The Associated Press obtained letters from Rutherford's office indicating Patrick Carlson, George Daglas and Ashvin Lad were fired earlier this month. Each for allegedly violating timekeeping policies and falsifying records.  

Chicago Sun-Times: Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford Fires 3 Top Aides

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Illinois
6:00 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Survey Documents Economic Impact Of Illinois County Fairs

Credit flickr user Ava "Smaller ferris wheel" (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Officials will track the spending habits of fairgoers in more than a dozen Illinois counties this summer. It's part of an effort to get an idea of the economic impact of agricultural fairs. 

The surveys are organized by the University of Illinois Extension and the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs. The project began last month at the Greene County Fair and includes DeKalb and Whiteside counties.

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Illinois
5:44 am
Tue July 8, 2014

More State Money Coming For Tornado Relief

Credit Peoria Public Radio

More money is on the way for Illinois communities devastated by last fall's tornadoes. Officials are making available more than $11 million dollars of state relief. Governor Pat Quinn announced the city of Washington is getting the majority of those funds. The community will use the money to repair streets and sidewalks. It's part of an overall package to help local governments recoup some of the costs associated with storm cleanup. That’s after the Federal Emergency Management Agency denied assistance. 

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Transportation
5:38 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Highway Trust Fund At Risk, Threatens Illinois Jobs

Credit flickr user Doug Kerr "Interstate 72-Illinois" (CC BY-SA 2.0)

At the height of the summer construction season, the national Highway Trust Fund is at risk of going belly-up by next month.

The fund helps pay for road work and bridge repairs all across the nation. Among projects in at jeopardy is work currently being done on an Interstate-72 overpass just outside of Springfield.

Mike Zahn, a leader with the International Union of Operating Engineers' State Council, spoke near that site on Monday.  He says these projects mean jobs.

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Politics on Tap
6:35 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Beer And Politics Really Do Mix

Adam & Eve at the Oasis, Rockford
Dan Libman

As we approach the November election, WNIJ decided to go beyond its usual in-depth coverage of the issues and candidates. So we invited Pushcart Prize-winning author Dan Libman to visit places where voters are most likely to speak their minds: their local bars. To close the "distance" of a reporter's microphone, Dan used an iPhone to interview imbibing voters.

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Illinois
6:35 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Illinois Voters To Consider Employer Birth Control Coverage

Credit WNIJ

A question on the November ballot will ask Illinois voters if insurers should be required to cover birth control as part of their prescription coverage. 

Governor Pat Quinn signed the ballot measure over the weekend.  

Voters will get to weigh in, but Illinois law won't change whatever the result of the referendum; it's non-binding.

Still, Kim Foxx, the chair of Planned Parenthood of Illinois' board, says it will give legislators a tool to fight any possible attempts to eliminate coverage of contraception.

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Illinois
6:20 am
Mon July 7, 2014

State Heroin Task Force Meeting In Rockford

Credit state of Illinois

A bipartisan panel studying concerns over increasing heroin use will meet in Rockford Monday. Lawmakers will hear from members of the Winnebago County Sheriff's Office and the Rockford Fire Department.

The House Bipartisan Task Force on the Heroin Crisis will be holding a hearing Monday, July 7th from 9:00am – 12:00pm in Rockford at Rock Valley College.

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