Associated Press

U.S. Government

Nineteen Illinois Democrats have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal by imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich to help clarify the line between legal and illegal political fundraising.

Among those making the request are U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, former U.S. Rep. Bill Lipinski, and former State Sen. Emil Jones.

Chase Cavanaugh / WNIJ

 Four people were injured when a small plane crashed at the Chicago Rockford International Airport Monday evening.

Deputy Chief Brian Kunce with the airport fire department said the King Air C-90 twin-engine plane was about 200 yards from a runway when it stuck a ditch, bounced over a fence and came to rest on the airport grounds. Kunce says the plane didn't catch fire.  

The extent of the injuries was not immediately known. Two people -- one of whom was unconscious -- had to be extricated from the plane.  

State of Illinois

Illinois is chasing a moving target as it tries to dig out of the nation's worst budget crisis, and $7.5 billion worth of unpaid bills hadn't even been sent to the official who writes the checks by the end of June.

The Associated Press obtained the review, conducted by Comptroller Susana Mendoza's office. Although many of those unprocessed bills have since been paid, the office says a similar amount have replaced them.

That's in addition to $9 billion worth of checks that are at the office but being delayed because the state lacks the money to pay them.

"Teachers Pet" by Flickr User Matthew / (CC X 2.0)

Illinois education officials say the elimination of some requirements for teacher licenses has streamlined the licensing process and hasn't sacrificed the state's high standards.

The Chicago Tribune reports the changes to the licensing laws began in 2011. Some allow aspiring teachers to bypass certain coursework and exams.

Some administrators say those changes have helped fill jobs in areas with teacher shortages.

Lawyers for Dennis Hastert say the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives “adamantly denies'' he sodomized a fourth-grader in a bathroom stall in the early 1970s.

In a legal brief filed this week in Kendall County Circuit Court, Hastert attorney John Ellis argues the lawsuit filed by the alleged victim should be dismissed.

The lawsuit, filed in May, said the attack occurred either in 1973 or 1974, when the alleged victim was in fourth grade.

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