The Associated Press

Flickr user 401(K) 2012 / "Money" (CC v. 2.0)

Minnesota will surpass Illinois, Michigan and South Dakota this week with the highest minimum wage in the Midwest.

The $9-per-hour wage taking effect Saturday is the second of a three-stage increase adopted last year. Next year, the wage will rise fifty cents and go up automatically with inflation in following years.

For now, this step gives The Gopher State the highest minimum wage of any state away from both coasts. The next closest wage in the region is South Dakota's $8.50 per hour, which is higher than Illinois's at $8.25.

Flickr user 401(K) 2012 / "Money" (CC v. 2.0)

A published report says roughly one-third of Republican legislators haven't cashed checks given to them from Gov. Bruce Rauner's campaign fund in the waning days of the legislative session.

The first-term Republican gave about $400,000 to all 67 Republican House and Senate members in May. Several Republicans say they felt it was inappropriate while issues were being debated.

The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises reports that as of last week 22 lawmakers hadn't cashed the checks totaling about $119,000.

A Chicago community group is suing three suburbs, accusing them of not adequately monitoring gun stores they believe are the source of weapons that have filtered into the city.

The Rev. Michael Pfleger on Tuesday announced the lawsuits against Lincolnwood, Lyons and Riverdale. The activist priest says many of the guns recovered from Chicago crime scenes came from stores in those communities.

Lawyers for the Coalition for Safe Chicago Communities filed the lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court claiming the suburbs' gun store regulations violate the Illinois Civil Rights Act.

RobMellon.com / Peoria Public Radio

The Republican nominee to replace ex-Congressman Aaron Schock says he spent most of his campaign talking about his record as a state senator and former prosecutor, not his famous former U.S. transportation secretary father Ray LaHood.

State Sen. Darin LaHood won his party's nomination Tuesday. He tells The Associated Press his campaign team hit the ground running early on and didn't take anything for granted.

Jim Browne/WGLT

The bison population is growing on a northern Illinois prairie.

The Chicago Tribune reports that, after bison were reintroduced to the Nachusa Grasslands, there are obvious signs that the bison are introducing themselves to each other. Fourteen bison calves were born this past spring at the 3,500 acre grasslands owned by The Nature Conservancy.

The conservancy's website says bison were returned to the area last October. The Tribune says the latest births bring the number of bison in the area to 44.

Wikipedia

A former U.S. congressman has failed to appear at a scheduled arraignment to enter a plea on federal tax charges.  
 

Mel Reynolds' lawyer explained Monday that his client traveled overseas in early June and couldn't return for his arraignment because his daughter fell ill.  
 

Monday's hearing in federal court in Chicago was supposed to be the Democrat's first court appearance since his indictment two weeks ago for allegedly not filing income tax returns for four straight years.  
 

Andrew Epstein / WNIJ

Illinois residents affected by last month's tornados in Lee and Grundy counties will get extra time to file state tax returns. 

Governor Bruce Rauner's office said Wednesday the deadline to file tax returns and make payments will be Dec. 31. He says that will allow residents to recover from the storms and file their returns on time.

Taxpayers who mail their returns and payments should write “Tornado June 2015” in red ink on the outside of the envelope and at the top of each page. Those filing electronically should check the Illinois Department of Revenue website.

Wisconsin Public Radio

  Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says 9,500 people plan to attend his rally tonight in Madison, Wis.

The Vermont senator says he will draw on the state's long progressive political history during the event. Sanders says he believes the progressive movement that existed for years in Wisconsin is now spreading throughout the country.

Flickr user Danny Hahn / "Rain" (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois's wet June is now going to the record books.

State Climatologist Jim Angel says rainfall within the past few days made the month Illinois's wettest June in recorded state history. State records go back to 1895.

Angel said through Saturday, the statewide average rainfall total for the month was 8.91 inches. That tops the previous record June in 1902 -- 8.27 inches of rain fell that year.

sexoffenderrecord.com

A U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of a suburban Chicago man convicted of groping a passenger on a flight while she slept in a seat next to him. 

Lawyers for Srinivasa Erramilli say the trial judge abused her discretion in allowing evidence that Erramilli committed prior sexual assaults. The lawyers also contend U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow issued improper jury instructions.

The appeals court said in its ruling Lefkow did not abuse her discretion in admitting Erramilli's prior acts.

Pages