Around Illinois afternoon update - May 9

May 9, 2012


  • Free health insurance for Illinois retirees could end
  • NIU's V.P. Hemphill is moving on
  • Rockford police officer is on leave after DUI arrest

No more free health insurance for Illinois retirees?

Free health insurance could be over for even the longest-serving state employees in Illinois. The Illinois House approved legislation to cut health care benefits for government retirees: currently, people who work for the state for at least twenty years don’t have to pay health insurance premiums when they retire.

House Republican leader Tom Cross says it’s time for lawmakers “to do the uncomfortable tasks, have the uncomfortable conversations, and be honest with retirees. Tell them: You know what? We can't afford to give it to you free."

The measure passed the House on a 74 to 43 vote. It now goes to the Illinois Senate.

NIU VP of student affairs to head east

The man in charge of student affairs and enrollment at Northern Illinois University is moving on. West Virginia State University announced today that N.I.U. vice president Brian Hemphill has been chosen to be that school’s new president.

According to the Charleston Daily Mail, Hemphill scored bonus points on the WVSU campus by showing up for his interview wearing the school’s colors.

Hemphill’s appointment still needs to be approved by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. If he gets the job, he starts as West Virginia State’s 10th president on July 1. He has worked at NIU since 2004.

Rockford cop on leave after DUI arrest

The Rockford police department has put thirteen-year veteran Daniel A. Cruz on administrative leave after his arrest in Boone County Monday. The 37-year-old officer from Machesney Park is accused of driving drunk and causing an accident that critically injured a woman. Cruz was not on duty at the time of the accident. Rockford Police Chief Chet Epperson will not comment beyond saying that Cruz is on administrative leave and has been relieved of his police powers because of the arrest.