Government and Legislature

Most people don't think of alcohol – especially the kind you consume -- as anything but a liquid.
But the makers of a controversial product called Palcohol, or powdered alcohol, are trying to regain approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

It is being opposed from those who say it can be used inappropriately or cause people to consume too much alcohol.

State Sen. Ira Silverstein, D-Chicago, says that, even though the product is not yet on the market, it still poses a danger. He's sponsoring a measure to ban it in Illinois.

Amanda Vinicky

Just over 50 top state officials came together Wednesday afternoon for their first cabinet meeting with new Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner. Journalists were invited to hear the Republican chief executive's opening remarks.

Rauner's Cabinet gathered in one of the capitol's largest, and nicest, committee rooms; members milled about, making small talk and introductions.

Some were recently appointed by the governor and are new to Illinois government; others are holdovers from former Gov. Pat Quinn's administration.

A major credit rating agency has come out with a blunt assessment of Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed budget for Illinois.

The budget Rauner presented last week calls for massive cuts in state spending -- without any increase in taxes.

Moody's Investor Service dismisses the chance that parts -- let alone all -- of the plan will ever become a reality.

During his inauguration speech, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan announced a new mission -- figuring out what Illinois can do to prevent violence, like mass shootings at schools. A bipartisan task force formed to study the issue will meet for the first time today in Chicago.

Look back at the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Columbine, Northern Illinois University, and Rep. Greg Harris says you'll see commonalities. Like missed opportunities to help the killers with mental health issues that had been detected, but weren't properly treated.

Rauner Proposes Deep Spending Cuts In First Budget Address

Feb 18, 2015

Gov. Rauner presented his first budget proposal to lawmakers Wednesday.


Illinois’ finances are ailing. That’s been a story for years, but the situation got a lot worse at the beginning of the year when a tax cut took effect.

The Republican is proposing significant cuts to everything from healthcare for the poor to colleges and universities.

Sycamore Daycare Owner Fears Budget Cuts

Feb 18, 2015
state of Illinois

Illinois’ Governor and state lawmakers face a multi-billion dollar budget shortfall. Possible solutions include cuts to state programs.  Some recipients are preparing to fight back.

Michele Baker-McElroy is the owner of Once Upon a Time Childcare facility in Sycamore.   She’s concerned about the loss of funding that helps keep her business running.

"Our facility serves 78 children which ninety percent are funded through the childcare assistance program," said McElroy.

McElroy says that she’s worried their future is uncertain, and the feeling is all too familiar.

Illinois Libraries Receive $15 Million

Feb 10, 2015

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White awarded millions of dollars in grants to public libraries. White says the $15 million comes from the Illinois Public Library Per Capita and Equalization Aid grants. 

The money is going to libraries and will help serve 12 million patrons with access to materials, equipment, technology and other resources. The grant program is authorized by state law, and is designed to help qualifying libraries with a low tax base reach a minimum level for services.

state of Illinois

Since his election in November, Gov. Bruce Rauner expressed surprise about what he says he's "discovering" in the state's budget. As a bill for the state's childcare assistance comes due, Rauner is preparing to ask for special budgeting powers.

Deadline For Insurance Enrollment Approaching

Feb 9, 2015

The deadline to enroll in the health care marketplace is Sunday, and counselors across the state are meeting with people to help sign them up. 

Loren Greer is a 63-year-old truck driver who was taken off his company's health coverage when he was forced into early retirement. He sought help from an in-person counselor so he can avoid paying a fee after the Feb. 15 deadline.

If it weren't for the threat of a $325 fee, Greer might not enroll.

The daughter of a Rockford woman accused of supporting extremist groups claims her mother was falsely accused. She says her mother Jasminka Ramic doesn't stand with terrorism and would never send money to a terrorist organization.