Government

Government and Legislature

AFSCME31.ORG

The rift between Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and the state's public employee union has escalated.

Rauner announced Friday he's asking the state labor board to decide if negotiations with AFSCME have reached an impasse. A few days ago in an interview with Illinois Public Radio, Rauner -- a Republican -- said his bargaining team is spinning its wheels.

After roughly one year -- about 67 sessions -- he claimed "AFSCME has refused to compromise off of their starting position, which was status quo with major increases in compensation, and other issues." 

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

The familiar orange and black monarch butterfly has become a much rarer sight over the past few decades. There’s a growing movement to restore the habitat along the monarch’s migratory path. A new federal grant enlists farmers in the effort.

Vijay Kumar Koulampet, CC BY-SA 3.0 / via Wikimedia Commons

The Wisconsin state Assembly has approved a tougher penalty for hiding a corpse.

Right now, hiding a corpse is a Class G felony that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. The Republican-authored bill would classify the crime as a more severe Class F felony punishable by up to 12.5 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.

The Assembly approved the bill on a voice vote Tuesday. The Senate approved the bill on a voice vote in June.

State of Illinois

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is observing his first anniversary in office.

Rauner campaigned on a promise to shake up Springfield. On that account, at least, he has succeeded. Illinois is in the midst of a historic budget impasse -- with no signs of it coming to an end.

Critics, including Democratic Rep. Lou Lang of Skokie, lay the blame on the governor.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Time is running out for people who haven’t signed up for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act

Sen. Durbin: More Money For Medical Research

Jan 11, 2016
durbin.senate.gov

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin visited Southern Illinois University’s School of Medicine Friday to announce an increase in federal funding for medical research for this year.

Senator Durbin said the federal government will pay an extra $2 billion more than last year to study and treat diseases.

The Democrat held up a 3-D model of an infant heart with a birth defect as an example of how advances in medical research can help families.

His late daughter, Christine, had the same heart defect as the 3-D model when she was born.

Secretary of State

If you have not gotten your passport yet due to Real ID compliance issues in Illinois, no need to worry. The effectiveness date for the act has been extended.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says there will be no I.D.-related security changes at airports for at least two years. The department previously said the act would go into effect after Sunday.

"Satsop Nuclear Power Plant" by Flickr User Tony Webster / (CC BY 2.0)

The state Assembly is set to take up a bill that would lift Wisconsin's moratorium on new nuclear power plants.

Republicans who control the chamber placed the bill on Tuesday's calendar during a meeting yesterday.

Under current law, state regulators can't approve a new nuclear power plant unless a federal storage facility for waste from nuclear plants nationwide exists and the plant wouldn't burden ratepayers.

No centralized federal repository exists. Nuclear plants have been storing waste on-site.

State of Wisconsin

Governor Scott Walker wants Wisconsin's attorney general to challenge President Barack Obama's gun control plan.

Walker said in a statement Wednesday that he believes Obama overstepped his authority when he announced an executive action to expand mandatory background checks to gun shows, flea markets and online sales.

Walker says Obama has created uncertainty for law-abiding citizens who want to sell guns and could deprive millions of Americans of their gun rights without any indication of imminent danger.

He called the plan an illegal act.

Jeff Bossert / Illinois Public Media

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner visited the Iroquois County seat of Watseka Tuesday, on the same day he declared that county and 10 others state disaster areas due to flooding, bringing the total to 23.  Watseka Mayor Bob Harwood says he has greater hopes for a federal disaster declaration than he did last summer.

Harwood says the December rains were unusual in that they impacted both the Iroquois River and Sugar Creek, hitting Watseka’s south side nearly as much as the north, which typically more prone to flooding. 

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