Government and Legislature

A last-minute appointment former Governor Pat Quinn made after losing last year's election has spurred a new law.

Lou Bertuca was a political operative, a key player in Quinn's ultimately failed campaign.

Shortly before Quinn left the governor's mansion, he helped make sure Bertuca had his next job locked up.

Quinn appointed Bertuca, then 30 years old, to a multi-year contract with an annual salary of $160,000 as CEO of the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority.

The Illinois Attorney General is hailing a new state law that will prevent hospitals from billing survivors of sexual assault for medical forensic exams.

Lisa Madigan, who pushed for the legislation, says it removes a barrier that may keep some rape victims from going to the hospital immediately after the crime.

Federal law requires Illinois to certify that survivors are not being billed for “rape kit” exams. That’s a condition of receiving federal funds.

state of Illinois

Illinois nears the end of August, and there's still no state budget in place. But House members will return to Springfield today.

The Illinois House controls the fate of a measure that's not a budget bill, per say, but which Gov. Bruce Rauner says could have major financial ramifications for the state.

It'd prevent his ability to lock out state workers -- something he's said he won't do -- as well as forbid employees from striking. Instead, an arbitrator would settle an impasse if Rauner and the AFSCME union can't agree to a new contract.

Federal housing officials visited Rockford yesterday to remind city leaders they are obligated to provide fair housing for residents. 

The meeting was prompted by concerns from regional representatives of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Last month, a developer withdrew plans to build a 65 apartment unit on Rockford’s east side, where residents of a west side public housing development could move. Some neighbors strongly opposed the plan, causing developer Gorman and Company to pull the proposal: Gorman is expected to rework and resubmit the plan to the city soon.

Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation /

Supporters of a proposed bingo hall in southern DeKalb County will have to wait a little longer for the backing of county officials. 

USGenWeb Project

Members of the public get a chance to weigh in on the options for shrinking the number of townships in McHenry County at an open house Tuesday, August 18,  in Woodstock.

The McHenry County Board Chairman convened a task force made up county and township officials earlier this year to look at consolidating the county’s 17 townships.  That came after a group called McHenry County Citizens for Township Consolidation called for a referendum.  They want to reduce the number to eight.

Rockford Wants Citizen Input On Water System Fix

Aug 12, 2015

The City of Rockford Water Division wants to spend an extra $1 million in each of the next five years to replace aging pipes. Roughly a quarter of the 860 miles of water pipe in the Rockford city water system are 80 years old or older.

Water Division officials suggested that the City Council raise monthly residential water bills between $1.50 and $3.60 to generate an additional 12 percent in revenue for 2016. That would help cover the costs to replace a mile of buried pipe – estimated between $1.5 million and $2.5 million, according to the city.

Clean Power Plan Could Benefit Illinois

Aug 4, 2015

President Obama's new Clean Power Plan could mean good things for Illinois - both environmentally and economically.

The Clean Power Plan will mean dramatic changes to how Illinois coal is used for power production, but Susan Casey-Lefkowitz with the Natural Resources Defense Council says energy trading and collaboration will help ease the transition to more renewable resources.

"Some of this is going to happen with trading between states, and we fully expect states in a region to look across the whole region to try to have their targets be met," Casey-Lefkowitz said.

Schock Challenges Possible Civil Contempt Citation

Jul 30, 2015
Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Former Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock appeared before a federal judge in Springfield this week to challenge a possible civil contempt citation. 

U.S. Attorney's office spokeswoman Sharon Paul says the hearings relate to whether Schock failed to comply with the judge’s order to produce campaign and congressional records.

The matter was postponed, pending a status conference next month. 

Paul declined to comment whether this week’s hearings are related to a grand jury investigation into allegations of Schock’s improper campaign spending.

Six-Year Highway Bill Stalls In U.S. Senate

Jul 29, 2015

Efforts by the Senate to pass a six-year highway bill have stalled.  Instead, the House is scheduled to vote today on another short-term extension and then leave town for its five-week August Break.

If approved, it will be the 34th short-term extension since 2009, but Missouri Republican Senator Roy Blunt says it will likely be the last, for years to come. He says both the House and Senate are committed to using this extension to work out details for a five or six year highway bill.