Government and Legislature

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. 

State of Illinois

An Illinois task force for local government consolidation and unfunded mandates released its final report today.

Gov. Bruce Rauner created the Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force almost a year ago. Its purpose was to find ways to restructure local government functions to save taxpayer money.

Flickr user ynse / "dna rendering" (CC BY 2.0)

A bipartisan group of Wisconsin legislators is trying to move a bill mandating the state destroy defendants' DNA samples if they're found innocent.

Current Wisconsin law requires police to take DNA from anyone arrested for a violent felony and send the samples to the state Justice Department's crime lab.

Convicted felons, sex offenders and anyone convicted of a misdemeanor also must surrender their DNA.

If a defendant is found not guilty or delinquent he or she can ask the DOJ to destroy their DNA samples and purge all records of the samples.

New Sentencing Law Affects Minors

Dec 31, 2015
State of Illinois

A number of new laws take effect January 1st. One such law affects young people who are convicted of crimes. Illinois minors will no longer face mandatory life sentences without parole.


A lawsuit that could determine the fate of fantasy sports betting in Illinois could go to trial next summer.

Boston-based DraftKings and the Illinois Attorney General agreed to an expedited schedule and a bench trial in a lawsuit that could determine the fate of daily fantasy sports betting in the state.

An order filed in Cook County Circuit Court shows Lisa Madigan agreed to respond to DraftKings' complaint by January 22nd. A trial could begin by June.

DraftKings' attorney said in a statement the company and its legal team “are confident” they will win their case.

State of Illinois

After four DUI convictions, drivers in Illinois permanently lose their licenses. But some who fall in that group could get the chance to drive again in 2016.

A new law that goes into effect in January will allow those with four DUI’s on their record a chance to apply for a restricted license. To get one, applicants would have to prove they have been sober for three years. 

Flickr user Pictures of Money / "Money" (CC BY 2.0)

Reimbursements for some Illinois county positions haven’t been paid since July – even though they’re required by law.

That’s because of the state budget gridlock.

Those positions include each county’s state’s attorney, public defender and assessment supervisor.