Government and Legislature

Brian Mackey / Illinois Public Radio

It’s been 10 months since the Illinois Supreme Court struck down the state’s last attempt at a pension overhaul. Legislators have yet to decide what to do about Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation pension debt, but they are beginning to weigh their options.

One set of proposals would let employees collect their pension as a single payment when they retire.

A new measure would force people to get state IDs when they’re released from the Illinois Department of Corrections.

It took Deangelo Hampton two months to get an ID after he was released from prison.

“They talking about you can use your jail stuff to get state IDs, that’s just a lie,” Hampton said. “We went through a lot.”

The state doesn’t allow prisoners to use their release papers to prove their identity. Many former prisoners don’t have their birth certificate or social security card.

Todd Ryburn / CC by 2.0

Bobcat hunting season starts this November in most of Illinois, but rules are still being worked out. The deadline for public comment is Monday, March 7. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is closing the 45-day comment period.

state of Illinois

The Illinois House passed legislation Thursday to pay nearly $4 billion for higher education and social services -- but without new revenue to back it up. 

Democrats like House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, a Democrat from Chicago, cast the package as a compromise with Gov. Bruce Rauner. It allows him to avoid repaying money taken from special state funds, a notion Rauner has endorsed.

"It's not the best idea since sliced bread," Currie said, "but it is the governor's idea, and I'm willing to give him the courtesy of a yes vote."

Illinois Lottery

A pilot program allowing the Illinois Lottery to sell tickets online will expire before the end of the month.

There's no time for lawmakers to keep the program alive before then. The House adjourned until April.

Republican Rep. Ed Sullivan from Lake County sponsored a measure to make the pilot program permanent.

"Because it's a process that has done well," Sullivan said, "and it's done well for bringing money into our schools."

But Democrats prevented it from advancing.