Government

Government and Legislature

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.

AFSCME

Illinois Democrats approved legislation Thursday to require arbitration for union contract disputes.

The state's biggest public employee union -- The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME -- supports changing the process.

Contract negotiations between AFSCME and Gov. Bruce Rauner's office have stalled. Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, says the legislation would help both sides get a deal done.  

A police group says the lack of a state budget is making Illinois a more dangerous place to live.

Rauner touted proposals that would begin to inch toward his goal of reducing Illinois’ prison population by 25 percent over the next decade. But elsewhere in the Capitol, law enforcement officials warned that the lack of a state budget means crime prevention programs are shutting down.

“I am upset at the governor," Tom Weitzel, the police chief in Riverside, said.

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