Government and Legislature

Children of public university employees may see their tuition waivers taken away if an Illinois lawmaker's proposal is approved.

Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, says it costs the schools about $10 million a year to offer half-price tuition to employees’ children.

"I see the state of Illinois pretty much on a lifeboat,” Franks said, “and we're sinking and we can't afford to do everything. I wish we could, but this is not the time that we can continue to have these type of perks."

Brian Mackey/Illinois Public Radio

The newly appointed Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform includes a significant number of members who are well known as advocates for a more rational approach to criminal justice — that is, basing sentencing decisions on what's most likely to rehabilitate an offender while also protecting the public.

America is heading toward the day when whites will no longer make up the majority of the population. And U.S. children will get there soon, according to a new U.S. Census Bureau report. The agency also says the overall U.S. population will grow older — and grow more slowly — in coming years.

By around 2020, "more than half of the nation's children are expected to be part of a minority race or ethnic group," the Census Bureau says, putting Americans under the age of 18 at the front of a trend that will see the overall population follow suit some 20 years later.

Prescription-Reform Bill Aims At Heroin Problem

Mar 3, 2015
Amanda Vinicky

Legislation intended to combat a heroin epidemic has been introduced by a bipartisan group of legislators.

Longtime Rockford Police officer Rep. John Cabello, R-Machesney Park, says more than 40 people died last year from overdosing in Winnebago County

"The measures in this are going to be a little controversial to some folks,” Cabello said, “but when we realize that lives are more important ... if we are going to look at trying to solve the problem, we need to look at all of the solutions."

Most people don't think of alcohol – especially the kind you consume -- as anything but a liquid.
But the makers of a controversial product called Palcohol, or powdered alcohol, are trying to regain approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

It is being opposed from those who say it can be used inappropriately or cause people to consume too much alcohol.

State Sen. Ira Silverstein, D-Chicago, says that, even though the product is not yet on the market, it still poses a danger. He's sponsoring a measure to ban it in Illinois.

Amanda Vinicky

Just over 50 top state officials came together Wednesday afternoon for their first cabinet meeting with new Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner. Journalists were invited to hear the Republican chief executive's opening remarks.

Rauner's Cabinet gathered in one of the capitol's largest, and nicest, committee rooms; members milled about, making small talk and introductions.

Some were recently appointed by the governor and are new to Illinois government; others are holdovers from former Gov. Pat Quinn's administration.

A major credit rating agency has come out with a blunt assessment of Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed budget for Illinois.

The budget Rauner presented last week calls for massive cuts in state spending -- without any increase in taxes.

Moody's Investor Service dismisses the chance that parts -- let alone all -- of the plan will ever become a reality.

During his inauguration speech, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan announced a new mission -- figuring out what Illinois can do to prevent violence, like mass shootings at schools. A bipartisan task force formed to study the issue will meet for the first time today in Chicago.

Look back at the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Columbine, Northern Illinois University, and Rep. Greg Harris says you'll see commonalities. Like missed opportunities to help the killers with mental health issues that had been detected, but weren't properly treated.

Rauner Proposes Deep Spending Cuts In First Budget Address

Feb 18, 2015

Gov. Rauner presented his first budget proposal to lawmakers Wednesday.


Illinois’ finances are ailing. That’s been a story for years, but the situation got a lot worse at the beginning of the year when a tax cut took effect.

The Republican is proposing significant cuts to everything from healthcare for the poor to colleges and universities.

Sycamore Daycare Owner Fears Budget Cuts

Feb 18, 2015
state of Illinois

Illinois’ Governor and state lawmakers face a multi-billion dollar budget shortfall. Possible solutions include cuts to state programs.  Some recipients are preparing to fight back.

Michele Baker-McElroy is the owner of Once Upon a Time Childcare facility in Sycamore.   She’s concerned about the loss of funding that helps keep her business running.

"Our facility serves 78 children which ninety percent are funded through the childcare assistance program," said McElroy.

McElroy says that she’s worried their future is uncertain, and the feeling is all too familiar.