Illinois

Police Body Cameras On Lawmakers' List

20 hours ago
Chris McDaniel/St. Louis Public Radio

In the wake of officer-involved deaths in Ferguson, Baltimore and New York City, Illinois lawmakers are looking at how to change state laws regarding police officers.

In the final days of the General Assembly's session, Rep. Elgie Sims, Jr., D-Chicago, says he'll sponsor legislation that would require police to wear body cameras. He says the package also would ban law enforcement officers from using chokeholds.

Little Cubs Field Hosts Eighth Pee-Wee Classic

20 hours ago
Katie Finlon / WNIJ

Sixteen teams from Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa played in a tournament at Little Cubs Field in Freeport this Memorial Day weekend. It's the eighth Pee Wee Classic since the field opened, and the diamond is the closest to-scale replica of Wrigley Field you can find. 

At least, that's according to its owner Denny Garkey.

Veterans Share Their Stories In 'Veterans' Voices'

21 hours ago

Western Illinois University's Department of English and Journalism published the first edition of "Veterans' Voices," which is a collection of writing by those who have served.  

The publication is more than a literary exercise. It's an attempt to create conversation.

Lawmakers Get Back To The Grind Today

May 22, 2015
Illinois Public Radio

Illinois legislators took a weekend break, but there are major issues unresolved heading toward their May 31 adjournment.

A handful of Gov. Bruce Rauner's initiatives were introduced -- term limits, restrictions on where lawsuits can be filed, minimizing what companies are responsible for when it comes to workers' compensation claims, and a property tax freeze.

"It's time that we get down to business and really start making a difference in how we do business in the state," Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno said.

WUIS

The PARCC test, associated with the Common Core, will be somewhat shorter next year. 

Illinois was one of 11 states to administer the test this year, and parents complained it was too long. It would take up to 10 hours and spread across two sessions -- one in March, another in May.

The PARCC consortium voted this week to reduce the test by about an hour and a half and consolidate it into one session instead of two.

Anne Morris, a test coordinator for a Springfield school district, says that’s what she's been hoping to hear.

Senate Votes To Allow Bobcat Hunting

May 22, 2015
WUIS

Bobcats, beware. Illinois lawmakers have renewed their call to lift a ban on hunting bobcats.

Former Governor Pat Quinn vetoed a previous attempt in one of his last acts as governor. Bobcats are off limits to hunters now, and democratic Sen. Linda Holmes of Aurora wants to keep it that way.

"There isn't a need to get rid of this animal, which is a native predator species in the state," Holmes said.

She says the bobcat population is fragile, and unlike hunters' other prey -- which carnivorous eaters can turn into a meal -- bobcats are solely hunted as trophies.

Binding Referendum To Tax Illinois Millionaires Stalls

May 22, 2015
Flickr user 401(K) 2012 / "Money" (CC v. 2.0)

As Illinois lawmakers grapple with a budget shortfall, a measure to impose a tax on millionaires' income stalled.

Adding a surcharge to income over a million dollars to raise more money for Illinois schools was a concept Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan introduced last year, but there wasn't enough support. Now, as Illinois faces a $6 billion budget gap, he brought it back.

"We're simply asking those that have done well in life to help our educational system," Madigan said.

Flickr user Thomas Ricker / "Bully" (CC BY 2.0)

The school year's end is drawing near for many Illinois communities, but bullying won't necessarily end when classes do. A new city ordinance might change disciplinary actions for those offenses, but will it be enough to get bullies to stop?

Flickr user Parker Knight / "Chopperz 10" (CC BY 2.0)

Two tax policy organizations with distinct views released a joint report about Illinois revenue. 

It outlines how taxing services, such as haircuts and pet grooming, could generate up to two point one billion dollars in new annual revenue.

Ralph Martire, who is from the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, says Illinois has one of the most narrow tax bases in the country.

WBEZ

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is pushing to restructure the retirement benefits of county employees. But she needs Springfield’s help to do it -- and that’s proving to be a challenge.

Like the state of Illinois and City of Chicago, Preckwinkle wants to lower the costs of pensions for Cook County. That’s in spite of legal questions.

Some key unions argue her plan is unconstitutional. But Preckwinkle has other hurdles to clear before it’s tested in court.

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