Illinois

WCBU

Candidates seeking Illinois's 18th Congressional District seat vacated by Aaron Schock reiterated their positions during a second debate this week.  

State Senator Darin LaHood and Rob Mellon also talked about campaign finance reform.  

Mellon, a Democrat from Quincy, says the way districts are drawn helped LaHood raise $1.5 million in campaign donations.

“And so they create these very safe districts, and they’re money making schemes,” Mellon said.

That charge was dismissed by LaHood, a Peoria Republican.

WUIS

A marijuana advocacy group is urging Illinois lawmakers to accept Governor Bruce Rauner's changes to a marijuana decriminalization plan. 

In his amendatory veto, the Governor supported lowering penalties for possession of pot but he did tighten the amount someone could have to avoid a criminal charge.  

The National Organization to Reform Marijuana laws says it's still a move in the right direction.

A last-minute appointment former Governor Pat Quinn made after losing last year's election has spurred a new law.

Lou Bertuca was a political operative, a key player in Quinn's ultimately failed campaign.

Shortly before Quinn left the governor's mansion, he helped make sure Bertuca had his next job locked up.

Quinn appointed Bertuca, then 30 years old, to a multi-year contract with an annual salary of $160,000 as CEO of the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority.

dojmt.gov

The Illinois Attorney General is hailing a new state law that will prevent hospitals from billing survivors of sexual assault for medical forensic exams.

Lisa Madigan, who pushed for the legislation, says it removes a barrier that may keep some rape victims from going to the hospital immediately after the crime.

Federal law requires Illinois to certify that survivors are not being billed for “rape kit” exams. That’s a condition of receiving federal funds.

WUIS

Despite great weather, Illinois's State Fair, which fell later in August than usual, saw a huge decline in attendance.

At the state fair's kickoff earlier this month, Gov. Bruce Rauner announced his love of the event.

"I hope everybody in Springfield, everybody around the state, come on out," he said before the fair's opening parade.

Instead, figures show attendance fell by half. The state says 411,500 people went through the fair's gates, versus the 847,000 who showed up last year.

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

The portion of the gas tax collected when you fuel your car is supposed to be forwarded to Illinois municipalities. They use it to fill potholes, or buy road salt.

Instead, that money is trapped in the budget stalemate.

Macomb Mayor Michael Inman says this month's skipped payment is preventing cities from repairing roads.

"Mayors find themselves in a holding pattern as we wait for the state to take action,” Inman said. “Winter is fast approaching, and time is not on our side."

Big Storm Anniversaries Highlight Nature's Wonder

Aug 26, 2015
WREX

This is a big week in meteorological history. Friday is the 25th anniversary of the Plainfield tornado that killed 29 people…and it’s 10 years since hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans.

College of DuPage Meteorology professor Paul Sirvatka says researchers are still learning from the severe weather events. He says they sent a message that goes beyond the science of severe weather.

Comptroller: Illinois On Pace To Rack Up $5B Deficit

Aug 25, 2015
state of Illinois

Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger's office says required payments by the state are putting it on pace to rack up a $5 billion deficit.

Munger's office said Tuesday it doesn't have enough money to write timely checks to service providers even on court-ordered payments. 

The comptroller writes Illinois' checks but has been hamstrung because Gov. Bruce Rauner and lawmakers are deadlocked on a budget. 

Munger spokesman Rich Carter says the Republican is managing the cash shortage and paying nonprofits first. 

state of Illinois

Illinois nears the end of August, and there's still no state budget in place. But House members will return to Springfield today.

The Illinois House controls the fate of a measure that's not a budget bill, per say, but which Gov. Bruce Rauner says could have major financial ramifications for the state.

It'd prevent his ability to lock out state workers -- something he's said he won't do -- as well as forbid employees from striking. Instead, an arbitrator would settle an impasse if Rauner and the AFSCME union can't agree to a new contract.

WUIS

The Illinois National Guard's commanding officer says for years the guard has been planning for the biggest catastrophes that could affect Illinois, like an earthquake in southern Illinois along the New Madrid fault.

Major General Richard Hayes Junior says trying out those plans is at the heart of an exercise in Springfield this week, simulating a 7.7 magnitude quake.

Hayes says he'll incorporate lessons learned following the Hurricane Katrina disaster ten years ago.

Pages