Illinois

Friday was Girl Scout Day at the Capitol, and hundreds of Girl Scouts marched to the Statehouse to learn more about government and the history of Illinois.

About 2,000 Girl Scouts gathered in the Illinois capital to earn their Citizenship badge.

Kate Peters of Girl Scouts of Central Illinois says during part of the expo, the girls spoke to women in different careers.

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Federal lawmakers from Illinois and Missouri want the Obama Administration to scrap a proposed rule defining so-called “Waters of the United States.” They say the proposal gives the federal government too much control over water in yards and on farms.

Missouri Republican Vicky Hartzler is one of several lawmakers co-sponsoring legislation to block the new rule. Illinois U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis also is a sponsor for the bill.

WUIS

  Abraham Lincoln's hometown re-enacted his burial 150 years later in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield. 

A funeral procession made its way through the streets of the capital city this weekend. It was replete with men wearing Civil War soldiers’ costumes and women in hoop skirts carrying black mourning parasols. 

There also were replicas of the ornate coffin, hearse and train car that carried the 16th president's body. 

The Illinois National Guard's leader, Adjutant General Daniel Krumrei, says the guard is headquartered at Camp Lincoln in Springfield.

rampcil.org

A group of social service advocates is out with a report looking at how northern Illinois would be affected by Governor Bruce Rauner’s proposed budget cuts. The RAMP Center for Independent Living is one of the agencies involved in the Responsible Budget Coalition’s analysis. 

It’s not a direct budget cut for RAMP; it’s a proposal to reduce the number of clients served by its Home Services Program by making it more difficult to qualify.

Flickr user Tim (Timothy) Pearce / "Prison cell with bed inside Alcatraz main building san francisco california" (CC BY 2.0)

  Illinois Department of Corrections officials say they still do not know when they will have enough beds to care for prisoners with mental illnesses.

The prison system has been in a legal battle over mental health care since 2007.

Late last year the state submitted a remedial plan to a federal judge, but prisoners suing say the department isn’t following it.

In a new court filing, the state says it still doesn’t know when all 12 hundred beds required will be added.

Jennifer Vollen Katz is with prison watchdog The John Howard Association.

alplm.org

The director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum supports the proposed separation of the museum from its current government home, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. 

But Sunny Fischer, the chair of the IHPA, says the existing structure works well as it is.

"This structure calls for IHPA to handle administrative work like accounting and human resources, while leaving the presidential library and museum free to focus on serving the public as it has done so well," Fischer said.

Flickr user oatsy40 / "Coal" (CC BY 2.0)

There's a new player in a battle over energy policy that's playing out at the Illinois Capitol.

Exelon wants support for its nuclear plants, a renewable energy coalition wants to require more wind and solar, and now a coal company and its supporters want in on the action.

The latest push would give the state's coal industry a boost.

housedem.state.il.us

Members of the Illinois House observed a moment of silence for peace in Baltimore before adjourning for the week. 

There were riots in the city this week following the death of Freddie Gray while he was in police custody. 

The moment of silence in Springfield was led by State Representative Marcus Evans. The Chicago Democrat says he's proud of bipartisan efforts to make Illinois a better place.

"Fighting the battle for equality here in Illinois, for restorative justice here in Illinois," Evans said. "We've got a lot of work to do."

Flickr user Daniel Borman / "Money, Money, Money" (CC BY 2.0)

A top official with Gov. Bruce Rauner's office confirms Illinois will restore $26 million in funding for a tobacco quitline, programs for autistic children and other social service grants. 

Projections show the state is taking in more money than expected.  While some cuts will remain, the windfall frees up money to reverse the cuts Rauner made with little warning on Good Friday, in early April.

The news has Joanne Guthrie-Gard beaming. 

"I'm ecstatic," she said. "I'm so excited."

Wikipedia

Proposed cuts to Amtrak in next year's budget could mean less public transportation for Illinois. 

Dan Johnson is a representative for the High Speed Rail Association. He blames the lack of funding on the rollback of the temporary income tax hike at the end of last year. 

Johnson says the state needs the additional revenue from higher taxes.

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