Illinois

"End Construction" by Flickr User Chris Lasher / (CC X 2.0)

Good-government advocates are criticizing the head of an agency that manages state construction projects for asking builders to lobby lawmakers to restore funding.

    

An email obtained by The Associated Press was sent Tuesday by Jodi Golden, executive director of the Gov. Bruce Rauner's Capital Development Board.

Golden's government email implored ``Construction Industry Partners'' to urge lawmakers to break the budget deadlock and approve more than $2.1 billion to resume construction this year and more for next year.

An attempt to reach a deal on Governor Bruce Rauner's pro-business, anti-labor demands isn't working out for House Democrats who are set to go it alone on a new state budget.

    

That's the takeaway from a meeting between Rauner and the legislative leaders this morning.

Republicans, led by Rauner, say they won't increase taxes to balance the budget until they get fundamental economic changes.

To that end, bipartisan groups of legislators have been meeting in private on the governor's agenda.

House Speaker Michael Madigan says he told Rauner:

mapamendment.org

A coalition wanting to change the state's redistricting process has cleared a big first hurdle. But it has another one ahead.

The State Board Of Elections says the group Independent Maps did collect enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot. Enough of them passed a sample test by the elections board.

Two years ago, a similar effort fell flat when the petitions failed to get that clearance. 

That doesn't mean the redistricting question is guaranteed a spot on the November ballot.

Exelon

Nuclear energy workers were in Springfield Tuesday in a last-ditch effort to save two of Exelon's Illinois plants.

The energy behemoth says that, unless legislators pass a law by the end of this month, it will shut down the plants in Clinton and the Quad Cities.

Jeff Bartz, who's from Colona, says that would lead to a loss of thousands of jobs and wipe out a big part of the regional tax base. Bartz says nuclear power has advantages.

fbi.gov

Authorities have identified a man found dead after two FBI agents were shot and wounded while trying to serve an arrest warrant at a suburban Chicago home.

A Cook County medical examiner's office spokeswoman says the dead man was 50-year-old Melvin Toran. She says a cause of death hasn't been determined because an autopsy is pending.

The Illinois Department of Corrections website says Toran was paroled from prison on Feb. 18, 2013. It does not indicate what he was convicted of.

State of Illinois

Illinois' top political leaders remain divided. Tomorrow there will be only eight days left for them to reach a budget deal.

It's crunch time, says Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno:

"It is critically important that we complete this task within the next eight days or it becomes much more difficult."

More difficult, because it takes a supermajority -- rather than a simple one -- to pass a budget after the end of this month.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has gone out of his way to strike an optimistic tone that it can happen.

Flickr user / kristin_a (Meringue Bake Shop) "Vote!" (CC BY 2.0)

A plan allowing automatic voter registration in Illinois is advancing through the Legislature despite concerns from the leading state election authority that would have to implement it.

Backers want Illinois to join Oregon, California and West Virginia in modernizing voter registration. They say it cleans up voter rolls and boosts civic participation.

However, the Illinois State Board of Elections says it's opposed because officials don't currently have a program to put it into place and it could cost millions of dollars.

U.S. Government

The Supreme Court won't reconsider its decision to reject former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's of his corruption convictions.

The justices on Monday denied without comment a long-shot petition urging the court to take another look at the case.

The court first turned down Blagojevich's appeal on March 28. He challenged an appeals court ruling that said Blagojevich crossed the line when he sought money in exchange for naming someone to fill the vacant Senate seat once occupied by President Barack Obama.

Illinois GOP Convention Discusses Trump, Same-Sex Issues

May 23, 2016

Illinois Republicans discussed many topics in Peoria at their 2016 convention over the weekend.

 

Party leaders called for party unity behind the November GOP ticket, despite rarely mentioning presumptive nominee Donald Trump’s name. They also have a resounding, but divisive, answer to whether the state party platform includes an acceptance of same-sex marriages.

 

City of Rockford

Two Auburn High School students in Rockford won a sign contest meant to reduce speeding in neighborhoods.

Out of 35 submissions overall, Angelica Morales and Chase Heim were named as the winners during a city council meeting for their design with the slogan, “Slow down. Kids matter.”

Both students won a city and park district prize package that included movie tickets and passes for various city activities.

Rockford traffic engineer Jeremy Carter says the number one complaint the city traffic division gets is speeding in residential areas.

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