Illinois

Wikipedia

Prosecutors are disputing former U.S. Rep. Mel Reynolds' claim that he can't adequately prepare for trial on misdemeanor federal tax charges from jail and will be forced to change his plea to guilty.

A prosecution filing Friday in Chicago federal court says Reynolds has access to a jail library, computers and other materials he needs. 

Reynolds represents himself. He told a judge he's held in solitary confinement and can't access areas of the jail to prepare his defense.

cdispatch.com

The family of a white Chicago police officer who shot a black teenager 16 times has spoken about it publicly for the first time since he was charged with murder.

The wife, father and other relatives of Jason Van Dyke spoke to the Chicago Tribune with the officer's approval, though Van Dyke followed his attorney's advice in declining to be interviewed himself.

They describe Van Dyke as a caring father who dotes on his two daughters. A brother-in-law who is black says it's unfair to assume the teen's race influenced Van Dyke's decision to use deadly force.

Brian Mackey

The Illinois Senate has adopted a plan that would create a uniform, interstate process for drawing political boundaries.

Chicago Democratic Sen. Kwame Raoul's plan was adopted 42-6 Thursday. He says it answers the call President Barack Obama made in February when he addressed the Illinois General Assembly in which he once served.

Obama called for fair redistricting processes that eliminated drawing boundaries to favor one party over another.

Wikipedia

An Illinois judge has tentatively set a trial date well before the November general election in a workplace retaliation lawsuit against Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tammy Duckworth.

Union County Judge David Boie at a hearing Thursday rejected an effort by government lawyers to dismiss the lawsuit, allowing the case to go to trial in August and remain a campaign issue for Duckworth.

The Illinois congresswoman faces Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk in November. Duckworth did not attend the hearing.

"Cigarette" By Flickr User Conan / (CC BY 2.0)

A measure to prohibit tobacco sales to people younger than 21 has failed in the Illinois Senate.

The legislation sponsored by Democratic Sen. John Mulroe of Chicago would not have made young smokers criminals. But supporters say they want to prevent young people from getting hooked.

The proposal failed 23-25 Thursday with three "present" votes.

Opponents argued that 18-year-olds should be able to buy tobacco because they may join the military. That was the argument 45 years ago in lowering the drinking age to 18, which is back at 21.

www.twitter.com/brucerauner

A suburban Chicago man is accused of using voicemail to threaten Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner.

The Kane County state's attorney's office says Jesse M. Kuzma of Elgin called the governor's Office of Constituent Affairs last week and left a voicemail saying, ``If I ever see you, consider this your death threat.''

Kane County Assistant State's Attorney Scott Schwertley says although Kuzma gave no details of carrying out the threat, under Illinois law, a person can be charged if he or she makes a statement regarding a public official's safety.

Guy Stephens / WNIJ

Repairs are on hold to the 105-year-old Black Hawk statue that overlooks the Rock River in northern Illinois.

    

Sauk Valley Media reports that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources is looking for a general contractor to replace Forest Park conservator Andrzej Dajnowski.

Dajnowski says he declined to sign the contract the IDNR sent him for this year because it stipulated repairs be done in a certain way.

Dajnowski says the department hired an engineer who wanted to remove more of the statue's surface than is necessary.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

The Illinois House and Senate approved $700 million to partially finance various human service programs that have gone without state funding since last summer because there's no budget.

    

A House committee on Wednesday unanimously advanced the bill to the full chamber. The measure would use $450 million from a fund dedicated to human services and $250 million from other special funds.

Chicago Democratic Rep. Greg Harris says the bill is intended to be a stop-gap measure until lawmakers and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner agree on a full budget.

Flickr user Brent Hoard "ECU School of Education Class Room" (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois superintendents warned of school closures and staff layoffs as they implored state lawmakers to pass a budget to give them certainty for the fall.

Education funding is the only portion of the budget for the current year that Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner signed, meaning schools have largely been spared the consequences of the budget impasse.

But superintendents from districts including Kankakee, Moline, and Streator expressed worry Tuesday that there's no agreement for next year yet.

illinois.gov

The Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice is moving forward with closing a youth detention center in Kewanee over objections from a bipartisan legislative oversight panel.

Agency Director Candice Jones said in a Tuesday statement that the panel's advisory vote last week is "disheartening," but it's hard to justify keeping the maximum-security facility open.

She says outcomes have been poor and the state can transition to smaller centers proven to rehabilitate youth.

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