The acting head of the authority that investigates complaints against Chicago Police will tout her plans for reforming the agency following outrage over shootings by police including one in which a video showed a white officer shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times.

Sharon Fairley, appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to reform the Independent Police Review Authority, will hold a news conference on Monday to outline “her vision for the agency.''

Gov. Rauner Explains Vacation Secrecy

Jan 4, 2016
Carl Nelson/WNIJ

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner says he spent his nearly two-week holiday vacation in Spain and Morocco with his family. 

Rauner said Monday he didn't publicly disclose where he was traveling because of concern for his six children.

"I don't want it around the Internet where my kids are," Rauner said.

Rauner left the country the weekend of Dec. 19, but his staff wouldn’t disclose where the governor went. Groups including the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform raised concerns about the lack of detail, following Rauner’s campaign pledges of transparency. 

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

About half of Illinois high school graduates who went on to enroll in community colleges had to take remedial courses, according to a report released by the Illinois State Board of Education.

The board used data from the Class of 2013, matched with data from the Illinois Community College Board.

The Community College Board’s director -- Karen Hunter Anderson -- says Illinois participates in a program designed to boost graduation rates, and ranks fairly high.

Jeff Bossert / Illinois Public Media

Governor Bruce Rauner says state government has help for flood-damaged counties -- but not in the form of money to cover flood-related expenses.

Rauner visited the Douglas County town of Villa Grove yesterday, part of a three-day tour of flooded counties that have been declared state disaster areas. 

He says the state's inability to provide flood-relief funding has nothing to do with Illinois’ budget impasse.

WNIJ's Gas Price Monday: January 4, 2016

Jan 4, 2016
Carl Nelson/WNIJ

For the most part, gas prices across the state are below $2 per gallon.

According to AAA, a gallon of regular gas in the Rockford area costs $1.91 on average. That’s two cents less than last week and about 18 cents less than last year.

Chicago prices are at $2.34 per gallon. That's one cent more than last week, but about 22 cents less than a year ago.

Brian Mackey/Illinois Public Radio

Under a new law, mental health providers in Illinois will be barred from attempting to change the sexual orientation of patients under eighteen.

Chicago Democratic Representative Kelly Cassidy says attempts at changing minors’ sexual orientation can be traumatic for children and their families.

"Pumpkin Pie from a *real* pumpkin" by Flickr User browniesfordinner / (CC BY 2.0)

Starting this month, pumpkin pie will join the list of official state symbols, which includes a state flower, fossil and dance.

Some might question the need to add a state pie to that list, especially during a time when the state doesn’t even have a budget.

But supporters of the new law say it’s important not to forget about the positives — like the fact that Illinois grows most of the pumpkin that is processes and consumed in the country.

Keith Sommer is a Republican Representative who sponsored the law creating a state pie.

Revelers ringing in the new year in Chicago will be able to ride the bus and train for free.

The Chicago Transit Authority announced Wednesday that free rides will begin at 10 p.m. Thursday and run through 4 a.m. Friday. The CTA will increase the frequency of service on some popular routes that night.

The free rides are sponsored by MillerCoors. Organizers say it's a safe travel option for people celebrating.

Riders shouldn't use their fare cards during the free ride period because no refunds will be issued. Signs will remind riders about the free rides.

Black legislators say Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner hasn’t done enough in the wake of the release of police shootings of LaQuan McDonald and other African Americans.

When asked by reporters, Gov. Rauner said he cried after watching the 2014 video of black Chicago teenager LaQuan McDonald getting shot 16 times by a city cop.

“That video — shocking, terrifying. I cried for the young man who was brutally shot," he said.

In recent days officers responding to a call killed two other black Chicagoans.

The Illinois attorney general has ruled that Governor Bruce Rauner's office has withheld too much information on his daily appointment calendars from taxpayers.

The state's public access counselor issued an opinion in response to an appeal under the Freedom of Information Act by The Associated Press.

Public access attorney Joshua Jones says the AP correctly argues that Rauner's staff improperly used exemptions under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act to keep his whereabouts and activities secret.