State Lawmakers Discuss Rauner's Power Over Pensions

Mar 10, 2016
Brian Mackey

Illinois lawmakers are considering whether to let Governor Bruce Rauner reduce or delay pension payments.

The measure would give the governor the power to make unilateral cuts and reallocate money around state government.

Rauner's budget director says the governor would rather get a bipartisan deal -- including pension changes -- instead of going it alone.

Senate President John Cullerton has a pension proposal Rauner supports. But Cullerton says his legislation is not a quick fix for the state's massive pension liability. 

Illinois Panel Pushes Proposal To Reduce Pot Penalties

Mar 10, 2016

An Illinois panel advanced a proposal that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.


People caught with 10 grams or less of cannabis would pay a maximum fine of 200 dollars.  

Brandon Nemec is with the Cook County State's Attorney's Office. He says it’s a more efficient use of law enforcement officers.

Chicago Public School principals have been told to stop spending because the district is short of the cash needed to keep operating for the remainder of the school year.

Each of the district's geographic school networks was given a savings goal with the hope of saving $45 million.

School officials told the principals the district was stockpiling its remaining cash to make a $688 million pension payment on June 30.

The payment comes weeks before new property tax revenue is to be deposited in CPS bank accounts.

The widow of a suburban Chicago police officer who authorities say staged his suicide to appear he was gunned down in the line of duty has been charged with conspiracy for allegedly helping her husband siphon money from a youth program.

Melodie Gliniewicz was charged in January with felony counts of money laundering and disbursing charitable funds without authority for personal benefit.

Officials say Wednesday's conspiracy charge is an additional and alternate way of charging her with the same offenses.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is returning to Illinois to campaign ahead of the state's March 15 primary.

Clinton will appear at an event in the Chicago suburb of Vernon Hills.

Her campaign organization says Clinton will discuss her plans to “break down the economic barriers that favor those at the top and build an economy that works for everyone.''

Clinton is coming off a loss Tuesday to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Michigan primary.

She had an overwhelming victory in Mississippi.

"Drug Store" by Flickr User Consumerist Dot Com / (CC BY 2.0)

The Illinois Senate is considering legislation to exempt feminine hygiene and incontinence products from the state sales tax. 

Lawmakers passed the measure out of committee yesterday.

Democrat Melinda Bush calls it an unfair tax on women and seniors, who frequently buy these items.

"They're spending hundreds of dollars every couple weeks on the products. You can imagine if you're in Chicago where it's 10.25 percent.  I mean, literally, these are utility bills for our seniors,” Bush said.

Jenna Dooley

Early voting is underway in northern Illinois for the state’s primary contests.

Find an Early Voting location in your area

Illinois’ primary is March 15, but many people aren’t waiting until then to cast their ballots.

At Northern Illinois University’s Holmes Student Center, senior journalism major Jazmin Kelley had a very simple reason to vote before next week.

Chicago State University had a visit from the Higher Learning Commission this week regarding its accreditation status. That came after the school declared financial crisis about a month ago due to the Illinois state budget impasse.

But how does state funding affect university accreditation?

Higher education officials say taking away accreditation is generally treated as a last resort. But if a school loses its state funding, it could put its status at risk.

State of Illinois

A federal lawsuit claiming sexual harassment by former Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford names four other staffers who allegedly complained of unwanted sexual advances by the one-time gubernatorial hopeful.

Edmund Michalowski filed a sexual harassment lawsuit in February 2014 that destroyed Rutherford's Republican bid for governor against eventual winner Bruce Rauner. Rutherford claimed it was a dirty political trick.

Mary Altaffer/AP

The wife of Republican presidential contender Ted Cruz made a campaign stop in southern Illinois yesterday.

Heidi Cruz greeted a standing room only crowd at Eckert’s Restaurant in Belleville.

Her visit comes less than a week before the state’s primary -- which could prove critical to her husband’s chances at winning the nomination.

Cruz is widely seen as Donald Trump’s main Republican rival.

And Heidi Cruz says state voters will be attracted to her husband’s consistency.