Illinois

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

The Illinois Senate this week takes up a measure placing a nickel-a-minute cap on the rates charged to prison inmates for phone calls.

     

State Representative Carol Ammons’ bill cleared the House last week.  The Urbana Democrat says Illinois makes 12-million dollars a year from those calls… more than any other state.   

ilga.gov

Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino told lawmakers today he doesn't want people to question his integrity. But he declined to respond to questions.

Illinois Republican lawmakers used a legislative audit  hearing to continue pressuring Mautino on what his critics call excessive... and possibly unethical... spending listed in his campaign finance reports.   

Mautino, who took office in January after years as a Democratic state representative, says he'll answer those questions on May 16 at a hearing with the State Board of Elections. 

The status hearing scheduled this week involving NIU Controller Keith Jackson and university officials has been reset to Aug. 30.

In 2015, Jackson filed suit for wrongful termination against NIU, the university’s Board of Trustees, President Doug Baker, and former interim CFO Nancy Suttenfield.

The decision to move the status hearing in Rockford follows a motion by the defendants to dismiss the case. Keith Jackson must respond to that motion by May 19. NIU and Baker then must reply by early June. 

Sterling Main Street Has Chance At $25K Prize

May 9, 2016
America's Main Streets / Independent We Stand

Twenty-five thousand dollars – that’s the cash prize one community in the WNIJ listening area could win in a national main street contest.

Sterling is one of three Illinois communities nominated as a quarterfinalist for the “America’s Main Streets” competition. That’s hosted by the small-business and “buy local” movement Independent We Stand.

Number Of Shigella Cases Spikes In Rockford

May 9, 2016
cdc.gov

The number of cases of shigella in Rockford has exceeded 300.

The Winnebago County Health Department predicts the number will surge this summer.

Todd Kisner, with the Department’s Center for Health Protection, says the outbreak can’t be pinpointed to one place.

“Typically, when we see an outbreak of shigella, it’s usually confined to a daycare or a school," Kisner said. "But what we’re seeing with our community outbreak is – it’s going across the community."

Kisner says strict hygiene is the best defense against the bacteria.

www.cyberdriveillinois.com

Illinois collected another $1.6 million from late-vehicle registration fines in April to more than double its year-to-date haul from the same period last year as residents go without renewal reminders because there's no budget.

Last month's fines bring the total this year to $6.5 million.

Illinois collected nearly $3 million in fines during the same four-month span last year.

The Illinois Secretary of State's office provided the figures to The Associated Press. The office stopped mailing renewal reminders in October to save an estimated $450,000 a month on postage.

ilga.gov

Questions continue to swirl regarding irregular campaign expenses reported by Auditor General Frank Mautino from his time as a Democratic state representative.

Republican legislators formally requested in February that Mautino explain the spending.

State Representative Grant Wehrli of Naperville says three months later ... they're still waiting.

He and other Republicans held a press conference expressing their frustration. They also released a copy of a letter they just sent Mautino ... saying his delay is eroding the public's trust in his office.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

A $454 million bill to increase funding for financially struggling Illinois colleges and universities has cleared the state Senate.

Lawmakers approved the bill on a near unanimous vote and sent the measure to the House on Thursday.

Democrats who control the Legislature and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner have been unable to agree on a budget since July 1, and higher education institutions have been forced to lay off staff.

Last month, lawmakers used $600 million left over in an education fund to help colleges make it through the summer.

anitaalvarez.com

Cook County's embattled state's attorney has asked to recuse her office from prosecuting a case involving a white Chicago police officer who shot a black teenager 16 times.

If the judge approves, it would clear the way for the appointment of a special prosecutor, which activists and civil rights attorneys have demanded.

Cook County Circuit Judge Vincent Gaughan said Thursday that announce his decision about the request June 2.

An Illinois lawmaker is responding to the Dennis Hastert hush-money case with a proposal to give prosecutors the right to pursue child sex abuse charges no matter how long ago the crimes occurred.

The former U.S. House Speaker was sentenced to 15 months in prison last week in a hush-money case that revealed accusations he sexually abused teenagers decades ago while coaching high school wrestling in Yorkville, Illinois.

Hastert was prosecuted for breaking federal banking rules but not on the sex-abuse allegations because of a statute of limitations.

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