Many Illinois community colleges and universities will not cover low-income tuition waivers in the fall, unless they get state money.


That's the message from higher education leaders to the state's 125,000 students who are eligible for the monetary assistance program, or MAP, grants.

Public colleges and universities that have so far covered the cost for MAP students are sounding the alarm that they may not continue.

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (L) and Tammy Duckworth

President Barack Obama has officially endorsed Democratic U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth for Senate, saying “few people fight as passionately for our veterans.''


Obama says in a statement Wednesday that he asked Duckworth to serve in his Veterans Affairs department and that she ``served with purpose and distinction.''

Duckworth is challenging Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk. It's expected to be one of the most competitive races as Democrats try to retake control of the Senate.

"Window" By Flickr User Sam Howzit / (CC BY 2.0)

Sober homes in Illinois are under more government supervision than in other states.

Illinois has been licensing the facilities since the 1990s following complaints about crowded, hazardous conditions.

Today, complaint investigations are conducted on licensed homes as well as anyone attempting to operate one without a license.

Illinois has 90 licensed sober homes, a number that has grown about 10 percent over the past three years.

Theodora Binion, retired director of Illinois' Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, says they are cost-effective.

Flickr: West Midlands Police / Photo cropped from original

Illinois lawmakers are expected to consider a plan to ease public access to police dashboard and body cameras under state open record laws.

The House Judiciary Criminal Committee will hear the plan by Chicago Democratic Rep. Art Turner on Wednesday.

The plan was spurred by the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in Chicago in October 2014. The shooting was captured by a Chicago police cruiser's dashboard camera but the video was made public only after a judge's order more than year later.

Susan Stephens/Roberta F / Creative Commons

Senate Democrats are taking another bite at the school funding apple.

Senator Andy Manar -- a Democrat from Bunker Hill -- has tried for years to get Illinois to send more money to poor districts.

Until now ... that has meant taking money from wealthier ones.

Manar's latest plan would still do that … but gradually. Next year, no district would lose state money.

Manar says his plan eliminates special deals, so all school funding is distributed fairly.

Governor Bruce Rauner has created a task force charged with finding fraud in taxpayer-funded health care programs.

The Republican today used his executive authority to form the group. It'll seek ways to prevent waste in state- and federally funded Medicaid ... the state employee's health insurance ... and even costs of caring for inmates in Illinois prisons.

Rauner says the cost of state-run health care programs increases when no one watches to stop abuse and fraud.

"Not 100% Effective" By Flickr User Nate Grigg / (CC BY 2.0)

Lawmakers overwhelmingly oppose a plan to allow pharmacists to prescribe hormonal and oral contraception, but the measure may come back.

The House Health Care Licenses Committee opposed a plan by Schaumburg Democrat Michelle Mussman on Tuesday that would give pharmacists the right to prescribe contraception as well as dispense it.

Mussman says her plan would expand access to contraception to low-income women who cannot afford to see a doctor.

Brian Mackey / Illinois Public Radio

Spring break is over for Illinois legislators, who return to the Capitol this week.

It's been a month since the Illinois House convened.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has continually said lawmakers were wrong to take a recess, saying he "expressed my frustration to the leadership in the supermajority - both the President and the Speaker - that they had their caucus leave Springfield for a month when we're in the middle of this crisis."

Retail sales of medical marijuana in Illinois increased by roughly 30 percent in March compared to the previous month.

Program director Joseph Wright says the state's registered dispensaries sold $1.9 million worth of marijuana in March to more than 4,700 patients. It was the best month yet in sales for the program.

Illinois now has 32 registered dispensaries where qualified patients can buy the drug. Three new dispensaries registered in March.

Wright says approximately 5,500 patients now qualify for the program.

"cutest baby foot" by Flickr User Lisa Borbely / (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois lawmakers are considering whether midwives -- who aren't nurses -- should be legally permitted to oversee home births.

Democratic Representative Robyn Gabel of Evanston says it's a matter of safety. She's sponsor of a measure that would establish training and other standards.  

Gabel says close to one thousand Illinois women hire midwives to help deliver their babies now. She wants the practice regulated.