The Illinois General Assembly voted to make same-day voter registration a permanent feature of state elections.
Democrats allowed it for the first time in this year’s election. As with most changes to election law, there was a fierce debate. Republicans charged Democrats rushed it through and the changes open the door to voter fraud.
But Barbara Flynn Currie, the Democratic Majority Leader, says that’s not true.
Illinois may soon run its own healthcare marketplace under the Affordable Care Act. The General Assembly is working against a New Year's deadline to create its own exchange. That, or risk losing millions of dollars from the federal government. When the Affordable Care Act went into effect last year, Illinoisans began signing up for healthcare in a marketplace technically run by the federal government.
Rockford aldermen approved two architect firms designing a west-side police building Monday. The Rockford Register Star reports is one of three that’ll serve new geographic policing districts as the city moves more stations into neighborhoods.
The building could cost 27 million dollars. Planning is expected to be completed this winter.
Advocates for better healthcare in Illinois’ rural areas say one problem is a lack of doctors. But they believe a long-running program is making a difference.
The Rural Medical Education Program is offered through the University of Illinois at Rockford. The school says the program graduated more than 260 students since 1993. Most of them went to practice in rural communities.
Margaret Vaughn, who is the executive director of the Illinois Rural Health Association, says the program is a big help.
A final roadblock to a chance at freedom for Illinois’ juvenile lifers is now gone. The Illinois Supreme Court ruled back in March that anyone sentenced to mandatory life without parole as a juvenile should be re-sentenced. The Illinois Attorney General and Cook County State’s Attorney appealed the decision, but today the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take it up. Patricia Soung is the attorney for Adolfo Davis, who was sentenced to life in prison when he was 16 years old. She says she expected the appeal to fail.
Lawmakers will consider keeping same-day voter registration for Illinois' general election.
A bill sponsored by State Sen. Don Harmon is scheduled to be presented today in a House committee. It would make permanent a measure passed last spring that allowed same-day voting registration and extended early voting.
The original legislation made the changes effective only for the general election.
Harmon says same-day registration was a successful experiment that's worth continuing. Republicans argued the provisions were intended solely to boost Democratic turnout.
You might notice roads and bridges in need of repair as you drive around this holiday weekend. But revenue from a key funding source, the gas tax, has been declining. It's charged per gallon of gas purchased. U of I professor Don Fullerton says it was created on a simple concept:
"The more you drive, the more gas you use. The more you ought to have to pay for the road. It's sort of a benefit principle of taxation."
Improved mileage in vehicles means less gas is being used. Fullerton says change is needed to keep up with demand:
Just ahead of Thanksgiving, Gov. Pat Quinn has announced $4.5 million of funding for Illinois' food banks.
One of seven Illinois residents doesn't know where, or when, they'll get their next meal.
Director of the Greater Chicago Food Depository Kate Maehr says that's a sobering reality any day. But especially around Thanksgiving.
"At a time that we all come together around a table, to celebrate the joy and the fortune that we have, it is unconscionable to think that there are two million people in the state of Illinois who don't have food to eat."