Illinois is the latest state to join a national program aiming to reduce childhood obesity. 

Gov. Bruce Rauner announced a new campaign from the National Foundation for Governors' Fitness Councils yesterday. 

Rauner says Illinois has some of the highest childhood obesity rates in the nation. He says the program has had a “huge impact” in other states.

The program encourages teachers to look for innovative ways to improve students' fitness and nutrition. Three schools will be selected as “National Champion Schools” and will win fitness centers valued at $100,000.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Some of Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock's current and previous employees will appear before a federal grand jury next month, and a former State Representative from Quincy says she won't seek Schock’s open congressional seat. 

The government has been looking into Schock's House office expenses, his re-election campaign spending and his relationships with long-time political donors. The Justice Department issued subpoenas as part of the investigation. 

Schock, a Republican from Peoria, plans to step down today. 

NIU Center for Governmental Studies

New U.S. Census data shows Illinois had nearly 10,000 fewer residents in 2014 than the previous year.

That’s the largest population decline of any state in the country and the first statewide population dip since the mid-1980s. 

Another Potential Candidate Surfaces For 18th District Seat

Mar 26, 2015
state of Illinois

Bloomington Construction Company owner Ed Brady may run for Congress in the 18th District. The seat will be vacant at the end of the month with the resignation of Representative Aaron Schock of Peoria.

Governor Bruce Rauner has until April 5th to announce a special election schedule. Ed Brady says he will make a final decision whether to run after the election is scheduled.

More Illinois State Politicians Contemplate Schock's Seat

Mar 25, 2015

More Illinois politicians are eyeing Aaron Schock’s congressional seat after he leaves office next week. 

Republican former state representative Jil Tracy of Quincy is one of them. She served eight years in the legislature before making a failed bid for Lieutenant Governor last year. 

Tracy says she has experience with her family’s business, DOT foods, and would bring business savvy to the Congressional seat.

state of Illinois

There's a reason analysts say Illinois has the nation's lowest credit rating. It has the nation's largest unfunded pension liability. 

Credit analysts like Moody's Ted Hampton are waiting to see what the Illinois Supreme Court has to say about Illinois' 2013 law reducing workers' pensions. 

A ruling against the law it may not further downgrade Illinois' worst-in-the-nation credit rating. That's because Hampton says the rating already presumes it's not feasible. 

But Hampton says there is way the justices' decision may nudge the rating higher.

Brian Mackey/Illinois Public Radio

When lawmakers in Springfield begin crafting a state budget for next year, they'll have $2 billion less to work with than they had last year.

That decrease stems from a drop in state's income tax rate. But a new survey says Illinoisans would be up for new revenue, if it meant fewer cuts.

Republican Bruce Rauner said he'd be open to new revenue sources, like expanding service taxes and taxing retirement income. But since being elected, Rauner has tweaked that message:

Illinois Child Care Bureau

There's been a lot of attention on the effect of the budget shortfall's immediate effect on a state-subsidized day care program in Illinois. But child care providers and parents are also worried about Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed cuts to next year's budget.

state of Illinois

A proposal in the Illinois House would let cities and towns declare bankruptcy.

Many municipalities say they’re struggling to pay for local police and fire pensions. Backers of bankruptcy say it would give mayors more leverage in negotiating with unions.

Public University Presidents Protest Higher Ed Budget Cuts

Mar 22, 2015
state of Illinois

Presidents from three universities met with lawmakers yesterday to object to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s budget. The proposal includes a nearly 32 percent funding cut for public universities.

Illinois State University says it might have to cut 400 jobs. But University of Illinois President Bob Easter told Senator Chapin Rose, a Republican from Mahomet, that relief from procurement rules could save the U of I 70 million dollars.

Other school presidents have blamed procurement rules for delaying projects and driving up costs.