Rauner Speaks On Rockford Uber Launch

Feb 16, 2015

Rideshare company Uber is now up and running in Rockford, Aurora, Champaign-Urbana and Bloomington-Normal.  Customers request rides through a smartphone app, and Uber drivers use their own cars.

Gov. Bruce Rauner was in the University of Illinois Research Park for the announcement Sunday. He said bringing the service to university towns helps areas traditionally underserved by cabs. 

The Governor said he’s glad former governor Pat Quinn vetoed a bill that would have placed statewide regulations on rideshare services like Uber, in favor of conventional taxicabs.

Illinois Department of Corrections

DNA helped exonerate more than 300 people in the U.S. Among the most recent was Christopher Abernathy, who was freed last week from a northern Illinois prison. He served almost 30 years for rape and murder. 

The Illinois Innocence Project, based at the U of I Springfield, provided DNA testing in that case. Its founder, Larry Golden, says he's seen a change in how people view the justice system and its mistakes in the past two decades.

A new plan to change the school funding formula is emerging in the legislature. Jason Barickman, a Republican state senator from Bloomington, plans to introduce a bill, which he believes will be supported by Governor Bruce Rauner.

“Think about something else he said yesterday, in the context of his criminal justice reforms. In announcing those reforms, the governor embraced an evidence-based model, and that’s what this is.”

Flickr user Claus Rebler / "Sick" (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois public health officials report 11 people were diagnosed with measles, including an Elgin Community College student. 

A notice on the ECC website says the student attended classes Feb. 3 and 5 and visited the library Feb. 3.

Cook County public health officials confirmed yesterday the most recent case involves an infant associated with KinderCare in Palatine. Officials say eight other infants and one adult from the day care have also been diagnosed.

Health officials recommend anyone exposed and not vaccinated stay out of school for three weeks.

An Illinois woman facing federal charges of funneling money and military supplies to extremist groups was arrested in Germany. 

Online federal court records show Jasminka Ramic of Rockford was arrested Tuesday and is awaiting extradition to the U.S. No lawyer was listed for her.

Ramich is charged with sending $550 to support the fighters and their families in 2013.

state of Illinois

Since his election in November, Gov. Bruce Rauner expressed surprise about what he says he's "discovering" in the state's budget. As a bill for the state's childcare assistance comes due, Rauner is preparing to ask for special budgeting powers.

Next week, Governor Bruce Rauner will introduce a new spending plan for Illinois. But that’s supposed to focus on the next fiscal year; he also has to worry about the current budget.

State agencies are supposed to be running out of money at the end of the fiscal year, in June. Today, there’s no more money for a subsidized day care program or to pay prison guards. The budget lawmakers passed last spring–when Rauner was still a candidate–was intentionally incomplete.

Illinois Legislature Forms Prayer Caucus

Feb 9, 2015
State of Illinois

Illinois has become the 15th state to form a Legislative Prayer Caucus, similar to one already in place in Congress.  Its members will work on issues of religious freedom.  

Republican Senator Sam McCann of Carlinville says he heard from voters who wanted it.

“It was really due to the diligence of the constituents of the people. It didn't start with either congress or me or the statehouse it started because the constituents of the people were engaged.”


A company proposing to run power lines through Illinois wants to be declared a utility. 

Clean Line Energy Partners wants to build transmission lines to carry wind energy from the plains states to Illinois. If they are granted utility status, they would have a shot at eminent domain powers along the route of the so called "Grain Belt Express" in west central and southern Illinois. 

The company's Mark Lawler says they'd prefer to acquire the land in negotiations, but eminent domain helps with the planning:

Flickr user Claus Rebler / "Sick" (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois and Cook County public health officials are investigating several measles cases in a KinderCare Learning Center in Palatine.

All students and staff at the facility were notified, and anyone who has not received the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine is instructed to stay home for the next 21 days.

The cluster includes five children younger than one year old. It is unknown if the cases can be traced back to another case in Cook County or the outbreak that began at Disneyland.