Illinois

tammyduckworth.com

A judge in southern Illinois has set an Aug. 15 trial date in a workplace retaliation lawsuit filed against U.S. Senate candidate Tammy Duckworth.

The Democratic congresswoman is challenging Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk in one of November's most competitive Senate races.

Two employees of a home for veterans say Duckworth violated state ethics laws by taking action against them when she was head of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs.

Duckworth's supporters call the case a politically motivated nuisance lawsuit.

Flickr/Boroda

Lawmakers scrambling to find money to fix Illinois' multi-billion dollar deficit are looking to sugary drinks as one potential source of revenue.

 Taxing distributors of sodas and other sugary beverages was among the revenue-generating ideas a group of lawmakers proposed to Gov. Bruce Rauner and other leaders last week.

They're trying to finally end an epic budget impasse.

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

Roughly 24,000 workers who care for disabled residents in their homes would make at least $15 an hour in legislation headed to the governor.

The Illinois House approved the plan 67-44 Wednesday. The workers unionized by SEIU Healthcare Illinois may continue negotiating for higher wages.

Rep. Sonya Harper says the employees get $13 an hour doing physically taxing and often unpleasant work. She says allowing disabled residents to stay at home saves the state money in nursing home costs.

FLICKR User Jim Bowen

An estimated eight thousand union members flooded streets in front of the Illinois Statehouse today to protest Governor Bruce Rauner's agenda.

Annette Edwards is a member of the Service Employees International Union. 

She riled the crowd saying she lost her job as a child care worker after the governor cut eligibility for the program.

Secretary of State's Office

Applicants visiting Illinois driver services facilities will no longer be issued a new permanent driver's license or identification card at the end of the application process. Instead, they will leave the facility with a temporary paper driver's license, which is valid for 45 days.

Jenna Dooley

A northern Illinois food assistance program has been drawing heavily on community donations due to the state’s budget impasse.

Colleen Bredeson is the community outreach coordinator for the Voluntary Action Center in Sycamore, which administers the area Meals on Wheels program.

Brian Mackey

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says he’s optimistic Democrats and Republicans can reach a big compromise on a budget deal.

        

But time is running out before a big deadline at the end of the month.

The state’s now gone 10 and a half months without a budget. Court orders kept the much of the government’s lights on.

Governor Rauner says he’ll be negotiating this week but he doesn’t expect a deal until the last second on May 31st.

That’s because starting June 1st - procedures change and it takes more Yes votes to pass a budget.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has vetoed legislation to allow an arbitrator to settle state-employee wages and working conditions if union negotiations stall.

In his veto message Monday, the Republican governor called the bill “dangerous,” adding it would replace his bargaining power with a union-friendly arbitrator.  

Ruling Democrats can try to override the veto.

AFSCME's state council Executive Director Roberta Lynch says the bill is a compromise to avoid a strike.

ilga.gov

Members of the Illinois State Board of Elections today took another step in their investigation of Auditor General Frank Mautino.

They voted to ask for more information about his campaign spending — spending that Republicans have called excessive.

Campaign finance reports show Mautino, a Democrat, paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to Spring Valley Bank and a single service station.

The election board gave Mautino’s old fundraising committee until July 1 to turn over more documentation.

Flickr User James Bowe / "Lightbulb" (CC BY 2.0)

The nuclear, coal and renewable-energy industries find themselves vying for the attention of Illinois lawmakers this legislative session.

Lawmakers are trying to work on the state budget impasse, but energy providers hope they will focus on legislation to deal with Illinois' long-term power needs before the scheduled May 31 adjournment.

The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers reports that all three industries back measures that they say are vital to the state's energy future and economy.

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