Illinois

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A northern Illinois coroner says she believes bones and other material found in a garbage can outside an apartment is a partially decomposed body.

  

Winnebago County Coroner Sue Fiduccia tells the Rockford Register Star the contents of the garbage can discovered in Rockford on Wednesday have been taken to the morgue. 

Police say the garbage can was found outside an apartment that belongs to someone who appears to be a “hoarder.”

Fiduccia says items are stacked high throughout the apartment, making finding and determining what is evidence more difficult.

"Garden" By HomeSpot HQ / (CC X 2.0)

A plan sitting on the Illinois governor's desk could protect gardeners and some of the places they get seeds.

Seed libraries and seed swaps have become more popular as a way for gardeners to share. However, in some other states, regulations can effectively shut them down. 

Those consumer protections are primarily meant for commercial seed sellers and can require expensive testing to make sure the product is what it claims to be.

"Flag" by Flickr User Julian Carvajal / (CC X 2.0)

An Illinois prosecutor says she will not file charges against a man whose flag-burning protest led to his arrest on Independence Day.

Champaign County State's Attorney Julia Rietz said in a statement Tuesday that she will not file charges against Bryton Mellott of Urbana because flag burning is "protected free speech."

Pictures posted on Mellott's Facebook page over the weekend showed him holding a burning American flag. He wrote that he's "not proud to be an American."

Flickr user Pictures of Money / "Money" (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois legislators haven’t been paid in months, but that’s about to change.

Legislators get a base salary of about $5,600 a month -- or they did.

A few months ago, Comptroller Leslie Munger announced that lawmakers’ paychecks would get placed in a cue, along with the rest of the state’s bills. It can take a while to make it to the front of the line because Illinois doesn’t have money to pay all of its bills.

It’s a persistent problem that’s been exacerbated by the budget impasse.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Moody’s Investor Service is out with a warning that the just-passed stopgap spending plan is not enough for Illinois’ public universities.

On Thursday, lawmakers were extolling the measure’s support for higher education. 

Republican state Sen. Chapin Rose of Mahomet highlighted funding of Monetary Award Program – or MAP – grants, for low-income students.

“Pay out the remaining MAP grants from ’16," he said. "It will help our community colleges and also, very importantly, it will invest in adult education to put people back to work in this state.”

cyberdriveillinois.com

Illinois lawmakers have voted to require extra time for motorists to renew license plates if state officials don't notify them.

The House voted unanimously Thursday to require a 30-day grace period after expiration if a motorist was not notified of the impending deadline by mail.

The Senate voted 59-0 on the legislation in May.

The long-running state budget stalemate created an unexpected windfall for state coffers. Secretary of State Jesse White stopped mailing notices of license expirations last fall to save $450,000 in monthly postage.

Governor Bruce Rauner signed Illinois Senate Bill 10 on Thursday.

It now gives post-traumatic stress disorder patients access to medical marijuana and extends the state’s pilot program until July 2020.

It also opens the program to those with a terminal illness with a diagnosis of six months or less.

And it will regulate how doctors approve patients for other debilitating medical conditions.

mapamendment.org

Advocates for reforming how Illinois draws its political boundaries will try to persuade a judge that their proposed November ballot measure meets constitutional muster.

Attorneys are due in the court Thursday for oral arguments.

The Independent Map Amendment group says letting an independent commission run redistricting would remove politics from the process.

An attorney linked to top Illinois Democrats filed the lawsuit claiming the measure isn't constitutional.

flickr user/Chris "Fireworks" (CC BY 2.0) / http://bit.ly/1NxqYWA

Independence Day weekend is almost here, which means some may want to celebrate with fireworks. But what is legal in Illinois, and what is safe?

State fire officials say hand-held fireworks – like roman candles and bottle rockets – are illegal in the state. Those who buy or use them could face up to a year in prison and a $2,500 fine.

While novelty fireworks are legal, Illinois State Fire Marshal Matt Perez says they could still be dangerous.

About a dozen Illinois newspapers are using their front pages to send a blunt message to the state's political leaders to end the state's year-old budget stalemate.

Newspapers in Springfield, Chicago, Peoria and elsewhere published the simultaneous editorials Wednesday as lawmakers return to the Capitol to debate budget proposals.

The Southern Illinoisan in Carbondale directed Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic leaders to "Do Your Job." Others joined with similar editorials on their opinion pages.

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