Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner appointed Beth Purvis to be his point person on education. She's the CEO of Chicago International Charter School and was a member of Rauner's transition team. 

At a meeting of school officials yesterday in Springfield, Purvis fielded questions from the audience. 

"Probably the question that everyone has in the room: What will the governor be sharing with us tomorrow as to how he will fund these plans?"

"I don't like to start with a no comment, but to be candid, I don't know."

Could DCFS Child Abuse Deaths Move Rauner's Budget?

Feb 17, 2015

The number of Illinois children dying from abuse and neglect remains high even after the state’s child welfare agency had been involved with the child’s family, according to a new analysis from WBEZ and the Chicago Sun-Times. It comes as Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has vowed to “transform” the state’s long-troubled Department of Children and Family Services.

Flickr user Brian Timmermeister / "My Bike" (CC BY 2.0)

An Illinois lawmaker wants motorcycle safety to be an official part of driver's education classes. 

The proposal by Republican Representative Tom Bennett would require all behind-the-wheel instruction to include lessons on motorcycle awareness and safety.

Bennett says the concern was raised by some in his central Illinois district.

The Illinois Department of Transportation reports motorcycle fatalities made up 15 percent of all vehicle fatalities in 2013.

Bennett says he purposely kept the proposal’s language general to give schools flexibility.

Legislator: Limit Metal Theft By Setting Up Task Force

Feb 17, 2015

Illinois Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, has introduced a bill to form a task force of metal theft experts. Together they would work to find long-term solutions. He introduced a similar bill last year that passed in the House but not the Senate.

Hoffman said he is sponsoring the bill because of an increase in metal theft recently in the East St. Louis area — everything from copper lines on utility poles to air conditioner coils and carburetors.


A handful of states have already passed measures that would ban the use of drones to hunt or fish, and Illinois could be next.

Senator Julie Morrison sees her bill as a precautionary measure. She says hunting and fishing with drones hasn't yet become a problem in Illinois, but the Democrat from Deerfield wants to make sure it never is.

"Drones are a piece of technology that we are not completely prepared to deal with yet, but this will be one step forward," she said.

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.