Flickr user Tim (Timothy) Pearce / "Prison cell with bed inside Alcatraz main building san francisco california" (CC BY 2.0)

A commission created by Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner recommends reducing prison populations with a focus on treatment, curbing racial bias and emphasizing rehabilitation with punishment.

The Criminal Justice Reform Commission made 13 recommendations in its final report delivered to Rauner on Tuesday.

The commission suggests increasing post-prison services in communities with high numbers of ex-inmates.


The Illinois General Assembly voted Tuesday to expand sick leave rights.

Under the change, people would be entitled to paid time off to care for stepchildren and domestic partners.

State Representative Peter Breen, a Republican from Lombard, has opposed same-sex marriage, but says adding domestic partners was simply about keeping Illinois consistent with federal law.

“I don’t believe we were making a great statement on some social issue of the day, really doing anything other than trying to make sure the people of Illinois can use their Sick Leave Act,” Breen said.

"Electronic thermometer" by Flickr User Emil / (CC X 2.0)

A high school in St. Charles has cancelled classes after a widespread stomach virus caused hundreds of absences.

The Daily Herald reports that about 800 of St. Charles East High School's 2,000 students missed class Monday. District 303 spokesman Jim Blaney says the majority of them reported symptoms of a stomach virus.

Classes were cancelled Tuesday after a mass email Monday evening asked parents to respond if their child was healthy and would be attending class. Students will return to school Wednesday at the earliest.

Communities in Illinois are adopting their own penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana now that state law has eliminated the possibility of jail time.

The Tribune-Star reports that the law passed last year provides that people caught with 10 grams or less of the drug be issued citations carrying a fine of $100 to $200. Possession of such an amount was previously a misdemeanor carrying up to six months in jail and fines of up to $1,500.

The new legislation allows local governments to set their own standards concerning the amount of marijuana and fines.

Steve Johnson / Flickr/Creative Commons

Illinois elementary schools and daycares would have to test drinking water for lead and notify parents of the results under newly-filed legislation.

The plan was introduced Monday in the final days of the current legislative session. The proposal applies to all public and private schools built before 2000 with students through grade 5.

Illinois has roughly 2,500 elementary schools. Many including over 300 in Chicago have already tested. The proposal also covers licensed daycare centers.

Environmental experts estimate it'll cost between $500 and $5,000 per facility.