Supporters of changing how Illinois draws its legislative maps are defending their effort in court.


The initiative is facing a lawsuit, similar to one that brought down a redistricting plan two years ago. Both attempts would have a commission to draw districts, instead of lawmakers themselves.

David Mellett is the Independent Maps campaign manager. He says the 2014 judge's ruling helped guide this year's plan.

Flickr user / alamosbasement "old school" (CC BY 2.0)

More than a dozen school superintendents have written a letter to Republican Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner accusing him of playing politics with education funding.

School leaders including from Chicago, Peoria and East Moline sent the letter Monday to Rauner. They say schools won't open on time and call Illinois' funding formula the nation's most "regressive." 

They also claim stand-alone school funding bills Republicans introduced at session's end continue unequal spending.

Susan Stephens

Efforts are underway in Illinois to find a way to increase the monarch butterfly habitat in the state. 

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources says it's hosting an online survey this month and having a conservation meeting in Springfield in September. Experts say the monarch population has declined by as much as 90 percent over the last 20 years. Federal officials have identified Illinois as a high-priority area for conservation work. 

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says there's "a lot more work to do" on transparency as the city publicly released information about 100 cases of alleged police misconduct.


Emanuel said in a statement that releasing the videos Friday morning was an "important next step" in the city's efforts to be more transparent with police issues.

The Independent Police Review Authority released videos, audio recordings, police reports and other materials.

"E. coli Bacteria" by Flickr User NIAID / (CC X 2.0)

The Illinois Department of Public Health is working with other health agencies to investigate a multi-state outbreak of E. coli.

Officials say of the 38 people infected, four are from Illinois. There have been no reported deaths.

According to a news release, flour produced at a General Mills facility in Kansas City, Missouri is a likely source of the outbreak.

It also says on May 31, the company recalled several sizes and varieties of Gold Medal Flour, Gold Medal Wondra Flour, and Signature Kitchens Flour due to possible E. coli contamination.

"Electronic Stethescope" By Flickr User Ted Eytan / (CC BY 2.0)

The Illinois legislature has sent the governor legislation amending the state law that decides when doctors can object to caring for a patient based on moral principle.


Now, the right of conscience law says medical providers who don't want to give reproductive services -- like prescribing birth control or performing an abortion -- don't have to. That won't change. But lawmakers say a doctor must give a patient information on where to get those services.

Uncovering Glidden Family History One Layer At A Time

Jun 3, 2016
Jessie Schlacks / WNIJ

Digging sounds have become familiar to Eli Orrvar. He's an archeology graduate student at Northern Illinois University.


Orrvar spends each day working on the excavation of the Glidden Homestead barn in DeKalb. The digging process began last month.

Orrvar says the excavation is more complex than just digging in the ground. 

"You find an area of interest and you just start digging layer by layer -- sifting through the soil finding artifacts, a lot of documentation about how deep you're digging, what you're finding, how the soil is," Orrvar said.

Civil rights attorneys are pressing for a special prosecutor to investigate whether other Chicago officers on the scene where a policeman shot a black teenager in 2014 attempted to cover up the circumstances.

A Cook County judge announced Thursday he would appoint an outside prosecutor in the case of Officer Jason Van Dyke, who fired 16 shots at 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

But Cook County Circuit Judge Vincent Gaughan put off a decision on the petition for the prosecutor to conduct a broader investigation that could lead to charges against other officers.

A Democratic state lawmaker wants Democratic Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino to take a leave of absence after learning federal officials questioned him about campaign expenses.

In a letter sent Wednesday, state Sen. Laura Murphy of Des Plaines asks Mautino to step aside until the investigation is complete. Murphy says a leave is in the best interest of state government and taxpayers.

Phil Masterton / WNIJ

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner joined a number of local lawmakers in Loves Park to address the budget situation.


The officials didn’t hold back. Rauner was already quoted as saying the spring session of the General Assembly ended in “stunning failure.”

Over the last few days, Rauner has been criss-crossing the state to draw attention to his disappointment.

He made a stop Thursday morning at the Winnebago/Boone County Regional Office of Education.