Illinois

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Northern Illinois University's visual and performing arts students are “taking the stage” at the Egyptian Theatre next week.

The attempt by Illinois House Democrats to make sure state workers can be paid without a budget was suspended Thursday in the face of opposition from Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

A court order has kept paychecks flowing since July 2015, but Attorney General Lisa Madigan is asking a judge to review that decision.

Rauner says he wants workers to be paid, but he came out hard against the Democratic plan, which would assure their paychecks only through June 30.

Flickr user JayMase / "Physical Education" (CC V 2.0)

Illinois Democrats are calling on Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner to propose legislation based on an education funding reform plan that a commission he convened released last week.

But Education Secretary Beth Purvis indicated such proposals should come from legislators.

Purvis testified Thursday before the Senate Education Committee about the panel's recommendations on how to fund Illinois schools more equitably. Lawmakers called it a step forward but suggested the governor use it as a framework for legislation to keep proposals from receiving a partisan label.

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Democratic lawmakers from Chicago have proposed bills to make former President Barack Obama's birthday a state holiday.

All three bills would make Obama's birthday, Aug. 4, an official holiday.

Two House bills, proposed by Democratic Reps. Andre Thapedi and Sonya Harper, would make Aug. 4 a "legal holiday,'' in which state government offices shut down, and schools and businesses have the option of closing.

Under the Senate bill co-sponsored by Democratic Sen. Jacqueline Collins, "Barack Obama Day'' would be commemorative only and not a holiday.

CREDIT "COURTROOM ONE GAVEL" BY FLICKR USER BETH CORTEZ-NEAVEL / (CC BY 2.0)

A group of agencies and businesses that provides services to state government has opened a second front in the legal fight to get Illinois to pay billions in past-due bills.

The Pay Now Illinois coalition filed a lawsuit Thursday in St. Clair County demanding that state officials pay bills dating to July.

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