Illinois

Flickr user Brent Hoard "ECU School of Education Class Room" (CC BY 2.0)

A measure pending in the Illinois legislature would help high school students know what kind of college credit to expect for their advanced placement test scores.

High school students taking AP exams know they have to score at least a three on a five-point scale to pass, but they don't know which Illinois universities will give them credit for that score.

A score of three on a Biology test might earn college credit at Western Illinois University, for example, but not at Illinois State. Same goes for all 34 AP tests across all Illinois universities.  

Caveman 92223 / Flickr

Illinois forfeited 13,000 pages of documents to attorneys who are challenging how the state awarded one medical marijuana business license.

This is the first release of this kind of material, but the records remain closed to journalists and the general public. The disclosure could soon shed light on the secretive process.

The records include applications from five companies that competed for a grower’s permit in a region covering Kankakee County.

The case is one of several similar lawsuits that are being closely watched by the new marijuana industry.

Durbin Requests EPA To Hurry On Ethanol Standards

May 11, 2015
Senate.gov

Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin says the Environmental Protection Agency is taking too long to set minimum levels for the production of Ethanol and Biodiesel. 

Durbin joined several other Senators in pushing the EPA to set levels - that are nearly three years past due.

By statute, the EPA is responsible for setting the minimum number of barrels of renewable motor-fuels that must be allowed into a marketplace dominated by petroleum companies.  

Durbin says the biofuels industry is critical on several basic levels.

nurseslabs.com

A Cary-Grove High School student has a confirmed case of bacterial meningitis. 

The McHenry County Health Department notified the high school district. The department is now contacting people who might have been in close contact with the student and referring them to their primary physician for treatment as a precautionary measure.

Loyola University

The Illinois senate recently passed a measure that would provide free GED tests and college tuition to people who have been wrongfully imprisoned. 

The grants would require legislative appropriation, and recipients would have to obtain a certificate of innocence from the circuit court. 

Dan Kotowski is a Chicago Democrat who sponsored the plan.

Flickr user / Andrew "Chickens" (CC BY 2.0)

Agriculture officials in Iowa say bird flu will claim an additional four-million chickens on two more farms in a county already hit hard by the disease.

Officials say the latest outbreak of avian influenza has hit chickens at two farms in Iowa’s Wright County, although tests for the disease still need final confirmation. 

The county earlier reported a farm with almost three-million chickens affected.

Iowa's chicken loss is approaching 25 million.  That’s more than 40 percent of the state's egg-laying flock.

Pension Ruling Puts Illinois On 'CreditWatch'

May 11, 2015
WUIS

Credit ratings agencies had swift reactions to the Illinois Supreme Court decision Friday that found the state's 2013 pension law unconstitutional.

Illinois was expecting to save billions by reducing  retirement benefits for state workers, teachers and university employees. But not any more, thanks to a unanimous decision by the state's high court invalidating the law.

A credit rating may not seem like a big deal. But when your budget is staring down a 20-percent deficit and your rating is already worst in the nation, it could be significant.

Some students at Northern Illinois University took a stand in light of Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed budget cuts to higher education. 

Rauner proposed a $400 million spending cut to state universities in February. NIU would have to take about a 31 percent cut as a result, which would amount to about $29 million. 

conference.incschools.org

A survey commissioned by the Illinois Network of Charter Schools shows support for school choice.

The poll questioned mostly white voters. Most were reached via landlines and were outside of Cook County, where the vast majority of Illinois charter schools are located. 

But it’s inside Cook County where the support for expanding charter schools was the lowest at 57 percent.

Representative David McSweeney, a Republican from Barrington Hills, says he would support legislation to expand charters because these independently-run schools give families options.

Rauner Asks Chicago Aldermen For Budget Partnership

May 7, 2015
Rachel Otwell

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is asking Chicago aldermen to be his partners in fixing state and city finances.

Before Rauner stepped foot into City Hall chambers, aldermen and union members made their feelings about him known. The mayor didn’t stop them.

Floor leader Pat O’Connor lead the charge against Rauner’s plan to make union membership and dues voluntary.

“The right to work zone is not the right to work a good living,” O’Connor said. “It’s the right to have a second-hand job.”

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