Brian Mackey / Illinois Public Radio

Spring break is over for Illinois legislators, who return to the Capitol this week.

It's been a month since the Illinois House convened.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has continually said lawmakers were wrong to take a recess, saying he "expressed my frustration to the leadership in the supermajority - both the President and the Speaker - that they had their caucus leave Springfield for a month when we're in the middle of this crisis."

Retail sales of medical marijuana in Illinois increased by roughly 30 percent in March compared to the previous month.

Program director Joseph Wright says the state's registered dispensaries sold $1.9 million worth of marijuana in March to more than 4,700 patients. It was the best month yet in sales for the program.

Illinois now has 32 registered dispensaries where qualified patients can buy the drug. Three new dispensaries registered in March.

Wright says approximately 5,500 patients now qualify for the program.

"cutest baby foot" by Flickr User Lisa Borbely / (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois lawmakers are considering whether midwives -- who aren't nurses -- should be legally permitted to oversee home births.

Democratic Representative Robyn Gabel of Evanston says it's a matter of safety. She's sponsor of a measure that would establish training and other standards.  

Gabel says close to one thousand Illinois women hire midwives to help deliver their babies now. She wants the practice regulated.

Illinois motorists paid nearly $2 million in March for failing to renew vehicle plates on time, showing the fines are growing at a significant rate since the cash-strapped state stopped mailing renewal reminders.

The latest numbers bring the total haul for the state this year to $4.9 million.

By comparison, the state collected $2.2 million during the first three months of 2015.

The figures were provided Friday to The Associated Press by the Illinois Secretary of State's office.

"Dennis Hastert 109th pictorial photo" by United States Congress

A judge overseeing Dennis Hastert's hush-money case has appointed a Northwestern University doctor to review the former U.S. House speaker's medical records.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin said in a filing Thursday that Dr. Robert Golden would conduct the review, which was ordered last month after Hastert's sentencing was delayed because his lawyers said he had nearly died and remained in poor health.

Hastert is now to be sentenced April 27.

'Come On, Come On' - Really, It's Cheap Trick Day

Apr 1, 2016

It’s “Cheap Trick Day” in Illinois today. That’s not an April Fool’s joke.

Cheap Trick will be performing live their newest album “Bang, Zoom, Crazy…Hello” at the Metro in Chicago today.

On April 8th, Cheap Trick will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

State Senator Dave Syverson passed a law in 2007 to dedicate April 1st to the band with Rockford origins.

Cheap Trick has sold 21 million records and holds 40 gold and platinum record awards.

The Chicago police union says it has hired as a janitor the officer charged with first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of a black teenager.

Dean Angelo, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Chicago, says the union hired Jason Van Dyke about three weeks ago.

Van Dyke is accused of shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times in 2014.

The shooting was captured on squad-car video and has prompted investigations, including a federal civil rights probe of the Chicago Police Department.


A federal judge has issued an arrest warrant effective at midnight for a former U.S. congressman from Illinois who says he is staying in South Africa with his ill daughter.

Former U.S. Rep. Mel Reynolds is free on bond in a federal tax case. 

The Chicago Tribune reports U.S. District Judge John Darrah ordered the warrant issued Thursday.

Earlier Thursday, Reynolds told the judge in an open letter that he's staying abroad to care for his daughter in the African nation because she is suffering from scoliosis and may also have cervical cancer.  

Associated Press

President Barack Obama has commuted prison sentences of five Illinoisans, including three serving life terms for drug crimes.

The Illinois inmates were among 61 drug offenders whose sentences Obama commuted Wednesday. One of the inmates, Jesse Webster of Chicago, is serving a life term for intent to sell cocaine and filing false tax returns. Webster is to be released Sept. 26.

The two others serving life sentences are Larry Nokes of Quincy and Ismael Rosa of Chicago. Nokes is to be released July 28 and Rosa next March.

WUIS / Peoria Public Radio

Gov. Bruce Rauner is expressing frustration at the lack of progress in Illinois budget negotiations with Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan and says his efforts to set up a one-on-one meeting have gone nowhere.

The Republican governor on Wednesday accused Madigan and fellow Democrats of "playing games" by purposefully stalling on talks so they can argue for "a huge tax hike."

Madigan spokesman Steve Brown says Rauner's responsible for the gridlock for vetoing the budget lawmakers passed last year.