Illinois

Medical marijuana retail shops in Illinois saw a slight increase in sales in May compared to the previous month.

Program director Joseph Wright says registered dispensaries sold nearly $2.3 million worth of marijuana in May to more than 5,100 patients. April sales were $2.2 million.

May's figures bring the total retail sales of marijuana in Illinois to $10.8 million since purchasing began Nov. 9, topping the $10 million mark for the first time.

Illinois now has 37 registered dispensaries and about 7,000 qualified patients.

Brian Mackey

The inability of Illinois Democrats to agree on a budget leaves open a window for Governor Bruce Rauner to push one of his own.

The Republican is doing a campaign-style tour to push for a skeleton budget. He says it would keep government's basic functions going until January -- except for education. 

He wants schools fully funded, for the whole year. Making sure schools have the money to open come fall is a top priority for most legislators. But they’re divided over how much to spend on education.

"RIP Aisle 10" By Flickr User Quinn Dombrowski / (CC X 2.0)

Illinois House members have approved a plan that would make feminine hygiene products more affordable for women by exempting them from the state sales tax.

The Senate approved the proposal by a vote of 59-0 on Tuesday. The plan goes to Gov. Bruce Rauner next.

The measure that would make tampons, menstrual cups and other feminine hygiene products tax-exempt is a part of a national movement to eliminate the so called "pink tax."

Supporters of the plan say the higher tax on women's products is discriminatory.

The Illinois House has approved a plan to expand the state's medical marijuana pilot program by two-and-a-half years and add post-traumatic stress disorder and terminal illness to the list of allowed conditions.

Lawmakers voted 86-27 on Monday to advance the measure, which Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner supports.

It now goes to the Senate, where it's expected to pass.

Illinois' four-year pilot program is set to sunset at the end of 2017. Under the bill, it will continue to July 1, 2020.

Steve Johnson / Flickr/Creative Commons

Illinois lawmakers are commissioning a report from the state's Environmental Protection Agency in an effort to better monitor lead levels in state water supplies.

A resolution the House Environment Committee approved Monday would require the state agency to conduct a study of lead in Illinois drinking water and publish results online. The agency would present a report to Gov. Bruce Rauner and the state Legislature between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31.

Brian Mackey

Illinois legislators took time during session today to honor troops killed in war.

Senator Mike Hastings is a Democrat from Tinley Park, and also a combat veteran.

He says Memorial Day is a day to honor the fallen.

"But I also think that it's a day to remember what you learned from their lives. And it's an obligation amongst yourselves to share their memories, to ensure that they're not forgotten," Hastings said.

100 Club of Chicago

Gov. Bruce Rauner has vetoed a plan to reduce Chicago's payments to its police and fire pension funds for each of the next five years.

He says it's the kind of “irresponsible” practice that led to Illinois' deep financial woes.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said after the Friday veto that the Republican governor “just told every Chicago taxpayer to take a hike.'' Emanuel says it will lead to ``the Rauner tax.''

The Legislature approved the measure last year. Democrats said it would save the retirement funds without crushing taxpayers.

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

The Illinois Senate has approved a second method for revamping school funding just days before the Legislature's scheduled adjournment.

The proposal by Democratic Sen. Kimberly Lightford of Maywood would rewrite the state-aid formula beginning with the 2017-2018 school year with an interim funding and fairness boost for his fall. It passed 31-18.

The interim plan would establish a funding "foundation" for each district similar to Bunker Hill Democratic Sen. Andy Manar's plan the Senate OK'd this month.

The director of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice has announced her resignation.

    

A news release from Gov. Bruce Rauner's office on Friday says Candice Jones is “transitioning out of the administration” and will leave June 1.

Rauner named agency operations director Jesse Montgomery as acting director.

The release did not say why Jones is resigning after two years. A spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Where Illinois’ Medical Marijuana Program Stands

May 27, 2016

Illinois’ medical marijuana program is just getting started.  The first stores opened last fall and some 6,000 people are now approved to buy cannabis through the pilot program. That number is much smaller than what many advocates say is needed to create a viable business.  There are a number of factors behind the slower-than-expected rollout of a pilot program scheduled to expire in January 2018.

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