Illinois

mapamendment.org

A measure giving Illinois voters a chance to decide if an independent commission should draw the state's political boundaries is a step closer to the ballot.

The State Board of Elections voted Monday that the group called the Independent Map Amendment appeared to have enough valid signatures for the constitutional amendment and is ready for ballot certification in August.

However, a lawsuit against the amendment is pending which could keep it from the ballot. In 2014, a judge ruled a similar measure was unconstitutional.

"Fries" By Flickr User Nicholas LabyrinthX / (CC X 2.0)

McDonald's is moving back to Chicago and into the old home of "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

The world's biggest hamburger chain says it signed a lease to move its corporate headquarters in 2018 from the leafy suburbs of Oak Brook, Illinois, to downtown Chicago. McDonald's was previously based in the city from 1955 to 1971.

McDonald's is taking over the space that once housed Harpo Studios, where filming of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" took place until 2011.

The company says the move is a way for it to attract workers who want to live in cities.

State of Illinois

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed legislation Friday that would have given nearly $4 billion to higher education and human services providers. The governor called the measure "an empty promise."

The legislation would have paid for substance abuse treatment, autism programs and homelessness prevention. It also included full funding for colleges, universities and tuition waivers for low-income students. 

Richard Goldberg will replace Mike Zolnierowicz as chief of staff for Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner at the end of the month. In his new role, Goldberg effectively will be in charge of day-to-day government operations.

“No one will work harder to fix the State than Richard. He is extremely smart, loyal and relentless,” Rauner said. “Richard has my full support and trust. I know he will do a great job in his role.”

Flickr user Pictures of Money / "Money" (CC BY 2.0)

A second major credit rating agency has downgraded Illinois' rating, citing financial "mismanagement" by state leaders amid a yearlong budget impasse.

S&P Global Ratings lowered the rating Thursday from BBB+ to BBB. The agency says the lack of a budget for the current fiscal year has "left Illinois with unmanaged spending" that could go on for another year.

Illinois had the worst credit rating of any state even before the current impasse between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and majority Democrats.

Illinois AG Dispute With Jimmy John's Continues

Jun 10, 2016
"DSCN9425" BY FLICKR USER ROB_ROB2001 / (CC X 2.0)

Jimmy John's -- the chain sandwich company based in Illinois -- says it's fixed the problem with stores using non-compete agreements for employees.

But the Illinois Attorney General's office says franchise locations are still using them.

Under the agreements, employees couldn't work for another sub shop while working at Jimmy John's or for two years afterwards.

AG spokeswoman Eileen Boyce says stores are still asking employees to sign the agreements.

Jenna Dooley

Comptroller Leslie Munger says without a new budget agreement, Illinois will again stop paying lottery winners, 911 call centers and higher education grants starting July 1.

    

Munger addressed Illinois' ongoing budget impasse Thursday. She says without new legislation, her office won't be able to write checks. The Republican says the situation could lead to wave of costly lawsuits.

Illinois is poised to enter a second fiscal year without a budget.

Illinois Road Projects On Hold For State Budget

Jun 9, 2016
"End Construction" by Flickr User Chris Lasher / (CC X 2.0)

The Illinois Department of Transportation plans to spend about 2 billion dollars on road projects for the next fiscal year that starts July 1 -- if there's a budget.

The lack of a deal could kill the construction season. 

That's what business leaders, contractors, laborers and other members of the Transportation for Illinois Coalition say.

Co-chair Todd Maisch, who's also CEO of the state Chamber of Commerce, says no spending on roads this summer would cause construction firms to close, or lay off workers.

Jenna Dooley

Moody's Investors Service downgraded the State of Illinois' general obligation (GO) rating to Baa2 from Baa1, affecting approximately $26 billion of debt. According to a news release, the rating downgrade reflects “continuing budget imbalance due to political gridlock that for more than a year has kept Illinois from addressing revenue lost due to income tax cuts that took effect in January 2015.”

"DSCN9425" By Flickr User rob_rob2001 / (CC X 2.0)

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is suing the Jimmy John's sandwich chain accusing it of improperly forcing low-level employees to sign agreements preventing them from seeking jobs with competitors.

Madigan announced the lawsuit against Champaign-based Jimmy John's in a news release Wednesday. She called the non-compete agreements unfair. 

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