Illinois

Illinois Legislature Forms Prayer Caucus

Feb 9, 2015
State of Illinois

Illinois has become the 15th state to form a Legislative Prayer Caucus, similar to one already in place in Congress.  Its members will work on issues of religious freedom.  

Republican Senator Sam McCann of Carlinville says he heard from voters who wanted it.

“It was really due to the diligence of the constituents of the people. It didn't start with either congress or me or the statehouse it started because the constituents of the people were engaged.”

WUIS

A company proposing to run power lines through Illinois wants to be declared a utility. 

Clean Line Energy Partners wants to build transmission lines to carry wind energy from the plains states to Illinois. If they are granted utility status, they would have a shot at eminent domain powers along the route of the so called "Grain Belt Express" in west central and southern Illinois. 

The company's Mark Lawler says they'd prefer to acquire the land in negotiations, but eminent domain helps with the planning:

Flickr user Claus Rebler / "Sick" (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois and Cook County public health officials are investigating several measles cases in a KinderCare Learning Center in Palatine.

All students and staff at the facility were notified, and anyone who has not received the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine is instructed to stay home for the next 21 days.

The cluster includes five children younger than one year old. It is unknown if the cases can be traced back to another case in Cook County or the outbreak that began at Disneyland.

childcarecenter.us

Illinois' program that provides subsidized daycare for low-income families is out of cash. A Senate committee attempted to address the issue Thursday.

Chandra Ankoor is a 24-year-old single mother from Springfield. While she is working, she sends her three daughters to child care that is partially paid for with the help of the state.

If it weren't for this assistance, Ankoor says it would cost her every dollar she makes, and then some, to afford the cost of child care.

Flickr user E Photos / "IMG_1927 - Power Lines" (CC v 2.0)

The Illinois coal industry is not happy with the federal government’s decision to stop funding a clean-coal project in Illinois. 

President Barack Obama's administration pulled the plug on the FutureGen 2.0 "clean-coal" power plant, which was slated to be built in central Illinois. 

Illinois Child Care Bureau

The future of a state-subsidized day care program is in limbo.

The budget passed by the last class of lawmakers and signed by former Gov. Pat Quinn cut it by millions of dollars.  That means money for it has run out.

While that's not expected to be an immediate problem, some say daycare providers could begin cutting off services as soon as later this month if payments are delayed. 

Gov. Bruce Rauner late last week blamed his predecessor for creating the high-pressure situation.

state of Illinois

The Illinois House voted to pass the rules for how the legislature will run itself for the next two years. But Republicans took issue with a few of the procedures. 

Representative Ed Sullivan from Mundelein wants to extend the time period that information is posted online before legislators can debate a bill. The rules require only a one-hour notice before a hearing.

"I want to talk a little bit about the voice of the public, those that we serve, and what their voice is within the rules, and their ability to have more transparency."

Flickr user jen light / "airplane" (CC v. 2.0)

A winter storm forecast to bring up to two feet of snow to the East Coast contributed to more than 200 flight cancelations at Chicago's two major airports.

Chicago’s Aviation Department says 190 flights were canceled at O'Hare and around 30 were canceled at Midway.

The National Weather Service said a major storm moving up the East Coast is bringing heavy snow and powerful winds through today. A blizzard warning was issued for a 250-mile stretch of the Northeast, including New York and Boston.

Flickr user 401(K) 2012 / "Money" (CC v. 2.0)

Brick and mortar retailers in Illinois are rejoicing.

That's after Amazon announced it would soon comply with a new state law, forcing the online retail giant to collect a sales-tax.

But some worry about the law's unintended consequences.

State of Illinois

Members of the Illinois General Assembly received the fifth-highest legislator salaries in the nation. That's according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures

The average salary for politicians in the state was about $67,000.

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