Illinois

"090411 Trumpets (3)" By Flickr User Justin Brockie / (CC BY 2.0)

A student at tiny Alwood High School in Woodhull, Illinois, inspired legislation that will affect military funerals across Illinois.

When a member of the military is laid to rest, the funeral traditionally concludes with three volley shots and the playing of Taps.

But finding a musician available to perform on short notice can be a challenge.

Contract negotiations between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and a union representing Illinois state workers have reached the state labor board.

Both sides are making arguments regarding whether labor talks have stalled.

Rauner asked the Illinois Labor Relations Board to determine whether negotiations are at an impasse.

The declaration would allow Rauner to impose his own terms for the 36,000 members who the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union represents.

A man who alleges he was sexually abused by former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert decades ago and was later promised $3.5 million to stay quiet has filed a lawsuit saying he's only been paid about half the money.

The person known as "Individual A" in court documents filed the lawsuit Monday in Yorkville, the northern Illinois city where Hastert allegedly abused several boys while he was a wrestling coach at Yorkville High School.

In the lawsuit, "Individual A" says he's owed $1.8 million under the agreement.

Lawmakers Push Equitable Funding For K-12 Schools

Apr 21, 2016
Flickr user / alamosbasement "old school" (CC BY 2.0)

Legislation pending in the Illinois state senate would shift some funding for public schools from wealthy suburban districts to those with lower property values and more children living in poverty.

The goal of the measure is to fix the state's school funding formula, which has been called the most inequitable in the nation.

While the State Board of Education is still crunching the numbers to see which districts would gain or lose funds, a group of downstate lawmakers today said they were - quote - "staking out turf" in favor of equitable funding.

"NOT 100% EFFECTIVE" BY FLICKR USER NATE GRIGG / (CC BY 2.0)

The Illinois House passed legislation today requiring health insurance plans to cover birth control.

Democratic Rep. Elaine Nekritz of Northbrook says this is already federal law, but the proposal's aim is to ensure women in Illinois have access by allowing a 12-month prescription. 

The measure had significant pushback from representatives who oppose abortion because it includes emergency contraception. 

​Republican Rep. Dwight Kay, of Glen Carbon, says the legislation is burdensome to businesses.

"Money" By Flickr User Pictures of Money / (CC BY 2.0)

An error by the Illinois Department of Revenue means local taxing districts that receive disbursements from a personal property-tax replacement fund must repay an estimated $168 million to the state.

A statement from the department says the misallocation was identified when the department implemented its new general ledger system.

The department says the misallocation began in 2014 under former Gov. Pat Quinn's administration following an amendment to the Illinois Income Tax Act.

About 6,500 Illinois taxing districts are impacted by the misallocation.

State of Illinois

The Illinois House has approved a property-tax freeze _ one of the key points on Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's agenda.

The measure doesn't apply to home-rule governments like Chicago and prohibits school districts from getting any more in property tax revenue than they did in 2015 unless voters approve an increase in a referendum.

The House voted 71-31 Thursday on the proposal by Democratic Rep. Jack Franks of Marengo.

Nathan Reading (CC-BY)

Illinois health officials are reporting a cluster of cases of a rare bloodstream infection they detected while investigating a Wisconsin outbreak.

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced Wednesday an additional 10 cases of infection from the bacterium Elizabethkingia, including six deaths. The strain is different from the one in Wisconsin, however.

The majority of the cases are from this year, but some date back to 2014. That's because Illinois hospitals were asked to help with the Wisconsin investigation by reporting cases back that far.

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

An attempt to add a surtax on Illinois millionaires failed in the Illinois House today.

House Speaker and Democrat Michael Madigan has backed the idea that would raise more money for schools. 

Illinois now has a flat tax on everyone. Madigan wants a 3-percent additional tax added on income above one million dollars. 

Voters went along with a statewide advisory referendum on the issue in 2014.

Madigan: "It's time to listen to their voice, not the voice of the 1-percenters."

Carl Nelson / WNIJ

The head of the Chicago Teachers Union has harsh words for Gov. Bruce Rauner and his leadership.

Union President Karen Lewis calls the first-term Republican a "recruit for ISIS" for "acts of terror" when it comes to dealing with poor people.

Lewis made the comments during a Wednesday speech to the City Club of Chicago. It comes during a 10-month state budget standoff between Rauner and legislative Democrats.

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