Illinois

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

Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert has been ordered to report to prison by June 22 to begin serving a 15-month sentence in his hush-money case.

    

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Durkin entered an order Thursday that says Hastert must surrender "to the designated institution" by 2 p.m. that day. The order doesn't identify the prison.

A Bureau of Prisons spokesman said that information won't be released until Hastert reports.

Hastert pleaded guilty to violating banking laws while seeking to pay $3.5 million to someone he sexually molested.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Wisconsin recently had a large increase in the number of deer ticks throughout the state. But what does that mean for Illinois? 

Deer ticks are the ticks that could carry Lyme disease, and the peak time for reported cases of the disease is usually in June and July. The University of Wisconsin Arboretum saw the number of immature deer ticks increase by more than 1,000 percent from 2014 to 2015, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

"Cigarette" By Flickr User Conan / (CC BY 2.0)

Legislation raising the age to buy cigarettes seemed to have been extinguished in the Illinois Senate last week. But it suddenly caught fire again as the Senate approved it today.

The measure's sponsor - John Mulroe of Chicago - says this time he found support from people who had been unsure about the measure or who weren't there to vote when it failed to pass earlier this month. 

The legislation would move the legal age to buy cigarettes and e-cigarettes from eighteen years old to twenty-one. 

Illinois is poised to decriminalize people caught with small amounts of marijuana.  The Illinois House approved legislation Wednesday.

As it stands now, Rep. Kelly Cassidy says Illinois has a patchwork. Each city handles pot possession differently.

"That permit some people to get tickets for very low level possession, some people to get arrested," Cassidy said.

Cassidy, a Chicago Democrat, says her legislation will create a threshold "…under which arrest is not an option. Tickets would be the way to go."

tammyduckworth.com

A judge in southern Illinois has set an Aug. 15 trial date in a workplace retaliation lawsuit filed against U.S. Senate candidate Tammy Duckworth.

The Democratic congresswoman is challenging Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk in one of November's most competitive Senate races.

Two employees of a home for veterans say Duckworth violated state ethics laws by taking action against them when she was head of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs.

Duckworth's supporters call the case a politically motivated nuisance lawsuit.

Flickr/Boroda

Lawmakers scrambling to find money to fix Illinois' multi-billion dollar deficit are looking to sugary drinks as one potential source of revenue.

 Taxing distributors of sodas and other sugary beverages was among the revenue-generating ideas a group of lawmakers proposed to Gov. Bruce Rauner and other leaders last week.

They're trying to finally end an epic budget impasse.

"Window" By Flickr User Sam Howzit / (CC BY 2.0)

Roughly 24,000 workers who care for disabled residents in their homes would make at least $15 an hour in legislation headed to the governor.

The Illinois House approved the plan 67-44 Wednesday. The workers unionized by SEIU Healthcare Illinois may continue negotiating for higher wages.

Rep. Sonya Harper says the employees get $13 an hour doing physically taxing and often unpleasant work. She says allowing disabled residents to stay at home saves the state money in nursing home costs.

FLICKR User Jim Bowen

An estimated eight thousand union members flooded streets in front of the Illinois Statehouse today to protest Governor Bruce Rauner's agenda.

Annette Edwards is a member of the Service Employees International Union. 

She riled the crowd saying she lost her job as a child care worker after the governor cut eligibility for the program.

Secretary of State's Office

Applicants visiting Illinois driver services facilities will no longer be issued a new permanent driver's license or identification card at the end of the application process. Instead, they will leave the facility with a temporary paper driver's license, which is valid for 45 days.

Jenna Dooley

A northern Illinois food assistance program has been drawing heavily on community donations due to the state’s budget impasse.

Colleen Bredeson is the community outreach coordinator for the Voluntary Action Center in Sycamore, which administers the area Meals on Wheels program.

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