state of Illinois

Illinois nears the end of August, and there's still no state budget in place. But House members will return to Springfield today.

The Illinois House controls the fate of a measure that's not a budget bill, per say, but which Gov. Bruce Rauner says could have major financial ramifications for the state.

It'd prevent his ability to lock out state workers -- something he's said he won't do -- as well as forbid employees from striking. Instead, an arbitrator would settle an impasse if Rauner and the AFSCME union can't agree to a new contract.


The Illinois National Guard's commanding officer says for years the guard has been planning for the biggest catastrophes that could affect Illinois, like an earthquake in southern Illinois along the New Madrid fault.

Major General Richard Hayes Junior says trying out those plans is at the heart of an exercise in Springfield this week, simulating a 7.7 magnitude quake.

Hayes says he'll incorporate lessons learned following the Hurricane Katrina disaster ten years ago.

Michael Jordan Wins Lawsuit Against Dominick's

Aug 24, 2015

Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan scored another victory…but not on a basketball court.

A federal jury in Chicago last Friday awarded Jordan a nearly 9 million dollar judgment. The money comes from a lawsuit Jordan filed against the now-defunct grocery chain Dominick’s for using the Bulls star’s name and likeness in a 2009 ad without permission.

Jordan says his legal fight was not about the money.

“It is my name,” Jordan said. “I worked hard for it for 30 some years. I’m not just going to let some take it. I will fight to the end.”

A Downers Grove man killed in a wildfire in Washington state last week is remembered as an outgoing adventurer who loved learning new things.

Twenty-six-year-old Andrew Zajac was among three firefighters killed last Wednesday when flames swept over their crashed Forest Service vehicle near the town of Twisp.

U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell says a safety review of the fire is underway.

Illinois Okays Camera Monitoring In Nursing Homes

Aug 24, 2015

Questions and fears about quality of care in nursing homes may be assuaged come January. A new law signed by the governor Friday will permit electronic monitoring.

About 76,000 Illinois residents live in nursing homes. That figure is expected to rise as Baby Boomers age.

With occasional reports of abuse and neglect, Attorney General Lisa Madigan says families had come to her, concerned about relatives living in long-term care facilities. She says allowing video cameras will give them peace of mind.

Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee / JENNIFER BRDLIK ELEVATED CARE

While Illinois deals with invasive Asian Carp in its waterways, medical marijuana plants are ripening for sale across the state. 

The two issues might share an economic link.

Medical cannabis is set for sale this fall.  That’s caught the attention of some of the state’s fishing industry.  

A fish processing company in northwestern Illinois sees the budding medical pot business as a new market for a product they sell, made of Asian Carp from the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.  

WNIJ's Gas Price Monday: August 24, 2015

Aug 24, 2015
Carl Nelson/WNIJ

Gas prices declined since last week after rates rose as much as 50 cents per gallon due to an Indiana refinery shutting down for unplanned repairs.

A gallon of regular gas in the Rockford area costs $2.90. That’s seven cents less than a week ago.

People from near and far opened their hearts…and their wallets…to help the Warren County town of Cameron replace its tornado warning siren, which was destroyed during last month’s tornado.

Cameron Fire Chief Roger Watson says $26,000 in donations came in from businesses, service groups, and individuals largely through word-of-mouth.


The Democratic Party of Illinois isn't officially backing any one candidate for U.S. Senate. That has leading Democrats going their own separate ways when it comes to endorsements.

Nationally, Democrats hope their chances of winning back control of the Senate begin in Illinois next year, when Republican U.S. Senator Mark Kirk faces re-election.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says Democrats' best shot rests with Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth. But state Sen. Kwame Raoul says Andrea Zopp is the best qualified for this race.

Amanda Vinicky / WUIS

Illinois Democrats say their party is strong and more energized than ever, thanks to Republican Governor Bruce Rauner.

The day after Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner accused them of holding up progress, hundreds of Democrats packed into a ballroom rose to their feet and clapped when Senate President John Cullerton said this:

"We are willing to work with Gov. Rauner, but we don't work for Gov. Rauner, okay?"