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WUIS

Low level marijuana users may soon catch a break in Illinois. Rather than going to jail, it'd be more like getting a speeding ticket.

The repercussions for having pot vary; Rep. Kelly Cassidy says there are more than 100 different local ordinances all over the state.

"And the outcome from this patchwork system puts in place an unjust and confusing system wherein where you live and what you look like dictates whether or not you'll be arrested for extremely low-level marijuana possession," Cassidy said.

FLICKR User Jim Bowen

There's a hold-up over efforts to save programs dealing with autism and drug prevention from ending in Illinois. It seems like advocates should be celebrating.

After Gov. Bruce Rauner says he was forced to earlier this month suddenly pull $26 million worth of state grants, the Illinois Senate used the legislative version of searching under the couch cushions for change.

flickr/dankdepot

Patients with certain illnesses are on their way to being able to use medical marijuana in Illinois, but time is running out.

Illinois' medical marijuana program is set to continue for another two and a half years. Sick people haven't even been able to legally buy cannabis yet.

Democratic Rep. Lou Lang says that wasn't his intent; he'd wanted the program to last twice that long. Lang blames a delay in Illinois awarding licenses to firms to grow and sell cannabis.

Brian Mackey / WUIS

A special legislative committee appointed to review Gov. Bruce Rauner's budget decisions will hold its first meeting Tuesday. House Speaker Michael Madigan announced on Friday that the panel will examine the Illinois state budget, and Gov. Bruce Rauner's influence on it.

It's either a sign of a contentious budget battle or an early attempt at reaching a compromise.

Flickr user Daniel Borman / "Money, Money, Money" (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois schools were not spared from the recent state budget cuts. But a $97 million fund was established to help the most cash-strapped districts pay their bills until the end of the school year.

Schools that qualify have limited local resources, a higher concentration of low-income students and very little cash on hand.

Robert Wolfe, who is the chief financial officer of the state school board, says the last minute cuts will affect every school district.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has been traveling the state to promote his so-called "Turnaround Agenda." 

It calls for sweeping changes to unemployment insurance, workers' compensation, limits on where lawsuits can be filed, and the creation of right-to-work zones. 

It's a huge agenda. But so far, it hasn't been introduced in a way that legislators can debate or vote on.

Rauner says bills are ready. Here’s what he said during a recent editorial board appearance:

"We will introduce those when the leaders say we should introduce 'em."

Tim Nuding LinkedIn profile

Social service agencies are reeling from sudden budget cuts. But more could be on the way.

Some Democrats say they were taken off guard when, two weeks after legislators and Gov. Bruce Rauner passed a law to handle the budget through June, Rauner's administration said certain programs would be cut off.

Grants for a quit-smoking hotline, support for autistic kids and funding for a teen after-school program were all eliminated. In some cases, workers have been laid off, and services were discontinued.

Could Free Summer School Help Students Graduate?

Apr 14, 2015

The cost of summer school can mean the difference between a child graduating on time or not at all for some Illinois families.

Democrat Mary Flowers, a Representative from Chicago, says students have a constitutional right to a free education. Her measure would waive summer school fees and tuition for indigent children, or if a student must be enrolled in summer school for educational reasons.

St. Louis Public Radio

State higher education funding per full time student has dropped more than 26 percent in Missouri and increased almost 50 percent in Illinois over the past five years, according to data compiled by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association.

The stark contrast between the states is due in part to an almost 29 percent variance in enrollment trends; Missouri enrollment has gone up while Illinois enrollment has gone down.

National Politicians Congratulate Emanuel On Re-Election

Apr 9, 2015
cityofchicago.org

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel’s phone lit up with calls from some of the country’s most powerful politicians congratulating him on re-election, and Emanuel continues to criticize Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed budget cuts while leaning on the governor for support.

Emanuel says he heard from two presidents Tuesday. One was Bill Clinton, his former boss.

When Emanuel was asked if that call from a Clinton means he has his mind on returning to Washington D.C. should Hillary Clinton win her unofficial campaign for president next year, Emanuel gave a partly light-hearted answer.

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