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Civic Education Could Be Required In All Illinois Schools

Apr 27, 2015
kids.usa.gov

Eighty-three percent of Illinois high schools already require some form of civic education. A measure approved by the Illinois House would require all schools to teach it.

"Obviously, with Illinois' reputation of corruption in politics, I think we need to have an emphasis on responsible citizens and dealing with those issues," Representative Donald Moffitt, a Republican from Galesburg, said.

Representative Deborah Conroy, a Democrat from Villa Park, says teaching students about government is imperative to building future leaders.

WUIS

Illinois could join a handful of states that allow cameras to be installed in the rooms of nursing home residents. 

Supporters say it would give families peace of mind to have electronic monitoring of the care their loved ones receive. But there are also concerns, especially when it comes to privacy.

"Nursing homes, a lot of people tend to forget ... that is their home," Hinsdale Republican Representative Patti Bellock said.

Supporters say the cameras would only be installed when the resident or family agrees. They would also have to cover the cost. 

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.

New State Budget Review Panel Will Meet Tuesday

Apr 19, 2015
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.

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