Illinois smokers could soon see a huge increase in the cost of a pack of cigarettes. The Illinois House today approved a plan to more than double the tax on cigarettes, to $1.98 a pack. Other tobacco products would see a similar increase.
Outgoing U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald says he will not run for elective office.
That comes after the highly respected federal prosecutor announced yesterday that he'll step down at the end of June. In a 35-minute news conference today the media-averse Fitzgerald talked to reporters about why he's stepping down.
The Illinois House, in a 69 to 47 vote, has passed a gambling expansion bill that would create new casinos -- including one in Rockford -- and allow slot machines at the state's racetracks.
Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, says it will bring Illinois money it needs as the state faces steep budget cuts. Lang says that, as the budget process progresses, it’s clear the state isn't doing well enough.
“We haven't created enough jobs. We don't have enough revenue," he said. "Is this a panacea for all of our ills? Of course not. Can it be step to build a better economy? Absolutely it can."
Patrick Fitzgerald has scheduled a news conference Thursday to announce his resignation, according to the Justice Department. Fitzgerald was selected as northern Illinois' top prosecutor in 2001.
During his tenure he successfully tried two Illinois governors, George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich, and media mogul Conrad Black.
As a special prosecutor, he investigated Lewis "Scooter" Libby, then chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney. Fitzgerald's investigation led to Libby's conviction on charges that he leaked the covert identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson.