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SIUE.edu

Sen. Bernie Sanders' call for free higher education is resonating on an Illinois college campus facing deep cuts in state funding amid an eight-month budget impasse.

The Democratic presidential candidate spoke Friday morning at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where the primarily student audience packed a 4,000-seat campus basketball arena, including on the gym floor and outer hallways. 

Sanders touched on familiar campaign themes, calling for campaign finance reform, marijuana decriminalization and increased corporate taxes. 

Durbin.senate.gov

The senior U.S. Senator from Illinois says the nation is locking up too many people for far too long. He hopes to change that soon.

Democrat Dick Durbin has worked with Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa on the sentencing reform and corrections act.

Durbin says the act would ease mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses that don't involve guns, gangs, or violence. He says he believes the U.S. overreacted with the war on drugs and other "get tough on crime" measures.

Paul Simon Public Policy Institute

A majority of Illinois voters do not believe the state is headed in the right direction. 

That's according to a new poll from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.

When 1,000 voters were asked if they believe Illinois is on the "right track," 84 percent of them answered "no."

That comes as Illinois is in the midst of a historic budget impasse, which may have affected voters' opinion of Gov. Bruce Rauner.

The politics surrounding the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court may threaten the notion of judicial impartiality. That is, until you realize how political the high court really is.

Few things are more partisan than a justice's decision to retire, says Artemus Ward, a political scientist at Northern Illinois University.

Illinois House Democrats / juliana-stratton.com

An attack ad showing the old mug shot of Illinois state representative Ken Dunkin is the subject of a contentious debate.

Incumbent Ken Dunkin is on the outs with his fellow Democrats. That’s because he’s the only Democrat to side with the Republican Governor on some big issues.

At a South Loop debate last night, Dunkin asked his opponent how she could be for criminal justice reform but still hammer him on a mug shot from his past.

Michael Vadon / cc by SA 2.0

Bernie Sanders will bring his Democratic presidential campaign to Chicago Thursday. He's scheduled to hold a rally at Chicago State University at 6:00 p.m.

Chicago State is eliminating spring break to ensure students finish the semester. The school may be forced to close because of dire finances. Chicago State and other schools haven't received state money for months because of the budget stalemate.

Ken Hammond / USDA

Republican Illinois U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk says President Obama should nominate a replacement for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. 

In a Chicago Sun-Times column posted Monday, Kirk says the constitution gives the president -- Republican or Democrat -- the right to send a nominee to the Senate. He says he swore an oath to uphold the constitution, "not to a party or any one individual.'' 

Kirk says Obama should select someone "who can bridge differences.''

Illinois Ranks High For African-American Voting

Feb 22, 2016
Cory Doctorow / Flickr CC by 2.0

A recent study ranks Illinois near the top when it comes to African-American voter engagement.  The state was ranked 10th out of 48 states studied by WalletHub a personal finance site.

  The site reached that conclusion by using six metrics to determine each state’s overall standing.

Flickr user Marc Nozell / "Ted Cruz" (CC v. 2.0)

The debate over whether Canadian-born Ted Cruz is eligible to be president is moving from the campaign trail to the courtroom.

Lawsuits challenging the Texas Republican's eligibility for the ballot have been filed in states including Illinois, New York and Alabama. Fellow GOP candidate Donald Trump also has threatened to sue over the issue.

Cruz and some legal experts say he's eligible because his mother was a U.S. citizen when he was born.

Illinois voters have until 11:59 pm tonight to register online for the 2016 general primary on March 15.

This is the first presidential election in which 17-year-olds in Illinois can register and vote in the primary if they will be 18 by the general election on Nov. 8.

The online voter application form is available on the State Board of Elections registration page.

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