Springfield

  A group of people with disabilities came to Springfield Wednesday to call for Illinois to close most of its institutions for the developmentally disabled.  Advocates say closing six of the seven facilities would save the state hundreds of millions of dollars a year. 

But some people with disabilities may require the round-the-clock care that's given in the institutions. Barbara Pritchard of the Community for All Coalition says Illinois is far behind other states in offering community living options. 

Brian Mackey

A group that wants an independent panel to draw Illinois' legislative districts claims support from President Barack Obama.

Obama said politicians should not get to pick their voters in his Springfield speech this week.

He was speaking about federal elections, but the group Independent Maps says this rationale applies to the states.

Obama says politicians' enthusiasm for the idea often depends on whether their party has control of district boundaries.

New Legislation For State To Pay Up On Utility Bills

Jan 15, 2016
State of Illinois

State Senator Andy Manar has filed legislation that would allow Illinois to catch up on payments to the city of Springfield's utility.

The budget impasse has left the state with a mountain of debt.  

Manar represents a portion of Springfield. He says the state needs to take responsibility for its bills.  

"We owe them. We should pay them as a state government. The tax payers of Springfield shouldn't bear the burden of paying the state's bills for electricity,” Manar said.

Springfield Wants State To Pay Utility Bill

Jan 13, 2016
Brian Mackey

The city of Springfield is pushing for the state of Illinois to pay its electric bill.

The state owes Springfield’s utility company about $10 million dollars. The city lights up a lot of state buildings.

But the budget impasse has left the state deeply in the red. Late notices have been sent to state accounts.

Springfield’s Mayor Jim Langfelder says he’s reluctant though to shut the power off.

“Well, the impact would be that people would be sent home," Langfelder said. "They wouldn’t be able to work in the dark or without heat.”

Brian Mackey/Illinois Public Radio

Illinois' unemployment insurance program will see some changes next year ... the result of something that's rare in Springfield these days as a budget stalemate persists: hard-fought negotiations giving way to a compromise.

Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration, labor, and business, all agreed on something: changes to the unemployment insurance program.

The measure awaiting the governor's signature would make it easier for businesses to prove worker misconduct.  That could decrease employer’s costs by exempting them from having to pay benefits.

Hundreds of candidates -- or their supporters -- stood in line Monday morning outside the State Board of Elections office in Springfield to turn in nominating petitions.

Anyone there before 8 a.m. could be listed first should they make it onto the primary ballot.

Theresa Mah is one of them. She's running for state representative in the second district, in Chicago.

Mah says that, when she knocked on voters' doors to get their signatures, most people were supportive. 

Others were concerned about the Illinois budget.

Illinois Police Officers Memorial

A candlelight vigil was held in Illinois's capital to honor police officers recently shot and killed on the job.

About 200 people gathered Saturday at the Illinois Police Officers Memorial. Organizers included a retired state police sergeant, Kim Hayes. She says one goal of the vigil was to emphasize officers are dedicated to protecting communities.

Gay Marriage Supporters "March On Springfield"

Oct 22, 2013
marchonspringfield.org

Rain didn't stop advocates for same-sex marriage, who rallied under umbrellas by the hundreds in front of the Illinois Capitol today. A measure to legalize same-sex marriage passed the state Senate earlier this year, but has stalled in the Illinois House.