Rock, Green, Dane and Walworth counties in southern Wisconsin are among 42 counties where Gov. Scott Walker declared a state of emergency due to drought or abnormally dry conditions from a brutal heat wave and lack of rain.
It's the first time such a declaration has been made since 2009.
"The lack of rainfall since May in the southern half of the state has hit hard in a crucial part of the growing season," Walker said in a statement.
A special legislative panel is scheduled to hold its final disciplinary hearing against indicted State Rep. Derrick Smith, D-Chicago, next Thursday, but Smith's attorneys want that timeline pushed back.
Smith was arrested in March on charges that he accepted a $7,000 bribe in exchange for helping a day care center get a state grant.
Although he's pleaded not guilty in federal court, there's no requirement that the General Assembly wait for a final verdict. The Illinois House is free to mete out punishment -- including taking away his seat.
A former Illinois judge is taking legal action to prevent state retirees from having to pay more for their health insurance. Governor Pat Quinn recently signed the measure into law. It aims to reduce the cost of providing coverage to retired state workers.
Winnebago County Board members will take a vote Thursday on whether or not to give local approval for a landfill expansion. Last night, board members heard from Derke Price, a hearing officer recommending approval of the expansion. He did not speak with reporters after the special meeting. But he told board members the Winnebago Landfill, near Baxter Road in Rockford, is expected to reach capacity in less than a decade. It was built in 1972. The expansion would provide enough room until 2047.