Jaclyn Driscoll

Jaclyn has an MA in Journalism from DePaul University and a BS in History form Monmouth College. Prior to reporting, Jaclyn was a social science teacher and department chair at Greenfield High School. Previously, Jaclyn reported for WICS Newschannel 20 where she covered a variety of assignments including courts, politics, and breaking news. She also reported at Siouxland News in Sioux City Iowa, the shared CBS/Fox television newsroom. Her internships included WGN and Comcast SportsNet in Chicago. 

Last year brought a lot of flu activity across the state and this year health professionals are urging the public to roll up their sleeves and get flu shots early this year. 

Secretary of State Jesse White  has held the elected office nearly two decades. This year, his Republican opponent is questioning whether White will be able to serve out another four-year term if elected.

The Illinois Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday from a man who earned a state teacher pension after substitute teaching --  for one day. 

Governor Bruce Rauner signed a measure on Tuesday that will allow medical cannabis to be used as an alternative treatment for conditions often treated with opioids, such as cancer, HIV, Alzheimer’s and more.

JACLYN DRISCOLL / NPR ILLINOIS

It’s been a recommendation for years, but now it’s law in Illinois. Children may not be flipped forward in their car seats until they are two years old unless they are at least 40 pounds or 40 inches tall. 

Dr. Doug Carlson, the Chair of the Department of Pediatrics for SIU School of Medicine, said science proves this is the right decision.

"Deer" by Flickr user C Watts / (CC X 2.0)

After weeks of robust discussion and a parliamentary hold on the legislation, lawmakers are now moving forward with an effort to hopefully enhance the health of the deer population in Illinois by providing supplemental nutrition. 

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Farmers are entering their 5th year of low crop prices and now soybeans have reached a 10-year low, in part due to Chinese tariffs. Economists say this could be a pivotal year for farmers in Illinois and across the country.

Hemp has been used for centuries to make rope, fishnets, paper, car parts, fuel and much more. It’s an unruly crop. It’s skinny, it’s tall, but what has made it controversial is that it’s a derivative of the cannabis plant.

Jaclyn Driscoll / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The Libertarian Party filed a slate of statewide candidates on Monday, turning in more than 47,000 signatures to the Illinois State Board of Elections. That’s nearly double the required 25,000. 

Kash Jackson, the party's candidate for governor, is a retired Navy veteran. He wants to legalize recreational marijuana, doesn’t want to see changes to gun laws in Illinois and said he would repeal a law, commonly referred to as House Bill 40, requiring public funding for abortions under Medicaid and state health insurance.

More than 260 girls and young women came forward to tell their stories of sexual assault by former USA Olympic doctor Larry Nassar, who is currently serving multiple prison sentences for the abuse. The trial resulted in more than a prison sentence and settlement money for victims. It shined a light on the mishandling of sexual assault reports by young athletes. And last week, Illinois took center stage in this national issue.

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Illinois lawmakers approved legisltation that would allow farmers to grow industrial hemp. Hemp is derived from the cannabis plant, but it has a non-drug use. It can create bio-degradable building materials, paper, textiles and more.

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When a new employee is fingerprinted for a job in Illinois, the employer receives a snapshot of their criminal record, and they receive notifications for any future run-ins with the law in the state. But lawmakers are considering a proposal that would also allow employers to be notified of convictions that happen across state lines.

After a 12-day strike beginning in February, the University of Illinois and graduate student employees settled on a new contract that includes pay raises and tuition waiver protections. Now lawmakers want to clarify who is eligible for those benefits. 

Jaclyn Driscoll / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The Loyola-Chicago Ramblers busted a lot of brackets and captured a lot of hearts when the men’s basketball team, as an 11 seed, made it to the Final Four in the NCAA tournament. For their accomplishments, they were honored at the Illinois State Capitol on Wednesday.

The Loyola-Chicago Ramblers busted a lot of brackets and captured a lot of hearts when the men’s basketball team, as an 11 seed, made it to the Final Four in the NCAA tournament. For their accomplishments, they were honored at the Illinois State Capitol on Wednesday.

Comptroller Susana Mendoza

The Illinois Senate passed a measure Thursday that would require the governor to disclose his total office staff and pay them all from his own payroll. 

It started as an initiative called the “Truth in Hiring Act” which came from Comptroller Susana Mendoza. The measure aims to combat “off-shoring,” an effort to make payrolls look leaner by paying some employees out of other agencies' budgets. 

Supporters of the bill say it’s been done by both Democratic and Republican governors for years.

In the wake of mass shootings comes the debate around gun laws. This week, I explore a different angle: the personal responsibility of carrying a firearm. 

 Another candidate is complicating Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s reelection campaign. State Sen. Sam McCann (R-Plainview) announced a third-party bid for the state’s top office on Thursday. 

"It's time for a real transformation for the state of Illinois," said McCann in a three-minute YouTube video announcing his candidacy and calling out Rauner for "surrendering to Chicago Democrats."

Jaclyn Driscoll / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

A contentious proposal that sought to ban youth tackle football in Illinois is dead, for now. 

State Rep. Carol Sente (D-Vernon Hills) is the sponsor of the bill. She said she won’t be calling it for a vote this session because it lacks support, but expect to see it again in the future.

Sente said she encountered several opponents who were adamant that this is a parental decision.

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Illinois lawmakers are considering legislation that aims to address mental health parity in Illinois.

There are federal and state laws requiring insurance providers to cover not only physical health issues, but also mental health.

Illinois has strict laws, but some argue they’re not properly enforced, and those with mental health or addiction issues don’t always understand what’s covered with insurance.

State Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, is sponsoring legislation that would require the Illinois Department of Insurance to effectively communicate policy coverage.

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The opioid epidemic continues to plague communities across Illinois. For the state’s youth, the biggest threat may be hiding in their home medicine cabinet.

In 2016, there were nearly 1,500 prescription opioid overdose deaths in Illinois—a number that quadrupled in 3 years, according to the state’s Department of Public Health. Studies suggest that more youth are experimenting, and dying, from prescription pills.

The Illinois State Police will now house receptacles for people to safely dispose of unused pills. Lieutenant Matt Boerwinkle says it’s greatly needed.

"April10 033" by Flickr User Lord Jim / (CC x 2.0)

Illinois lawmakers are moving ahead with legislation toughening penalties for texting and driving.

If passed, the bill would allow law enforcement to issue a moving violation on a first offense. That carries a fine of $75 dollars for the first violation. Current law only allows a ticket to be issued on the second or subsequent stops.

State Rep. John D’Amico, D-Chicago, also sponsored the original ban on texting and driving four years ago. He says everyone knows now that texting and driving is illegal.

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Health professionals are shining a light on antibiotic resistance—an issue so prevalent, some are comparing it to the opioid epidemic.

At least 2 million people are infected with antibiotic resistant bacteria every year, and of those roughly 23,000 die, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Scott Micek of the St. Louis College of Pharmacy says most of those deaths happen in the hospital.

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Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in Illinois and the number of cases is likely to jump even more in the next few years.

Experts say the expected increase of nearly 20 percent is due to more awareness, better diagnosis, and as longer lifespans. With no way to prevent, cure, or even slow progression, Alzheimer’s is straining health care programs.  

Mike Bius of the Alzheimer’s Association said it’s resulted in about $187 billion in costs across the country.

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A year ago, lawmakers decided to change school health examination requirements. They added screenings for social and emotional development, but the details are still being worked out.

The law leaves it up to the Illinois Department of Public Health to put together the rules regarding these screenings. As the law reads right now, it’s vague. How they’ll be done, who receives them, and the tools needed to do so isn’t spelled out. That’s what the stakeholders are trying to figure out.

BRIAN MACKEY / NPR ILLINOIS

Democrat J.B. Pritzker and Republican incumbent Bruce Rauner will square off this fall in the general election for Illinois governor.  Each pumped millions into their campaigns to win primary races. Their return on investment shows just how costly this race will be.  

Rauner narrowly won his party’s primary, but he was far ahead in the amount of money raised. The first-term governor raised $215 per vote, and his challenger Jeanne Ives just $12 per vote. Ives wound up with roughly 49 percent support among those who cast ballots. 

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Lawmakers see chance for green with recreational marijuana.

Marijuana legalization is getting another look in Illinois, particularly for the money it could bring the state. The state has overdue bills nearing $9 billion after a more than two-year budget stalemate, and some argue a little extra cash could go a long way.

You might be feeling the effects of the time change  just like every spring when we lose an hour.  But there’s legislation that just might change that. 

Jaclyn Driscoll / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

"This bill honors my family's hope and my father's legacy to protect future athletes and the future of football," said Tregg Duerson, the son of the man for whom the bill is named.

Dave Duerson was a member of the 1985 Super Bowl Champion Chicago Bears who killed himself in 2011 at the age of 50. In a note left to his family, he outlined his symptoms associated with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Dave shot himself in the chest in order to preserve his brain, requesting that his family donate it to science. Studies concluded he suffered from CTE. 

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An Illinois man was found "not guilty” for an arson case dating back to 1995. Bill Amor already spent 22 years in prison for a crime he says he didn’t commit.

Amor shared a Naperville apartment with his wife and her mother. In 1995, a fire at that apartment  killed his mother-in-law.  Amor says he was at a movie with his wife when the fire broke out. Law enforcement at the time immediately pinned Amor as a suspect.

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