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Illinois.gov

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner held a public signing Monday in Chicago for a law that requires annual cyber security training for executive branch employees.

A federal judge has ruled an Illinois law requiring hospital and medical clinic professionals to tell pregnant women about all their available options, including abortion, can't be enforced.

The Chicago Tribune reports U.S. District Court Judge Frederick Kapala  says that, until litigation is settled, the law shouldn't be enforced.

The Thomas More Society filed a lawsuit in March, targeting a provision added to the Health Care Right of Conscience Act last year that requires physicians to discuss all medical options available to patients.

Illinois National Guard

It is unclear what the next steps are in Illinois after President Donald Trump’s announcement barring transgender people from serving in the U.S. military.

“I reached out to the National Guard Bureau public affairs office, who had already reached out to the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s public affairs office, and both of those entities were referring their calls to the White House,” Illinois National Guard Capt. Dutch Grove said.

Grove says there’s not much to comment on currently, since no assigned directive or guidance has been provided to the guard at this point.

Jenna Dooley

Sewage treatment plants clean what comes down northern Illinois pipes under strict regulation from the Illinois EPA. But, as regulatory standards rise, plants in cities like DeKalb are forming “reclamation districts” to help spread out the cost of mandatory upgrades among small communities.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

One man’s prairie is another man’s patch of weeds. That’s the debate that is unfolding in DeKalb over a proposed rewrite of the city’s “weeds ordinance.”

About 20 people spoke out about native plants, property rights, and good neighbors at Thursday’s hearing of DeKalb’s Citizens Environmental Commission.

Paul Soderholm of Mt. Morris spoke about his own nature preserve in neighboring Ogle County and the benefits of native plants. He said they “support native insects, support native birds.”

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

A libel case involving the DeKalb police chief has been continued, with another hearing scheduled at the end of next month.  

DeKalb Police Chief Gene Lowery sued a Crystal Lake man in 2016 for saying what Lowery calls untrue things that could have cost him his job. Lowery is asking for $300,000 from Tom Salvi, who called Lowery an “aggressive thug” and a “fraud” in emails to then-mayor John Rey, who said he didn’t believe the allegations.

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

A status hearing for a libel case involving DeKalb’s police chief starts at 9 a.m. Wednesday at the DeKalb County Courthouse.

DeKalb police chief Gene Lowery sued Tom Salvi in 2016 for saying what he calls untrue things that could have cost Lowery his job and is asking for $300,000 from Salvi.

Salvi, a physician and former state Representative candidate, was arrested in Crystal Lake in 2010 for disorderly conduct after allegedly asking if he could undress a woman in a parking lot. Those charges were later dropped. 

Lowery was deputy police chief there at the time.

Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner says if legislators fail to send him a budget by Friday, he'll extend a legislative special session until they “get the job done.''

A statewide property tax freeze demanded by Rauner as part of a deal to end the budget stalemate failed in the House during the eighth day of the special session.

It would have created a four-year freeze on the nation's next-to-highest property taxes. It would have exempted Chicago, the city's school system and 17 other financially distressed school districts.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/got_legos/ (CC BY 2.0)

An Illinois bill that would require private companies to disclose when they would collect or sell mobile phone user data may be voted on in this special state legislative session. 

The Geolocation Privacy Protection Act would regulate entities that want to collect location data from someone’s phone. The user would have to give consent for data to be collected.

City of Dixon

In 2012, Dixon officials discovered that city comptroller Rita Crundwell had embezzled more than $53 million over the course of two decades. The insularity afforded by her position played a large part in spurring residents to vote to shift Dixon toward a council-manager form of government.  This involves converting commissioners to council members and appointing a city manager to oversee day-to-day work. The City of Freeport adopted this model earlier this year, hired a city manager, and eliminated its water and sewer departments.

Victor Yehling / WNIJ

You may have noticed signs about DeKalb’s administrative tow policy when you enter town. But why are they there?

DeKalb city attorney Dean Frieders says the signs are to ensure that the public is notified about DeKalb’s administrative tow policy. He says that’s because the city needs to publicly notify residents and visitors of the city-adopted policy by law.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

There’s not much left of the prairies and oak savannas that used to cover Illinois. Now the state has found a way to help environmental organizations protect those precious natural areas.

 

The Trump administration agreed last week to disclose records regarding former lobbyists it has hired, and the ethics rules it has waived for them. The move defuses a brewing conflict between the White House and one of Washington's smallest agencies, the tiny, 71-worker Office of Government Ethics.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Winnebago County’s Sheriff dropped the idea Thursday of allowing the federal government to house immigration detainees in his jail. Gary Caruana said Immigration and Customs Enforcement was not able to agree to his terms.

In exchange for committing a portion of the jail to the federal prisoners, guarding them, and caring for them, ICE would have paid the county a daily per-prisoner fee; $80 was one figure mentioned frequently during discussions. 

 

 

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Emotions ran high at Tuesday night's forum on whether the Winnebago County Jail should open its doors to federal immigration inmates.

Sheriff Gary Caruana is in negotiations with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, who want to house immigrants with felonies awaiting deportation in unused sections of the jail.

In exchange for housing their inmates in a segregated area of the jail, Caruana wants veto power on who is housed, the option to withdraw from the agreement in 30 days, and $80 per inmate per day.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

The Rockford School Board race decided by the flip of playing cards two weeks ago may still be in play.

A discovery recount at the Winnebago County Clerk’s office Thursday morning, according to the Rockford Register Star, indicated possible vote total discrepancies in the write-in race in Rockford School Board Subdistrict A.

Eight write-in candidates ran for the seat in the April 5 election. Initially, Brandi Brown was told she was the winner and even started orientation with school district officials.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Illinois is again at the center of a national movement involving the Equal Rights Amendment, 35 years after the state failed to ratify it.

The ERA is back on the table in Springfield and was even approved by an Illinois Senate committee last week. Evolving legal theories have given the failed constitutional amendment new life.

United States Congress

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday that allows churches to become more active politically. Critics say it could lead to LGBTQ discrimination, but U.S. lawmakers introduced a bill Tuesday that would prevent that discrimination – with several from Illinois as co-sponsors.

U.S. House members from Illinois voted lockstep with their parties Thursday on the American Health Care Act (AHCA). The plan pushed by Pres. Trump and his administration narrowly passed, 217 – 213. 20 Republicans joined all 193 Democrats in voting against the plan.

In a statement, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-16) called passage of the AHCA “the first step in repairing the damages of the Obamacare system.”

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

An immigrant detention center in the Winnebago County jail could help solve the county’s budget troubles. It could also seriously damage the relationships between local law enforcement and immigrant communities.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Governor Bruce Rauner is now accusing Illinois House Democrats of killing a deal to end the budget impasse.

When the so-called grand bargain failed last month - Senate Democrats said it was because Rauner had pulled Republican votes away from the compromise.

Rauner shared a new accusation; he claims House Democrats sent leaders of special interest groups to attack Senate Democrats in order to blow up the grand bargain.

photo courtesy of City of Rockford

Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey has a new job lined up when he leaves office May 1st.

Bogenberger Family Photo

A 2012 death of a Northern Illinois University student during a fraternity function could change a century’s worth of legal precedence when it comes to social host liability and alcohol. That’s if the state Supreme Court sides with the family of the deceased after last week’s hearing.

NPR Politics team will live blog the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearings on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. The live blog will include streaming video, with posts featuring highlights, context and analysis from NPR reporters and correspondents.

Neil Gorsuch

Federal Judicial Service 

Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit (Denver) 

Nominated by President George W. Bush on May 10, 2006, to a seat vacated by Hon. David M. Ebel; Confirmed by voice vote on July 20, 2006. 

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

An Illinois watchdog group takes a case against the Illinois High School Association to the state's highest court Tuesday. That’s regarding whether IHSA is subject to the state’s Freedom of Information Act.

whitehouse.gov

The NPR Two-Way blog will provide live coverage of the House Intelligence Committee’s public hearing on the investigations into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. The live blog will include streaming video of the proceedings, with posts featuring highlights, context and analysis from NPR reporters and correspondents.

Who:                   House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI)

What:                  Hearing on Russian active measures investigation (Open)

Google Maps

Illinois has joined a group of states supporting a temporary restraining order against President Trump’s revised travel ban.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan joined colleagues in twelve other states and the District of Columbia in filing an amicus brief Monday supporting the state of Hawaii in its case against the revised Executive Order on immigration. They argue that the latest travel ban still contains unconstitutional parts of the original order.

Congressional Healthcare Bill Response Tracker

Mar 10, 2017

The Republican health care bill under consideration in the House of Representatives would change health coverage for a lot of people. It would no longer require that Americans buy health insurance, for instance, and it would eliminate current subsidies, replacing them with a fixed refundable tax credit. To help Americans understand where Congress stands on the debate over this legislation, NPR and Member stations around the country have compiled a database of Congressional members’ positions on the bill.

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Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Back in 2005, a young lawyer running as an Independent shocked the establishment by beating the Democratic incumbent in the Rockford mayor’s race. Now, 12 years later, he’s ready to hand the keys to his 8th floor city hall office to the next mayor. In today’s Friday Forum, WNIJ’s Susan Stephens sat down with Larry Morrissey to talk about his three terms as mayor and his plans for the future. 

whitehouse.gov

President Trump has signed a revised executive order, once again barring travel to the United States from six majority-Muslim countries and suspending the U.S. refugee program. It's similar to the president's January order that was blocked by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. But this latest order leaves Iraq off the list of barred countries. The White House cites more cooperation with the Iraqi government in vetting people who apply for U.S. visas. The latest order also specifically states that it does not apply to legal permanent U.S. residents or current visa holders.

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