Illinois

ilga.gov

A former legislator has filed a lawsuit in Cook County seeking to recover money he lost when state lawmakers voted to reject annual cost-of-living pay adjustments.

Michael Noland, a Democratic former state senator from Elgin, filed the lawsuit Thursday. He says the state constitution prohibits midterm salary changes.  

He's seeking pay for himself and others after lawmakers approved legislation from 2009 to 2016 to forgo cost-of-living increases lawmakers would've automatically received.  The lawsuit doesn't specify an overall amount.

DCFS Director Resigns; Rauner Names Interim

May 31, 2017
illinois.gov

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has named Lise Spacapan interim director of the Department of Children and Family Services, pending a national search for a new head of the agency.

According to a news release, current director George Sheldon will be moving out of state for a new position effective June 15. He will take on the role of President and CEO of Our Kids of Miami-Dade/Monroe, Inc.

Spacapan currently works as General Counsel of Illinois DCFS. She received her L.L.M. in Health Law in 2014 and serves on the DePaul College of Law Health Law Institute. 

neiu.edu

Northeastern Illinois University will lay off workers to cope with an Illinois budget impasse that has reduced state funding.

The university announced Tuesday it will eliminate about 180 full-time jobs in the coming weeks.

Interim President Richard Helldobler says 130 of those who will receive layoff notices are civil service employees. The remainder will be administrative professionals.

Summer Program Aims To Fill Plates Of Kids And Teens

May 29, 2017
"20111019-FNS-RBN-1755" by Flickr User U.S. Department of Agriculture / (CC X 2.0)

More than 40 schools, churches and community centers in Winnebago and Boone counties are offering free meals to people up to age 18.

It’s part of a national effort sponsored by the Department of Agriculture.

Registration and parental supervision is not required to participate.

Christopher Greenwood is Rockford’s Community Health and Prevention Coordinator.

Flickr user Eric E Castro / "The Tampon Fairy" (CC V 2.0)

The Illinois General Assembly passed legislation requiring public schools to provide free feminine hygiene products in girls' bathrooms.

It would apply for schools with grades six through 12.

State Rep. Litesa Wallace, a Democrat from Rockford, sponsored the legislation.

"This is another way to make sure that we not only are keeping the young lady discreet and with dignity; it's a public health issue,” she said.

Wallace said it's no different from supplying hand soap and paper towels.

thefreemanagency.com

Legislation aimed at reducing the cost of workers' compensation insurance for Illinois employers has won Senate approval.

One measure sponsored by Evanston Democratic Sen. Daniel Biss creates a government insurance company to compete in the policy-writing market. It was approved 32-20 Friday. It goes to the governor.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Illinois House Democrats are taking their time in considering the state budget plan sent them this week by the Senate.

Chicago Rep. Greg Harris is the Democrats' budget negotiator. He says lawmakers' first goal is to review the $39.7 billion spending plan and put it in a form the public can understand. 

The House plans hearings to solicit public input despite the looming May 31 scheduled adjournment date for the General Assembly. 

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Lawyers for a sexual-abuse victim of Dennis Hastert and the former U.S. House speaker himself say he's seeking a settlement of a lawsuit filed over a broken $3.5 million hush-money pact.

Attorney John Ellis said Wednesday he has asked Kristi Browne, who represents the victim, to name a settlement price. The lawsuit seeks $1.8 million, which is the outstanding balance of the pact each party says the other one broke.

Browne says Ellis's request was made before a court hearing. In the hearing, Ellis and Browne arranged their next court date for Aug. 28.

"P1070904_DxO" by Flickr User Selka / (CC X 2.0)

Illinois Democrats are asking Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration for more information about state leases of private warehouses.

The Senate Appropriations Committee questioned agency directors Thursday over decisions to lease property instead of using existing state buildings to store records.

cps.edu

Chicago Public Schools wants to borrow up to $500 million for the new fiscal year, in addition to nearly $400 million in short-term loans to finish out this year and make a pension payment.

  

The Board of Education meets Wednesday to consider the plans.

A spokeswoman for the nation's third-largest district says the half-billion dollars of bond debt would be used in the upcoming budget year starting July 1.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced plans for the short-term loans last week. He blames lawmakers for putting CPS at a financial disadvantage.

Flickr user Pictures of Money / "Money" (CC BY 2.0)

With only a week to go before the scheduled end of the spring session, Democrats in the Illinois Senate passed a new $37.3 billion budget package Tuesday that would raise the state income tax by $5 billion and cut some spending.

But it got no Republican support, and its future is uncertain.

The Senate voted on a different budget proposal last week, and it failed. So, Democrats tabled their negotiations with Republicans and went for a plan that matches the spending level of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s own budget proposal from earlier in the year.  

"Target Credit Card" by Flickr User Mike Mozart / (CC X 2.0)

Illinois will receive more than $1.2 million from an $18.5 million multi-state settlement with Target Corp. to resolve an investigation into the discount retailer's pre-Christmas data breach in 2013.

Target's breach, which occurred between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, 2013, affected more than 41 million customer payment card accounts and exposed contact information for more than 60 million customers. The breach forced Target to overhaul its security system. The company offered free credit reports for potentially affected shoppers.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Democrats in the Illinois Senate are preparing to go it alone on a budget plan. This morning, they’re set to consider both spending cuts and tax increases.

Senate Democrats and Republicans had been trying to work together to end the nearly two-year Illinois budget standoff, but an overall deal has escaped completion since January.

With just a few days remaining in the legislative session, Democratic senators moved ahead with some of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s non-budget demands last week.

Now they’re advancing budget legislation.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

The Winnebago County Coroner's Office has been working for most of the past year to identify decomposed human remains which were found in a garbage can outside an apartment building on Market Street in Rockford in July.

The coroner's office later determined it was a middle-aged Caucasian male. Tests indicate lower-spine degeneration, which means the man may have walked a lot.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Road closures begin at 4 a.m. this Sunday for the annual Rockford Marathon. The race kicks off at 7 a.m.

The Marathon will start and end on Wyman Street near Chestnut Street, traveling from Rockford to Loves Park, Machesney Park, and portions of unincorporated Winnebago County.

Marked detour routes will be in place for state roadways and police traffic control on arterials like Jefferson Street.

Whitman Street will allow traffic to cross periodically.

Travelers are urged to find alternate routes and to be aware of the increase in pedestrian traffic.

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Illinois will soon eliminate the statute of limitations in child sex-abuse cases through legislation passed with support from a victim of imprisoned former U.S. Rep. Dennis Hastert.

The Illinois House unanimously approved the measure on Thursday, sending it to a supportive Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan says Hastert's case provided a prime example of why the law should be changed.

Attorneys for former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock have asked a federal judge to reschedule his trial, citing evidence delays in a case centered on the Illinois Republican's alleged lavish spending.

Defense attorney George J. Terwilliger asked Wednesday that the trial set for July be delayed until January, the Peoria Journal Star reports.

Terwilliger says the government hasn't handed over all evidence, and Schock is likely to file more motions.

Lake County Sheriff's Office

The widow of a northern Illinois police lieutenant who staged his own suicide to look like it was duty-related will face trial July 3 on charges of conspiracy, unlawful use of charitable funds for personal gain, and money laundering.

Melodie Gliniewicz was indicted after her husband, Fox Lake Police Lt. Charles Gliniewicz, committed suicide in September 2015. She has pleaded not guilty to  the counts related to money allegedly siphoned from the village's youth policing program.

Brian Mackey

The Illinois Senate has adjourned for the day without taking action on remaining items from the "grand bargain" budget compromise.

Democrats who run the chamber had said they might push forward Thursday with remaining items after approving several parts of the compromise on Wednesday.

But what remains are some of the tougher measures. One would increase the personal income tax from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent and the corporate rate from 5.25 percent to 7 percent.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's chief education adviser says the governor won't support an overhaul of the Illinois school-funding formula if it benefits Chicago Public Schools "at the expense" of others.

The Illinois Senate approved legislation Wednesday aimed at eliminating the disparity in spending between affluent school districts and those serving poorer communities. Similar legislation has been introduced in the House.

Both Democratic proposals would establish a funding target for each school district that reflects the needs of its students.

jb-pritzker.com

A Democrat running for Illinois governor in 2018 is calling for the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

J.B. Pritzker said in a statement Wednesday the House of Representatives should begin impeachment proceedings. He says there are "credible reports" that Trump "obstructed justice in the investigation of the Russian hacking of our democracy."

Pritzker was a top supporter of Hillary Clinton, helping raise millions for her unsuccessful campaign against Trump. The Chicago billionaire says calling for impeachment is "not something done lightly" but that it's necessary.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

The Senate has approved a $36.5 billion budget that was initiated by minority Republicans. But it turned down authority to implement it.

The Democratic-controlled chamber voted 31-21 to approve the proposed outlay for the year that begins July 1.

The vote looked like a breakthrough after five months of wrangling over the so-called "grand bargain" budget compromise.

But it was quickly followed by a vote on authority to implement the budget. It failed by three votes, 27-24.

FACEBOOK: DEKALB COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE, ILLINOIS

Law enforcement officials continue to analyze forensic results from items that were sent to the state crime lab in the brutal double murder of a rural Sycamore man and his mother.

64-year-old Robert Wilson and his 85-year-old mother Patricia died nine months ago from blunt force trauma after a forced entry into their home.

"Money" By Flickr User Pictures of Money / (CC BY 2.0)

A proposal brought by a Democratic gubernatorial candidate to provide taxpayer matching funds for small contributions to political hopefuls has won Illinois Senate approval.

It was the second attempt by state Sen. Daniel Biss for such legislation. The Evanston Democrat failed to win a majority earlier this month.

The plan of SB1424 would match contributions of $25 to $150 with taxpayer money. The match would be six times the amount of the contribution.

State of Illinois

Illinois Senate Democrats have scheduled votes for measures in the so-called "grand bargain'' budget compromise.

Assistant Majority Leader Donne Trotter of Chicago says the Senate will call each piece of legislation in the plan for votes on Wednesday. He says time is running out to agree to the state's first budget in two years.  The General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn May 31.

"Pills" by Flickr User Michael Chen / (CC X 2.0)

Law enforcement agencies and health centers in central Illinois are working together to address the opioid epidemic affecting their area as well as the country as a whole.

"Heroin is definitely our number one public safety threat," DeWitt County Sheriff Jered Shofner told The Pantagraph newspaper.

Shofner's office is among six agencies that make up the Illinois State Police Task Force 6 narcotics unit.

ilga.gov

The Illinois State Board of Elections is fining Auditor General Frank Mautino’s former campaign committee over a complaint that he failed to properly report some $380,000 in spending.

Mautino’s current job is to review the spending of state agencies; election officials have been trying to review Mautino’s own campaign spending for his years as an Illinois State Representative.

Campaign reports show hundreds of thousands of dollars going to a single gas station — without explaining what the money paid for.

stateofracialjusticechicago.com

Chicago remains one of the most segregated U.S. cities, according to a new report, with past discrimination having a significant effect on minority home ownership.

The 184-page report by the University of Illinois at Chicago examines “pervasive'' racial inequalities in the city when it comes to housing, economics, criminal justice and health care.

The report, released Monday, looks at three groups which each make up roughly one-third of Chicago's population: blacks, whites and Latinos.

"dentist" by Flickr User wonderferret / (CC X 2.0)

With Illinois lawmakers struggling to agree on a state budget, the state Senate unanimously passed a contingency plan to get some money for dentists.

Illinois is literally two years behind in paying health insurance bills for state employees, which affects doctors, hospitals and other health care providers.

Dentists may soon find relief, though. Sen. Scott Bennett, D-Champaign, is sponsoring legislation that would allow private lenders to effectively buy the debt. The dentists would get paid, and the state would owe the lenders, plus interest.

Crowd Boos Rauner's Speech At CSU Commencement

May 11, 2017
Phil Masterton / WNIJ

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner received a rough reception from graduates at Chicago State University’s commencement Thursday at the financially struggling school's  campus on the South Side.

But the crowd did not celebrate the presence of Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Student trustee Paris Griffin addressed her fellow graduates at the predominantly African-American university.

Standing right in front of Rauner on stage, Griffin rehashed how she and other students protested the governor last year because their school was being starved of state funds.

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