Associated Press

The U.S. Attorney’s office says electric utility ComEd has agreed to pay $200 million to resolve a federal criminal investigation into a long-running bribery scheme that implicates Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. 

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Illinois lawmakers have approved a $40 billion state budget and a plan to address tax rates for a casino expansion during a whirlwind special session held amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The budget approved early Sunday largely maintains funding from the current budget, which the exception of health care agencies affected by the outbreak. It also relies heavily on federal funding. 

facebook.com/pg/Don-Tracy-for-Illinois-Lieutenant-Governor

The former chairman of the Illinois Gaming Board allegedly engaged in prohibited political activity while heading the agency that regulates gambling. That's according to a report released Wednesday by the Office of the Executive Inspector General.

 

The report says Don Tracy made "loans and contributions either directly, or through his wife, to political committees" in violation of state law.

Office of the Illinois Attorney General

Illinois has joined over a dozen states in asking the federal government for details on a decision to stop considering requests from immigrants seeking to remain in the country for medical treatment and other hardships.

 

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul says the lack of information has left sick patients and their families "afraid, traumatized, and uncertain of their future health and well-being."

Jenna Dooley

Visitors to the Illinois State Fair can see a plot of newly legalized industrial hemp growing.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday that 100 industrial hemp and eight CBD plants were planted next to the U of I Master Gardner's land on 8th Street.

Hemp production was legalized last summer and officials in April made applications available to would-be growers.

Tanya Koonce/Illinois Public Media

The family of a visiting Chinese scholar whose body was never recovered after a former University of Illinois doctoral student kidnapped and killed her has been told the woman's remains may be in a landfill in Vermillion County in central Illinois.

senatortomcullerton.com

An Illinois state senator has been indicted on federal charges that he took more than $250,000 in salary and benefits over a three-year period from the Teamsters while doing little or no work, prosecutors announced Friday.

In a news release, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago said Thomas E. Cullerton of Villa Park was indicted by a federal grand jury on 39 counts of embezzlement from a labor union, one count of conspiracy to embezzle from a labor union and employee benefit plans and one count of making false statements in a health care matter.

Iowa Flood Center / University of Iowa

Weather officials say the Mississippi River fell below flood stage in two southwestern Illinois cities for the first time in months.

The National Weather Service's Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Services says the river measured below flood stage in Alton and Grafton Friday. That's the first time since early March.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is proposing new rules for licensed foster homes that include vaccination of children and a no-smoking policy.

DCFS spokesman Jassen Strokosch says the proposed rules are meant to comply with National Model Foster Family Home Licensing Standards adopted in February by the Children's Bureau of the Administration for Children and Families, a part of U.S. Department of Health and Human Service.

File Photo / WNIJ

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed two laws aimed at protecting young immigrants in Illinois, including those whose parents have been deported.

One law extends the time a child can have a short-term guardian if their parents are detained or deported by federal immigration authorities. The law doubles the amount of time from one to two years.

Illinois State Police

 

An Illinois trooper killed in the line of duty has been honored on a memorial wall in the Illinois State Police Memorial Park in Springfield.

The State Journal-Register reports that friends, family members and colleagues of Trooper Brooke Jones-Story gathered Saturday to add her name. The 34-year-old was killed in March when a semitrailer struck her while she was conducting a traffic stop near Freeport.

Attendees also included U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth.

Planned Parenthood of Illinois

Planned Parenthood of Illinois has announced it will stop accepting federal funds because of a new Trump administration rule barring family planning clinics from referring women for abortions.

The administration notified clinics Monday that in addition to immediately enforcing new regulations prohibiting federally funded clinics from making abortion referrals, abortions the clinics perform must be financially separate from services supported by the grant dollars.

PIXABAY

Far from the southern border crisis, Illinois has launched a bullish effort to undercut the Trump administration's immigration detention practices, and politicians and activists are taking note.

 

Pixabay

A man charged with murder in the death of an Illinois child welfare worker entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors and was sentenced to 21 years in prison.

Andrew Sucher was accused of attacking Department of Children and Family Services worker Pamala Knight when she tried to take a child into protective custody in September 2017.

Sucher pushed the woman to the ground and allegedly kicked her in the head, fracturing her skull and causing brain damage. The 59-year-old Knight died about 5 months later.

A federal judge has denied a request to delay sentencing for a former University of Illinois student convicted in the kidnapping and murder of a visiting Chinese scholar.

The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports the judge Wednesday ruled against Brendt Christensen's defense team. Jurors last week convicted Christensen in the 2017 killing of 26-year-old Yingying Zhang. His sentencing is to begin Monday, when jurors will decide if he will receive life in prison or the death penalty.

Chicago Police say the city was less violent in the first six months of 2019 than during the same period in each of the previous three years.

Department officials said Monday that there have been 236 homicides so far this year. That's 21 fewer than the same period last year and 97 fewer than the first six months of 2017. The number of shooting incidents fell below the 1,000 mark for the first time for the period in the last four years. The department also says the numbers of robberies and burglaries are the lowest they've been in two decades.

State police say three people are dead and six were injured in a multi-vehicle crash on Interstate 24 in southern Illinois.

The Belleville News Democrat reports Illinois State Police say the crash happened Sunday afternoon near Metropolis. Police say a tractor-trailer truck struck a line of vehicles stopped in construction traffic. Officials say six vehicles, two semis and 13 people were involved in the crash. Traffic was stopped southbound on the interstate for nearly seven hours.

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Jurors deliberated less than 90 minutes before returning a guilty verdict Monday at the federal death-penalty trial of a former University of Illinois doctoral student who killed a visiting scholar from China after abducting her at a bus stop as she headed to sign an off-campus apartment lease.

MACOMB, Ill. (AP) — The president of Western Illinois University is resigning at the end of June after eight years in the post.

 PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — As Federal prosecutors on Wednesday shared with jurors grisly details of how they claim a former University of Illinois doctoral student kidnapped a visiting scholar from China, then brutally beat and killed her, defense attorneys intent on sparing their client a possible death penalty offered an exceptional claim: He did it.

IDOC

An event aimed at helping former inmates reintegrate has drawn hundreds of people in Springfield.

Several state agencies hosted an expo earlier this week at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Some of the services included a free haircut, free health screenings and tips on how to open a bank account and pursue new professional licenses. It is called the Summit of Hope.

Springfield Diocese

The Roman Catholic bishop of Springfield has banned the Illinois General Assembly's leaders from receiving Holy Communion at local churches because of their involvement in abortion legislation approved last week.

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki issued a statement Thursday barring House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton from receiving the sacrament. He says any Catholic lawmaker who voted for statutory protection for abortion right in Illinois is prohibited.

Brian Mackey

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed a nearly $40 billion state budget along with a measure that could lead to enacting a graduated income tax in Illinois.

The Democrat inked the measures Wednesday afternoon at a state government office in downtown Chicago. He says a "new era of fiscal responsibility has arrived in Illinois."

The Illinois House has sent Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker another victory by voting to legalize recreational marijuana use.

The 66-47 tally Friday would allow those 21 and older to buy marijuana at licensed dispensaries beginning next year. Residents could possess up to one ounce (30 grams) and non-residents could have 15 grams.

Pritzker called for legalization in his campaign for governor. He has pledged to sign the law.

flickr/dankdepot

Restrictions on home cultivation have helped marijuana legalization win Illinois Senate approval.

The Democratic-controlled Senate voted 38-17 Wednesday to allow recreational use of marijuana like 10 other states. The Illinois proposal allows those 21 and older to have up to one ounce.

Chicago Democratic Sen. Heather Steans originally proposed allowing anyone to keep five plants in their homes. Steans' final version allows only the 65,000 Illinois patients qualified for the medical-cannabis law to grow their own.

Kinzinger for Congress campaign

Wisconsin National Guard officials said Tuesday they're looking into whether to punish an Illinois congressman who belongs to the Wisconsin detachment for criticizing Gov. Tony Evers' decision to withdraw troops from the U.S. southern border.

Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger is a Wisconsin Air National Guard pilot with the rank of lieutenant colonel. He criticized Evers Monday on Twitter and on Fox News for ordering Wisconsin troops to pull out of Arizona.

jb-pritzker.com

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has issued a disaster proclamation ahead of forecasted double-digit subzero temperatures in Illinois Wednesday and Thursday. Pritzker called the weather "potentially historic."

 

Pritzker said the "cold weather headed our way Tuesday night into Thursday morning may bring us to temperature lows that we have never seen before." Forecasters say the actual temperature could dip to 27 below zero in northern Illinois with wind chill values as low as 55 below.

Susan Stephens

Northern Illinois University has a new enrollment plan that aims to have 18,000 students by fall 2023.

 

The DeKalb Daily Chronicle reports NIU President Lisa Freeman wants to stem years of enrollment decline. Enrollment peaked during the 2007-2008 school year at 25,000 students but since then enrollment has declined 30 percent to about 17,100 students.

https://home.chicagopolice.org/

A judge on Thursday acquitted three Chicago police officers of trying to cover up the 2014 shooting of Laquan McDonald, ruling that the shocking dashcam video of the black teenager's death did not necessarily tell the whole story.

In casting off the prosecution's entire case, Judge Domenica Stephenson seemed to accept many of the same defense arguments that were rejected by jurors who in October convicted officer Jason Van Dyke of second-degree murder and aggravated battery. He is scheduled to be sentenced Friday.

www.facebook.com/reploulang

A former Democratic leader in the Illinois House has resigned his seat.

 

Lou Lang announced Monday that he's ending his 32-year legislative career. The 69-year-old from Skokie joined the lobbying firm Advantage Government Strategies.

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