government

 As the state lifts more restrictions, moving to Phase Four of the Restore Illinois plan, there are worries about a spike in coronavirus cases.  Hear what some experts are saying,

A Bloomington nursing home was the site of a COVID-19 outbreak.  We learn more about what happened there.

And while Illinois lays claim to the Great Emancipator, its past also includes slavery. We'll get a history lesson.  That and more on Statewide.

 

This week's lineup:

 

This week, some employers are having difficulty reopening their businesses because many workers don't want to come back.  While there are health concerns, it also comes down to dollars and cents.  

Self-testing for COVID-19 could play a key role in fully reopening the economy.  But what are the concerns?  

Also, most rural hospitals have faced challenges preparing for the pandemic, even as they've seen fewer cases of the coronavirus disease. 

Those stories and more on this episode of Statewide.

Our lineup:

On this episode of Statewide, a task force has been created to figure out the best way to get students back to college this fall.  We talk with a higher education leader about what's at stake and the challenges ahead.

And, high school seniors missed out on traditional graduation ceremonies.  For valedictorians, that meant not being able to stand in front of their classmates and deliver an address.  But they still have things to say and we'll listen to a few of them.  

Those stories and more on this week's Statewide.

On this episode, we chat with Chicago White Sox broadcaster Jason Benetti.  The Illinois native tells us what he's doing to interact with fans while baseball is on hiatus.  

A couple on the front lines of battling COVID-19 talk about sacricfices they've made, including separation from their children.  

And if you are unsure how contact tracing works, we'll explain.  

A group of Illinois House lawmakers this week began considering whether one of their colleagues is qualified to serve in the General Assembly. It’s a rare process — and part of the continuing fallout from a federal corruption investigation.

State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria) is sponsoring legislation that would ban discrimination based on someone's hairstyle.

Cities are finding a way to improve high crime areas is to have police develop ties with residents.  In Peoria, a program where officers live in the neighborhoods has proven successful and is expanding.  We have a report.  

And we learn what Governor J.B. Pritzker said during his budget address.  Pritzker used the opportunity to also push for a graduated income tax. 

That and more on Statewide.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is already making plans to spend money from a significant change in the state income tax, even though it can only happen if voters agree to amend the Illinois Constitution this November.

A significant chunk of Pritzker’s annual budget proposal, delivered Wednesday, depends on the governor's graduated income tax.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers has introduced an amendment to the Illinois Constitution meant to transform the way legislative district boundaries are created here.

Illinois Senators overwhelmingly override Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s veto of a sales tax exemption Wednesday, a day after member of the House did the same. It’s the first time that’s happened during Pritzker’s time in office.

A day after Gov. J.B. Pritzker called for a massive culture change over corruption in Illinois, state lawmakers were considering how to make that happen — especially when it comes to local units of government.

Illinois election officials are working to defend against foreign cyberattacks in this year's elections.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker used his State of the State address Wednesday to call for a culture change in Illinois government — particularly when it comes to corruption.

Peter Medlin

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said in his State of the State address Wednesday that “urgent action” is needed this session to deal with climate change.  

“Adopting new clean energy legislation," Pritzker said, "that reduces carbon pollution, promotes renewable energy, and accelerates electrification of our transportation sector.”

The governor said Illinois is already suffering from the effects of climate change. He cited last year’s polar vortex and devastating floods as examples.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is set to deliver his first stand-alone State of the State address Wednesday. Here’s a preview of what he’s expected to say — and what some lawmakers want to hear.

A pair of Illinois lawmakers are taking on the practice of offering tax breaks to lure companies from other states.

 

On our final episode of the year, we remember some of the top reports and conversations from 2019.   

On this show we tried to give an example of the type of journalism we bring you each week: coverage of public affairs, examining problems and solutions, inspirational stories and the voices that make up the state we call home.  

 

Our lineup:

The more than 255 new Illinois laws taking effect on New Year's Day may affect everything from your car to your paycheck.

We took a look at some of the biggest changes coming in 2020.

Higher Wages, Tip Ownership

Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says some of his colleagues have gone too far in public comments about President Trump's impeachment.

Watch Live: House Impeachment Vote

Dec 18, 2019

The House of Representatives debates and votes on articles of impeachment against President Donald J. Trump.

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

DeKalb resident Misty Haji-Sheikh is entitled to some reimbursed attorney’s fees and costs in an Open Meetings Act case against Northern Illinois University. That’s according to a ruling from a DeKalb County judge this week.

Judge Bradley Waller ruled in November that NIU violated the Open Meetings Act. That's also when he ruled that former NIU President Doug Baker’s awarded severance package of more than $600,000 was null and void.

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

The first phase of the DeKalb Police Department’s Safe Streets Initiative begins this week. That means some residents will need to get parking permits from the city soon to avoid getting ticketed or towed.

DeKalb police officials say overall crime decreased in the city, but the actual number of shootings increased due to a recent string of incidents in areas close to the Northern Illinois University campus. Visitors now aren’t permitted to park along Russell Road and Crane Drive between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

State of Illinois

Illinois State Democrats recently released their list of top ten laws going into effect after the New Year.

More than 200 Illinois laws will go into effect after January first. That includes sale stickers having to be removed from car windshields before going on the road. 

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Community input played a role in keeping the DeKalb Municipal Band operating at normal capacity for now.

The DeKalb City Council held a special meeting recently where they addressed potential budget cuts for the next year. That included the possibility of reduced funding for the DeKalb Municipal Band.

DeKalb Alderman David Jacobson says the band currently gets $60,000 annually when they usually only spend $50,000. He says the city agreed to cut just the $10,000 difference during the special meeting.

"Courtroom One Gavel" by Flickr User Beth Cortez-Neavel / (CC BY 2.0)

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments today in Gill v. Whitford, a Wisconsin case challenging partisan legislative maps.

Wendy Tam Cho, a University of Illinois political science professor, says this case is particularly important because it could determine the court’s role in future cases on gerrymandering. 

Flickr user Growinnc / "Practice makes perfect! #hairdo#school#perm#cosmetology" (CC V. 2.0)

Saturday is the last day for cosmetology professionals and teachers in Illinois to renew their licenses before the next cycle.

Renewal requirements include certain continuing education, but domestic violence training is not yet on the list. Those requirements start next year, but they still haven’t been explicitly outlined. 

Mary Ellen Schaid directs Safe Passage in DeKalb. She says the group already gave presentations to several local schools and salons on what to do if a client confides in them about domestic violence.

Page Limit Not A Problem For NIU Open Meeting Case

Sep 22, 2017
Katie Finlon / WNIJ

The usual length of a court document will not prevent either side from presenting its full argument in an Open Meetings Act case, according to a DeKalb County court ruling Friday.

Judge Bradley Waller says Misty Haji-Sheikh’s attorney may exceed the page limit for her argument. She says the Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees violated the Open Meetings Act and did not notify the public of former president Doug Baker’s severance package, which was more than $600,000.

Public Comment Ends Soon On New DeKalb Transit Plan

Sep 22, 2017
Northern Illinois University

Residents can give input on the new DeKalb transit plan until Tuesday. It includes more frequent service overall, a line going to Cortland and more trips to the Elburn Metra train station throughout the week.

DeKalb Public Works director Tim Holdeman says the new plan suggests merging the Northern Illinois University bus line and the TransVAC lines, which currently serve Kishwaukee College students, DeKalb and Sycamore.

“There’s an inefficiency in having two bus systems serve generally the same population,” Holdeman said.

"AMZNbox_" by Flickr User Elvis Fool / (CC X 2.0)

Seattle-based online retailer Amazon has announced it is building a second headquarters for 50,000 employees. Cities all over the country -- including Chicago -- are bidding for the chance to get the headquarters.

Rauner says he’s involved in the Chicago bid, but also in the Saint Louis effort.

“Chicago is clearly the more important,” Rauner said, “but we've got to make sure that we’re positioned to benefit Illinois if St. Louis ends up being very competitive.”

State of Illinois

Illinois State Secretary of Education Beth Purvis will leave office on Friday. That's according to a news release from Governor Bruce Rauner's office.

Purvis will be joining a national nonprofit organization and overseeing educational philanthropy.

“Beth has been a tireless advocate for Illinois children and families,” Gov. Rauner said in the news release. “We are deeply grateful for her efforts.”

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