Illinois

Chicago Police Department

Five Cook County Jail inmates who applauded as the man charged with the fatal shooting of a Chicago police commander was led by their cell could face reprisals for their actions.

  

The incident happened Thursday after suspect Shomari Legghette appeared in court on first-degree murder charges in the Tuesday slaying of Commander Paul Bauer.

scottdrury.org

An appellate court has ruled that Democratic attorney general candidate Scott Drury can remain on ballots for the March 20 primary.

The court ruled Friday. A judge had previously determined that the state legislator running for statewide office couldn't be on the ballot over paperwork issues. Drury immediately appealed.

The case is one reason that early voting has been delayed in parts of the state with election officials awaiting a final decision before they print ballots. 

Chicago Police Department

Chicago's police chief says a high-ranking member of the department has died after being shot at a state government building downtown.

Superintendent Eddie Johnson told reporters that Cmdr. Paul Bauer was shot several times. The 53-year-old was off-duty when he went to assist tactical officers pursuing a fleeing robbery suspect near the James R. Thompson Center shortly after 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Johnson says the suspect was taken into custody and a gun was recovered at the scene.

Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

Powerful Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is dismissing calls to resign after a campaign worker for Illinois Democrats says it took party officials too long to respond after she reported sexual harassment by a male supervisor last year.

Madigan fired long-time political consultant Kevin Quinn Monday after an investigation found he sent inappropriate text messages to a colleague.

File photo by Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has dismissed a long-time political consultant after an investigation found he sent inappropriate text messages to a colleague.

Madigan identified the consultant as Kevin Quinn in a statement Monday.

Madigan attorney Heather Wier Vaught says the woman is a political consultant not employed by Madigan.

Vaught says Quinn texted the woman seeking a date in 2016. There were fewer than a dozen texts but they continued after the woman told Quinn she wasn't interested.

State of Illinois

The Illinois Department of Public Health has appealed a decision adding severe pain as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana.

The paperwork filed Thursday in Cook County comes weeks after a judge ordered “intractable pain,'' or severe and constant pain with no cure, be added to over 40 qualifying medical conditions.

The ruling stems from a lawsuit from 58-year-old Ann Mednick of Rolling Meadows. She argues medical marijuana would help treat pain related to osteoarthritis without her having to use opioids for treatment. 

Ballot Objection Delays Early Voting In Rockford

Feb 7, 2018
FLICKR USER / KRISTIN_A (MERINGUE BAKE SHOP) "VOTE!" (CC BY 2.0)

The Rockford Board of Elections is postponing early voting for the March 20th primary election.

This comes after an objection for State Representative Scott Drury’s attorney general bid. The case hinges on whether the Highwood Democrat properly filed a statement of economic interest.

Stacey Bixby is executive director of the Rockford Board of Elections.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Governor Bruce Rauner has begun airing TV ads attacking his Republican primary opponent — state Representative Jeanne Ives. This is a departure from his previous campaign strategy.

Until now, Rauner has dismissed the Wheaton Republican as a “fringe candidate.”

DeKalb Police Department

Bogus money is circulating around DeKalb.

The currency says “MOTION PICTURE USE ONLY” where the words “THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” should be, according to police officials.

DeKalb police officials say about six incidents were reported within the last week or so about the bills – which do not have watermarks, color-shifting ink or a security thread – being used as legitimate money.

DeKalb Police Commander Steve Lekkas says authorities are collecting video surveillance of the offenders.

Pritzker Apologizes For Comments On Race

Feb 6, 2018
jb-pritzker.com

Democratic Illinois governor candidate J.B. Pritzker is apologizing for racially insensitive comments captured on a FBI wiretap between him and then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich. 

Pritzker said Tuesday he regrets portions of the conversations recorded during a decade-old investigation of Blagojevich, who's now imprisoned for corruption. Pritzker is heard suggesting Blagojevich appoint Secretary of State Jesse White, calling him the "least offensive" African American.

scottdrury.org

A judge says attorney general candidate Scott Drury's name can remain on ballots for the March 20 primary while a decision to remove his name from the ballot is being appealed.

 

A stay was granted Monday after a Cook County judge determined Friday that the Democratic legislator couldn't be on the ballot over paperwork issues. Drury immediately appealed on an expedited basis.

The case is one reason that early voting is being delayed around the Chicago area.

"Telephone" by Flickr User Sh4rp_i / (CC X 2.0)

More than 1,000 calls have come in to Illinois’ new helpline for opioid addiction and substance abuse.

Officials say they expected the influx of calls. The 24/7 helpline, run by Boston-based company Health Resources in Action, launched in December. It's part of efforts to combat the state’s opioid epidemic.

Gov. Bruce Rauner/Facebook

A newspaper analysis of enforcement data show that penalties sought from state polluters have dropped to $6.1 million since Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner took office in 2015.

According to the Chicago Tribune analysis, that's about two-thirds less than the inflation-adjusted amount demanded during the first three years under former Democrat governors Pat Quinn and Rod Blagojevich.

The decline is partly because the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has cut back on referring cases to the state attorney general's office for civil or criminal prosecution.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

DeKalb and Sycamore schools are finishing up necessary repairs on their water fixtures. That’s after some buildings had traces of lead in the water supply.

Six DeKalb elementary schools and two DeKalb middle schools recently had unsafe lead levels detected in the water. That’s according to reports shared by the school district.

Wikipedia

The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that a state law banning guns within 1,000 feet of public park violates a Second Amendment right to self-defense.

Thursday's decisive 7-0 ruling vacates the 2013 conviction of Julio Chairez for carrying a gun near a park in Aurora, west of Chicago.

The 25-page opinion calls the law "a severe burden on the recognized...right of self-defense," including because it offers no exceptions for law-abiding citizens.

"Cigarette" by Flickr User Ron Cruz / (CC X 2.0)

Illinois Democrats want to raise the legal age for smoking or chewing tobacco from 18 to 21.

      

State Sen. Julie Morrison of Deerfield and State Rep. Camille Lilly of Oak Park say it will stop teenagers from starting a deadly habit.

The "Tobacco 21" measure would prohibit consumers younger than 21 from buying tobacco-based products including e-cigarettes and other nicotine products.

Almost all smokers start before they turn 21, according to the Respiratory Health Association.

davidmcsweeney.org

Two new proposals at the Illinois statehouse aim to hold lawmakers and other government officials accountable in cases of harassment or discrimination.

One measure would require city, county and other local governments to publish severance agreements with employees found guilty of misconduct on the government’s website and in local news sources for at least seven days. That would include the name of the employee receiving the payout, the dollar amount and an explanation of  what the employee was accused of.

"Swings" By Flickr User halfrain / (CC X 2.0)

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is replacing the long-time watchdog of Illinois’ troubled child welfare system.

Denise Kane has been the inspector general of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) for 24 years.

But Rauner quietly announced last week that he’s replacing her at the end of the month.

Ben Wolf is with the ACLU - which has monitored DCFS under a court order for decade.

“I never doubted for a moment that her heart was focused on the best interest of the children and not on anything else,” he said.

new plan in Illinois aims to end youth tackle football programs with the goal of preventing Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative disease of the brain caused by repetitive brain trauma.

The bill bears the name of Dave Duerson, a 1985 Chicago Bear who killed himself. Doing so by shooting himself in the chest in order to preserve his brain for research. 

senatorsilverstein.com

The inspector general for the Illinois General Assembly says a top state senator did not sexually harass a woman whose legislation he was sponsoring last year.

Inspector General Julie Porter concludes in a report that Sen. Ira Silverstein's interaction with Denise Rotheimer did not rise to the level of ethical misconduct. But she says it was "conduct unbecoming of a legislator" and recommended the 19-year veteran lawmaker be counseled by the Senate's ethics officer.

http://www.cc.co.winnebago.il.us/

The number of lawsuits filed against county officials in northern Illinois in response to intentional prolonged daily jail lockdowns is growing by the day.

Winnebago County State's Attorney's chief of staff and Civil Bureau, Dave Kurlinkus, said Monday that four lawsuits had been served. Winnebago County Circuit Clerk Tom Klein said Tuesday that the number had grown to 15 lawsuits and that he is expecting to see more.

The Rockford Register Star reports that the lawsuits allege "excessive and unwarranted lockdowns," and several are seeking $15,000 in damages.

Dream Action NIU

Dream Action NIU at Northern Illinois University is calling on public support for undocumented students protected under the DACA program – or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

The fundraiser comes after the government's recent announcement to resume accepting DACA renewals. 

Laura Vivaldo Cholula is the Co-President of Dream Action NIU.

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

Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs says families in the state that have college savings plans won't get a break on their state taxes if they use those accounts to pay for private K-12 tuition.

Frerichs warns that families with Bright Start or Bright Directions college savings plans, who attempt to claim that deduction, could potentially face a tax penalty from the state.

The Journal Star reports that the savings programs aim to incentivize taxpayers to put money aside for college tuition.

A judge has ordered the state of Illinois to expand the qualifying conditions for medical marijuana use to include intractable pain.

The order issued Tuesday by Cook County Circuit Judge Raymond Mitchell seeks to overturn a decision by the Illinois Department of Public Health rejecting pain that's resistant to treatment as a qualifier for medical marijuana use. Director Dr. Nirav Shah last year cited a “lack of high-quality data'' as a reason for denying a recommendation by the now-defunct Illinois Medical Cannabis Advisory Board for the decision.

flickr user / Michael Coghlan "Prison Bars" (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The measure Rauner signed Tuesday at Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln creates a women's division in the Illinois Department of Corrections with tailored programs and services.

A 2016 study encouraged Corrections' development of what Springfield Republican Rep. Tim Butler called Friday policies based on "gender-informed ... and trauma-informed decisions."

flickr/dankdepot

The Illinois attorney general's office has told a federal court it will allow a suburban Chicago school district to administer medical marijuana to an 11-year-old leukemia patient to treat her for seizure disorders.

The commitment made to Judge John Blakey on Friday came two days after the student's parents sued Schaumburg-based District 54 and the state for the girl's right to take medical marijuana at school. Illinois' medical cannabis law prohibits possessing or using marijuana on school grounds or buses.

JENNIFER BRDLIK

The parents of a suburban Chicago elementary school student are suing School District 54 in Schaumburg and the state of Illinois for the right to use medical marijuana at school.

The Chicago Tribune reports plaintiffs of the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, who are identified by initials, contend the state's ban on taking the drug at school is unconstitutional. They say it denies the right to due process and violates the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Influenza Cases On The Rise Across State

Jan 9, 2018
"Box of Kleenex" by Flickr User m01229 / (CC X 2.0)

The number of flu cases is spiking across the state.

Health officials say the spike is happening early in the season. 

Todd Kisner is with the Winnebago County Health Department. He says he’s seen reported cases nearly quadruple over the past month.

“As far as the number of flu cases this early, it’s a little early for us," he said. "But that hopefully means it will end early.”

He says the flu season typically runs through April.

JENNIFER BRDLIK

Illinois could see changes this year that expand access to medical marijuana, as operators say the number of patients allowed to buy the drug is too low to recoup investments.

The Chicago Tribune reports that retail sales of medical cannabis in Illinois only topped about $9.3 million last month. Revolution Enterprises CEO Mark de Souza says his two marijuana cultivation facilities in the state are operating at less than 30 percent capacity.

Katie Finlon/WNIJ

Sycamore High School students have spoken: The majority are in favor of a flexible schedule during school days.

More than 80 percent of all Sycamore High School students, families and teachers say they would be in favor of a flexible schedule during school days. That’s according to survey data collected by administration recently.

Tim Carlson, principal of Sycamore High School, says he is all for anything that could better prepare students for the modern workforce, especially when it comes to teaching kids how to better manage their free time.

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