Illinois

IDPH

The director of the Illinois Department of Public Health says that the state is prepared to handle an Ebola outbreak, if there should ever be one.

It was 50 years ago last month that a new type of campaign commercial aired -- one devised to make President Lyndon Johnson's opponent look bad, rather than to extol his own virtues. "Daisy" only aired once, it was so controversial: the scene of a girl pulling petals off a flower crossed into one of an exploding bomb.  That commercial changed the political landscape. Any inhibitions campaigns may have had in 1964 have long since vanished. Now, negative ads are the norm.

Officials say many Illinois veterans are qualified for burial in a suburban Chicago national cemetery, but many are unaware of this benefit. The National Cemetery Administration reports 17 percent of veterans were buried in national or state veterans cemeteries in 2013.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs pays for the burial plot, a headstone and other benefits valued at about $14,000.

flickr user / Vox efx "I Voted" (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois election officials say there are two days left for regular voter registration.

Residents who have a driver's license or state ID can register for the Nov. 4 election online through the Board of Elections website until Tuesday.

Regular early voting for governor, a U.S. senator and other state officers starts Oct. 20.

Illinois Department of Employment Security

Unemployment rates in Illinois metro areas declined for the fifth straight month in August.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/trawin/ (CC BY-SA 2.0)

More than 360 groups have applied for cultivation center and dispensary permits under Illinois' medical marijuana pilot program, bringing in more than $5 million in fees.

James Gathany / CDC

Two elderly women in northern Illinois have died after contracting West Nile virus.

It will be at least another month before legislators take up regulations of hydraulic fracturing. The Joint Commission on Administrative Rules, or JCAR -- a bipartisan panel -- voted Tuesday to spend more time reviewing, and potentially rewriting, them.

Illinois Looks To Reduce Railroad Deaths

Sep 10, 2014

Railroad fatalities are a major concern in Illinois. The state hopes a new safety campaign will help to prevent more deaths from occurring.

The Boone County Department of Public Health today confirmed that a Belvidere man is the first human case of West Nile Virus (WNV) in the county in 2014.

Metra

The costs from Metra's settlement with its former CEO cost taxpayers $1.3 million.

The recent protests in Ferguson, Missouri have renewed calls for police officers to wear body cameras. Those discussions are happening in some Illinois communities.

The Flash Index for the Illinois economy measured 106 in August, down slightly from July’s reading of 106.2.

Illinois educators say they’re entering a critical phase for implementing common core standards. School districts have spent the last few years training teachers, while introducing these new learning methods. Classrooms are now gearing up for the first true year of measuring progress.

This month, the Get Covered Illinois campaign issued a report about first-year enrollment, which ran between last fall and the spring. However, a policy group says the report is misleading.

Report: IDOT Improperly Hired 250 Workers

Aug 22, 2014
OEIG

A new report says that the Illinois Department of Transportation improperly hired hundreds of workers over the last 10 years.

Quinn, Rauner Agree To 3 Debates

Aug 20, 2014
facebook.com/GovernorQuinn & facebook.com/BruceRauner

The Illinois candidates for governor have agreed to three debates, all of which will take place in October.

Report: Illinois Overdrew Federal Medicaid Money

Aug 18, 2014
OIG at HHS

A report has found that Illinois overdrew Federal Medicaid funds by using faulty procedures.

Starting next summer, smokers won't be allowed to light up anywhere on Illinois' public colleges and universities. Over the weekend, Governor Pat Quinn signed the Smoke Free Campus Act.

platinum purple wallpaper by Dank Depot / CC by 2.0

Applications for Illinois' Medical Cannabis Pilot Program (MCPP) were posted online today. The submission period for applications begins on September 2, 2014.

O'Dea / WikiCommons

City planners in Elgin are giving the green light to a medical marijuana dispensary. The planning and zoning commission approved a proposal that calls for setting up the facility on Elgin's southwest side.

Ideas Abound On How To Revamp Illinois' Criminal Justice System

Jul 16, 2014

 

State lawmakers are gathering ideas on how to handle Illinois' prison population. The Joint Criminal Justice Reform Committee heard more than three hours of testimony during its first meeting this week.

Advocates and prison officials had a variety of complex answers to lawmakers’ questions. That means understanding who’s in prison, what they’re in for, how long they stay in prison, and how often they end up going back.

 Kathy Saltmarsh is a state official who studies sentencing guidelines. She testified during Tuesday's hearing.

A year after Illinois legalized concealed carry, new rules are out to determine the process for deciding who can't carry a gun in public. The Illinois State Police issued the emergency rules this week.

state of Illinois

Illinois will have a budget in place when the state's new fiscal year begins Tuesday. The governor signed it into law Monday. He left much of the plan approved by Democratic legislators intact, with a couple of exceptions meant to play well with voters.

Mike Moen/WNIJ

Beekeeping is enjoying a nice comeback in many U.S. states, including Illinois. Renewed interest in the hobby is linked to concerns over declining bee populations. Enthusiasts also say curiosity tends to reel people in.

No matter the case, those with experience say that, while beekeeping is rewarding, it’s not an activity you can just buzz into.

Mixed News For Illinois' Jobs Picture

Jun 20, 2014

Illinois' jobless rate is now at 7.5 percent. It's the third consecutive monthly decrease. And it's at its lowest level since 2008.

Heroin's Grip Revisited

Jun 9, 2014
gracefh.com

Later this week, a legislative panel will meet to finalize a report on addressing heroin use in Illinois. It’s one of two task forces created by the General Assembly to come up with solutions. Their work comes amid concerns about the number of fatal overdoses across the state.

Couples Line Up As Gay Marriage Law Rolls Out

Jun 3, 2014
Mike Moen/WNIJ

The wait is over for same-sex couples in Illinois to marry. A new state law allowing such marriages went into effect over the weekend. That prompted many couples to line-up at their local county clerk's office on Monday.

It's been nearly a month since Illinois State Police began sending out concealed-carry permits. Thousands of applicants have been approved. But some have also been denied.

Campaign Against Human Trafficking Grows

Jan 27, 2014

January is human trafficking awareness month. In Illinois, advocates continue to raise awareness in hopes of preventing such activity.

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