Illinois

Illinois' cameras in courts pilot program is more than six months old. A spokesman for the state Supreme Court says so far, everything appears to be working fine.

Gas prices surge in northern Illinois

Aug 3, 2012

There's been a nationwide uptick in gas prices. But prices across the northern Illinois region have surged by nearly 20 cents over the past week.

A series of five public hearings will be held this month to seek comment on the draft Environmental Impact Statement for high-speed rail from Chicago to St. Louis.

Alternatives for accommodating higher speeds and additional round trips were narrowed down based on criteria that included residential and commercial impacts, travel time reductions, safety and environmental impacts.

Illinois prepares for video gambling launch

Jul 30, 2012

Video gambling in Illinois is scheduled to roll out in bars and restaurants in the coming weeks. But for many businesses, it's still unclear whether they'll get permission to install the machines.

Expert says Illinois' drought won't end anytime soon

Jul 30, 2012

Illinois is seeing slightly cooler temperatures following last week's hundred-degree days. But state climatologist Jim Angel says it appears the end of the drought is a long way off.

Report on Illinois' rural issues unveiled

Jul 27, 2012

A recent tour of rural areas by Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon has resulted in a report that shows residents expect their quality of life to improve.

First human cases of West Nile surface in Illinois

Jul 25, 2012
umaa.org

Both of the reported cases in the state are out of Cook County. Health officials say they surfaced a little earlier than usual.

Illinois still trying to remove itself from No Child Left Behind

Jul 25, 2012

The state's waiver application has been delayed. In the meantime, Illinois will soon apply for an exemption from the most controversial aspect of the law. 

Late Tuesday Afternoon Update:

Tens of thousands of people in northern Illinois were without electricity hours after a fast-moving thunderstorm downed trees and severed power lines.

The early morning storm knocked out power to about 300,000 homes and businesses in the northern part of the state.

Commonwealth Edison said that by mid-afternoon, 91,000 customers were still without electricity, most of them to the west of Chicago.

Company officials expect power will be restored to most of them by Thursday evening or Friday. 

Quinn asks for more federal help for drought-stricken counties

Jul 23, 2012
WNIJ

Governor Pat Quinn has asked for federal disaster designations for virtually all Illinois counties. His request comes amid one of the state's worst droughts on record.

Illinois part of whooping cough trend

Jul 23, 2012

Nationally, rates of "pertussis" are up.  And Illinois is no exception. The Illinois Department of Public Health reports just over one thousand cases of the disease known as "whooping cough" already this year.

A relatively short prison sentence seems to be bringing some relief to Stuart Levine, one of the central figures in the Blagojevich scandal.
After being sentenced yesterday, Stuart Levine smiled and shook hands and joked with many of the prosecutors and FBI agents who investigated him and brought him down.
And what a downfall it's been.
Levine went from being a multi-millionaire to working at a kiosk in a mall.

Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation Thursday to strengthen the Illinois Open Meetings Act by requiring that notice of public meetings and agendas are posted for two full days before the meeting.

“This law gives the public greater access to information and activities that impact their lives,” Quinn said. “Increasing government openness and accountability from the statewide level to the local level will make Illinois a stronger, more ethical state.”

Statewide home sales in June surged 18 percent over previous year levels to 13,111 single-family homes and condominiums. This was the best June performance since 2010, according to the Illinois Association of Realtors.

The statewide median price in June was $155,000, up 3.3 percent from June 2011, the fourth straight month of median price increases in Illinois. The median price -- where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less – has risen $32,650 since January.

Illinois will seek a partnership with the federal government to set up a health insurance exchange for the first year, aides to Gov. Pat Quinn said Wednesday.

That online marketplace eventually could help more than 1 million Illinoisans obtain affordable insurance as part of the federal health-care law.

A private donor has come through with a grant to make up for state cuts to drug prevention. Five years ago, Illinois was spending about $7.5 million to keep young people from trying drugs.

This year, the state's spending $1 million, and the future is cloudy; the governor tried to cut all of the funding.

Larry Goodman of Highland Park says the cut is unconscionable when teens across Illinois are increasingly using heroin.

The state of Illinois didn’t have any trouble selling $1.5 billion in debt to repay a federal loan for its unemployment-insurance program, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Crain’s Chicago Business said interest rates for the three-series offering were “rock bottom,” thanks to the dedicated stream of unemployment insurance taxes backing them up -- separate from Illinois' general fund. Also, any extra money from the tax can be used only to pay off the debt, providing extra protection for investors.

People familiar with the deal said it received many more orders than there were bonds available.

WNIJ

Gov. Pat Quinn today signed four consumer-protection laws banning false phone charges known as “cramming,” lowering utility costs, and helping resolve billing and credit issues.

“When everyday people work together for the common good, we can improve our state,” Quinn said. “We need to keep fighting for consumer rights in Illinois and ensure those rights are protected from those who would take advantage of them.”

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation

Mitsubishi's top selling vehicle is now made in Illinois. The Japanese automaker has shifted production of the Outlander Sport to its only U.S. production facility in Normal.

Gov. Pat Quinn, who attended the ceremony launching the Japanese automaker's latest U.S. product, touted the sporty crossover SUV during remarks to 1,200 plant workers, company executives, and other officials.

"It's fuel efficient and it's made in America and made in Illinois,” he said. “That means a lot to me, and I think to everybody in our state, that your skill has crafted this vehicle that not only will supply the automotive needs of our country but also the export possibilities."

Illinois Farm Bureau

Quinn tours drought-stricken Southern Illinois farm

With the warm spring, farmers were able to plant early and corn and soy seeds went in at a remarkable pace.

"We were set out to raise what we thought was probably the largest corn crop in the history of American agriculture," Said Illinois Farm Bureau President Phillip Nelson.

Instead, months of drought are killing those expectations ... and the corn. Nelson says some farmers will end up with no crop, or only half of one.

The drought in southern Wisconsin has been officially declared severe, and all of Illinois is now officially in a drought … but there is one crop that seems to be doing fine despite the hot weather.

Officials at the National Drought Mitigation Center in Nebraska say Cook County is fully in a moderate drought for the first time this year. ... But that isn't the worst of it.

Far southern Illinois is designated as being in an exceptional drought, which is the most serious classification. 

State of Illinois

Illinois lawmakers are losing a century-old political perquisite -- the ability to award college scholarships. Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation this morning to end the practice after one last round of awards this summer.

"Instead of scholarships going to those who truly deserve them and who were qualified for scholarships to go to college,” the governor said, “too often the program was abused in a political way."

New office will be 15 miles south near I-39

State officials have confirmed that the Rockford west-side driver services facility will close once the lease expires July 29, and a new facility will open in September more than 15 miles away at 4752 Baxter Road along I-39 near the southern Winnebago County line.

Beth Kaufman, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Secretary of State’s office, said negotiations with the landlord over maintenance and repairs fell through.

Five retired state employees are suing over a new law that allows Illinois to begin charging some state retirees for health insurance.

The plaintiffs are members of the State Employees Retirement System who all put in at least 20 years of state service. Such retirees had been entitled to premium-free state health insurance, but Gov. Pat Quinn signed a law last month that does away with that benefit.

Thomas Boken Jr. of DeKalb will be on the general election ballot as a Democratic candidate for the 90th House District seat being vacated by state Rep. Jerry Mitchell, R-Sterling, who is retiring after serving for 18 years.

The State Officers Electoral Board on Monday rejected an objection to Boken’s candidacy filed by Lee County Republican Party Chairman Greg Witzleb had objected to 178 signatures on Boken’s petitions.

Illinois State Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook, doesn’t expect lawmakers to act on pension reform until after the Nov. 6 general election, though Gov. Pat Quinn said they should be ready to return to Springfield this summer to work on the contentious issue.

A member of the governor’s pension reform committee, Nekritz told the Daily Herald editorial board “it’s not ideal” to delay the issue until after the election.

A former Illinois judge is taking legal action to prevent state retirees from having to pay more for their health insurance. Governor Pat Quinn recently signed the measure into law. It aims to reduce the cost of providing coverage to retired state workers.

State of Illinois

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is rejecting calls to reduce the asking price for a state prison the federal government wants to buy. He’s also rejecting the idea that Illinois should not try to sell the federal government two prisons at once.

Thomson Correctional Center, in northwest Illinois, has barely been used in the decade since it was built. Illinois and the federal government agreed to a price of $165 million -- significantly less than the $220 million dollars at which that facility has been appraised.

And Quinn plans to close the super-maximum security prison at Tamms, in southern Illinois, as a cost-saving move. It's one of the newest state prisons and, once it's empty, Quinn hopes the federal government will be interested in buying it as well as Thomson.

http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/

Legal Helpers Debt Resolution LLC will provide $2.1 million in restitution for Illinois residents who paid for debt settlement services but failed to receive meaningful debt reduction under a settlement with Illinois Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

The Chicago-based law firm, which operates nationwide, allegedly charged consumers upfront fees to provide debt settlement services with promises to make them debt free.

state of Illinois

The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled in a DUI case that there is no specific required driving deviation to justify police making a traffic stop.

In 2008, Dennis Hackett was driving through Joliet when a sheriff's deputy pulled him over. The deputy said he saw Hackett's car cross a lane divider twice, so he stopped the car and charged Hackett with drunken driving.

Pages