Illinois

Developers of an Asian carp-processing plant in the Mississippi River town of Grafton are getting $1.9 million in help from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity for the project.

That includes a $1.4 million low-interest loan to American Heartland Fish Products, with the remaining money for infrastructure improvements related to the plant.

Grafton, with about 700 residents, is located about 40 miles northeast of St. Louis.

Illinois will acquire new rail cars for all of the in-state Amtrak routes. Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider said the new cars will address the increase in ridership experienced by the service for the past five or six years.

“They're going to be bi-level cars,” Schneider said. “It allows us to transport more passengers on the same footprint, so it makes it more efficient and it gives us opportunity to expand service without having to add train sets.”

U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Chicago, is in more serious condition that initially thought, according to a statement from his office.

The congressman's staff "was recently made aware that he has grappled with certain physical and emotional ailments privately for a long period of time," the statement says.

It says Jackson is being evaluated and treated at an in-patient medical facility, and his doctors believe he will be there for an extended period of time, with outpatient treatment after that.

Governor Pat Quinn says the Supreme Court ruling on health care means Illinois can move forward with implementation of key provisions under the federal law. The governor says Illinois will go along with the expansion of Medicaid. Quinn also says lawmakers need to resume work on setting up an insurance exchange.

WNIJ

 

Governor Pat Quinn hailed the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the federal health care law, calling it “a great day for Illinois and a great day for our country.”

Illinois' association of regional school superintendents will meet next month. Part of the discussion will include how to move forward on eliminating nine regional offices of education.

Illinois reaches temporary deal with state's largest union

Jun 28, 2012

Governor Pat Quinn and Illinois' largest public employees union have yet to agree on a new contract for 40, ooo state workers.  But they were able to temporarily extend the current contract, while talks continue.

www.ilga.gov

With First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama looking on, Gov. Pat Quinn signed the Illinois Military Family Licensing Act to help qualified service members and their spouses obtain professional licenses so they can continue working in Illinois while they are here for military service. 

Senate Bill 275, sponsored by Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, and State Rep. Bob Pritchard, R-Hinckley, permits temporary expedited professional and educational licenses for active duty members of the military and their spouses.

Illinois ranks 6th in the nation when it comes to deaths caused to a lack of health insurance. The findings were issued by Families USA, an advocacy group. The report looked at data between 2005 and 2010. 

Governor Pat Quinn has signed a measure that will reduce Illinois' regional offices of education. To avoid elimination, offices must serve at least 61,000 residents. Whiteside County's population is under 59,000.

Retired state workers in Illinois will have to pay more for their health insurance. But it appears it won't be right away. The law signed last week aims to reduce retiree health-care costs. It ends the practice of the state covering the entire premium costs for those with at least 20 years of service.

The Rockford metro area unemployment rate fell nearly one percentage point in May  to 10.4 percent and payroll employment grew by 3,400 jobs or 2.3 percent, according to preliminary data released today.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) and the U.S. Department of Labor said unemployment fell in eight metro areas, increased in two and essentially was unchanged in two compared to last year, according

The data comparing May 2012 to May 2011 is not seasonally adjusted. The state unadjusted rate has dropped every month this year.

Illinois' probation officers brace for more cuts

Jun 19, 2012

After years of cutbacks, probation officers were hoping for a funding increase in the new state budget. Instead, they're facing even deeper cuts.

One of Chicago's top tourist attractions is offering a free week for Illinois residents.

The Shedd Aquarium has free general admission through Sunday. That includes its "Waters of the World" and "Amazon Rising" exhibits. The Aquarium will also offer discounted admission to other exhibits including the Abbott Oceanarium and "Jellies," which showcases several kinds of jelly fish.

The aquarium is also extending its hours through Wednesday. The Shedd will be open until 8 p.m.

Mixed reaction in Illinois to President's immigrant order

Jun 18, 2012

President Obama has signed an executive order that will stop the deportation of certain immigrants who moved to the U.S. when they were young. The controversial move is drawing praise and criticism in Illinois.

25-year old Alaa Mukahhal has a degree in architecture from the University of Illinois. Her family moved to the state from Kuwait when she was a young child. But she’s still not an American citizen, and she’s currently in the midst of deportation proceedings:

Winnebago Village Trustee Kris Kieper has been named to the first class of Edgar Fellows to address issues facing the future of Illinois.

Kieper is CEO of the Rockford YWCA and writes a blog for the Rockford Register Star.

New anti-gang law will benefit DeKalb

Jun 13, 2012

A newly signed law aimed at weeding out gang leaders in larger cities like Chicago will be beneficial in DeKalb County as well, the chief prosecutor believes.

Court sides with news media in FOIA ruling

Jun 12, 2012

A court ruling has been issued in connection with Illinois' Freedom of Information Act. At question is whether text messages city council members send each other during open meetings are public record. A judge says they are.

Governor signs anti-gang law

Jun 12, 2012
nwtimes.com

Illinois has become the latest state to adopt its version of the RICO Act. Local prosecutors now have the power to go after street gangs as criminal organizations.

Most lawmakers believe that tobacco companies with sugary flavors added to their products should have to quit selling them in the state.

But a recent proposal would target only flavored cigarette wrappers, not flavored cigars.

First State Bank of Mendota has added two new branches in Shabbona, both former locations of the Farmers and Traders State Bank of Shabbona, which was closed at end of business Friday by state regulators.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as receiver to protect depositors. The FDIC arranged with First State Bank to assume all deposits of Farmers and Traders.

Illinois schools face deep cuts

Jun 8, 2012

Illinois schools would see $200 million in cuts in the budget approved by state lawmakers last week. An Associated Press analysis says if the governor signs the budget, Illinois would fall further behind in providing basic education funding for each student.

  • State high court rejects GOP redistricting complaint
  • Good news is bad news on unemployment benefits
  • Convicted powerbroker Cellini suffers heart attack
  • New party joins Crundwell case seeking payment

Illinois officials will gather financial information from the state’s more than 800 school districts over the next two weeks to understand how shifting pension costs away from the state would affect those districts.

“The more facts we could gather regarding what the impact would be on school districts,” Gov. Pat Quinn said, “it would be very important facts we should know.”

The governor initially supported shifting the cost of future pensions for downstate teachers and university workers to school districts and universities but backed away as the legislative session waned.

The recall election which Wisconsin's Republican governor survived Tuesday is a rare occurrence in the United States. Not even half the states have such a process.

Illinois only recently approved procedures to recall a sitting governor, but observers say it wouldn't be easy to do. 

Illinois tax revenue up 7.9% over last May

Jun 6, 2012

An increase was expected. But the revenue manager for the state's forecasting commission says income and sales taxes are exceeding expectations.

Jim Muschinske says it's too early to detect what's behind the 7.9 percent increase last month over May 2011 in revenues from personal income taxes.

lisamadigan.org

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan says the state's current prohibition against same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

The Democrat is throwing her weight behind a pair of lawsuits in Cook County court that are challenging the state's marriage laws. She says she personally supports gay marriage.

I don't believe that the current law that prohibits gays and lesbians from being able to marry in the state of Illinois - uh, meets - uh, equal protection," she said.

Illinois lawmakers have wrapped up their spring session. But they left some work on the table. 

The General Assembly did send the governor a budget. But Sen. Matt Murphy, R-Palatine, says it contains "gimmicks" meant to disguise bad policies.

"Pushing bills off. Moving them around," he said. "Trying to deceive the people into believing that fiscal responsibility has finally been visited upon their Capitol when clearly it has not."

  • Strip club tax for anti-violence funds sent to governor
  • Senate is considering union status of state employees
  • Federal judge approves sale of some Crundwell assets
  • Synthetic drugs legislation goes to governor’s desk
  • Legislature approves phone bill “cramming” ban
  • Senate weighs satellite TV fee

  • ICC quadruples ComEd delivery rate reduction
  • Lawsuits challenge same-sex marriage ban
  • Democrat quits 12th District Congressional race
  • Dixon is advertising for a Finance Director
    … and federal officers want to sell assets

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