Illinois

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.

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.

Unemployment down, payroll up in Rockford metro

Jun 21, 2012

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.

Nothin' fishy here: Shedd Aquarium is free this week

Jun 18, 2012

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 Trustee named to first Edgar Fellows class

Jun 15, 2012

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.

Flavored cigarette-paper ban awaits Quinn's decision

Jun 11, 2012

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.

Mendota bank takes over for closed Shabbona facility

Jun 11, 2012

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.

Around Illinois – June 7

Jun 7, 2012

  • 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.

Pages