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Behavioral health service providers in Illinois would see a slight rate increase under the budget passed by the General Assembly Thursday.

 

Sara Howe, CEO of the Illinois Association for Behavioral Health, said the budget comes with a three percent rate increase for substance use treatment. It also makes permanent a three percent rate increase for mental health services that was implemented last year.

But Howe said the increases are small relative to the costs of providing the care.

WBEZ

The Illinois Senate has sent the governor legislation allowing courts to temporarily confiscate guns from people threatening violence.

 

The Senate voted 43-11 today. Democratic Sen. Julie Morrison of Deerfield is the sponsor of what is meant to be a step toward preventing gun violence.

Ahn Young-joon/AP

President Trump has called off a highly anticipated June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

"Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long planned meeting," Trump wrote in a letter to Kim.

Trump's decision comes hours after North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui, in remarks carried on the country's official KCNA news service, said it would not "beg the U.S. for dialogue" and warned that it could make Washington "taste an appalling tragedy."

Brian Mackey/Illinois Public Radio

An aide to Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner says the gun restrictions the Republican wrapped together in a contentious veto are not an "all-or-nothing deal."

 

David Risely is Rauner's criminal justice director. He said Wednesday that Rauner would approve separate bills covering the additional issues. They include a 72-hour waiting period for delivery of any gun, a bump-stock ban and a procedure for removing guns from dangerous people.

https://walker.wi.gov/

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is suggesting he's open to lifting the statute of limitations on civil child sex abuse lawsuits.

 

Women's March of Wisconsin has asked all candidates for elected office to support a version of the Child Victims Act, a legislative template that lifts states' statute of limitations on civil child sexual abuse lawsuits.

Democratic challenger Sara Dady and incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger found some agreement and some differences on issues affecting the 16th Illinois Congressional District during their first appearance together Monday.

Opioids

Both candidates agreed that the opioid epidemic is a serious issue that needs to be addressed by government, law enforcement, and health services.  But Dady stressed that the federal government should provide ten years of full funding so local agencies can carry out treatment efforts.

Illinois Department of Human Services

Twenty attorneys general are challenging Trump administration rule changes they say will reduce access to family planning services.  

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Tuesday that the president is playing politics with patients by changing rules that would shift federal family planning funds toward organizations that stress abstinence.

The AGs filed a brief supporting lawsuits filed in Washington two weeks ago by Planned Parenthood groups in Wisconsin, Ohio and Utah, and the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association.

Susan Stephens/WNIJ

Hundreds of supporters of the Equal Rights Amendment from all over Illinois will descend on Springfield Tuesday. They’re hoping to convince state representatives to approve the 1970s-era U.S. constitutional amendment to protect women’s rights.

A coalition of women’s groups has chartered buses to get supporters to ERA Rally Day at the state capitol.

FLICKR USER KARENDESUYO

The Illinois Senate has approved requiring public schools to teach LGBT history.

 

The Senate voted 34-18 Wednesday on the plan by Chicago Democratic Sen. Heather Steans.

It would require schools to teach a history unit on the role in society and contributions of gays, lesbians and other LGBT individuals .

The Senate has approved another bump-stock ban.

 

The Senate voted 38-10 Thursday on Sen. Kwame Raoul's plan. It would outlaw the manufacture or possession of bump stocks or trigger cranks which turn rifles into assault-style weapons. It's the device the gunman used in the Las Vegas mass shooting last October.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

In a move not surprising to many, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan Monday was re-elected as the chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party.

Wikimedia Commons

Last month, the state's voters decided on the Republican and Democratic nominees for governor. But with the primaries behind them, the winners still have to convince those who wanted someone else at the top of the ticket.

Incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner probably thought he didn't need to worry about his only Republican opponent, state Rep. Jeanne Ives, during the primary campaign. In the past, he'd called her a "fringe candidate" and decided to forgo campaigning against her until just a few weeks before election day.

Wisconsin voters go to the polls Tuesday for nonpartisan judicial elections statewide.

They also will decide whether to eliminate one of the state’s constitutional officers.

The most visible contest on the ballot is for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which has a significant conservative majority that can’t be changed by this election.

The conservative candidate is Sauk County Circuit Judge Michael Screnock, who was appointed three years ago by Governor Scott Walker. He had been a private attorney for nine years.

"Am I Next? Student lie-in at the White House to protest gun laws" by Flickr user Lorie Shaull / (CC x 2.0) /

Students and supporters plan to gather in downtown Rockford for their March For Our Lives event Saturday.

Event organizers say the march, which is a sister event to the national march held by Parkland shooting survivors, begins at 1 p.m. at the city parking lot next to Beattie Park and ends at Davis Park. A rally afterwards will include student activists, a spoken word artist, and Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara.

Victor Yehling /WNIJ

Voters in Tuesday’s primary election rejected the effort to re-implement home rule authority in Rockford. WNIJ spoke with people on both sides of the issue about what this means for Rockford’s future.

The Illinois Constitution grants home rule authority to municipalities that have at least 25,000 residents. Others can gain that authority through a direct ordinance. Rockford naturally qualified in 1970 due to its population, but a referendum removed home-rule status in 1983.

Guy Stephens/ WNIJ

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner was in full campaign attack mode the day after he eked out a narrow win in the primary.  

Rauner didn’t take any time to savor his victory. Wednesday, he made factory stops in St. Charles, Rockford and Moline to press the flesh and make his case for re-election.  

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

An immigration lawyer from Rockford will take on incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger in the race for the 16th Congressional district this fall.

Sara Dady beat three other candidates to win the Democratic nomination. She says her first priority, now that the primary is over, is to get Kinzinger to commit to at least four debates.

As for issues, Dady says, “I know, as a businesswoman, we need universal health care in this country. Not only did I lose my mother because she didn’t have access to health care, I know the burden that it is on small businesses.”

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

The Illinois Primary is fast approaching, and early voting has already begun. Election Protection, a national nonpartisan coalition, is offering a toll-free number staffed by attorneys to help. 

Timna Axel is with the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, which leads the Coalition’s efforts in Illinois. She says citizens have a right to vote but, all too often, there are problems with the process.

Victoria Lunacek / WNIJ

Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration reversed course Monday and announced that it will replace residence halls at the Quincy veterans' facility, which housed victims of a Legionnaires' disease outbreak responsible for the deaths 13 people and making dozens more ill since 2015.

 

WNIJ continues to review important races in the upcoming Illinois Primary Election on March 20.  In this Friday Forum, we take a look at three Illinois Congressional Districts where only one of the Republican incumbents faces a primary challenge. Democrats have several hopefuls in the primary balloting in those districts.

Northern Illinois University Political Science Professor Scot Schraufnagel has noted before that incumbency has its advantages.

That may -- or may not -- be the case in the three Illinois Congressional districts we review today.

WNIJ continues to review important races in the upcoming Illinois Primary Election on March 20.  In this Friday Forum, we take a look at both the 14th Illinois Congressional District, where there is a primary competition, and the 17th District, where there isn’t.

WNIJ News continues its look at important primary election races in northern Illinois. In this Friday Forum, WNIJ’s Dan Klefstad talks with Northern Illinois University Prof. Scot Schraufnagel, chair of the Department of Political Science, about the contests in both parties in the 16th Illinois Congressional District, which covers about half of the WNIJ listening area.

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.

Joe Gratz / Flickr "Courtroom One Gavel" (CC BY 2.0) http://bit.ly/2E6ZAEj

A Cook County judge has ruled attorney general candidate Scott Drury be removed from next month's primary ballot over questions about whether he complied with the rules in filing of a statement of economic interest.

Drury's campaign issued a statement Friday vowing a swift appeal.

Drury is a state representative from Highwood and among eight Democrats seeking the party's nomination in the March 20 primary.

The case hinges on whether he properly submitted paperwork candidates have to file when running for office.  

In this Friday Forum, we begin a series of interviews about important Illinois Primary Election races. WNIJ’s Dan Klefstad talked with Northern Illinois University Prof. Scot Schraufnagel, chairman of the Political Science Department, about various statewide and Congressional races. This week, we start with the top of the ballot: the race for Illinois governor.

johncabello.org

A Republican Illinois lawmaker is calling on the governor to resign. He’s also endorsing the governor’s opponent in the primary.

State Rep. John Cabello told Rockford television station WREX that a lack of credibility was the main reason he thinks Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, a fellow Republican, should resign.

Chase Cavanaugh/WNIJ

Four northern Illinois Democrats are vying for the chance to take GOP U.S. Representative Adam Kinzinger’s 16th District seat.

The candidates paid a visit to DeKalb County’s Democratic Party headquarters last week, outlining their priorities before local party activists. All of them took potshots at the increasing lack of bipartisanship in national government and blamed Kinzinger for not adequately representing his district. However, each of them had distinct priorities when it came to the campaign.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

This weekend, women will take to the streets in more than 300 cities worldwide. There are at least nine women’s marches scheduled in Illinois Saturday, including Chicago, Rockford, Carbondale, and a number of points in-between.

Two of the candidates for the Democratic nomination for the 67th District Illinois House seat have been removed from the ballot.

The seat has been occupied since 2014 by State Rep. Litesa Wallace, who is the running mate of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Daniel Biss.

Former Rockford School Board member Lisa Jackson and former business owner Wladimiro “Jesse” Aguirre were removed Thursday for failure to have at least 500 valid signatures on their nominating petitions.

Pixabay

A group of Illinois lawmakers will exploring the potential benefits to the state in using “blockchain” technology developed for cybercurrency. 

The value of the digital currency Bitcoin has been volatile during its existence so far, but its blockchain backbone could have other uses for the state. Blockchains are encrypted ledgers of transactions that can be shared.

State Rep. Mike Zalewski, D-Riverside, will chair a new cryptocurrency subcommittee.

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