Illinois Rep. Sue Scherer, D-Decatur, left, speaks to reporters, while Illinois Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, right, looks on, during a news conference at the Illinois State Capitol Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016.
Seth Perlman/Associated Press
February 02, 2017

Lawmakers Draft Plans To Keep Illinois Paychecks Flowing

Illinois lawmakers are preparing legislation to ensure state employees continue receiving paychecks if a judge agrees with the attorney general's argument to halt paychecks during the budget impasse. Rep. Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) and Rep. Sue Scherer (D-Decatur) introduced similar measures on Wednesday to keep paychecks flowing in response to a motion filed by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan last week.


Gov. Bruce Rauner and Illinois Senator Andy Manar
NPR Illinois
February 02, 2017

Education Desk: School Funding Inequity Needs $3.5 Billion Cure

A group of lawmakers has agreed on a framework for making the way Illinois funds its schools more equitable. But whether it will lead to a long-elusive legislative fix remains to be seen. That bipartisan commission produced a “framework” Wednesday, but no actual legislation. It would create funding targets for each district based on student population needs. It's estimated to cost an additional $3.5 billion to $6 billion.


Rev. Evelyn Burnett Underwood, Alderwoman Diane Marlin, and Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing in Monday's debate at the Urbana City Building.
Jeff Bossert/Illinois Public Media
January 31, 2017

Urbana Mayoral Candidates Debate Crime, Economy

In the first debate for Urbana mayor, the three Democrats - all women - focused on two main themes - crime and policing, as well as business development and taxes. About 60 people filled the Urbana City Building to watch Monday's event organized by the League of Women Voters of Champaign County. The three-way Democratic primary pits incumbent Mayor Laurel Prussing against Alderwoman Diane Marlin and Rev. Evelyn Burnett Underwood.


The Alma Mater statue on the University of Illinois campus
University of Illinois Public Affairs
January 28, 2017

U Of I: Not Clear How AG’s Filing Impacts University Workers

A court filing by Illinois’ Attorney General seeks to halt state worker paychecks by the end of February, and not let them resume until there’s agreement on a state budget. But it’s not yet clear if Thursday’s action would extend to University of Illinois employees. 

U of I spokesperson Tom Hardy says the system’s legal office is reviewing Lisa Madigan’s motion.


Senate President John Cullerton and Republican Leader Christine Radogno speak to reporters earlier this month.
Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois
January 26, 2017

Senate Leaders: Not Backing Off ‘Grand Bargain’

The Illinois Senate left Springfield Thursday without voting on a bipartisan effort to end Illinois' budget stalemate. But hope springs eternal. The so-called grand bargain - devised earlier this month by the Senate's top leadership - was like a chili recipe where the cooks keep swapping ingredients. The latest version would increase the income tax by one-and-a-quarter percentage points, and further decrease government pensions.


103rd District State Rep. Carol Ammons (D-Urbana)
Jeff Bossert/Illinois Public Media
January 25, 2017

Ammons’ New Legislation Takes On Temp Staffing Agencies

New legislation from State Representative Carol Ammons takes on Illinois’ temporary staffing agencies over poor working conditions and wages. The Urbana Democrat says many temp workers are subject to low wages, unsafe working conditions, and sometimes, racial and gender discrimination. She's the lead sponsor of the Responsible Job Creation Act, which will offer protections to these workers and increase transparency in hiring practices. 


Logo for Illinois Realtors
Illinois Realtors
January 24, 2017

Illinois Home Sales Higher For 2016, Despite Dip In December

Sales of existing homes in Illinois were down in December, but up overall in 2016. The trade group Illinois Realtors reports that 162,380 houses and condos were sold in the state last year --- up 3.9% from 2015.  


Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, Democrat of Chicago,
Seth Perlman/AP
January 20, 2017

Cullerton, Radogno Promise Budget-Package Vote Wednesday

Illinois Senate leaders plan to vote on a compromise budget deal next week. Democratic Senate President John Cullerton of Chicago and Minority Leader Christine Radogno of Lemont told the Chicago Tribune editorial board that they will put the proposal to a floor vote Wednesday. It would raise income taxes, borrow to pay off overdue bills, expand casino gambling, and freeze local property taxes.


Timothy Koritz, who was named the next chairman of the U of I's Board of Trustees in Thursday's meeting.
University of Illinois
January 19, 2017

U Of I Trustees: New Chair Named, Enrollment Plan Starts, New Calls for ‘Sanctuary’ Campus

The University of Illinois' Board of Trustees is has launched an initiative to boost system-wide enrollment to more than 90,000 students by 2021. Thursday's meeting also saw the election of a new Trustees' chair, Dr. Timothy Koritz, and approval to freeze in-state tuition rates for a third straight year. Meanwhile, a number of students are again calling for the U of I to declare the school a 'sanctuary campus' to help those who are in the country illegally.


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