In this Oct. 16, 2015 file photo, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks to reporters about the Illinois budget at the State Capitol in Springfield.
Seth Perlman/AP
October 31, 2015

Rauner: November Meeting With Leaders More For Media

Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and the state's Democratic legislative leaders are scheduled to meet on November 18th in an effort to end Illinois' budget impasse.  But when asked about it Friday, Rauner said the open public meeting is more for the media's benefit than real compromise.

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President Barack Obama speaks in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington Thursday.
(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
April 30, 2015

Obama Library To Be Built In Chicago

President Barack Obama has chosen his hometown of Chicago to host his future presidential library.   That's according to a source with direct knowledge of the decision who requested anonymity because Obama's decision hasn't been announced.

The University of Chicago, where Obama once taught law, will develop the library along with the Barack Obama Foundation. The nonprofit screened about a dozen proposals before recommending a winner from the final four, which also included the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Obama and his foundation are expected to officially announce the winner within the next few weeks.
The University of Hawaii and Columbia University were the other two schools on the short list. Both are expected to be involved in supplementary programming surrounding the president's legacy.

In this Sept. 20, 2014 file photo, Cardinal Francis George speaks at a news conference in Chicago.
(AP Photo/Paul Beaty, File)
April 17, 2015

Chicago Cardinal Francis George Dies At Age 78

Cardinal Francis George, a vigorous defender of Roman Catholic orthodoxy who played a key role in the church's response to the clergy sex abuse scandal, has died. He was 78.

The Chicago archdiocese says George died Friday after a long fight with cancer.
Appointed to lead the archdiocese in 1997, George became a leading figure of his era in the American church.
He oversaw the contentious new English-language translation of the Roman Missal, one of the biggest changes in Catholic worship in generations.

In 2002, at the height of the sex-abuse crisis, he led a group of U.S. bishops who persuaded Vatican officials to more quickly oust guilty priests.
George also spearheaded the fight among bishops against President Barack Obama's health insurance plan, arguing it allow taxpayer money for abortion.

Chicago Catholics are remembering George as a compassionate and courageous leader.
Lifelong parishioner Jim Coleman showed up at Chicago's Holy Name Cathedral to say a prayer for George after learning the cardinal died Friday.
Coleman says it's a day of sadness and rejoicing, because George was a significant part of Chicago history and "meant so much to so many people.'' He says George treated everyone equally.
Brigid Cashman is an administrator at the Francis Xavier Warde School at Holy Name. She says George was a symbol of courage and bravery because he battled polio as a child and cancer as an adult.
Cashman says she never heard George complain, and he taught people to deal with life's challenges with "grace and gratitude.''

In a statement, Gov. Bruce Rauner said the Cardinal "shepherded the Church through some of its most trying times, but leaves behind a strong community of faith that has tremendous positive impact on the people of Illinois, regardless of their creed."

January 02, 2015

Report Looks At LGBT Equality In Cities

Same sex marriage took effect in Illinois in 2014, and while our state has joined the ranks of others that offer an increased amount of rights and protections to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, cities differ in laws and policies that promote equality.


A report that was released a few weeks ago looked at cities from around the country - seven of which are in Illinois.

Of those seven cities, Chicago has the highest possible score (100), but even the lowest, Rockford, is near the national average of 59.  Champaign is also on the list with a ranking of 70.

The Human Rights Campaign's Cathryn Oakley authored the report - called the Municipal Equality Index.   She spoke with Illinois Public Radio's Rachel Otwell.


December 12, 2014

Health Insurance Costs Up In Parts Of Illinois

Illinois residents returning to to buy insurance are finding prices higher in many parts of the state.

Monday is the last day for consumers to choose new plans if they want the changes to take effect Jan. 1 under President Barack Obama's health care law.
An analysis of average rates for popular health plans conducted for The Associated Press found average costs fell in the Chicago area, where health care competition is fierce. But costs rose in Springfield and Belleville.
Decatur resident John Phillips decided to stick with the same Blue Cross Blue Shield policy even though his family's monthly premiums will increase.

He says he looked at some other plans, but decided to stick with a reliable insurer that's paid on claims without hassle.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel talks about future plans for a maintenance facility.
(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)
December 02, 2014

Chicago Increases Minimum Wage; Mayor Hopes State Follows Suit

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he hopes the city council's approval of a $13 minimum wage for the city will "jolt'' state lawmakers into raising the issue statewide.

The Democrat spoke Tuesday after aldermen overwhelmingly approved raising the city's wage by 2019.

Emanuel says a higher Chicago rate and voters' strong support of a non-binding ballot measure in November should lay ground work for a higher Illinois rate.
State legislators are considering an increase to $11 by 2017 from the state's current $8.25. They're gathered in Springfield this week for a veto session.
Emanuel says he moved up the date of Tuesday's meeting over fears state lawmakers could block Chicago's attempt.

He says the city has to keep up with the cost of living and no working family should live in poverty.

The legislation includes several findings of a focus panel that examined the wage issue in Chicago earlier this year.

The bill states, "rising inflation has outpaced the growth in the minimum wage, leaving the true value of lllinois's current minimum wage of $8.25 per hour 32 percent below the 1968 level of $10.71 per hour (in 2013 dollars)."

It also says that nearly a third of Chicago's workers, or some 410,000 people, currently make $13 an hour or less.

The timing of the vote reflects a political reality, as Emanuel and other Chicago leaders are maneuvering ahead of the next election cycle.

"Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to pre-empt state action on local minimum wages," Northern Public Radio reports, adding that among those who approve the pay hikes, "Officials are worried business groups will push for Springfield legislation that prohibits municipalities raising their minimum wage higher than the state's."

As NPR's Marilyn Geewax reported after the midterm elections, voters in Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota approved binding referendums that raise their states' wage floor above the federal minimum.

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