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  • Thursday, April 26, 2018
    Local Food Lobby Day
    Agriculture (2) , Food-Related Issues
    Joey McLaughlin talks with the Communications Director of the Illinois Stewardship Alliance, Molly Gleason about ‘Local Food Lobby Day.’ http://wtax.com/podcasts/local-food-lobby-day/ ...   read more >
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  • Thursday, April 26, 2018
    UPDATE 1-Illinois' $500 mln bond sale gets boost from yield hunters
    Bonds, Bonding, Borrowing, Debt, Credit Rating

    CHICAGO, April 25 (Reuters) - Investors seeking hefty yields helped Illinois' $500 million bond sale on Wednesday result in narrower spreads over the municipal market's benchmark scale.

     

    Yields topped out at 4.88 percent for bonds due in 2043 in the two-part general obligation bond competitive sale won by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

     

    "It's just a l...   read more >

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  • Thursday, April 26, 2018
    SIUE needs more money, not more administrative overhead
    Education--Higher (37)
    State lawmakers are busy acting like divorce lawyers after trustees refused to shift state dollars between Southern Illinois University's two campuses.

    The better role would be of marriage counselors.

    Bills to separate the Edwardsville and Carbondale campuses into their own entities seem rash, especially in a state where we've seen administration grow by more than read more >

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  • Thursday, April 26, 2018
    Judge: IDOC violated rights of mentally ill inmates
    Corrections (74) , Mental Health (64)
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  • Thursday, April 26, 2018
    Democrats holster plans to shoot down Rauner veto of gun dealer licensing bill
    Guns and Gun Control, FOID, Concealed Carry (46)

    Senate Democrats on Wednesday opted to skip an attempt to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of a measure that would have required gun dealers to be licensed by the state — giving the governor and fellow Republicans who opposed it a glimpse of victory.

     

    As thousands took to the streets in Springfield to support their Second Amendment rights to own guns, bill spo...   read more >

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  • Thursday, April 26, 2018
    Everybody wants fair maps. Right?
    Redistricting (78)

    The people of Illinois want fair legislative maps.

    They want maps that are drawn by an independent body working on behalf of voters, not by politicians looking after themselves. They want maps that promote competitive elections instead of protecting incumbents.

    They’ve said so, over and over again, in polls going back decades. They’ve collected hundreds of thousan...   read more >

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  • Thursday, April 26, 2018
    Stop looking away as Illinois burns through billions of wasted dollars
    Budget--State (8)

    If Illinois’ government is going to keep burning money in a garbage can, as one lawmaker puts it, it should at least keep track of how much that’s costing us.

     

    The wasted money — literally over a billion dollars — is cash the state shells out for high interest on overdue bills. Keeping track of that utterly wasted money is the idea behind a House bi...   read more >

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  • Thursday, April 26, 2018
    Morning Spin

    Last year’s pop tax backlash has eroded the current Cook County Board’s enthusiasm for tax increases, with President Toni Preckwinkle predicting no new “revenue” in next year’s budget.

    “I don’t anticipate revenue” when proposing a 2019 budget later this year, she said Wednesday. “There were no votes for revenue ...   read more >

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  • Thursday, April 26, 2018
    Illinois Senate OKs raising smoking age to 21
    Health (49) McCarter, Kyle--State Senate, 54 , Morrison, Julie--State Senate, 29

    SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Senate has voted to raise the smoking age from 18 to 21.

    The Senate voted 35-20 Wednesday to ban under-21 sales of tobacco or tobacco related products. The ban includes any nicotine-based products such as e-cigarettes or vaping materials.

    Sen. Julie Morrison is the sponsor of the plan. The Deerfield Democ...   read more >

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  • Thursday, April 26, 2018
    Marijuana conviction expungement measure advances to House floor
    Drugs (32) , Legal System (27) Ford, La Shawn--State House, 8 , Parkhurst, Lindsay--State House, 79 , Reick, Steven--State House, 63
    Illinois is one step closer to allowing people convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana or paraphernalia to expunge their criminal convictions.

    Before 2016, those caught in possession of fewer than 10 grams of marijuana could face jail time. Such offenses are now civil infractions rather than criminal ones thanks to a change in state law.

    With the 2016 change a...   read more >
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  • Thursday, April 26, 2018
    Illinois lawmakers studying local public safety pension consolidation
    Fire Marshal, fire, fire fighters (84) , Local Government (60) , Pensions (70) , Police (28)
    It’s not just state employee pensions that are underfunded. Illinois state lawmakers are also studying how to fix Illinois’ growing local public safety pension problems.

    The state’s five pension funds for state employees have a combined unfunded liability of $130 billion. Efforts to address that have stalled at the statehouse. But there’s a growing taxpayer liabili...   read more >

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  • Thursday, April 26, 2018
    Illinois Democrats' plan to override gun dealer veto fizzles
    Guns and Gun Control, FOID, Concealed Carry (46) , Rauner, Bruce Harmon, Don--State Senate, 39

    SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Democrats’ hopes of overriding a veto of firearms-dealer licensing fizzled Wednesday, swamped by the inaction of a Senate and House afraid to take the vote without cover from the other.

    Democrats in the Senate, where the override had to occur by Wednesday’s deadline, said they had enough votes to reverse Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’...   read more >

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  • Thursday, April 26, 2018
    Column: Time to revisit admission hikes at some parks
    Natural resources (23) , Parks, Recreation

    Social Security has long been labeled the third rail of U.S. politics — touch it and you die — but it was pleasing recently to see the Washington back away from another hot-rail asset: The U.S. National Park Service.

    Last fall, the U.S. Department of the Interior proposed increasing the entrance fees at 17 national parks from $25 to $70 per vehicle, though parks with...   read more >

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  • Thursday, April 26, 2018
    IVCC hopes to add bachelor’s in nursing
    Education--Higher (37) , Health Care

    To overcome a nursing shortage throughout Illinois, state Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Morris) is co-sponsoring legislation that would allow community colleges’ trustees to offer a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

    Illinois Valley Community College’s response to this legislation is “incredibly positive,” said IVCC president Jerry Corcoran.

    Right now, students ...   read more >

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  • Thursday, April 26, 2018
    Legislation that would have allowed third party vendors access to business financial records defeated in House
    Business (10) , Taxes, sales (88) Welch, Emanuel "Chris"--State House, 7
    SPRINGFIELD - Legislation that would have allowed the state to disclose private business financial information to third party auditors was defeated in the State House on Wednesday.

    House Bill 2717, sponsored by State Rep. Chris Welch (D-Westchester), would have helped firms such as Chicago-based Azavar Government Solutions, a firm that say it "works with munici...   read more >

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  • Thursday, April 26, 2018
    Chicago ban on ice cream trucks melts away after 45 years
    Chicago (16) , Miscellaneous (98)

    ELGIN, Ill. (AP) — The ban on ice cream trucks in the Chicago suburb of Elgin is finally melting after 45 years.

    The (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald reports that the Elgin City Council on Wednesday voted to amend the city code to allow ice cream truck...   read more >

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  • Thursday, April 26, 2018
    Illinois nurses to complete sexual assault training sooner
    Hospitals, Health Facilities Planning Board (48) , Sexual assault, Sex Crime (96)

    CHICAGO (AP) — A new amendment to proposed legislation in Illinois would require hospitals to train nurses in sexual assault care by 2021.

    The Chicago Tribune reports that a previous draft of the proposal gave hospitals until 2023 to have a speciall...   read more >

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  • Thursday, April 26, 2018
    STATE AFFAIRS: More on Downstate matters

    I appear to have struck a positive chord among many readers with a recent column that worried Downstate Illinois is becoming irrelevant to the power brokers of Illinois, nearly all of whom reside in metropolitan Chicago.

     

    More emails than typical have been coming my way saying, in effect, “You’re right on, Jim!” One well-known statewide figure, whom most ...   read more >

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  • Thursday, April 26, 2018
    Better uses for campaign cash
    Candidates--Statewide (12)

    Another great idea: J.B. Pritzker and Gov. Bruce Rauner can donate all of their money that they are funneling into their campaigns to the state of Illinois to pay for our share of the Interstate 74 bridge.

     

    Their mailings and ads will not buy my vote.

     

    Put the money to GOOD use.

     

    Jann Casillas Ortiz,

    Silvis

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      read more >
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  • Thursday, April 26, 2018
    Illinois Senate passes Anderson's gun owner's bill
    Guns and Gun Control, FOID, Concealed Carry (46) Anderson, Neil--State Senate, 36

    -- Legislation introduced by state Sen. Neil Anderson, R-Andalusia, allowing electronic Firearms Identification cards unanimously passed the Senate Wednesday.

     

    Senate Bill 2677 allows FOID card holders to display an electronic version of their card on their phone or other electronic device instead of the actual card. Sen. Anderson introduced the bill in March, saying its ...   read more >

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  • Thursday, April 26, 2018
    Gun owners lobby lawmakers as Senate refrains from trying gun dealer licensing override
    Guns and Gun Control, FOID, Concealed Carry (46) , Rauner, Bruce McDermed, Margo--State House, 37

    SPRINGFIELD – Gun owners gathered in the Illinois capitol Wednesday for the annual Illinois Gun Owners Lobby Day as lawmakers considered a vote to override a controversial gun control measure.

    I-GOLD started at a convention center in Springfield, which then turned into a march down Capitol Avenue to the statehouse.

    Speaking to the crowd outside the capitol, state Rep. Marg...   read more >

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  • Thursday, April 26, 2018
    Illinois Senate votes to raise age to buy tobacco to 21
    Tobacco, Smoking Ban, E-Cigarettes

    Illinois senators Wednesday approved a bill to raise the legal age for buying tobacco to 21.

    The Senate voted 35-20 on Senate Bill 2332, which now goes to the House.

    The legislation would raise the age to legally buy tobacco to 21 ...   read more >

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  • Thursday, April 26, 2018
    Illinois State Fairgrounds on endangered sites list
    Historic Preservation, historic sites (50) , State Facilities/Buildings

    The Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield is one of more than a dozen structures named the state’s most endangered historic structures in 2018.

    The non-profit group Landmarks Illinois released this year’s list on Wednesday, saying numerous buildings at both the Springfield and Du Quoin state fairgrounds are s...   read more >

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  • Thursday, April 26, 2018
    Libertarian Kash Jackson wants to protect rights
    Candidates--Statewide (12)

    The Libertarian Party candidate for governor, KASH JACKSON, says he’s running to protect people’s rights — like he did during his 20 years in the Navy — and because he can relate to regular folks.

    “I’m a common guy that wants better for my state and my country,” he told me via telephone on his way to Springfield this week...   read more >

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  • Thursday, April 26, 2018
    Our View: Legislators should adopt revenue estimate resolution
    Budget--State (8)

    It makes sense to know how much money you’ll have to spend when crafting a state budget. Some latitude is required, of course, since many sources of revenue fluctuate.

    But there are solid estimates available. For the fiscal year 2019 state budget, the Commission on Government Fo...   read more >

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