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  • Tuesday, January 23, 2018
    Legislation would create school safety pilot program
    Candidates--Federal (13) , Education--Elementary and Secondary (36)
    A bipartisan measure has been introduced by two members of the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois which is designed to establish a pilot program through the U.S. Department of Justice, DOJ, to make panic buttons more available to local school systems. 

    The Securing Our Schools, SOS, Act was introduced by U.S. Rep. Mike-Bost, R-Ill., and U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Il...   read more >
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  • Tuesday, January 23, 2018
    Rauner says he will propose income tax cut; 'wasteful spending' will curb deficit
    Budget--State (8) , Comptroller (21) , Governor (44)
    SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Bruce Rauner said Monday that he will propose rolling back last year's income tax increase in a "step-down" process over several years while also tackling a continuing deficit of billions of dollars.

    The Republican, who will propose a budget outline next month, revealed his plan to pare down the tax increase — a $5 billion-a-year revenue boost —...   read more >
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  • Tuesday, January 23, 2018
    Morning Spin
    Candidates--Statewide (12)

    The Democratic governor candidates will take part in the first televised debate of the campaign at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

    You can watch the hourlong event live on NBC-Ch. 5 and Telemundo, which will carry Spanish subtitles. It'll stream read more >

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  • Tuesday, January 23, 2018
    Ives vows cost-cutting—but says income tax hike to stay for now
    Candidates--Statewide (12)

    Even if she wins in November, the conservative lawmaker running against incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner in the March Republican primary says the income tax hike that was enacted on his watch will have to remain in place for at least two more years. And Chicago and Cook County taxpayers should be prepared to dig deeper if her state budget plans pan out.

    That was the wor...   read more >

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  • Monday, January 22, 2018
    Is a Medicaid work requirement fair?
    Medicaid, Managed Care

    Earlier this month, Kentucky made Medicaid history: It will now require some of its Medicaid recipients to work or risk losing benefits.

     

    Critics say this 20-hours-per-week rule is a draconian plan to toss people off the rolls. Let’s talk about that. Kentucky’s plan is flexible: Recipients could meet the requirement through volunteer work, job training, searchi...   read more >

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  • Monday, January 22, 2018
    What Metra's proposed fare restructuring could mean for you
    Metra (79)

    After months of studying how to redo its decades-old fare system, Metra has produced a smorgasbord of ideas that range from a one-day pass to consolidating its outermost zones to discounting travel at less busy times.

     

    An update of the fare system that dates back 50 years will increase efficiency...   read more >

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  • Monday, January 22, 2018
    LLC president: Community college an affordable alternative
    Education--Higher (37)

    Over the past decade a crisis has been brewing that has the potential to profoundly impact the very foundation of higher education. The crisis surrounds the precipitous rise of student loan debt. Over the past decade student loan debt in the United States has grown by 150 percent, topping out at $1.4 trillion. As Forbes magazine notes, "student loan debt is now the second highest cons...   read more >

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  • Monday, January 22, 2018
    Our View: Checking the long arm of the law as it reaches into your pocket
    Courts (27) , Police (28)

    We're glad to see changes on the horizon for the state's “civil asset forfeiture” law, as reported in a story on Saturday by Effingham Daily News reporter Graham Milldrum.

    But we're unsure that those changes go far enough to prevent the abuses that local officials told Milldrum could happen elsewhere. (Not here, of course, they said. And we have no reason to doubt th...   read more >

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  • Monday, January 22, 2018
    U of I focuses on facilities
    Education--Higher (37)

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Although the University of Illinois has invested more than $1.2 billion in classrooms, residence halls and athletic venues since 2013, the school will put a renewed focus on facilities across its three campuses.

    University officials say it's time fo...   read more >

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  • Monday, January 22, 2018
    Bill would give rural Illinois schools high-speed internet
    Internet, Social Media (98) Manar, Andy--State Senate, 48 , McCann, Sam--State Senate, 50

    SPRINGFIELD – A proposed bill would give more than 90,000 students across 100 districts in rural Illinois access to high-speed internet.

    Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, Sen. Sam McCann, R-Plainview, and Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, D-Shorewood are sponsoring the legislation, the State Journal-Register reported.

    Manar says the measure would be a o...   read more >

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  • Monday, January 22, 2018
    Madigan says opposing Rauner will pay off for Dems
    Labor (55) Madigan, Michael--State House, 22

    OTTAWA — If to be early is to be on time, Mike Madigan was prompt for Saturday’s Illinois Valley Federation of Labor third annual Biennial Labor Summit held at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Ottawa.

    The state Speaker of the House and keynote speaker at the summit took to the dais about an hour earlier than scheduled. This caused an intermission in a presentation by ...   read more >

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  • Monday, January 22, 2018
    Will Illinois Valley be affected by government shutdown?
    Budget--Federal (9) , Congress (22)

    The government shutdown is set to sow more disruption and political peril Monday after the Senate inched closer but ultimately fell short of an agreement that would have reopened federal agencies before the beginning of the workweek.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said negotiations kept going late into the night, with a vote to break a...   read more >

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  • Monday, January 22, 2018
    Madigan greeted warmly at Ottawa labor summit
    Labor (55) Madigan, Michael--State House, 22

    Shortly after Gov. Bruce Rauner took office in 2015, he met with House Speaker Michael Madigan about cutting a budget deal.

    Madigan s...   read more >

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  • Monday, January 22, 2018
    Illinois taxpayers deserve to know how their money's spent

    Don't ask too many questions, Illinois taxpayers. It's only your money.

     

    Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration went out of its way to provide cover for several firms contracted to manage a briskly enacted privatization of Illinois' massive Medicaid program.

     

    Late last month, Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services redacted reimbursement ra...   read more >

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  • Monday, January 22, 2018
    Illinois education: In this test run, the tests don’t have any F’s A handful of high schools try competency-based learning
    Education reform (38)

    Several high schools across Illinois are testing an approach that allows students to learn at their own pace, a concept introduced decades ago at the University of Chicago in which there are no F grades and students choose how to approach mastering a subject.

     

    Ten school districts statewide are implementing the sometimes controversial competency-based learning program, the...   read more >

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  • Monday, January 22, 2018
    Lincoln Home closed due to federal government shutdown
    Budget--Federal (9) , Historic Preservation, historic sites (50)

    The Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield was closed Saturday morning amid the federal government’s shutdown that began at midnight.

    “Due to the federal government budgetary shutdown, the park is currently closed,” said a recorded message on the Lincoln Home’s phone line. “The park will reopen at its regularly scheduled business hours o...   read more >

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  • Monday, January 22, 2018
    New report shows state agencies holding nearly $2.5 billion in bills
    Budget--State (8)

    State agencies were holding nearly $2.5 billion in bills at the end of last year, pushing the state’s bill backlog to more than $9.2 billion.

     

    The numbers are part of the first report issued by Comptroller Susana Mendoza’s office under a new state law that requires state agencies to report on bills they are holding that have not been submitted for payment.

    ...
      read more >
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  • Monday, January 22, 2018
    New session will bring new efforts at pension reform
    Legislature (56) , Pensions (70)

    Illinois lawmakers are gearing up to start another spring session that will include more attempts to address an issue that has remained stubbornly elusive so far.

    What can the state do to rein in the cost of public employee pensions and try to address the $129 billion debt faced by the five state-funded pension systems?

    A number of ideas are floating around the General As...   read more >

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  • Monday, January 22, 2018
    Women’s rally, march draws crowd at Capitol
    Comptroller (21)

    Cindy McCormick and her daughter drove to Springfield from the Alton area Saturday so they could join hundreds of other people at the “Women’s March to the Polls” rally.

    The event, which was held at the Abraham Lincoln statue outside the Statehouse at Second Street and Capitol Avenue, marked the one-year anniversary of the iconic women’s march that occurr...   read more >

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  • Sunday, January 21, 2018
    Is race for governor a battle of billionaires?
    Candidates--Statewide (12) , Governor (44) , Rauner, Bruce Biss, Daniel--State Senate, 9 , Madigan, Michael--State House, 22 , Wallace, Litesa--State House, 67
    Readers of this column know that when it comes to predicting election outcomes, “Follow the money” is a good slogan with which to start. Of course, having the most money doesn’t always signal the winner, but it does tell us who is likely to be competitive and who will be an also ran. There are plenty of robust, competitive races in the March 20 Republican and Democratic primari...   read more >
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  • Sunday, January 21, 2018
    Private schools, public money, New tax credit scholarship program challenges educational status quo
    Education--Elementary and Secondary (36) , Taxes, misc. (89) Wallace, Litesa--State House, 67
    FREEPORT — It’s been two weeks since the launch of the state’s new tax credit scholarship program for private schools and more than $41 million has been pledged. Nearly $33.5 million of the contributions are in Cook County, which means the funds will go toward scholarships for students there. In Region 2 — home to Winnebago, Boone and Stephenson counties — donations through Jan. 15 t...   read more >
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  • Sunday, January 21, 2018
    Petty, Davidsmeyer both decry anti-Petty calls
    Candidates--Statewide (12)

    JONAS PETTY of Pittsfield had raised less than $600 in his primary race against state Rep. C.D. DAVIDSMEYER, R-Jacksonville, as of Dec. 31, but survey calls going into the district have been accusing Petty of getting outside money from a questionable source.

    Petty says he is being bullied with “blatantly false accusations.”

    And D...   read more >

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  • Sunday, January 21, 2018
    Rauner goes after Madigan’s other job
    Rauner, Bruce , Taxes, property (87) Madigan, Michael--State House, 22

    Gov. BRUCE RAUNER’s official schedule for Thursday said he would be in Country Club Hills talking with homeowners and business owners about property taxes.

    That wasn’t necessarily surprising. Rauner has pressed for property tax relief since forever and he has a State of the State speech coming up. The event looked like a way for the governor to give ...   read more >

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  • Sunday, January 21, 2018
    What Illinois State Fair building will be condemned next?
    State Fair, Fairs

    Kenny Rogers sang you gotta know when to hold ’em, you know when to fold ’em, you know when to walk away ...

    The point I’m making is with the Illinois State Fairgrounds. There’s only the Artisans Building, Orr Building, Livestock Center, newly covered arena and maybe a horse barn north to hold — the rest need to come down.

    Quit trying to do emer...   read more >

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  • Saturday, January 20, 2018
    Chris Kennedy earns slow handclap for his Rauner applause line
    Candidates--Statewide (12)

    It’s obviously been very helpful to Chris Kennedy’s underfunded campaign for governor that Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is sinking millions of dollars into campaign commercials slamming Kennedy’s chief Democratic rival, billionaire J.B. Pritzker.

     

    But does Kennedy have to sound so appreciative?

     

    That was the question Friday after Ken...   read more >

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