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  • Tuesday, January 17, 2017
    Lawmakers learn from used car dealers: 4.95 percent sounds so much cheaper
    Gambling, Gaming , Legislature (56) , Minimum Wage (10) , Pensions (70) , Taxes, income (86) Cullerton, John--State Senate, 6 , Madigan, Michael--State House, 22 , Radogno, Christine--State Senate, 41
    Illinois lawmakers took about 735 days after Gov. Bruce Rauner took office to figure out what 98 general assemblies before them instinctively knew: You can’t govern without compromise.

    Republicans and Democrats in the Illinois Senate are actually talking and horse trading their way towards progress on a budget — that would be the thing that disciplines state spending th...   read more >
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  • Tuesday, January 17, 2017
    'Grand bargain' on Illinois budget could be key to school funding reform, lawmakers say
    Budget--State (8) , Education Funding (36a) Barickman, Jason--State Senate, 53 , Cullerton, John--State Senate, 6 , Manar, Andy--State Senate, 48 , Radogno, Christine--State Senate, 41

    SPRINGFIELD — The first bill introduced in the Illinois Senate during the new session of the General Assembly that began Wednesday is reserved for a long-awaited overhaul of the way the state funds public schools.

    But a plan hasn’t been unveiled yet because a commission that Gov. Bruce Rauner convened this summer is still working out specifics.

      read more >
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  • Tuesday, January 17, 2017
    Illinois is short 600 school substitutes a day, study finds
    Education--Educators/Administrators

    SPRINGFIELD — A survey of Illinois public school districts finds administrators are scrambling to find substitute teachers for as many as 600 classrooms a day.

    The review of 400 districts that the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools released Tuesday reveals that teachers call in absences more than 16,000 times per week. Administrator...   read more >

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  • Tuesday, January 17, 2017
    Davis on ACA: 'Make it better for everyone'
    Congress (22) , Federal Government (22A) , Health Care , Insurance (53) , Obama, Barack , Obamacare, Affordable Care Act , Political Parties (Incld Tea Party) (39a) , President (73)

    DECATUR — Congress doesn't have a specific replacement for the Affordable Care Act, U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis acknowledged Monday, but whatever develops will be better than the existing health care law that he claims isn't working.

    "I understand why people are anxious, and I also understand why other people are hopeful. Yes, anytime you have change, there's going to be concern. B...   read more >

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  • Tuesday, January 17, 2017
    Head of Illinois Board of Higher Education stepping down
    Budget--State (8) , Education Funding (36a) , Education--Educators/Administrators , Education--Higher (37) , Employment, Jobs (40) , Governor (44) , Legislature (56) , Political Parties (Incld Tea Party) (39a) , Rauner, Bruce

    SPRINGFIELD — James Applegate, who became executive director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education less than three years ago, is stepping down.

    Applegate, who has a doctorate and a master's degree in communications from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said he is leaving the IBHE "to pursue other opportunities to serve American higher education."

    He w...   read more >

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  • Tuesday, January 17, 2017
    No refunds?
    Courts (27) , Legal System (27)

    Sometimes government has a hard time doing the right thing.

    Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case that raised a bigger question than the one being argued before the justices.

    It's this — how do some cases and the questions they pose get all the way to the highest court in the land when the answer is so obvious?

    Two Colorado men &#...   read more >

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  • Tuesday, January 17, 2017
    To strike or not? State workers to weigh in
    Employment, Jobs (40) , Governor (44) , Insurance (53) , Legal System (27) , Pensions (70) , Rauner, Bruce , Unions, labor (55)

    The pot won't start to boil for at least another month, but unionized state employees are escalating their campaign to win a favorable union contract by scheduling a strike=authorization vote.

    Roberta Lynch, the executive director of the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees union, last week announced that the union will hold the vote from Jan. 30 to Feb. 19....   read more >

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  • Tuesday, January 17, 2017
    Illinois Senate vows swift action on ambitious budget plan
    Budget--State (8) , Gambling, Gaming , Rauner, Bruce , Taxes, income (86) , Taxes, misc. (89) , Taxes, property (87) Cullerton, John--State Senate, 6 , Radogno, Christine--State Senate, 41

    SPRINGFIELD – If last week's action is any indication, the Democratic and Republican leaders of the Illinois Senate are serious about attempting to bust the state's 18-month budget deadlock – quickly.

    Democratic Senate President John Cullerton and Minority Leader Christine Radogno negotiated an ambitious, multi-part plan to end a nearly two-year battle between Democr...   read more >

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  • Tuesday, January 17, 2017
    Joliet set to hire project manager for Houbolt Road interchange
    Labor (55) , Rauner, Bruce , Transportation (91)

    JOLIET – The Joliet City Council on Tuesday will consider hiring a project manager for the Houbolt Road interchange, one of the first steps on the road to construction, but one that could cost the city nearly $400,000.

    The interchange at Interstate 80 is part of the read more >

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  • Tuesday, January 17, 2017
    Letter: Tax and spend, as usual
    Budget--State (8)

    To the Editor:

    Related to the Sunday Cover Story feature, a lengthy article re. lawmakers returning to Springfield. The features of Sen. Pat McGuire and Rep. Larry Walsh Jr could have been reprints since the time they have been in Springfield.

    Main ideas – Property tax increases, income tax increases and possibly a sugary drink tax. As usual, no thoughts of cutting ...   read more >

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  • Tuesday, January 17, 2017
    Illinois residents could face sticker shock over beverage tax proposal
    Taxes, misc. (89) Hutchinson, Toi--State Senate, 40
    SPRINGFIELD – If you think you're already paying too much for sweetened liquid refreshments, hold on to your wallet. If approved by the Illinois General Assembly and signed into law, Senate Bill 9 would sharply raise the price consumers pay for packaged sodas, syrup-based coffee drinks and tea.

    Proposed by Democratic Sen. Toi W. Hutchinson of the 40th District, the bill would...   read more >
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  • Tuesday, January 17, 2017
    AFSCME uses fake 'compromise' to set stage for state worker strike
    Governor (44) , Labor (55) , Unions, labor (55)
    The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees says it is willing to strike a compromise if only Gov. Bruce Rauner will come back to the bargaining table. But when union officials say they’ll forego more money and will contribute more to health care costs, they’re not being forthcoming about their true intentions. AFSCME’s “compromise” proposals...   read more >
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  • Tuesday, January 17, 2017
    Lawmaker proposes statewide 'Zombie Preparedness Month'
    Natural disasters (42) Welch, Emanuel "Chris"--State House, 7
    Illinoisans are facing a fiscal emergency. Homeowners are saddled with the nation’s highest property taxes, job creators have to navigate an uncompetitive workers’ compensation system, not to mention the worst pension crisis in the nation, and billions in unpaid bills. But politicians are unwilling to confront those challenges, even as residents continue fleeing for other states a...   read more >
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  • Tuesday, January 17, 2017
    McHenry County Board to take up anti-tax referendum
    Election Issues (not candidates) (39) , Legal System (27) , Legislators (former) (58) , Local Government (60) , Referendum , Taxes, property (87) , Unions, labor (55) Skillicorn, Allen--State House, 66

    WOODSTOCK – Filling a committee saved from the chopping block and gauging voter support for a countywide property tax freeze highlight Tuesday evening’s McHenry County Board agenda.

    The ...   read more >

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  • Tuesday, January 17, 2017
    AS IT IS: A conflict of interest? You decide
    Freedom of Info. Act (FOIA) (6a) Rezin, Sue--State Senate 38

    People can have pure intentions but still have potential conflicts of interest.

    As for public officials, we reporters should point out such occurrences.

    Recently, we ran a story on a potential conflict for former La Salle County State's Attorney Brian Towne, who lost his b...   read more >

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  • Tuesday, January 17, 2017
    Budget bargain could be key to school funding reform, Illinois lawmakers say
    Bonds, Bonding, Borrowing, Debt, Credit Rating , Budget--State (8) , Education Funding (36a) , Education reform (38) , Education--Elementary and Secondary (36) , Governor (44) , Legislature (56) , Political Parties (Incld Tea Party) (39a) , Rauner, Bruce , Statehouse (80D) Barickman, Jason--State Senate, 53 , Cullerton, John--State Senate, 6 , Manar, Andy--State Senate, 48 , Radogno, Christine--State Senate, 41

    SPRINGFIELD — The first bill introduced in the Illinois Senate during the new session of the General Assembly that began Wednesday is reserved for a long-awaited overhaul of the way the state funds public schools.

    But a plan hasn’t been unveiled yet because a commission that Gov. Bruce Rauner convened this summer is still working out specifics.

      read more >
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  • Tuesday, January 17, 2017
    Tentative agreement has staff at work on what would have been first day of strike
    Children, Teens (19) , Education--Educators/Administrators , Education--Elementary and Secondary (36) , Employment, Jobs (40) , School board (38) , Unions, labor (55)

    QUINCY -- Jen Drew walked back into Ellington School on Tuesday morning, instead of heading to a picket line, after a tentative agreement averted a planned strike in Quincy Public Schools.

    "I'm excited to be back at work," said Drew, spokesman for the Quincy Federation of Teachers and Educational Support Personnel. "I was the optimist. I had everything planned (f...   read more >

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  • Tuesday, January 17, 2017
    Antiquated system leaves Stratton Building's lights on overnight

    During the later hours of the night, after most of the employees have gone home, onlookers might notice lights that are being left on in the Stratton Building.

    The office building at 401 S. Spring St. in Springfield, which houses various state agencies and members of the General Assembly, is cleaned and maintained by the Secretary of State's Office.

    read more >
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  • Tuesday, January 17, 2017
    Lead testing for schools, day cares signed into law
    New laws (57) , Rauner, Bruce
    Illinois elementary schools and day care centers must test drinking water sources for lead and notify parents of the results under legislation signed into law Monday by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

    The plan for required one-time testing takes effect immediately and applies to schools with students up to grade 5 and facilities built before 2000. Schools and facilities will have to pay for the tes...   read more >

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  • Tuesday, January 17, 2017
    Manar:Rauner should personally negotiate with AFSCME
    Rauner, Bruce , Unions, labor (55) Manar, Andy--State Senate, 48

    Gov. Bruce Rauner should personally be involved in negotiations with the largest state employee union in the hopes of averting a strike, state Sen. Andy Manar said Monday.

    Manar, a Democrat from Bunker Hill, said he believes the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has made "significant movement" in the last few days and that the Republican governor's adm...   read more >

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  • Monday, January 16, 2017
    Illinois Senate vows swift action on ambitious budget plan
    Budget--State (8) , Legislative summaries (57) Cullerton, John--State Senate, 6 , Radogno, Christine--State Senate, 41

    SPRINGFIELD — If last week's action is any indication, the Democratic and Republican leaders of the Illinois Senate are serious about attempting to bust the state's 18-month budget deadlock — quickly.

    Democratic Senate President John Cullerton and Minority Leader Christine Radogno negotiated an ambitious, multi-part plan to end a nearly two-year battle be...   read more >

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  • Monday, January 16, 2017
    McHenry County College ranked as 6th most affordable online college in nation
    Education Funding (36a) , Education--Higher (37)

    CRYSTAL LAKE – McHenry County College has been ranked as one of the most affordable online colleges in the nation, according to SR Education Group, an education research publisher.

    In creati...   read more >

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  • Monday, January 16, 2017
    Sullivan leaves Senate with pride, a few regrets
    Agriculture (2) , Capital Development Board, Capital Construction Plan (14) , Education Funding (36a) , Education--Higher (37) , Governors, former (45) , Legislators (former) (58) , Legislature (56) , Military (95) , Political Parties (Incld Tea Party) (39a) , Road construction, Construction (91a) , Taxes, misc. (89) , Veterans (95) Cullerton, John--State Senate, 6

    RUSHVILLE, Ill. -- As John Sullivan left the Illinois Senate last Tuesday he couldn't help but wish he could have helped end the state's bitter 19-month budget battle.

    "My biggest regret is that we haven't come up with a budget solution before now," Sullivan said.

    "We absolutely cannot continue down...   read more >

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  • Monday, January 16, 2017
    Illinois Senate vows swift action on ambitious budget plan
    Budget--State (8)

    If last week's action is any indication, the Democratic and Republican leaders of the Illinois Senate are serious about attempting to bust the state's 18-month budget deadlock - quickly.

    Democratic Senate President John Cullerton and Minority Leader Christine Radogno negotiated an ambitious, multi-part plan to end a nearly two-year battle between Democrats and GOP Gov. Bruce Rau...   read more >

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  • Sunday, January 15, 2017
    Townships are a form of welfare — for government employees
    Local Government (60) , Public Aid (75)
    Taxes are necessary for the common good, right? So there is a special responsibility for those who take our taxes to ensure the money is spent efficiently, used frugally and delivers value.

    Examine the finances of a township government and you will have a tough time believing anyone involved cares anything about those standards.

    Townships exist in the netherworld between...   read more >
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