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  • Thursday, August 16, 2018
    Illinois lawmakers now banned from using public funds for harassment hush money
    Ethics, Campaign Reform, Transparency (12a) , Legislature (56) , Sexual Harassment (96) McSweeney, David--State House, 52
    Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill into law making it illegal for Illinois lawmakers to silence sexual harassment victims with taxpayer money.

    Even though the bill’s sponsor isn’t aware of it happening, given Springfield’s secretive nature, he said it’s best to get ahead of it.

    read more >

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  • Wednesday, August 15, 2018
    You can tell state lawmakers what you think will solve SIU’s ‘turmoil.’ Here’s how.
    Education--Higher (37) Welch, Emanuel "Chris"--State House, 7
    A state lawmaker from Cook County is planning trips to Edwardsville and Carbondale to hear from people about the future of the Southern Illinois University system.

    SIU recently lost its president and is the subject of state legislation to   read more >

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  • Wednesday, August 15, 2018
    Williamson County commissioner says GOP applied heavy pressure to get gun measure on ballot
    Candidates--Legislative (11) Fowler, Dale--State Senate, 59 , Severin, Dave--State House, 117

    MARION — A Williamson County commissioner says the push for a gun control advisory question on November’s ballot has nothing to do with letting the voters speak and everything to do with heavy-handed Springfield politics.

    Commissioner Ron Ellis said when the Williamson County Board first started talking in June about letting the voters decide if the board should oppos...   read more >

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  • Wednesday, August 15, 2018
    SIU Board of Trustees moves forward with allocation study, approves Buys and Balkansky as interim deans
    Education--Higher (37)
    The SIU Board of Trustees will be moving forward with a request for proposals on a system funding allocation study using an informal process that gives the board and the university more input.

    After discussion with the Amy Sholar, SIU Board of Trustees chair, creating an request for proposal by Aug. 1 and presenting multiple potential consultants to the board at the Sept. mee...   read more >

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  • Wednesday, August 15, 2018
    IT study: MI election performance drops, OH & IL increase, MN stays at 2
    Election Issues (not candidates) (39)
    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently released its rankings of how well each state facilitated its elections in 2016. There were a number of fluctuations in Midwest states from the 2012 results.

    Most notably, Illinois moved up from 20 to seven in the ranking, Ohio moved up from 24 to 21, Michigan dropped from six to 23, South Dakota dropped from 29 to 45 and Wisconsin dropped...   read more >

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  • Wednesday, August 15, 2018
    Politically connected former employees sue to get state jobs back
    Governor (44) , Unions, labor (55)
    A group of politically connected state employees are suing Gov. Bruce Rauner to get their jobs back after the governor had them fired.

    The eight employees were identified by an Executive Inspector General’s report as political patronage hires from the...   read more >

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  • Tuesday, August 14, 2018
    Illinois Medicaid legislation too late for nursing home
    Medicaid, Managed Care , Nursing Homes (68) , Senior Citizens (81) Mulroe, John--State Senate, 10 , Syverson, Dave--State Senate, 35
    PLEASANT HILL — Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's recent signing of bills to reduce the backlog of patients waiting for Medicaid approval won't save a small-town nursing home from closing next month.

    Pleasant Hill Village Administrator Maryann Walker told the State Journal-Register that she's happy Rauner signed the two Senate bills earlier this month, but that they won't keep her Macoup...   read more >

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  • Tuesday, August 14, 2018
    Fed looks to crack down on blue-state tax workaround before many are implemented
    Governor (44) , Revenue , Taxes, income (86)
    The IRS has a pending rule that could disqualify efforts by blue states to subvert a cap on how much in state and local taxes a resident can write off on their federal tax returns, potentially making a pending Illinois bill useless.

    The rule could be released as early as this week. From what Treasury an...   read more >

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  • Tuesday, August 14, 2018
    With Chicago’s continued violence, federal public safety grants tied up over “sanctuary” status
    Attorney General (6) , Chicago Mayor (16) , Chicago (16) , Crime (28) , Governor (44) , Immigration (99a) McSweeney, David--State House, 52
    As the city of Chicago continues to grapple with gun violence, leaders say there needs to be more resources, but the state’s perceived sanctuary laws have public safety grants in limbo.

    Chicago violence got the attention of President Donald Trump, who late last week singled out The Windy City.

    “Bad stuff happening and probably I guess you have to take it from the leade...   read more >

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  • Monday, August 13, 2018
    Rauner: Current attorney general protecting status quo of corruption
    Attorney General (6) , Candidates--Statewide (12) , Ethics, Campaign Reform, Transparency (12a) , Governor (44) Madigan, Michael--State House, 22
    Gov. Bruce Rauner says the state's current attorney general is protecting a corrupt status quo and that’s why he’s giving a $1 million campaign contribution to the Republican candidate in the race.

    Rauner told reporters Thursday in his Springfield office that taxpayers aren’t getting the legal representation they deserve from the Illinois attorney general’s office....   read more >

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  • Monday, August 13, 2018
    Trump administration OK’s cheaper insurance but Illinois may not participate
    Insurance (53) , Obamacare, Affordable Care Act
    President Donald Trump’s administration has finalized an exemption allowing for a much cheaper health insurance plan. Advocates and businesses say the affordable choice will lead to more insured but others worry it’s woefully inadequate coverage.

    The administration has issued its final rule change allowing for short-term, limited duration insurance plans, or STLDI’s...   read more >

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  • Friday, August 10, 2018
    Illinois state Sen. Dale Fowler pushes bill to undo ‘pension spiking’ restrictions
    Education--Educators/Administrators , Pensions (70) Fowler, Dale--State Senate, 59
    Senate Bill 3622 would reverse recently passed restrictions on pension spiking, raising the cap on end-of-career salary increases to 6 percent from 3 percent.


    New restrictions on an expensive form of pension abuse, known as “pension spiking,” were one ...   read more >

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  • Friday, August 10, 2018
    Education officials find issues in Illinois ed funding revamp
    Education Funding (36a) , Education reform (38) , Education--Elementary and Secondary (36)
    The Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools not only serves as a go-between for the state superintendent and their schools it represents but it also manages grant-based programs for students at risk of dropping out of school.

    Regional Superintendent Gregg Murphy manages Kankakee and Iroquois counties and their programs that he says provides special attention to kids at...   read more >

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  • Thursday, August 9, 2018
    Congressman proposes tax breaks for businesses that help pay student loan debt for employees
    Candidates--Federal (13) , Education--Higher (37)

    Isabella Stockton lives in Alton and recently graduated from Lewis and Clark Community College for welding and works in the trade. But the working mother...   read more >

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  • Thursday, August 9, 2018
    Lawmakers, parents raise questions about student privacy at Illinois schools
    Education reform (38) , Education--Elementary and Secondary (36)
    As technology takes center stage in the classroom, Illinois lawmakers worry that students may be giving up sensitive information without their knowledge.

    A group of parents concerned about how their children’s data is being protected spoke Tuesday to the House Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, and IT Committee. They told lawmakers their children had been forced to take surveys for thir...   read more >

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  • Wednesday, August 8, 2018
    Local case highlights what can, can't be done with state police database
    Crime (28) , Police (28) , State Police (84)
    Questions about a local chief's use of a statewide police database to look up critics of the mayor once again raised questions about abuse of the Illinois State Police system.

    ISP offers local law enforcement a way to instantly look into the legal status as well as someone’s criminal history. And although there are restrictions for using the tool – misuse can cost an offi...   read more >

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  • Tuesday, August 7, 2018
    Report: Nation’s moving companies hauling Illinoisans elsewhere
    Demographics, Census, Statistics , Economy (34)
    Illinoisans are heading for the door more than nearly any other state, according to a report on how many households are using moving services to leave.

    Stevens Worldwide Van Lines’ annual long-distance moving study found Illinois had more than twice the number of households moving out of ...   read more >

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  • Monday, August 6, 2018
    High property taxes pay public pensions, with little public service
    Pensions (70) , Taxes, property (87)

    Your second installment of property taxes in St. Clair County is due Aug. 21, so here’s a little perspective on where those taxes go and why that retired public employee is smiling.

    During the past 20 years, Illinois went from the middle of the pack to the highest property...   read more >

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  • Monday, August 6, 2018
    Interim SIU president says he plans to operate 'less driven by fear and more by opportunity'
    Education--Higher (37)

    SPRINGFIELD — J. Kevin Dorsey used his background as a medical doctor to assess the state of the Southern Illinois University System.

    “Clearly the system has to be healed, because if one part of us is sick, it’s going to infect the entire body or entire system,” Dorsey said.

    read more >

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  • Monday, August 6, 2018
    Chicago officials looking at universal basic income program
    Chicago (16) , Chicago--City Council (17) , Poverty , Public Aid (75)
    Officials in Chicago want to test the waters of offering a universal basic income.

    A majority of city council members are telling Mayor Rahm Emanuel to form a task force to look into Universal Basic Income programs, which is essentially a periodic check from the government with no strings attached.

    The City Council wants to explore a program that would send at least $500 a month t...   read more >

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  • Friday, August 3, 2018
    Cahokia state Senate hopeful missed nearly a third of his school board meetings
    Candidates--Legislative (11) Clayborne Jr., James--State Senate, 57
    In 2014, when state Senate candidate Christopher Belt was on the Cahokia District 187 School Board, he attended three board meetings. He was listed as absent for 11 board meetings.

    His attendance improved in subsequent years, but overall, during his five-year stint on the board, he missed almost a third of the school board’s meetings.

    Belt, read more >

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  • Friday, August 3, 2018
    Colosseum closed, foundation donations low, for Illinois State Fair opening next Thursday
    Agriculture (2) , State Facilities/Buildings , State Fair, Fairs
    Amid a private fundraising slump, fairgoers in Springfield will see a shuttered Coliseum this year, but some officials are hoping $30 million in state money will spur on private donations for repairs at the state facility.

    The 10-day expo in Springfield begins with a twilight parade Aug. 9. State Fair Manager Luke Sailer said the Coliseum ticket window is boarded up right now. But co...   read more >

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  • Friday, August 3, 2018
    Report: Recidivism to cost Illinois more than $13B over next 5 years
    Budget--State (8) , Corrections (74) , Prisons (74)
    Even a small decrease in the recidivism rate can yield millions of dollars in taxpayer savings while improving public safety.

    The criminal justice system should hold offenders accountable for violations of the law. But often overlooked are the laws that perpetuate a broken system after offenders have paid their debt to society.

    Recidivism – reoffending – saddles Illin...   read more >

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  • Friday, August 3, 2018
    Small business advocates warn anti-discrimination measure could mean more litigation
    Business (10) , Labor (55) Guzzardi, Will--State House, 39
    A state lawmaker is pushing for the governor to sign a bill that some worry would open small employers to frivolous discrimination lawsuits.

    State Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago, said there’s a problem in state law.

    In “most small businesses around the state of Illinois, it is perfectly legal to discriminate against employees on the basis of age or gender or disability ...   read more >

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  • Thursday, August 2, 2018
    Op-Ed: Illinois can't spike its way out of pension problem
    Pensions (70) Anderson, Neil--State Senate, 36 , Fowler, Dale--State Senate, 59
    Illinois has the worst credit rating in the nation due in large part to its massive unfunded pension liabilities, but even modest reforms to the state's biggest problem are no match for election-year politics.

    Two Republican lawmakers already are pushing to read more >

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