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  • Monday, October 23, 2017
    New testing benchmarks to rely only on SAT exam in Illinois
    Education reform (38) , Education--Elementary and Secondary (36)

    New testing benchmarks for Illinois high schools are prompting concern and confusion.

    The Chicago Tribune reports that the state is taking the unusual step of using scores from the SAT college entrance exam to judge whether students and high schools are meeting state standards in reading, writing and math.

    The tests will be administered to all public sch...   read more >

  • Saturday, October 21, 2017
    Asbestos defendants should collaborate more to balance power in tort system, consultant says
    Asbestos (48) , Courts (27) , Legal System (27) , Tort Reform (27)
    A business consultant who helps companies manage their product liabilities is calling for asbestos defendants to collaborate more in order to achieve better equilibrium with plaintiffs whose litigation risks pale in comparison.
      read more >
  • Friday, October 20, 2017
    Legionnaires is back at Quincy veterans home
    QUINCY, Ill. • Two cases of Legionnaires' disease have been reported at an Illinois veterans' home more than two years after an outbreak killed 12 people and sickened 54 at the facility.

    The Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs said Wednesday that two residents at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy contracted the disease. Department spokesman Dave MacDonna said one residen...   read more >

  • Thursday, October 19, 2017
    Illinois designates 6 sites as statewide enterprise zones
    Economic Development (35)
    SPRINGFIELD, Ill. • State officials have designated six sites around Illinois as enterprise zones to encourage business development.

    The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity announced the sites Wednesday.

    Officials said the Enterprise Zone Board evaluated applications and awarded designations to sites in Chicago; Douglas County; Effingham and Ef...   read more >
  • Wednesday, October 18, 2017
    Milleville Pulls Out of State Representative Race
    Candidates--Legislative (11) , Governor (44) , Political Parties (Incld Tea Party) (39a)
    Injuries, and the recovery time and attention involved, to a family member has led to a decision by Brian Milleville of Effingham to pull out of the race for the Republican nomination for State Representative in the 107th District.

    Here is the statement released Tuesday by Milleville:

    "On Monday evening last week, our son Luke was a passenger in a life-threatening rollov...   read more >
  • Wednesday, October 18, 2017
    Illinois sells first $1.5 billion of bonds to pay overdue bills
    Bonds, Bonding, Borrowing, Debt, Credit Rating , Budget--State (8)
    CHICAGO • Illinois on Tuesday sold the first $1.5 billion of a planned $6 billion of tax-exempt debt in the U.S. municipal market, with Bank of America Merrill Lynch winning $1 billion of general obligation bonds and J.P. Morgan Securities winning $500 million of bonds in competitive bidding.

    The state is scheduled to sell the remaining $4.5 billion of bonds through a team of...   read more >
  • Tuesday, October 17, 2017
    Belleville pair facing charges after assault rifles, ammunition found in motel room
    Guns and Gun Control, FOID, Concealed Carry (46)
    A man and a woman from Belleville are accused of illegally possessing weapons after police say they found assault rifles, handguns and ammunition in the couple's hotel room in Caseyville.

    Shawn C. Holland and Cara L. Anderson were charged Friday, according to the St. Clair County Sheriff's office. A press release from the office says the pair were believed to have been buying and s...   read more >
  • Tuesday, October 17, 2017
    Illinois' 200th birthday party gets late start, low budget
    Governor (44)
    SPRINGFIELD, Ill. • Illinois is on the brink of its bicentennial bash, but political skirmishing that has battered the state could be blamed for late party planning, a comparatively low budget — and ultimately, its contribution to future generations.

    The plans to celebrate Illinois’ Dec. 3, 1818, admission to the Union seem to pale compared with the two states tha...   read more >
  • Sunday, October 15, 2017
    High tax cost for so-so academics argues for school consolidation
    Education reform (38) , Education--Elementary and Secondary (36)
    Crisis has its upside.

    Years of dysfunctional school funding formulas and unreliable payments from our debtor state prodded 10 local school districts to start studying consolidation. What is interesting is that there is an 11th district being studied, but that district isn’t especially interested in participating.

    St. Libory Elementary is the smallest district with...   read more >
  • Wednesday, October 11, 2017
    If the inmates are running the asylum, you might live in St. Clair County
    Courts (27) , Metro East (65)
    There's never a dull moment in St. Clair County, what with judges and other public servants always finding new ways to entertain us with their disturbing antics.

    Every day it's something different: judges sealing cases for no apparent reason, judges having their unsupportable rulings overturned by higher courts, judges awarding millions of dollars to friends, judges gaming electio...   read more >
  • Wednesday, October 11, 2017
    EPA proposes killing Clean Power Plan, but market already cutting carbon
    Coal (20) , Energy, Alternative Energy (93) , Utilities (94)
    The country’s first rules designed to reduce power plant carbon emissions blamed for climate change appear to be on their way out, but that doesn’t mean much will change.

    Market forces continue to push down the cost of renewable energy and keep natural gas competitive with coal, the most carbon-intensive fuel used by power plants. And there’s still almost no inter...   read more >
  • Monday, October 9, 2017
    When politicians choose voters, voters get few choices
    Redistricting (78) Madigan, Michael--State House, 22
    Well before the 2020 census again engages us in partisan warfare, we expect The Supremes to deliver a loud rendition of this hit: “Stop! In the name of law. Before you break my state.”

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday heard oral arguments on a Wisconsin case brought by Democrats who say the Republicans in power drew a map that cheats them. The case could bring all stat...   read more >
  • Sunday, October 8, 2017
    Given a choice, who picks a failing school for their child?
    Education Funding (36a) , Education reform (38) Bertino-Tarrant, Jennifer--State Senate, 49
    So you thought Illinois lawmakers made a deal on the school funding formula? Well, think again.

    The Republican votes needed to pass the school funding bill and get checks mailed to the school districts were earned through compromise. A major part of that compromise was a $75 million experiment in helping bring private school scholarships to more youngsters trapped in failing public...   read more >
  • Friday, October 6, 2017
    House Republican Leader Durkin criticized over 'horrible conflict of interest'
    Ethics, Campaign Reform, Transparency (12a) , Local Government (60) Cullerton, John--State Senate, 6 , Durkin, Jim--State House, 82 , Madigan, Michael--State House, 22
    Since assuming control of the Illinois House Republican Caucus four years ago, the law firm of State Rep. Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) has helped Illinois municipal governments and state agencies amass more than a quarter of a billion dollars in public debt, according to an analysis by Prairie State Wire.
      read more >
  • Wednesday, October 4, 2017
    Former State's Attorney Brian Towne does the perp walk
    Courts (27) , Legal System (27) , Police (28)
    When law officers break the law, even if it's allegedly in the pursuit of justice, they stop being law officers and become criminals – no better than the purported lawbreakers they're trying to apprehend, and arguably much worse.

    Once they've broken one law, what's to stop them from breaking others? And how long will it be before they start using the law as a tool to enrich t...   read more >
  • Tuesday, October 3, 2017
    McCarter says he’s ‘all in’ to be ambassador to Kenya or seek another office
    Candidates--Federal (13) , Candidates--Statewide (12) , Governor (44) McCarter, Kyle--State Senate, 54
    As candidates for legislative positions jump into various races in Southern Illinois and around the state, state Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, is still waiting to determine his next move.

    McCarter, who is not running for re-election in 2018, has been recommended by Illinois Republican congressional members to be the next ambassador to Kenya. He has interviewed for the position, bu...   read more >
  • Sunday, October 1, 2017
    Close airport, pay $5 million on debt, and taxpayers are still ahead
    Airports (4) , Metro East (65)
    “We continue to move in the right direction. The more flights we have, the more landing fees, and concessions and other things ... continue to move the airport operating (to) a break-even level.”

    That was St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern a year ago, when the 2015 audit came out and revealed the costs of MidAmerica St. Louis Airport to county taxpayers. The audi...   read more >
  • Saturday, September 30, 2017
    SCOTUS to take up Illinois case challenging power of unions to collect fees from non-union state workers
    Governor (44) , Unions, labor (55)
    The U.S. Supreme Court will again wade into the question of whether public sector worker unions can force government employees who don’t wish to join their union to still pay fees, ostensibly for collective bargaining representation.

    On Sept. 28, the nation’s highest court agreed to hear arguments in a lawsuit originally filed by Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, but now led ...   read more >
  • Wednesday, September 27, 2017
    State Sen. Clayborne exits after redefining ‘public service’
    Ethics, Campaign Reform, Transparency (12a) Clayborne Jr., James--State Senate, 57
    When you’ve seen 22 years of public service from a man, it simply would be wrong to allow him to leave without offering a hearty slap on the back and heartfelt thank you. Our man of the hour is Illinois State Sen. James Clayborne, the No. 2 Democrat in his chamber but No. 1 in our hearts.

    Let’s review his service:

    • Clayborne cared about smashing...   read more >
  • Wednesday, September 27, 2017
    AG Madigan likely heading for private practice, views differ on legacy
    Attorney General (6) , Candidates--Statewide (12) Madigan, Michael--State House, 22
    Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan will likely go into private law practice after announcing she is not running again for the post, according to political analysts in the state.
    read more >
  • Wednesday, September 27, 2017
    Daddy's little girl won't be there to look out for his interests
    Attorney General (6) Madigan, Michael--State House, 22
    We took note, two years ago, when State Attorney General Lisa Madigan crossed one of those proverbial lines in the sand: She went to court to try to prevent state workers from receiving their paychecks during an expected government shutdown.

    Mark Glennon of WirePoints also noted the transgression. “That action, together with the background story behind it – use of the co...   read more >

  • Tuesday, September 26, 2017
    Illinois 15 bridge project was $6 million over budget. Who will pay the extra costs?
    Budget--State (8) , Transportation (91) Hoffman, Jay--State House, 113
    How much the state had to pay because of an unsuitable design for the Illinois 15 bridge replacement project east of Belleville is still unknown, the agency said.

    Illinois Department of Transportation spokeswoman Kelsea Gurski said the agency is still determining how much of the cost increases for the project, which lasted two years longer than expected, was due to design flaws and...   read more >
  • Tuesday, September 26, 2017
    Plaintiffs seek MDL for opioid litigation; Lawyer argues for Ohio or Illinois
    Courts (27) , Drugs (32) , Legal System (27) , Tort Reform (27)
    Plaintiffs in opioid litigation pending in federal court seek to consolidate approximately 66 government actions into multi-district litigation in Ohio or Illinois.
    read more >
  • Tuesday, September 26, 2017
    Through small-scale test runs in Illinois, Ameren experiments with self-sufficient microgrid
    Energy, Alternative Energy (93) , Utilities (94)
    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. • When Hurricane Sandy slammed the East Coast in 2012, Princeton University was among the few oases spared from the power outages that blanketed the region.

    It wasn’t a result of luck amid the crippling storm. It was technology that enabled the campus to cut itself off from the main power grid and convert to its own microgrid for self-sufficiency.
    <...   read more >
  • Friday, September 22, 2017
    Reaction to civil asset forfeiture bill signing
    Legal System (27) , Police (28)

    To the Editor:

    Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 303, which adds additional protections against civil asset forfeiture. The law will protect residents from having their property seized unjustly by the government if they are accused of a crime.

      read more >