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  • Wednesday, December 19, 2018
    Here’s why another $100 million will be spent to upgrade levees along the Mississippi
    Floods (42) , Rivers (23)
    Over the next three to four years, more than $100 million is planned to be invested into the ground, and when the work is done, residents won’t be able to see much of the infrastructure improvements.

    But regional leaders say it’s a good thing.

    On Tuesday, regional leaders provided details on $95.2 million worth of planned federal spending i...   read more >

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  • Wednesday, December 19, 2018
    Women head to Illinois for pill abortions after Missouri begins enforcing pelvic exam rule
    Abortion (1)
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  • Tuesday, December 18, 2018
    Illinois EPA to switch some invoices back to paper
    Environment (41) , EPA (41) , Governor (44)
    The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has a plan to use more paper. 

    The state agency is taking a small step away from digital records. Returning to paper records in some cases could potentially save businesses money. The move is part of an initiative of Gov. Bruce Rauner, who often u...   read more >

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  • Tuesday, December 18, 2018
    The lawsuit that should have died 20 years ago finally does
    Courts (27) , Legal System (27) , Tort Reform (27)
    Avery v. State Farm was certified as a class action lawsuit in Williamson County Circuit Court in 1997, with policyholders from 48 states claiming that State Farm had violated its contracts by using generic aftermarket parts to repair insured vehicles.

    A jury decided for the plaintiffs in 1999 and the Fifth District Court of Appeals affirmed the decision in 2001.

    B...   read more >

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  • Monday, December 17, 2018
    Pritzker to make recreational cannabis a priority, but consumers may have to wait for retail sales
    Governor (44) , Recreational Marijuana
    The state's next governor said he'll make legalizing marijuana a top priority, but adult consumers could be waiting a year or more for recreational sales to begin in Illinois.

    The director of the state’s leading cannabis legalization group said Illinoisans expect to see industrial hemp cultivation before recreational marijuana sales in Illinois.

    Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker said...   read more >

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  • Monday, December 17, 2018
    Report: Illinois among most unprepared for economic downturn
    Bonds, Bonding, Borrowing, Debt, Credit Rating , Budget--State (8) , Economy (34) , Medicaid, Managed Care , Pensions (70)

    The nonprofit Volcker Alliance, using researchers at a number...   read more >

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  • Monday, December 17, 2018
    Judge approves $250 million State Farm settlement; Says plaintiffs likely would not have prevailed at trial
    Courts (27) , Tort Reform (27)

    EAST ST. LOUIS – U.S. District Judge David Herndon, who designated Illino...   read more >

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  • Friday, December 14, 2018
    State lawsuit over Sterigenics emissions cites state permit as evidence of 'hazard'; Undercuts permit process?
    Attorney General (6) , Environment (41) , EPA (41)
    In the waning days of October, state and county prosecutors filed a lawsuit asking a DuPage County judge to order the closure of an industrial facility in suburban Willowbrook.

    In the action, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin accused Sterigenics, a company specializing in sterilizing medical tools and devices, of polluting the ai...   read more >

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  • Friday, December 14, 2018
    Not all suburban mayors on board with Emanuel's state gas tax hike proposal
    Chicago Mayor (16) , Gasoline prices (88) , Taxes, gasoline (88) , Taxes, sales (88)
    When suburban Chicago mayors lined up behind outgoing Mayor Rahm Emanuel, they thought they were there in support of a new infrastructure bill, not raising the gas tax to historic levels.

    Emanuel was joined by several suburban Chicago mayors Tuesday in calling for new state spending on an infrastructure bill. He said it should be paid for with a 20-30 cent hike in the state motor fuel tax...   read more >

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  • Friday, December 14, 2018
    Report: Highest-in-the-nation cellphone taxes disproportionately hurt poor Illinoisans
    Cell towers, cell phones, texting (94a) , Taxes, misc. (89)
    Illinois edged out Washington state to charge the highest cellphone taxes in the country this year, with wireless taxes accounting for 21 percent of the state's average consumer bill, according to a read more >
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  • Thursday, December 13, 2018
    Rep. Bryant introduces house resolution denouncing 'disgusting' Satanic statue at Capitol
    Secretary of State (80) Bryant, Terri--State House, 115 , Schimpf, Paul--State Senate, 58 , Severin, Dave--State House, 117

    State Rep. Terri Bryant has introduced a resolution in the Illinois House condemning the decision by the Illinois Secretary of State to allow The Satanic Temple-Chicago to place a statue in the Statehouse rotunda along with displays that celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah.

    Bryant, a Republican from Murphysboro, ...   read more >

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  • Wednesday, December 12, 2018
    Recreational marijuana sparks Farm Bureau debate
    Agriculture (2) , Drugs (32) , Medical Marijuana
    Delegates to the Illinois Farm Bureau resolutions process last week brought thoughtful and intense debate to an unusual subject: recreational marijuana. The topic peppered conversations throughout the weekend’s IFB annual meeting, in hallways, during fundraisers and amid district meetings.

    “I think everyone here is morally opposed to recreational marijuana,” said Grant S...   read more >

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  • Wednesday, December 12, 2018
    Mental health care advocates push lawmakers for more money
    Budget--State (8) , Corrections (74) , Mental Health (64) , Prisons (74)
    The picture from mental health advocates is grim: More than half the people in Illinois who need mental health services don't get it. And those who do get treatment, often only get it in jail or prison. 

    Heather O'Donnell, with the treatment center Thresholds, told lawmakers at a hearing in Chicago on Monday that Illinois is facing a crisis. 

    "We know treatment works whe...   read more >

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  • Wednesday, December 12, 2018
    Pritzker mulls tax incentives to soften planned minimum wage hike
    Business (10) , Governor (44) , Minimum Wage (10)
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  • Tuesday, December 11, 2018
    Illinois’ federal delegation says don't expect FEMA aid after tornadoes
    Governor (44) , Natural disasters (42) , Tornadoes (42)
    Illinois residents shouldn't count on federal assistance for recovery efforts after the recent tornadoes.

    Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin joined others in a tour of Taylorville over the weekend. Both praised the recovery efforts.

    When asked about what residents could expect from the federal government, Durbin said he doesn’t promise anything because the wa...   read more >

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  • Tuesday, December 11, 2018
    Underfunded state government pension liabilities increase to $133.5 billion
    Governor (44) , Pensions (70) Cullerton, John--State Senate, 6
    The tab for the state's unfunded pension liabilities increased by $4.4 billion in the past year and is expected to continue growing through 2028, according to a new report from the bipartisan Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability.

    The new CoGFA report pegs Illinois’ unfunded pension liability for the state's five retirement systems at $133.5 billion, $4.4 billion m...   read more >

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  • Tuesday, December 11, 2018
    Williamson County mine seeks permission to discharge water into Big Muddy River
    Coal (20) , Energy, Alternative Energy (93) , Environment (41)
    An application by the Pond Creek Mine, located in Williamson County about 14 miles south of the Rend Lake dam, to discharge waste water into the Big Muddy River is drawing criticism from local citizens and some environmental groups.

    The application, filed by Williamson Energy LLC and its parent company, Foresight Energy, seeks permission from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources t...   read more >

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  • Monday, December 10, 2018
    Under Fire For Its Immigration Detention Business, A Private Prison Operator Works To Keep Ex-Cons From Going Back To Jail
    Corrections (74) , Prisons (74)

    • GEO Group, one of the country’s biggest private prison operators, has a little known division that helps parolees adjust to life after prison.
    • read more >
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  • Monday, December 10, 2018
    Local fire departments battle dwindling volunteers, funds
    Fire Marshal, fire, fire fighters (84)
    Buncombe Fire Chief Jason Grant doesn’t like relying on other departments to help him protect his tiny town, but he has no other choice.

    He and 10 other trained volunteers are responsible for covering 26 square miles of sparsely populated rural Southern Illinois, to the north and west of Vienna.

    By day, his guys work other jobs, many far away from Buncombe. And Gra...   read more >
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  • Friday, December 7, 2018
    Illinois Board of Higher Education approves $2.2 billion request for public universities
    Budget--State (8) , Education--Higher (37)
    The man who cast the lone “no” vote on a proposal for Illinois’ public universities to get a double-digit funding increase in the coming state budget said Illinois can't afford it.

    The Illinois Board of Higher Education voted 15-1 this week to approve a proposed request for an additional $314 million for the state’s public universities for fiscal year 2020. That's ...   read more >

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  • Friday, December 7, 2018
    New legislative inspector general won't be approved this year
    Ethics, Campaign Reform, Transparency (12a) , Legislature (56) Tracy, Jil--State House, 94
    State Sen. Jil Tracy, R-Quincy, talks about candidates for a new Legislative Inspector General: https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/ilnews.org/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial...   read more >
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  • Thursday, December 6, 2018
    A wind farm could be coming to Southern Illinois. Why are environmentalists trying to stop it?
    Energy, Alternative Energy (93) , Environment (41) , Metro East (65) , Natural resources (23)
    Environmentalists and wind-farm supporters are usually on the same side in development battles, but a proposed project near Valmeyer has turned that alliance on its head.

    A developer wants to place up to 50 wind turbines along a 15-mile stretch of blufftop property, generating “clean” read more >

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  • Thursday, December 6, 2018
    S&P says Illinois not prepared to pay for retiree healthcare costs
    Budget--State (8) , Health Care
    A credit ratings agency is warning that states like Illinois could be pushed to raise taxes because lawmakers haven't set aside money to pay for retiree healthcare costs.

    S&P Global Ratings reported that total unfunded state liabilities that aren’t pensions have increased significantly for the third year in a row. The agency said this is largely due to states like Illinois ...   read more >

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  • Wednesday, December 5, 2018
    The metro-east is still considered one of the country’s worst ‘judicial hellholes’
    Asbestos (48) , Courts (27) , Legal System (27) , Metro East (65) , Tort Reform (27)
    St. Clair and Madison counties have placed further down on an annual list of “most unfair” jurisdictions, courts and legislatures in the country.

    The 2018-19 list, compiled by lawyers and others from the American Tort Reform Foundation, is titled “Judicial Hellholes.” It names The city of St. Louis as ...   read more >

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  • Wednesday, December 5, 2018
    Financial planner: Buy out-of-state property for retirement to avoid Illinois’ property taxes
    Pensions (70) , Retirement (70) , Taxes, property (87) Davis, William "Will"--State House, 30 , Zalewski, Michael--State House, 23
    A financial adviser says some residents preparing to retire are eyeing moving out of the state entirely, and it’s not just for better weather.

    Although Illinois doesn't tax retirement income, that doesn't mean it's the best place for all retirees, said Buffalo Grove-based financial planner John Bever.

    “But on the other hand, our property taxes are extremely high,”...   read more >

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