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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Lawmakers are working to change a small mistake in Illinois' new pet "lemon" law.

Democratic state Sen. Dan Kotowski, the legislation's sponsor, told a Senate committee that there was an error in the legislation that was passed by both houses last spring.

The amendment to the law allows owners to return a pet or be reimbursed for veterinary costs if it is discovered an illness was not disclosed by the seller. The original legislation said pet stores would have to pay owners up to twice the cost of the pet to offset treatment costs. Kotowski told a Senate committee that number should be changed to require reimbursement to match the cost of the pet.

The measure passed the Senate and now heads to the House.

 

Published in Local News

   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois lawmakers are returning to the state capitol for a second day of their annual fall veto session.

   After getting off to a sputtering start Tuesday, the schedule on Wednesday is shaping up to include a hearing on gambling and more requests by state agencies for additional funds.

   Horsemen and officials from the Illinois racetracks want lawmakers to authorize a law that allows for online betting. And lawmakers are reviving talks on a larger gambling bill that stalled this spring.

   Tuesday also saw a gay marriage rally as part of an effort to make such unions legal in Illinois.

   Lawmakers have yet to address the state's $97 billion pension shortfall and tax incentives aimed at keeping Archer Daniels Midland Company's global headquarters in Illinois.

 
Published in Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Sick military veterans who want medical marijuana would get it more easily under legislation that's getting committee approval.

The House Judiciary Committee sent Rep. Lou Lang's bill to the floor for consideration.

The Skokie Democrat is the sponsor of Illinois' first law legalizing the use of medical marijuana. Gov. Pat Quinn signed it in August.

But it requires a sick person to get a letter from a doctor. Veterans home doctors are federal employees - barred from approving cannabis use.

Lang's legislation would allow veterans to get a letter from the Illinois Department of Public Health certifying he or she has a condition that qualifies for marijuana treatment under the law.

The committee voted 10-6 to move the bill to the House floor.

 

Published in Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A lawmaker pushing legislation to stiffen sentences for gun crimes called off action on the bill Tuesday.

Ryan Keith is a spokesman for Rep. Mike Zalewski of Riverside. He says Zalewski is still meeting with opponents of the bill with an eye toward compromise. It was scheduled for a committee hearing Tuesday.

The measure would require a 3-year prison sentence for illegally packing a loaded gun. Felons and gang members could get 10 years in prison.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has made it a legislative priority because of rampant gun violence in Chicago.

But the National Rifle Association is worried that law-abiding gun owners who are in the wrong place at the wrong time could get socked with a three-year sentence.

 

Published in Local News

   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Thousands of disappointed Illinois residents are expected at the state Capitol to rally for same-sex marriage.

   Organizers say several thousand people are expected to take part in the "March on Springfield" -a grassroots effort to urge the passage of same-sex marriage legislation in Illinois.

   The Illinois Senate approved the measure last February, but the measure has stalled in the House. Speaker Michael Madigan has said about a dozen votes are still needed.

   The event will begin with a noon concert followed by a rally at 1 p.m. and a 2:30 p.m. March. Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin and Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn are participating in the event. The governor says he will sign legislation if passed by the General Assembly.

   Currently 13 states and the District of Columbia allow gay marriage.

 

 
Published in Local News

   SPRINGFIELD, IL (AP) - State officials say federal employees in Illinois who were furloughed during the shutdown have to repay unemployment insurance benefits.

   The Illinois Department of Employment Security said Monday in a release that preliminary data shows that of the 2,937 federal workers who applied for unemployment insurance, 577 went on to be paid benefits. That represents a total of $231,174.

   The department says that the employees will be sent notices that the money must be repaid. If it isn't, department officials can take steps to recover the money like garnishing tax refunds.

   IDES Director Jay Rowell says the partial shutdown "needlessly scared" scores of workers.

   The partial federal government shutdown lasted 16 days.

 
Published in Local News

CHICAGO (AP) - Opponents and supporters of same-sex marriage are gearing up for another push in the Illinois Legislature.

Supporters are planning a march and rally in Springfield on Tuesday, the first day of the Legislature's fall session. Gov. Pat Quinn and other lawmakers who support legislation legalizing same-sex marriage are expected to participate.

Opponents have scheduled a prayer rally at the Capitol on Wednesday. A group of African American clergy who oppose the measure also recorded radio ads in which they urge listeners to call lawmakers and tell them to vote no.

The Illinois Senate approved the legislation in February. The spring session ended without a House vote, after the bill's sponsor said he didn't have the support to pass it.

It's unclear if a vote will occur during the fall session.

 

Published in Local News

CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois Senate President John Cullerton says the state's $97 billion pension shortfall isn't as dire as some people are describing.

The Chicago Democrat told WGN Radio that the pension shortfall is not an imminent crisis, but that finding a solution can help keep Illinois' income taxes down.

Cullerton made the remarks as lawmakers head back to Springfield to begin their fall veto session Tuesday. They face considerable pressure to deal with the pension problem, considered the nation's worst. But a bipartisan committee working on reform is split over a plan that saves $138 billion over 30 years.

Cullerton says the state has been putting more money into its pension systems in recent years under a 1996 law.  He says he wants to lower the annual amount the state pays in.

 

Published in Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois Supreme Court is invalidating a two-year-old Illinois law charging taxes on certain Internet sales.

The justices ruled 6-1 in an opinion released Friday to invalidate the so-called "Amazon tax."

The ruling determined that the law violates a pre-emptive federal decree prohibiting "discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce."

Lawmakers created the Internet tax in 2011 on out-of-state electronic retailers. The law claimed those merchants maintained a presence in the state through a website link.

In other words, if a blogger referred customers to a company by encouraging clicking on a site-based advertisement, that was "presence" in Illinois. That obligated the seller to collect sales tax.

Justice Lloyd Karmeier dissented, saying the law doesn't impose any new taxes.

Published in Local News

HARRISBURG, Ill.—A southern Illinois high school Spanish teacher is accused of pulling a gun on a woman in a McDonald’s drive-thru lane.

WSIL-TV reports 61-year-old Larry Luna of Harrisburg was arrested Tuesday on two counts of aggravated assault with a weapon.

Harrisburg police say Luna was in his car in line outside a McDonald’s when he began yelling at the woman placing an order in the vehicle in front of him.

Police say Luna brandished a gun when the woman stepped from her car.

Harrisburg schools superintendent Dennis Smith says administrators are waiting for the court case to play out.

Luna is free on bond. Online court records don’t show whether he has an attorney. A message left Wednesday at Luna’s home wasn’t returned.

 

Published in Local News

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