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GLEN ELLYN, Ill. (AP) - Republican primary voters are talking about wanting a shake-up in Springfield and say they believe they have a real chance of putting one of their own back in the governor's office.
 
The big issues, they say, are reversing the state's indebtedness and keeping businesses from leaving Illinois. Some are after term limits that they say would do away with "career politicians" too cozy with special interests and unions.
 
Joan Youhn of the western Chicago suburb of Glen Ellyn is an 81-year-old retired medical biller who voted Tuesday for venture capitalist Bruce Rauner. Weighing on her mind, she says, is the economy because her architect son was out of work until recently.
 
She says Illinois needs more statesman-like politicians "who care about what they're doing, not just getting re-elected."
Published in Local News

St. Louis, MO (KTRS) - UPDATE: Authorities have reopened 64 near 159 in Illinois.

 

EARLIER: Still no timeline as to when officials will reopen lanes on I-64 near Fairview Heights.

 

Sometime after 11 AM, a semi truck hit a power pole, knocking down the lines onto the road. Authorities have closed all lanes of 64, in both directions near Route 159. On ramps in the area are also closed.

 

Drivers are being told to avoid the area until the situation changes. 

Published in Local News
SPRINGFIELD, IL (AP) – A measure allowing high school testing companies other than GED Testing Services to operate in the state is advancing in the Illinois Legislature.
 
Lawmakers say a recent GED price increase from $50 to $120 strains low-income test takers. They say changing the law could drive down costs.
 
The proposal aims to open up competition by substituting “GED” with “high school equivalency tests” in the current law. New tests would still need to pass the state’s education standards for approval.
 
Kari Docherty is a GED examiner in Jefferson and Hamilton counties. She tells WSIL-TV the state could run into problems if the rest of the country still only uses the GED program.
The bill passed the House last week and now moves to the Senate.
 
Published in Local News
VANDALIA, Ill. (AP) - Illinois Conservation Police is investigating the illegal killing last week of more than 30 ducks at the Carlyle Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area near Vandalia.
 
The ducks killed includes several northern pintails and mallards. Several ducks were left crippled. Duck hunting season closed Jan. 7 in the South Central Zone which includes Carlyle Lake.
 
Aerial surveys conducted in May indicated pintails numbered 3.3 million on the breeding grounds in the north-central United States and Canada. Waterfowl biologists and habitat managers have worked hard to keep pintail numbers at levels high enough to sustain harvest.
 
Spring duck hunting was eliminated a century ago by the McLean-Weeks Act, which regulated the shooting of migratory birds in the United states. The act was replaced in 1918 by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Published in Local News
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A study contends that Illinois wears a "scarlet letter" when it borrows money - which has cost at least $80 million over a five-year period.
 
The review by the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs estimated the state's "risk premium" in selling bonds to raise money. This cost is on top of additional interest charges paid because of Illinois' worst-in-the-nation credit rating.
 
The study found that on bonds sold from 2005 to 2010, bond-buyers demanded the premium based only on the state's fiscal reputation. It notes the Prairie State's credit rating has fallen further since 2010.
 
Authors of the study collected data on all state general obligation bonds sold during the period and calculated interest charges above the extra paid based on credit rating.
Published in Local News
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A lawsuit challenging Illinois' caps on political donations is unlikely to be resolved before the 2014 elections.
 
That means limits put in place after Gov. Rod Blagojevich's impeachment will probably remain in place for the rest of this election season.
 
The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers reports that a federal judge this week dismissed most of the challenges brought by the Liberty Justice Center.
 
The judge kept one element of it alive for debate, but an attorney for the Chicago-based group says it will take months to play out.
 
As a result, attorney Jacob Huebert says it's unlikely it will be settled by November.
 
The group argues the donation limits in the 2009 law are unconstitutional because contributions from legislative leaders are not capped in general elections.
 
Published in Local News
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois' public universities are warning of serious perils if the state's temporary income tax increase is allowed to expire as scheduled in January.
 
Southern Illinois University President Glenn Poshard says institutions of higher education are anticipating a 30 percent decrease in funding next year because of an expected $1.5 billion reduction in state revenues.
 
Poshard told a Senate appropriations committee Thursday that budget cuts would mean larger class sizes, having more classes taught by adjunct professors instead of tenured faculty and an increase in tuition.
 
Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas says the state's backlog of bills has already created budget headaches for his institution.
 
Both presidents say increasing the state's minimum wage as Gov. Pat Quinn wants could heighten budget problems, requiring millions more to pay their student workforces.
Published in Local News
Thursday, 06 March 2014 12:55

Report: More Illinois kids with health care

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A new report shows fewer Illinois children are without health insurance, but the number of cases of child abuse is climbing.
 
The annual report released Thursday comes from a non-partisan organization advocating for policies concerning children called Voices For Illinois Children.
 
The report shows the percentage of children without health insurance fell from 6 percent to 3 percent since 2008.  It also found Illinois has "significantly narrowed" racial and ethnic disparities in children's health insurance coverage.
 
But cases of child abuse and neglect have risen 13 percent since 2006. Some of the largest increases were in DuPage, Kane, Macon, Vermillion and Will counties.
Published in Local News
CHICAGO (AP) - Some county clerks say they won't rush to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples just because Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan told them they can.
 
The state's new gay marriage law takes effect June 1. But Madigan said this week that licenses can be issued now.
 
About a dozen clerks tell The Associated Press they are waiting. They say they don't want to open themselves up to lawsuits and want to protect the couples from legal challenges.
 
Macon County Clerk Stephen Bean says he hopes to start issuing licenses as early as Friday. But he says he will tell the couples they could face legal challenges to their marriages.
 
Clerks in Cook and Champaign counties have decided to go ahead after a court ruled Cook County could do so.
Published in Local News
CHICAGO (AP) - Parts of Illinois reported a slow start to early voting, but Cook County's suburbs saw an uptick.
 
Cook County Clerk David Orr's office said Tuesday that 2,354 people cast ballots Monday, the start of early voting for March 18's primary. In 2010's primary, nearly 1,300 suburbanites cast first day ballots. In 2012, it was roughly 2,100.
 
Orr's office covers over 120 municipalities excluding Chicago. The region has previously reported a higher turnout than Illinois' average.
 
About 8 percent of Illinois voters cast early ballots in 2010 and 2012 primaries. In suburban Cook, 9.5 percent voted early in 2010. More than 11 percent did in 2012.
 
Orr's office says availability of suburban early voting sites might explain the turnout. There are 43. Chicago has 51.
 
Early voting ends March 15.
Published in Local News
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