SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - An Illinois state senator says he wants to end a long-standing ban on Sunday automobile sales.
Sugar Grove Republican Jim Oberweis tells the Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers that he wants to introduce legislation next year allowing Sunday vehicle sales.
The law requiring dealerships to close on Sundays went into effect in 1983. It was supported by car sellers, who said it would cut overhead, level the playing field and give employees a day off.
Violators can face a $1,500 fine. Oberweis says the policy is "anti-consumer," and adds "it doesn't make a lot of sense." But the president of Illinois Automobile Dealers Association says "the majority" of the industry wants the law to remain on the books.
CHICAGO (AP) - Gay marriage supporters are launching a $2 million statewide campaign to approve same-sex marriage in Illinois.
Illinois Unites for Marriage is a coalition representing gay rights, civil rights and political groups.
In a statement Tuesday, the group says it will place 15 field organizers throughout the state to engage supporters. They plan to target legislators who oppose a measure to lift Illinois' ban on same-sex marriage.
The Illinois Senate passed the bill in February. It wasn't called for a vote in the House because the bill's sponsor said it didn't have the votes to pass.
Jim Bennett is chairman of the coalition. He says the next few months are critical because lawmakers could take up the bill in the fall.
Opponents say marriage should be between a man and woman.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois lawmakers have overridden Gov. Pat Quinn's veto of legislation that addresses so-called Smart Grid technology.
The Illinois House voted Wednesday to again approve the legislation, a day after the Senate approved it for a second time. Quinn vetoed it May 6, saying the proposal weakened oversight and forced automatic rate hikes.
ComEd and Ameren pushed the bill to clarify legislation allowing the utilities to raise rates to fund the high-tech system. But the Illinois Commerce Commission and both utilities disagreed over implementation. ComEd filed an appeal over technical matters and faces a lawsuit over installation delays.
ComEd says with the new law the average residential customer will pay 40 cents more a month starting in 2014 and 80 cents more in 2017.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois Senate has again approved a plan to address so-called Smart Grid technology over the objection of Gov. Pat Quinn.
Senators voted 44-11 Tuesday to override Quinn's veto earlier this month. Quinn claimed the bill undermined oversight and would force automatic rate hikes.
Senate President John Cullerton disputed those claims. A three-fifths majority was needed. It now heads to the House.
ComEd pushed the bill as a way to clarify 2011 legislation allowing utilities to raise rates to fund a high-tech system. But executing it has been tricky.
The Illinois Commerce Commission and ComEd disagreed over implementation. ComEd filed a court appeal over technical matters and faces a class-action lawsuit over installation delays.
The proposal clarifies some of those issues and hastens installation.
The full Illinois Senate will consider a bill that would legalize medical marijuana. The Senate Executive Committee voted Wednesday to approve the proposal.
The measure allows physicians to prescribe limited amounts of marijuana to patients who have been diagnosed with certain medical conditions. Under the bill, patients who use the drug would automatically consent to sobriety fields test should a police officer suspect they were driving under the influence of the drug.
Supporters say marijuana can relieve continual pain without causing the harmful side effects of some prescription drugs.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois union leaders are encouraging lawmakers to support a pension reform proposal that they recently agreed on with the state's Senate president.
A coalition of unions announced Monday that it reached an agreement with Senate President John Cullerton on a possible solution to the state's $97 billion pension crisis.
Michael Carrigan is the president of the Illinois AFL-CIO. He says the group is trying to ensure fairness for public employees and retirees. The union-backed measure gives workers and retirees a choice of benefit packages.
Carrigan says the group is asking legislators to oppose a solution that House Speaker Michael Madigan backs. Madigan's plan calls for higher pension contributions from employees and limits on how much in pension benefits retirees may collect.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A spokeswoman for Senate President John Cullerton says he will keep working to pass a pension reform bill he believes can survive a court challenge.
Rikeesha Phelon says Cullerton and fellow Democrat House Speaker Michael Madigan have "the same goal but different approaches" to solving Illinois' nearly $100 billion pension crisis.
Madigan filed his pension plan on Tuesday. It caps the salary on which a pension can be based at $110,000 and limits annual cost-of-living increases.
Madigan's legislation also removes language from a plan backed by Cullerton that got Senate approval last month. Cullerton's plan offers affected state-government employees and teachers a choice of benefits instead of unilaterally cutting them.
Cullerton believes the state must give retirees a choice in benefits in order for the legislation to be considered constitutional.
Minutes earlier senators rejected the plan; it was shy one vote to pass. Cullerton used a parliamentary procedure to recall the bill. The second vote yesterday was 30-22.
Cullerton's amended plan addresses the Teachers' Retirement System and is estimated to save up to $40 billion over the next 30 years. It also offers employees a choice on whether they want retirement health care or reduced annual cost-of-living increases.
Opponents say the plan doesn't go far enough in addressing Illinois' pension crisis. Illinois has nearly $100 billion in unfunded pension liability.
Earlier in the day senators rejected a total overhaul sponsored by state Sen. Daniel Biss.
The Thursday morning meeting was canceled for lack of quorum because of the three vacancies and the absence of a fourth trustee.
That came a day after the Illinois Senate overwhelmingly rejected Quinn's appointments of three replacements for three board members whose terms expired last month.
Wednesday's failed ratification vote continues a year-old power struggle at SIU.
The rift dates to early last year when the SIU board refused to give Quinn-appointed Roger Herrin another term as chairman. The board contended he was too involved in day-to-day operations. Those who voted to oust Herrin included the three members Quinn replaced this week.
In an open letter to lawmakers Sunday, 23 Latino leaders say all families deserve to be treated with respect.
Among those signing the letter are former Chicago City Clerk Miguel Del Valle and Sylvia Puente, executive director of the Latino Policy Forum.
The Illinois Senate approved a bill earlier this month that would end the state's ban on same-sex marriage. A House committee is expected to consider it Tuesday.
If it passes the House Gov. Pat Quinn has said he will sign the legislation, making Illinois the 10th state where same-sex couples may marry.
Opponents say the proposal endangers religious freedom and diminishes the sanctity of marriage.