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CHICAGO (AP) - The unemployment rate in Illinois increased slightly in June while manufacturers and local governments cut more jobs than they added.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security says Thursday that unemployment increased to 9.2 percent last month. That was up from 9.1 percent in May. June's figure ended two months of decreasing unemployment.

Employers around the state added a net 5,400 non-farm jobs for the month. And department Director Jay Rowell says the net 9,000 jobs added by private-sector employers is an encouraging sign that they're optimistic about the future.

Meanwhile, manufacturers cut a net 1,600 jobs for the month. Illinois' manufacturing had been one of the state's strongest employment sectors until recent months.

Construction firms added 5,400 jobs in June.

 

Published in Local News

   WASHINGTON (AP) - More than a decade ago, then-state Sen. Barack Obama helped pass a racial profiling bill in Illinois. Now that effort is offering clues about how America's first black president feels about an issue still polarizing the U.S. months after Trayvon Martin's death.

   Obama has said little about the acquittal of George Zimmerman, who was charged with killing the black teenager in Florida. Obama says the jury has spoken, but wants the nation to seek ways to prevent future tragedies.

   In 2003, Obama passed a bill requiring police to keep track of the race, age and gender of drivers they pulled over. The records could then be analyzed for bias.

   Obama has written about his own experiences with profiling, including being pulled over, in his words, "for no apparent reason."

 
Published in National News

CHICAGO (AP) - The decision by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to seek re-election and not run for governor has created a ripple effect among Illinois Democrats weighing 2014 bids.

State Sen. Kwame Raoul had been considering running for attorney general if Madigan didn't seek re-election. He says now that he's not sure if he'll seek another office instead or run for re-election.

The Chicago lawmaker says he first has to deal with Illinois' biggest financial problem. Raoul chairs a panel charged with addressing the state's nearly $100 billion pension crisis.

Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon had also been considering a run for attorney general, along with other statewide offices.

Campaign manager Dave Mellet says Simon will make a decision soon. He says state comptroller is among the offices she's eyeing.

 

Published in Local News

PARK RIDGE, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois state senator wants to add churches to the list of places where concealed guns wouldn't be allowed.

Park Ridge Democrat Dan Kotowski says he doesn't agree with a provision in the state's new concealed-carry law that allows guns in churches, temples or mosques. He filed an amendment to the law Monday and says he'll push for its approval.

Illinois was the last state in the nation to approve concealed-carry legislation this month.

Kotowski is a former gun control lobbyist.

He's one of a number of lawmakers seeking changes to the gun bill, although lawmakers voted to override changes that Gov. Pat Quinn proposed last week to meet a federal court deadline.

Several other states, including Nebraska, South Carolina and North Dakota, prohibit carrying concealed guns in churches.

 

Published in Local News

   EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - The state of Illinois is asking a federal court to reject a push by gun-rights advocates to let the state's residents start publicly toting weapons as soon as next week, rather than waiting months for implementation of a new concealed carry law.

   Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office asked a judge Thursday to throw out the request filed in East St. Louis by Mary Shepard. She filed the injunction a day after lawmakers lifted the last-in-the-nation ban. The state argues Shepard needs to file a new complaint instead of a motion seeking an emergency hearing from a judge.

   No hearing has been scheduled.

   Shepard says an unconstitutional ban on packing pistols remains because it will be as long as nine months before the first carry permits are approved in Illinois.

   

Published in Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The ACLU of Illinois says the state's abortion notification law will go into effect in 35 days.

The Illinois Supreme Court issued a ruling Thursday that ended a lengthy and emotionally charged legal battle of a 1995 law that's never been enforced. It requires doctors to notify a girl's parents of her abortion 48 hours before the procedure. It applies to girls 17 and younger.

The ACLU represented the southeastern Illinois clinic and the director of the University of Illinois at Chicago's Center for Reproductive Health in the case.

The group says the measure "jeopardizes the health and safety of young women."

The ACLU says it will spend the next weeks working with health care providers and lawyers to counsel girls.

 
Published in Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A gun owner whose lawsuit spurred the Illinois concealed carry law that took effect this week is asking a federal court to allow the public possession of firearms immediately.

   Mary Shepard and the National Rifle Association filed a motion for an injunction Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for southern Illinois. Shepard's motion says gun owners should not have to wait to carry because of Illinois lawmakers' "procrastination."

 

   A federal appeals court ruled in December that it's unconstitutional for Illinois to continue prohibiting concealed carry. But lawmakers finally adopted a plan Tuesday - the court's deadline. Now the Illinois State Police have six months to set up a system and three months to approve or deny applications after that.

   The motion notes the ban remains in effect until then.

Published in Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois public health officials say they've found the season's first West Nile-positive bird in southwestern Illinois.

The Monroe County starling's test results come two months after the state found the year's first mosquitoes with the virus.

The agency's director says that means it's "only a matter of time" until the illness is found in humans this season.

The first mosquitoes carrying West Nile were found in May in Cook County. Since then, West Nile's been found in animals in a total of 17 counties.

Last year, the virus was found in 55 of the state's counties and nearly 300 people contracted the illness. Twelve died.

This year's spring flooding caused an increase in mosquitoes - both the kind that carry the virus and those that don't.

 

Published in Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois has become the final state in the nation to allow the public possession of concealed guns, just ahead of a federal appeals court's deadline.

The state Senate voted 41-17 Tuesday to override Gov. Pat Quinn's veto of the concealed carry legislation lawmakers sent him. The House took the same action earlier in the day.

The Chicago Democrat's amendatory veto suggested changes to the delicately negotiated initiative - changes that anti-violence activists embraced.

Quinn wanted guns banned from any establishment that serves alcohol and wanted to limit gun-toting citizens to one firearm at a time.

Senate President John Cullerton says Quinn's recommendations might be addressed in later legislation.

The Illinois State Police must be ready to accept applications in six months. Officials expect 300,000 to apply in the first year.

Published in Local News

CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn says he's ready for a "showdown" in Springfield over concealed carry legislation.

The Chicago Democrat has spent days making appearances talking up his sweeping changes to a bill that'd make Illinois the last state to allow concealed weapons.

But lawmakers are expected to override Quinn's changes when they meet Tuesday in Springfield. The bill's sponsor, among others, says the original measure came out of months of negotiations.

Quinn wouldn't say if he has the votes, but says he's working on it. He says the bill was influenced heavily by the National Rifle Association.

He spoke to reporters Monday in Chicago after signing legislation dealing with gang crimes.

Illinois has until Tuesday to legalize concealed carry after a federal appeals court ruled the state's ban unconstitutional.

 

Published in Local News

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