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   CHICAGO (AP) - An Illinois judge promises to rule on the future of a lawsuit seeking to legalize same-sex marriage in the state.

   The lawsuit was filed last year by 25 gay couples who want the right to marry.

   Cook County Judge Sophia Hall is expected to rule Friday on a motion to dismiss the case.

   Lawyers for five downstate county clerks who are defending the ban want the case tossed. Plaintiffs' attorneys want the judge to let the lawsuit stand - then rule immediately that they won the lawsuit and that the ban is illegal.

   The clerks won permission to defend the ban after Cook County's top prosecutor and the Illinois attorney general refused to do so, saying the 17 year old ban violates the state constitution.

   Illinois legalized civil unions two years ago.

 

Published in Local News
Friday, 27 September 2013 02:15

Quinn: Juvenile justice has made great strides

   CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn says he hasn't seen a report released Thursday that details inadequate conditions at juvenile detention centers, but Illinois has made "important strides" with fewer juveniles incarcerated.

   Quinn told reporters Thursday that Illinois has to have a system where young people who make mistakes pay their debt and face consequences. He says if the report raises issues, they'll be looked at.

   Watchdog group the John Howard Association released a review Thursday on conditions at a Kewanee facility specializing in treatment for juveniles with mental health issues.

   Another report was submitted in federal court as part of the settlement. It describes incarcerated teens mowing lawns during the school day and being routinely subjected to more solitary confinement than necessary.

   Juvenile detention centers house more than 800 juvenile inmates.

 
Published in Local News

The Illinois trooper who hit and killed a pair of Illinois sisters while driving a police cruiser, is not getting his driver's license back.

Matt Mitchell was driving 126 miles an hour, using his cell phone, and using his computer to send emails, when he hit the car carrying 13-year-old Kelli and 18-year-old Jessica Uhl. In 2010, Mitchell pled guilty to all charges. He served probation and lost his license.

This summer, Mitchell appeared in court to ask for his license to be reinstated, saying he needed it to find a job. Thursday, his appeal was denied.

Mitchell now lives in Texas.

Published in Local News
Thursday, 26 September 2013 14:49

Judge: IL lawmakers' pay must be restored

CHICAGO (AP) - A Cook County judge has ruled that Gov. Pat Quinn's decision to halt lawmaker pay over the pension crisis is unconstitutional and has ordered Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka to pay them immediately.

Judge Neil Cohen made the ruling Thursday.

He says the state Constitution makes it clear that lawmakers' pay can't be changed while serving they're serving their terms.

Quinn used his line-item veto to cut money for legislators' salaries from the state budget because they hadn't fixed Illinois' nearly $100 billion pension crisis.

House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton sued, saying Quinn's actions were unconstitutional and violated the state's separation of powers. They asked a judge to order paychecks be issued.

 

Published in Local News

   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A year after Illinois was sued and reached a settlement over inadequate conditions in its juvenile detention centers, two separate reports are detailing a number of conditions that the authors say must change.

   The first report, submitted in federal court as part of the settlement, describes incarcerated teens mowing lawns during the school day, being improperly medicated and being routinely subjected to more solitary confinement than necessary.

   Watchdog group the John Howard Association is releasing a separate review Thursday on conditions at a Kewanee facility specializing in treatment for juveniles with mental health issues.

   Juvenile detention centers house more than 800 inmates between the ages of 13 and 20.

   The Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice says it is addressing the problems.

   

 
Published in Local News

CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois officials have decided on a brand name for the new health insurance marketplace set to open Tuesday.

Gov. Pat Quinn's administration unveiled the name Wednesday: It's "Get Covered Illinois." The brand tagline is "The Official Health Marketplace."

Deputy Gov. Cristal Thomas says the administration wanted a name that was "very clear about what this product has to offer."

The brand and logo are part of a multimillion-dollar ad campaign beginning Tuesday and building through the fall and winter. Uninsured Illinoisans have until the end of March to buy health insurance through Get Covered Illinois.

State officials expect at least 300,000 people to sign up for coverage using new options available through President Barack Obama's health care law. The Affordable Care Act requires nearly all Americans to have health insurance.

 
Published in Local News

An Illinois man, accused of tying up two people and sexually assaulting them, is in custody.

Jerry Sutt was arrested Monday in Tennessee. Police say Sutt broke in to a rural Collinsville home on September 18 and bound the two people. He then allegedly assaulted one of them. That victim was taken to the hospital.

Sutt is now held on a half-million dollar bond and facing multiple felony charges.

Published in Local News

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (AP) - So far, more than 50 instructors have been approved to train Illinois residents applying for applications to carry concealed weapons.

The Daily Herald reports 54 instructors have been OK'd for the program - most of them in northern Illinois.

Illinois State Police spokeswoman Monique Bond says as many as 1,000 more applications have been received.

In July, Illinois became the last state in the nation to approve a law allowing the public possession of firearms.

Anyone who wants to apply for a concealed-carry license must complete 16 hours of training from a state-approved instructor. The instructor also must use the state's training curricula.

Applications for concealed-carry licenses will be available from state police beginning Jan. 5.

A list of instructors can be found here.

 
Published in Local News

CAVE-IN-ROCK, Ill. (AP) - Vendors at a recently completed outdoor festival featuring the Insane Clown Posse rap-metal group say they haven't been paid thousands of dollars by promoters of the yearly southern Illinois event.

The Southern Illinoisan reports that several vendors at the Gathering of the Juggalos say they've received bad checks from the promoters of the event near Cave-In-Rock.

Hardin County Sheriff Jerry Fricker says his department got a check from the promoters, Michigan-based Psychopathic Records Inc., as a donation for equipment such as protective vests and stun guns. But Fricker says that check bounced.

The festival has been staged for the past several years near Cave-In-Rock, drawing thousands of people for a week.

A message seeking comment was left Thursday with Psychopathic Records.

 

Published in Local News

ST. LOUIS (AP) - New Census Bureau figures show Illinois' poverty rate remained stubbornly near 15 percent last year, and anti-poverty advocates say that's a sign an economic recovery isn't trickling down to the least fortunate.

The latest figures suggest that 14.7 percent of Illinoisans, or about 1.85 million people, lived in poverty last year. That's down ever slightly from 15 percent, or 1.88 million, in 2011.

The national rate also remained at 15 percent.

Amy Terpstra of the Chicago-based Heartland Alliance's Social Impact Research Center says the latest figures may make the case for raising Illinois' minimum wage. It's set at $8.25 an hour. Gov. Pat Quinn is pushing that idea, but business executives say it could backfire and force employers to eliminate jobs.

 

Published in Local News

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