Medical Marijuana is officially legal in Illinois. With his signature, Governor Pat Quinn kicked off a pilot program that allows doctors to prescribe marijuana to patients with some chronic diseases.
It is one of the most restrictive programs in nation--requiring patients and caregivers to undergo background checks and limiting patients to purchasing 2 and-a-half ounces of marijuana at a time. A network of dispensaries and growers will be regulated by the state.
The medical marijuana will be taxed at the same 1% rate as other pharmaceuticals. There will also be a tax on grow facilities and dispensaries of 7%. The planned 22 grow facilities will each hire no more than 10 employees. The state of Illinois expects hundreds of new jobs in related industries to be created.
The new law also bans campaign contributions from operators of cultivation centers and dispensaries.
The law takes effect on January 1, 2014 and is a four-year pilot program.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn is making a series of stops in central Illinois.
Monday's visits mark the second round of trips the governor's made to the region following criticism that his frequent Chicago focus might draw a downstate challenger in the 2014 Democratic primary.
Quinn started the day welcoming the Stanley Cup to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum before heading to Bradley University in Peoria, where he announced a construction grant. Quinn is also scheduled to spend time talking about the construction grant Augustana College in Rock Island before going to Rockford, where he's expected to talk about a clean water initiative.
Quinn is facing a primary challenge from fellow Chicagoan Bill Daley.
Quinn's spokeswoman has said the governor was previously tied up in Springfield because of pension reform.
CHICAGO (AP) - Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka says she has no choice but to withhold paychecks from Illinois lawmakers.
Topinka spoke Thursday in Chicago after her office reviewed Gov. Pat Quinn's decision to cut state legislator's paychecks from a budget bill earlier this month. He called it the consequence for lawmakers' failure to address the state's $97 billion pension shortfall.
Topinka says she talked with the Illinois attorney general's office and they advised her that comptrollers can't pay state employees without an appropriation.
Topinka says she hopes the matter will be resolved "expeditiously." She says the courts likely will have the ultimate say, unless lawmakers quickly adopt pension reform.
Topinka says in her opinion government shouldn't be run through threats and blackmail.
Lawmakers are scheduled to receive their next paychecks on Aug. 1.
CHICAGO (AP) - Former White House chief of staff Bill Daley is calling on Gov. Pat Quinn to bring the state's legislative leaders together for around-the-clock talks to resolve the state's $97 billion pension shortfall.
At a news conference on Monday, Daley urged Quinn to get more aggressive in trying to solve the worst-in-the-nation crisis by bringing legislative leaders to the governor's mansion in Springfield to negotiate until they reach some kind of deal.
Daley has formed an exploratory committee as he considers running against Quinn in next spring's Democratic primary.
Daley says the governor is wasting time and dismissed Quinn's suspension of lawmakers' pay until they come up with a solution to the crisis as a gimmick that may even be unconstitutional.
CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn has signed into law new rules for tethering a dog outside.
Quinn says the legislation ensures dogs are treated humanely.
The Illinois Democrat says dogs bring unconditional love and comfort to their owners' lives and become "part of our families." He says the new law makes sure "our pets receive the same love and care they give us."
The measure requires the leash used to tether a dog to be at least 10 feet long and to not exceed one-eighth of a dog's body weight. It also says people who don't provide sufficient food, water, shelter and veterinary care could be subject to up to six months imprisonment.
The legislation was sponsored by Rep. Dan Burke, a Chicago Democrat, and Sen. Linda Holmes, a Democrat from Aurora.
SPRINGFIELD, IL (AP) - Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka says she's looking into whether Gov. Pat Quinn can legally cut lawmakers' pay.
Quinn cut $13.8 million for legislators' paychecks from a budget bill Wednesday. He says it's the consequence for lawmakers failing to address the state's $97 billion pension shortfall.
Topinka says questions have been raised about whether Quinn's actions are constitutional.
A provision of the Illinois Constitution says changes in lawmaker salary should not take effect during the term in which they were elected.
Topinka says she has requested a legal review. It should be complete before Aug. 1, when lawmakers are scheduled to receive their next paychecks.
Quinn says a prior court ruling gives him the authority. He also says he's not changing their salary, just withholding the money to pay it.
CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn is using his veto power to try and suspend state lawmakers' pay because of their inaction on Illinois' pension crisis.
The Chicago Democrat is announcing the news Wednesday. He says there'll be no paychecks for legislators until they get the job done.
The Associated Press obtained details of the plan before Wednesday's announcement.
Quinn's using his line-item veto power in a budget bill that's on his desk. Lawmakers have to approve his changes.
The bill gives the state comptroller the ability to issue paychecks to state employees. Quinn's announcement comes a day after he said there would be consequences for lawmakers who didn't send him a pension overhaul plan by Tuesday's deadline.
The state has nearly $100 billion in unfunded pension liability, the worst of any state.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Lawmakers are set to meet in Springfield to consider a bill allowing the concealed carry of weapons in public on the day of a court-mandated deadline to pass such legislation.
Gov. Pat Quinn has asked for sweeping changes to a concealed carry bill, but lawmakers have been less than enthusiastic, so far, and are expected to override his changes.
Quinn wants an ammunition limit and to prohibit guns in any place that serves alcohol, among other provisions. He has backed his changes by focusing on violence in Chicago.
But several lawmakers say Quinn proposed changes come too late in the process.
Illinois is the only state without a law to allowed concealed carry. A federal appeals court ruled the state's ban unconstitutional and set a Tuesday deadline to allow it.
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.
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation to help veterans and service members get jobs as police officers, emergency medical technicians and commercial vehicle drivers.
Quinn signed the bills Thursday before marching in the July Fourth parade in the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights.
One measure allows service members and veterans who have at least two years of experience operating a military vehicle to bypass the state skills test when applying for a commercial driver's license. Another eliminates the college degree requirement for veterans who've earned certain medals and want to become Illinois State Police officers.
Quinn says veterans are "some of the best-trained men and women in the world." He says anyone who performs those jobs in Iraq or Afghanistan should be qualified to do them in Illinois.