The Associated Press


It’s now illegal for Illinois employers to ask job-seekers to hand over passwords to their social networking accounts. Governor Pat Quinn signed the measure into law Wednesday during an event at the Illinois Institute of Technology. In their efforts to vet job applicants, some companies and government agencies ask to log in to a prospective employee's accounts on sites like Facebook and Twitter. The Illinois law does allow bosses to view public information not restricted by privacy settings on a site. Several other states are considering similar bans. Two U.S. senators have asked the U.S.

Illinois health officials are calling attention to an increase in whooping cough cases this year as they remind parents about required immunizations for children. Approximately 1,200 cases of whooping cough have been reported in the state so far this year. That's compared to 468 cases reported as of last August. Sixth- and ninth-grade students are now required to show proof of receiving the Tdap vaccine for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, better known as whooping cough.

The Tennessee Department of Education is revising its teacher licensing standards.  Education board representatives and review teams of teachers will announce details later today in Nashville. The department said revisions made will be in partnership with the state board, the Educational Testing Service and review teams consisting of teachers, district administrators and higher education faculty. The department said it recognizes the need to set rigorous expectations for teacher preparation and licensing.

Kentucky drivers' licenses are getting some security upgrades, and circuit court clerks' offices will be installing new equipment to implement the improvements. The Transportation Cabinet said the new license has multiple layers of security features to make it harder for counterfeiters to produce fake IDs. Among the new features are a digital watermark that can't be seen by the human eye, improved lamination, a hologram with an ultraviolet "ghost" image and bank note-quality printing.  Drivers aren't required to obtain the new license until their current one expires.

Land Between the Lakes’ target range is closing down Wednesday mornings to clean up. The closure at the Golden Pond range is in effect until further notice. Recreation Program Manager Gary Hawkins said the range is popular with visitors, but workers need time to mow and pick up trash and leftover shells. Officials are asking the public to help out by disposing of litter and spent shells. LBL said the target range was updated in 2010 and is almost twice as long as before. The archery range will remain open.

Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper said a state law making public officials ineligible for pretrial or judicial diversion for crimes related to their official position is constitutional. The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports the opinion was requested by state Representative Eric Watson, the state House Judiciary Committee Chairman. Cooper said pretrial and judicial diversions are not fundamental rights and a state may treat elected or appointed public officials differently than the general public.

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School nurses in Tennessee are urging parents to have their children vaccinated against meningitis before the school year starts. Half of the state’s teens aren't vaccinated. Meningitis can be spread through contact such as sharing water bottles and drinking glasses. Ten percent of people who contract the disease die, sometimes within 24 hours. State Department of Health immunization program director Dr. Kelly Moore said the shots are not required in Tennessee, but are recommended.

A federal lawsuit to allow voters to use photo ID's issued by Memphis’ public library has been denied. U.S. District Judge Kevin Sharp originally denied the city’s request for a temporary injunction ordering the election commission to accept the library ID's. At a second hearing in Nashville yesterday afternoon, U.S. District Court Judge Aleta Trauger ruled the library identification cannot be used as valid voter ID's. Trauger said ID's are only valid if they are issued by the state, not county or cities. Trauger did express frustration with the law.

Ameren Illinois said it made an additional $500,000 available to its neediest Central and Southern Illinois customers to help them pay their energy bills during the summer heat wave. Ameren Illinois President and CEO Richard Mark said the money comes as extreme heat in recent weeks has made life difficult for many of the utility's customers. The latest funds will be distributed through local support agencies, and eligible customers must meet federal low-income guidelines. For a four-person household, the maximum gross annual income is $49,500.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has called lawmakers back to Springfield for a one-day special session August 17th to reform the state’s pension systems. But, so far, he doesn’t have a plan beyond that. Quinn said lawmakers already have legislation on the table they should consider. That includes a measure pushed by Senate President John Cullerton addressing two of the state’s five pension systems. Legislative leaders have been deadlocked over how to address the state’s $83 billion dollars in unfunded pension liability.