The post positions are set for Saturday’s running of the Kentucky Derby.
Orb has been made the early 7-2 favorite for the Derby and a full field of 20 horses.
Trained by Shug McGaughey, Orb drew the No. 16 post on Wednesday. Four horses have won from there, most recently Animal Kingdom two years ago. McGaughey is in racing's Hall of Fame, but the 62-year-old trainer has yet to win the Derby in six previous tries. He says he's happy with the post position draw.
Illinois Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon says the General Assembly should take action on an ethics reform package before the legislative session ends. Simon says lawmakers have many important issues to tackle before the session is scheduled to end May 31, but says they cannot allow ethics reform to fall to the wayside. Simon supports legislation sponsored by Democratic Senator Dan Kotowski. His bill would require elected officials to disclose more information about their financial interests.
Kentucky has set a record with April's sales of hunting and fishing licenses. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources says sales totaled more than $7 million. Fish and Wildlife Budget Director Scott King says the mark broke the previous record by $140,000 and is $800,000 more than the April average.
Tennessee has been recognized as the second bike friendliest state in the Southeast. That's according to the League of American Bicyclists that recently released its latest Bicycle Friendly States ranking. Tennessee placed 17th nationally this year, up from last year's ranking of 26.
Kentucky education officials have suspended online testing through at least today after glitches with the testing system used to administer end-of-course assessments. Kentucky students are among thousands in four states — including Indiana, Minnesota and Oklahoma — that have been kicked offline while taking tests in recent weeks. Kentucky Education Department spokeswoman Nancy Rodriguez says its vendor, ACT Inc., reported online issues in Kentucky and Alabama.
When the Tennessee Legislature failed to extend the life of the Judicial Nominating Commission, it effectively ended merit-based selection of judges in Tennessee. It also left open the question of whether there is any mechanism to replace a Tennessee judge who steps down, retires or dies.
A spokeswoman for Illinois 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 yesterday. It caps the salary on which a pension can be based at $110,000 and limits annual cost-of-living increases.
The largest Illinois government employees' union will take a second ratification vote on its tentative three-year contract because of a continuing lawsuit over back wages. Members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees OK'd the contract agreement with Gov. Pat Quinn's administration on March 20. But AFSCME announced yesterday it would schedule a new vote because Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office hasn't dropped a lawsuit Quinn had pressed over raises due in 2011 and 2012.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will hold five public meetings across the South to hear people's opinions about using genetically modified crops on wildlife refuges as food for migrating waterfowl. Until this year, farmers working under a cooperative agreement could plant such crops on 44,000 acres, about 1 percent of the land in 129 refuges across 10 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The agency's Southeast Region barred biotech crops after environmental groups sued.
Illinois farmers still can't begin planting their corn crops thanks to the heavy rains that inundated the state in recent weeks and turned their fields to mud. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that as of yesterday there's been no significant planting done in Illinois because many fields are simply too wet for farmers to get out in them in tractors.