Illinois state lawmakers are trying to make it safer for people to use online dating sites.  Legislation aiming to do that passed the House last week.  It would require Internet dating services operating in the state to post disclaimers saying whether they conduct background checks on their members.  The measure is sponsored by Democratic state Representative Michelle Mussman.  She says she wants to help Internet users "become more savvy" and protect themselves from online predators.  Opponents say the bill overreaches.

Virtually all parts of state government would be forced to cut spending under a budget outline approved by the Illinois House.  The measure requires cutting Medicaid by $2.7 billion, or about 14 percent. Spending on services from schools to prisons would fall by about $900 million.  The House approved it 91-16 yesterday. Now it goes to the state Senate.  The measure calls for paying about $1.3 billion in overdue bills, or about 16 percent of the backlog.  It also increases the state's annual contribution to government retirement systems.  Democratic Rep.

NPR reports the Supreme Court  begins the first of three days of oral arguments on President Obama's health care law today. The court has boiled the arguments down to four key questions. First up: Does the court even have to hear this case right now?

IL Considers Drug Cuts

Mar 26, 2012

Illinois lawmakers looking for ways to cut expenses in the state’s Medicaid program may consider the big-ticket cost of prescription drugs as a tempting target. Prescriptions cost the Illinois Medicaid program more than $1 billion a year. Medicaid covers drugs for a wide variety of illnesses, from asthma to schizophrenia, for the poor and disabled. Legislators are looking at other states for ideas. Tennessee, for example, limits adults to five prescriptions each month.

Quinn: FEMA denies Illinois appeal for assistance

Mar 22, 2012

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn says the Federal Emergency Management Agency has denied the state's appeal for assistance after a deadly late February tornado and severe storms in southern Illinois.  Quinn says he is disappointed with the decision and doesn't believe "it reflects the reality and devastation on the ground." Hundreds of homes in five southern Illinois counties were damaged or destroyed by storms that killed seven people in Harrisburg.  Quinn says the state is submitting a request to the U.S. Small Business Administration for low-interest loans.

Organizers of a southwest Louisiana drive to help tornado-stricken Harrisburg, Illinois, says four pickup-and-trailer loads of goods delivered over the weekend are just a partial return for help after Hurricane Rita in 2005.  Phil Thibodeaux of Lake Arthur says a tractor-trailer load of supplies will probably leave nearby Lake Charles about midweek, and Lafayette-area residents are also collecting a lot of goods.  Strong storms and a tornado hit Harrisburg Wednesday, killing six people and injuring about 100.  Thibodeaux says the relationship between the two communities began when Lake Arth

Quinn Asks for Federal Assistance

Mar 2, 2012

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has asked federal emergency officials for recovery help after Wednesday’s deadly tornado struck Harrisburg. Quinn says he asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help with damage assessments. Those assessments begin Monday and will provide documentation needed to support requests for federal assistance.  The assessments are expected by the end of next week.  They will include Massac, Saline and Union counties. Quinn already has issued a state disaster proclamation for southern Illinois.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn wants to eliminate the state's contributions toward health insurance benefits for retired school teachers and community college professors across the state.  Those cuts are part of the budget proposal he unveiled last week. They target two insurance programs and would save the state about $92 million.  About 77,000 retired teachers and their dependents are covered under the Teachers Retirement Insurance Program and the Community College Insurance Program.  If Quinn's plan is approved, retirees could be forced to pay higher premiums.

Cairo, Illinois has seen boom and bust. It was a massive hub for river travel in the early 20th century and boasted a population some say up to 20 thousand, now it's a fraction of that size. Once beautiful buildings and homes that are still standing are now in disrepair, and the poverty level has sky rocketed. An industrial exodus and fall out from the civil rights movement are mostly to blame for the state of Cairo today.

Nine years of war in Iraq is symbolically coming to an end.NPR reports the number of troops in Iraq has fallen from 20,000 to 4,000. Hopefully the real end is on its way as well.