Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is hinting his so-called grassroots campaign to rally support for an overhaul of the state's pension system will involve social media and the Internet.  Lawmakers have failed to come up with a plan to deal with the roughly $85 billion pension funding gap. Legislators couldn't agree on an approach during a special session last month.  

Judge: IL must set money aside in pay dispute

Aug 31, 2012
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The judge in a dispute over Illinois workers' pay raises is telling Governor Pat Quinn's administration to hand over unspent money from the state budget in case he rules in favor of the employees.  Cook County Circuit Court Judge Richard Billik ordered a voucher for $18 million in unspent payroll money sent to the state comptroller.

Gov. Quinn rejects plan to expand Ill. gambling

Aug 29, 2012

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has rejected a plan to expand gambling in the state.  Quinn announced his veto yesterday, saying the proposed bill lacked sufficient regulatory oversight.  The bill proposed five new casinos, one land-based and four more on riverboats.  

There’s Plenty of Landfill Space in Illinois

Aug 28, 2012

An annual report on Illinois landfills shows there is enough space for the expected refuse that will accumulate over the next 23 years. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency's 25th annual report on nonhazardous solid waste management indicates 45 landfills in the state had more than one billion cubic yards of space left. That's up less than one percent from the year before. Officials say it's important to remember space fluctuates from year to year as areas within landfills are filled and new ones open.

The Illinois Department of Corrections is telling workers at prisons targeted for shutdown they should keep coming to work after the end of the month. A letter sent to correctional employees announces what officials call a "temporary delay" in the face of layoffs and closures scheduled for August 31st.  Governor Pat Quinn wants to shut down prisons such as Tamms in Southern Illinois, but is meeting resistance from the prison workers' union.

Illinois Streamlines Criminal Laws

Aug 28, 2012

Illinois officials are taking steps to make the state’s criminal law shorter and simpler. A rewrite cuts the length of the criminal code by one-third by deleting outdating, conflicting and confusing material. Governor Pat Quinn approved the last piece of the legal overhaul Monday. The rewrite was drafted by the CLEAR Commission, which stands for Criminal Law Edit, Alignment and Reform. The process doesn't change any crimes or punishments, but it simplifies the law by deleting outdated or unconstitutional parts. Former Gov. Jim Thompson helped lead the commission.

Illinois Fire Officials Offer Safety Tips for Campfires

Aug 27, 2012

llinois state officials are reminding campers to practice fire safety, especially with the severe drought conditions in the state.  Officials with the State Fire Marshal’s office say that with the drought there's greater danger for brush fires.  There were 212 uncontrolled campsite fires reported between 2005 and 2012 and authorities say they could have been avoided.  Safety tips include avoiding building fires in windy conditions, not using gasoline or other substances that could cause explosions and never leaving a campfire or grill unattended.  Officials also recommend ensuring all fire

Sen. Durbin Calls for Passage of Student Loan Bill

Aug 21, 2012

Illinois’ U.S. Senator Dick Durbin is calling on his colleagues to pass his Know Before You Owe Act, a measure that would help college students understand the range of educational loan options before they borrow.  Durbin says most undergraduates with private loans didn’t know they were eligible for safer, and cheaper, federal loans.  Federal student loans have fixed interest rates and offer a range of consumer protections and favorable terms to make repayment more manageable.  By contrast, private loans often have uncapped variable interest rates and few, if any, customer protections.

Illinois Governor Signs Payday Lender Law

Aug 21, 2012

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has signed a new law he says will protect consumers from payday lenders.  Quinn signed the law Monday.  It requires lenders be licensed by the state Department of Financial and Professional Regulation or be charged with a felony. Right now the agency has licensed 522 payday lenders.  The new law also protects consumers who are trapped in high-interest loans from having to pay back the debts, allowing such loans to be declared null and void.

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Voters in southern Illinois’ 12th Congressional District heard the three candidates for the U.S. House talk about their job-creation proposals at a debate yesterday.  The event brought together Republican Jason Plummer, Democrat Bill Enyart and the Green Party's Paula Bradshaw at Southern Illinois University's Carbondale campus.  Plummer called for tax reform while Enyart pushed a plan focused on small businesses.