Governor Pat Quinn signed five new agriculture laws at the Illinois State Fair’s Agriculture Day.  As the state's farmers deal with drought conditions, Quinn said it's an important time to support them and the state's agriculture industry.  The new legislation protects cattle pastures from wildlife damage and creates the Illinois Nutrient Research and Education Council.


A new Illinois law requires whooping cough vaccinations for students entering 6th and 9th grades this school year. The law requires those students to show proof they received the Tdap vaccine. Tdap is a booster shot against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough. Illinois has seen about 1,200 cases of whooping cough this year, compared to 468 cases reported as of August 1st last year.

Officials with the Jackson County, Ill., Coroner's Office, say two Hopkinsville, Ky., boys drowned in a swimming pool at a friend’s Carbondale home over the weekend.  Sheriff’s deputies went to the home Saturday evening where they found 12-year-old Alick Monson and 14-year-old Lewis Monson unresponsive.  An adult had pulled the boys from the bottom of the pool.  Paramedics took the brothers to a nearby hospital, where a doctor pronounced them dead. Jackson County Sheriff’s deputies say they view the case as an accidental drowning.

Prisoners at the Tamms Correctional Center in southern Illinois will remain at the facility until Corrections Department union employees have a say in the closure process. Governor Pat Quinn ordered Tamms and other prisons closed in June to save the state money. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has asked for transfers to stop while state and union officials discuss safety measures for the closings. AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall says the two sides will meet an arbitrator Tuesday.

Legislation requiring all Illinois college dorms to have sprinklers installed within two years is one of four new fire safety bills Governor Pat Quinn signed into law yesterday.  The bill beefs up past legislation by instituting tougher penalties for post-secondary schools that don't comply, including a $1,000-a-day fine if sprinklers aren't installed by September 1, 2014.  Quinn also signed legislation encouraging fire protection districts to buy equipment built in the state.

Illinois officials are encouraging school administrators and teachers across the state to talk to students about tornado safety when they return to classes this fall. To help get the message across, the state Emergency Management Agency has just released a video on tornado preparedness and is asking school administrators and others to watch it.  The agency says the video outlines steps such as identifying shelter space within school buildings and plans they can make to move students to shelter if there is a threat of a tornado.


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.

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.

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A new pest threatens Kentucky’s hardwood trees.  This one is called the Asian Longhorned Beetle and has destroyed tens of thousands of trees in the northeastern United States, Ohio and Illinois.