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GOP opposition to school funding bill irks Manar

SPRINGFIELD | Illinois House Republicans, fearing that majority Democrats could take money away from their suburban Chicago school districts in a post-election vote, have thrown up prominent if symbolic opposition on Senate-approved legislation to overhaul state funding for public education.

September 29, 2014 10:15 pm

FACT CHECK: Rauner early prison release TV ad

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. | A secret program allowing the early release of Illinois prison inmates nearly sunk Democrat Pat Quinn's first run for governor four years ago. Now it has resurfaced in his bid for re-election.

September 24, 2014 12:00 am

Quinn: Agencies must follow hiring rules

SPRINGFIELD | Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn deflected blame for state hiring problems Tuesday, saying agencies must follow anti-patronage hiring rules — even when the candidates are those the governor's office favors.

August 26, 2014 3:30 pm
Layoffs raise new issues in state hiring dispute

Layoffs raise new issues in state hiring dispute

SPRINGFIELD | Gov. Pat Quinn's unexpected move to deal with a scathing report about political hiring in his administration will not put the jobs scandal to rest as he mounts a difficult campaign for re-election.

August 24, 2014 7:30 pm

Report: IDOT broke hiring rules for years

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.  | The Illinois Department of Transportation circumvented rules devised to keep politics out of state jobs and improperly hired more than 250 people in the last decade, accelerating the practice under Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, the state's top investigator decreed in a repo…

August 22, 2014 3:31 pm
Illinois has 22 fugitive escaped inmates

Illinois has 22 fugitive escaped inmates

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. | Zakar Elbay apparently found religion. The 44-year-old state prison inmate was living at a transition center finishing a six-year sentence for possession of a stolen vehicle when he got a Christmas Day 2013 pass to work at a religious facility. He never returned.

June 08, 2014 7:15 pm Photos


Democrats cooperate with probe of Quinn's program

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. | In a potential election-year embarrassment for Gov. Pat Quinn, Illinois Democrats said Wednesday that they'll continue cooperating with a legislative review of his $55 million anti-violence program, which a key Republican called a "shameless, useless waste of taxpayer dollars."

May 28, 2014 4:03 pm

Illinois budget would mean more money for schools

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. | A spending plan the Illinois House approved this week includes more money for schools, veterans' homes and prisons.

May 16, 2014 3:11 pm
Illinois House panel OKs $100M for Obama library

Illinois House panel OKs $100M for Obama library

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. | An Illinois House committee backed a $100 million plan Wednesday to lure Barack Obama's presidential library to his home state, despite objections from Republicans who welcome the attraction but want no part of taxpayer financing.

April 30, 2014 3:30 pm
Illinois Senate adjourns without vote on tax plan

Illinois Senate adjourns without vote on tax plan

SPRINGFIELD | An effort to let Illinois voters consider a proposed overhaul of the state's income tax system died Tuesday in the General Assembly, but there's still a strong possibility the November ballot could include an unprecedented four constitutional amendments.

April 29, 2014 3:39 pm
Advocates warn of transportation funding drop-off

Advocates warn of transportation funding drop-off

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. | An influential group of Illinois transportation advocates is warning lawmakers of a drop-off in spending on roads and bridges and pointing out a murky federal funding picture as it tries to bolster its case for an aggressive tax plan it says would provide sound financing.

April 28, 2014 3:49 pm
Ill. jobs screened for political ties after hiring

Ill. jobs screened for political ties after hiring

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. | When questions arose about political hiring at the Illinois Department of Transportation, Gov. Pat Quinn's administration evaluated several jobs that already had been filled to ensure they were among the few positions where an applicant's political loyalty and connections…

April 24, 2014 7:45 pm

Illinois audit: Police training money misspent

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. | The agency that sets standards for Illinois law enforcement officers misspent grant money for police training and didn't keep proper records about sessions for homicide investigators and coroners, according to an auditor's report released Tuesday.

April 22, 2014 7:06 pm

Durkin says Obama library unaffordable for Ill.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. | The top Republican in the Illinois House criticized on Monday majority Democrats' plan to offer $100 million in taxpayer money to lure Barack Obama's presidential library to Chicago.

April 22, 2014 12:00 am

Illinois House speaker cleared in transit probe

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. | An investigation into whether Illinois' powerful House speaker improperly influenced hiring at Chicago's scandal-tarnished Metra commuter rail agency found no legal violations, according to the Democratic lawmaker's office.

April 10, 2014 3:55 pm

Election over, challenges remain for Rutherford

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. | With the pledge, "I'm going to be back," Dan Rutherford has vowed to do what scores of politicians have done before him — forge ahead in public life just minutes after losing a bid for the job he always wanted.

March 22, 2014 12:00 am

Rutherford decries 'challenging' Illinois gov race

PONTIAC, Ill. | Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford said the last few weeks of his bid for Illinois governor were the "most challenging of my entire life," but declined to offer a direct concession to the other three GOP candidates in a short speech delivered minutes after the polls closed for…

March 18, 2014 9:26 pm

Gambling plan offers Illinois lawmakers a choice

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. | A state lawmaker who's trying to expand legalized gambling in Illinois is offering the General Assembly two choices, including one plan that would create a mega-casino in Chicago but nothing else in the state.

March 13, 2014 4:14 pm

Illinois fiscal reputation costs $80 million more

SPRINGFIELD | Illinois wears a "scarlet letter" when it borrows money, denoting a woeful fiscal reputation that cost at least $80 million in additional interest charges over a five-year period, a study released Monday found.

March 11, 2014 12:00 am

Report: Illinois electric deregulation saved $37B

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. | Electric deregulation has saved Illinois customers as much as $37 billion over the past 16 years, a report released Monday said.

March 04, 2014 12:00 am

Lawmaker: Lower penalties for small drug crimes

SPRINGFIELD | Low-level marijuana possession should be decriminalized and punished with traffic ticket-like fines as part of a criminal justice "realignment" to reduce Illinois' crowded prison system, a lawmaker from suburban Chicago said Wednesday.

February 26, 2014 7:44 pm

GOP hopefuls: Prisons crowded, but fixes elusive

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. | The four Republican candidates for governor are in agreement when it comes to Illinois prisons: There are too many inmates, not enough cells and quick action is needed to address what they say is a public safety threat.

February 22, 2014 12:00 am

Report: Five Illinois pension funds owed $100.5B

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. | Illinois lawmakers thought they were saving money five years ago by changing the way the cash-strapped state counts its pension debts, but a report released Wednesday suggests the effort may have landed taxpayers with billions of dollars in extra costs.

January 08, 2014 12:00 am

Report: Ill. pension payments up in coming year

SPRINGFIELD | The amount Illinois must pay to keep pace with its pension systems should grow less than 2 percent next year but still total nearly $7 billion, according to a report released Tuesday.

December 31, 2013 8:15 pm

Intake center focus of Illinois crowding

SPRINGFIELD | Inside what could be Illinois' most important correctional facility — its main inmate intake center — hundreds of newly convicted prisoners are sleeping in a gym, a health care unit, converted common spaces and "staging areas" next to bus garages after they arrive from county j…

December 27, 2013 7:41 pm

Pension accounts don't need to sell assets in 2013

SPRINGFIELD | Stable state funding over the last two years meant key state employee pension funds didn't have to sell assets to meet payments in 2013, according to a report released Thursday.

December 19, 2013 10:42 pm

GOP candidate has given own campaign $1.25M

SPRINGFIELD, | A Republican candidate for Illinois governor who reported income of $53 million last year has contributed more than $1 million to his own campaign, but an analysis Tuesday of recent elections shows deep pockets are far from an assurance of electoral success.

November 26, 2013 8:03 pm

Hundreds file petitions for 2014 election

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. | Political battle lines were officially drawn Monday in the race for Illinois' chief executive as Democratic incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn and four Republican challengers were among nearly 400 politicians who offered nominating petitions on the first day of filing.

November 25, 2013 3:32 pm

Jesse White friend double-billed state: report

SPRINGFIELD | A friend of Secretary of State Jesse White's claimed during her time as his chief deputy director of securities that she also worked five hours each workday as a home health care provider, an internal investigation found.

November 08, 2013 8:17 pm

Gun bill stopped; Ill. lawmakers leave work undone

SPRINGFIELD | A push to fight crime by imposing stiffer penalties for having guns on urban streets came to a halt Thursday when black lawmakers in the Illinois House used a procedural measure to stall proposed legislation, saying the bill was too focused on locking up young men.

November 07, 2013 11:10 pm

Ill. property inventory lacks basic details: audit

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. | The Illinois agency that keeps track of all taxpayer property does such a poor job that it lists only one of the state's nine universities and omits one-quarter of the Prairie State's 130 parks, according to an audit released Thursday.

October 31, 2013 5:45 pm

Illinois prisons overtime jumped last year

SPRINGFIELD | Overtime pay for Illinois' prison guards jumped 34 percent last year as the state grappled with its overcrowded penal system and Gov. Pat Quinn's decision to close some facilities, The Associated Press has learned.

October 27, 2013 10:06 pm

AP Exclusive: State job crafted after referral

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. | During hearings last summer into a scandal at Chicago's Metra transit agency, a former executive claimed he was fired after resisting a recommendation by Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan to hike the pay of a Metra employee who had raised campaign money for the power…

October 17, 2013 12:00 am
Unsealed birth records give adoptees peek at past

Unsealed birth records give adoptees peek at past

SPRINGFIELD | Maura Duffy spent a day in Chicago last September with her mother: A walk along Lake Michigan, shared meals, a boat tour highlighting Second City architecture.

July 28, 2013 8:45 pm

Illinois attorney general seeks 2nd delay on Illinois gun plan

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. | Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is asking the U.S. Supreme Court for another monthlong extension of time to decide whether to appeal a lower court order allowing citizens to carry concealed guns.

June 17, 2013 8:00 pm

Ill. concealed carry bill goes to governor

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. | Illinois would join the rest of the nation by allowing the carrying of concealed weapons under legislation approved by the General Assembly on Friday — hours before lawmakers were scheduled to adjourn for the summer and days before a federal court's deadline.

May 31, 2013 8:15 pm

Ill. guns bill goes to House floor, Senate objects

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. | A compromise plan on concealed weapons heading for a House floor vote drew swift opposition Thursday from Gov. Pat Quinn, whose office called it a "massive overreach" because of the way it would curb local firearms regulations.

May 23, 2013 7:30 pm

Ill. Senate gun opponents decry 'moral' standard

SPRINGFIELD | An Illinois Senate panel approved a measure Thursday allowing the carrying of concealed weapons, but the committee's move followed sharp questioning from Republicans concerning whether packing a gun in Chicago should require special permission and how authorities would determin…

May 16, 2013 8:49 pm

Cities could restrict places for guns

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. | An Illinois senator seeking to keep some restrictions on concealed guns in place after a federal judge found the state's ban unconstitutional said Tuesday that his compromise plan would allow large cities to customize their lists of places that are off limits to otherwise…

May 15, 2013 12:00 am

Illinois Senate committee OKs medical marijuana

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. | An Illinois Senate committee has approved a proposal that would allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

May 08, 2013 7:55 pm

Illinois House OKs Madigan pension-reform plan

SPRINGFIELD | The Illinois House approved a plan Thursday that would tackle the $97 billion shortfall in the state's retirement system by increasing employee contributions and decreasing benefits, the first victory for across-the-board pension reform in four years of debate.

May 02, 2013 8:05 pm

Audit: Racing industry waiting for millions

SPRINGFIELD | Illinois lawmakers never changed state law to allow the transfer of tens of millions of dollars due to the state's horse racing industry, so the money is sitting unused in a Gaming Board account, an audit released Thursday found.

April 25, 2013 9:21 pm

Dwight prison to close by month's end

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. | The maximum-security women's prison in Dwight will close by month's end in a complex shift of inmates that involves the conversion of a men's prison to a penitentiary for women and the transfer of hundreds of overflow inmates to other lockups around the state, according t…

March 05, 2013 9:49 pm

Illinois House GOP OK with new cost-shift on pensions

SPRINGFIELD | The top Illinois House Republican and the Democrats' pension point person proposed yet another solution Wednesday to the state's public retirement system debacle, one that signals the GOP's first concession toward shifting teachers' pension costs to local school districts.

February 28, 2013 12:00 am

Illinois GOP blasts process for House gun votes

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. | The Illinois House on Tuesday completed seven hours of debate on the contentious issue of public gun possession by adopting a comprehensive plan long pushed by advocates.

February 26, 2013 10:00 pm

House to consider road funds, child-welfare money

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. | The Illinois House is poised to consider more money for state programs in a plan that takes advantage of new road building funds and shifts money saved from prison closures to child-welfare services, sparing up to 1,900 jobs.

February 05, 2013 12:00 am

Backers seek quick approval for Ill. road projects

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. | Legislators have $675 million in unanticipated money available to spend on Illinois transit projects but must act quickly if they want to see road-graders moving this spring, supporters said Thursday.

January 31, 2013 10:30 pm

Illinois Dems: Limit guns in state, Chicago

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. | Illinois Democrats said Wednesday they won't wait for Congress to act on gun-control legislation and planned to press ahead with a statewide ban on assault weapons and tighter firearms restrictions in Chicago in the wake of the Connecticut school massacre.

January 16, 2013 6:15 pm

Illinois' 2013 laws to cover fins, funds, Facebook

SPRINGFIELD | Drivers will pay more to renew their Illinois license plates next year in order to help fund repairs to state parks, strip clubs will have to contribute to rape crisis programs and employers will no longer be allowed to ask job applicants for their social media passwords.

December 27, 2012 8:38 pm

Illinois lawmakers hope to OK gay marriage in January

SPRINGFIELD | Two Illinois lawmakers said Thursday they will seek to legalize gay marriage when the General Assembly reconvenes early next year — a push that comes just 18 months after the state started allowing civil unions for same-sex couples.

December 13, 2012 4:49 pm
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