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Illinois

Headlines from around the state, curated by the GLT newsroom. If you want more state news, listen to Illinois Public Radio's The 21st on Mondays-Thursdays at 11 a.m., and Statewide at 11 a.m. Fridays.

Low-income earners can soon apply to waive their court costs in Illinois.

There is a mystery at the heart of Illinois government. Statehouse reporters have been in private discussions about it for weeks. After internal deliberations here at public radio, we thought it was finally time to go public.

Illinois could save millions of dollars on incarceration costs if the federal ban on Pell Grants for inmates was lifted, according to a new report from the Vera Institute of Justice. Pell Grants are awarded to low-income undergraduate students to help them pay for college.

John Sullivan was chosen by Gov. J.B. Pritzker to head the Illinois Department of Agriculture, succeeding former director Raymond Poe. 

Illinois launched its opioid alternative program on Thursday. The program allows patients immediate access to medical cannabis if they have a current prescription for opioids or would have been prescribed one. 

A state lawmaker has proposed a plan to use state funds to build a new higher education center in downtown Springfield.

State Senator Andy Manar (D, Bunker Hill) introduced legislation on Wednesday that calls for $50 million to build a campus and public affairs center. The proposed building would sit within a mile of Southern Illinois University's existing medical school.

Illinois lawmakers are moving quickly to draft a plan for a minimum wage increase. But, there are competing ideas on how to approach it. 

When talking about legalizing recreational cannabis in Illinois, the conversation has shifted from “if” to “when.” Still, many residents have questions and concerns about what such a program would mean for the state. Lawmakers pushing for a legalized program held a meeting in Springfield on Monday where they attempted to clear up any confusion and gather feedback from residents. 

The Coliseum on the Illinois State Fairgrounds will now be called 'The Coliseum of Champions" and renovations are underway to re-open the building by the 2019 Illinois State Fair. 

JB Pritzker at a podium.
Gov JB Pritzker / Facebook

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has joined the list of Midwestern governors issuing disaster proclamations as frigidly cold weather starts hitting the region .

Pritzker released a statement Tuesday noting that plummeting temperatures are expected to hit Illinois on Tuesday and stay through Thursday morning. The Democrat calls the weather "potentially historic."

Forecasters say the temperature in northern Illinois could dip to negative 27 degrees (negative 33 Celsius) with wind-chill values as low as negative 55 degrees (negative 48 Celsius).

Tax Season Is Underway — With Some Changes

Jan 28, 2019

Tax season kicks off in Illinois today, and taxpayers may notice some differences in the filing process.

NIU students walk
NIU

Northern Illinois University has a new enrollment plan that aims to have 18,000 students by fall 2023.

Rod Blagojevich
M. Spencer Green / AP

Ten years ago this month, Rod Blagojevich was impeached and removed as Illinois governor. Blagojevich was later convicted of corruption, including attempts to sell a U-S Senate seat.  He received a 14 year sentence and remains in prison. 

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed an executive order making Illinois the 18th state to join the Unites States Climate Alliance on Wednesday. The alliance was created when President Donald Trump withdrew from the Paris climate change agreement back in 2017. 

Ashoor Rasho has spent more than half of his life alone in a prison cell—22 to 24 hours a day. The cell was so narrow he could reach his arms out and touch both walls at once.

Maybe you’ve seen the new Netflix show Tidying Up With Marie Kondo. Maybe you’ve even been inspired to declutter your own home. Turns out, you’re far from alone. Lots of people have been tidying up unwanted items this month, and secondhand stores are seeing the results.

On the show, Kondo encourages viewers to declutter their homes by getting rid of things that don’t “spark joy” for them. 

As suicide and opioid death numbers climb, researchers investigate how strong a connection exists.

Like many people coming out of prison, Perry Cline never thought he’d get a college degree.

 

“I thought I was just going to be another bum in the streets,” he said. “So I thank God that he got something else for me. And this is just the beginning.”

JB Pritzker
Nam Y. Huh / AP

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has authorized state licensing of firearms dealers after his Republican predecessor rejected the idea.

On his way out of office, Gov. Bruce Rauner is offering a few pointers to the Illinois Republican Party. He also touts what he views as the main achievements of his administration. 

With growing support among politicians and the public, Illinois could likely legalize recreational marijuana as soon as next year. But, passing legislation may hinge on where the revenue will go. 

Illinois is continuing to lose population, according to new Census estimates out Wednesday.

Come January 14, Illinois will have a new

Two small towns in rural Illinois recently lost their Walmart stores -- more than three decades after the retail giant came in and pushed out mom and pop shops. Now, the communities have lost convenience as well as major property and sales tax revenue. Some see it as an opportunity to revitalize main street, while others are not so optimistic.

Four years ago, Chris Miner decided to apply to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Then 40-years-old, Miner was encouraged to apply by a counselor at the community college he attended. He was told he was a shoo-in.

He sat down at his computer and started the application. But then Miner faced this question: Have you ever been convicted of a crime?

“I just sat there and stared at the screen for like 10 minutes,” he said. “It was like everything, every advancement I had made so far might be over with, maybe this is the end of the ride.”

Illinois Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker is making legalizing marijuana one of his top priorities.

The push to legalize recreational marijuana in Illinois could get a jump-start early next year. State Sen. Heather Steans, a Chicago Democrat, said this week she plans to introduce legislation early next year to tax and regulate the use and sale of marijuana. Incoming Democratic governor J.B.

A new report says Illinois lacks comprehensive guidelines when it comes to dealing with sexual misconduct cases in elementary and high schools.

On a recent Tuesday afternoon, a few high school students are measuring and cutting siding.

They’re building a house in the trades class at the Capital Area Career Center in Springfield and learning construction skills, like putting on a roof or installing a window.

Shelby Landers is one of the students hammering siding on to the front of the house. The 17-year-old senior says he was happy to leave the classroom and get more hands-on experience.

News Analysis — This coming Sunday, December 9, marks the 10th anniversary of the day the FBI arrested Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

The event led to his impeachment, criminal conviction and a 14-year prison sentence. There were also changes in state ethics laws.

But there are those who say the corruption was not the worst part of the Blagojevich administration — and I am among them. I'll make that argument in this week's Illinois Issues in-depth report.

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