Jaclyn Driscoll | WGLT

Jaclyn Driscoll

Jaclyn has an MA in Journalism from DePaul University and a BS in History form Monmouth College. Prior to reporting, Jaclyn was a social science teacher and department chair at Greenfield High School. Previously, Jaclyn reported for WICS Newschannel 20 where she covered a variety of assignments including courts, politics, and breaking news. She also reported at Siouxland News in Sioux City Iowa, the shared CBS/Fox television newsroom. Her internships included WGN and Comcast SportsNet in Chicago. 

Politicians spearheading the effort to legalize recreational marijuana say revenue isn't the driving force. It's about promoting criminal and social justice for people of color who have been unfairly targeted by the war on drugs. But, prominent activists from minority communities question whether these lofty goals are possible. 

Growing and selling cannabis for medical purposes in Illinois is legal, and it's looking more likely that the state will legalize a recreational program as well. But one crucial component that remains illegal is for banks to do business with marijuana-related companies. 

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker says he’s counting on new taxes to help close the state’s  3.2 billion dollar budget hole. NPR Illinois reporters are taking a closer look at some of his ideas. First up, Jaclyn Driscoll breaks down the biggest chunk of revenue in Pritzker’s proposal -  a tax on health insurers.

Illinois lawmakers may be slowing the process to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025. The proposal was expected to be called for a vote and passed out of the Senate as soon as Thursday.

State Sen. Kim Lightford (D-Maywood), sponsor of the plan, said Gov. J.B. Pritzker wanted the bill approved in time for his budget address on Feb. 20.

“We’re off next week,” she said. “And the House will still be in, so the goal was to actually send the bill over so that the House could work on it next week while we’re not here.”

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. 

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. 

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. 

JB Pritzker
Vishesh Anand / Illinois Public Media

It was a good day to be a Democrat in Illinois as Gov. J.B. Pritzker was sworn in on Monday along with a diverse group of statewide office holders.

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. 

Rodney Davis speaks
Jaclyn Driscoll / IPR

Republican Rep. Rodney Davis has won a fourth term representing the 13th Congressional District. But this time, he'll be in the minority party in the House.

Betsy and Rodney at their podiums
Cindy Le / WGLT

Republican U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis and Democratic challenger Betsy Dirksen Londrigan debated Monday for the last time before Election Day, accusing one another of lying about who’s funding their campaigns, whether pre-existing conditions will be covered, and who really benefits from the tax cuts.

Secretary of State Jesse White  has held the elected office nearly two decades. This year, his Republican opponent is questioning whether White will be able to serve out another four-year term if elected.

Last year brought a lot of flu activity across the state and this year health professionals are urging the public to roll up their sleeves and get flu shots early this year. 

Corn and soybean fields as far as the eye can see are the typical sights of summer throughout rural areas of Illinois. But next year, 'fields of green' will take on an entirely different meaning as farmers will soon be allowed to grow industrial hemp. 

The Illinois Department of Public Health said they are trying to prevent an outbreak of Hepatitis A after several neighboring states have experienced their own.

Texting and driving could cost you, quite literally, with a new law raising fines on motorists caught using cellphones.

Organic product sales totaled around $50 billion and now account for more than five percent of total food sales in the United States, according to an industry survey. As the demand in Illinois grows, advocates are pushing for more support for organic farmers in the 2018 farm bill. 

Governor Bruce Rauner signed a measure on Tuesday that will allow medical cannabis to be used as an alternative treatment for conditions often treated with opioids, such as cancer, HIV, Alzheimer’s and more.

Update: Congressman Rodney Davis said Levi Lovell, the staffer who was fired, was not sent by him, nor does he believe his campaign sent him, to Democratic challenger Betsy Dirksen-Londrigan’s event at a Springfield bar last Wednesday.

In an interview last week, Londrigan said it is common to see political operatives affiliated with the Davis campaign at her events. On Monday, Davis said he too sees trackers at his gatherings but does not know who they are with.

“Those are some of the things, unfortunately, that are a part of politics today," said Davis. "I’d rather it not be part of politics. I’ve been screamed at so loud by supporters of those who are opposed to me that they’ve spat on me in the streets of Springfield. That’s not something we should condone and I certainly don’t condone the behavior of my former employee either.”

Davis has apologized for the incident. 

Lovell was released on bond on Thursday. The Sangamon County State’s Attorney said criminal charges have not been filed at this time.  

Previous story: The Field Director for U.S. Congressman Rodney Davis was arrested last night for aggravated battery at a campaign event for Davis' opponent.

In an effort to deliver a message of unity in the Republican party, both statewide and nationally, Gov. Bruce Rauner offered a rare show of support for the Commander in Chief at Wednesday's GOP rally in Springfield. 

Hemp has been used for centuries to make rope, fishnets, paper, car parts, fuel and much more. It’s an unruly crop. It’s skinny, it’s tall, but what has made it controversial is that it’s a derivative of the cannabis plant.

Illinois lawmakers approved legisltation that would allow farmers to grow industrial hemp. Hemp is derived from the cannabis plant, but it has a non-drug use. It can create bio-degradable building materials, paper, textiles and more.