Illinois | WGLT

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.

Illinois lawmakers are considering a variety of bills that would change the requirements to earn a teaching certificate.

 

Right now, to become a licensed teacher in Illinois, you have to pass at least three tests.

For Low Wage Workers Housing is Out of Reach

Mar 22, 2019

An estimated 10,643 people in Illinois are homeless according to federal data. Many of those are working - but still can’t make ends meet.

For the Stephens family, it all began with a landlord who refused to make repairs to their rental home.

“Our roof was a joke,” Jenny Stephens said. “Our roof had a big old huge hole in it, gaping hole. And when it snowed, we had snow in our kitchen.”

Illinois Democrats are offering several options on how legal sports gambling could work in the state. 

Illinois’s new $15 minimum wage law doesn’t guarantee better pay for workers with disabilities. An exemption in federal labor law still allows some employers to pay them less.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has agreed to pay raises and money owed to the state’s more than 40,000 child care workers and home aides.  

A measure to expand cases when eviction records can be sealed has advanced out of a House committee.

Proponents say unsealed eviction notices can taint a renter’s record even if an eviction is never carried out. That makes it difficult for renters to find a new home.

Bob Palmer of Housing Action Illinois says,“We understand that landlords have a compelling interest in wanting to screen tenants so they can get good tenants, but we don't think that just having an eviction filing is a good reflection  on someone's ability to be a good tenant.”

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 could become the most progressive state in the nation on abortion rights if a proposed bill is approved this year.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker wants to create a host of new taxes to help balance Illinois’ budget — on everything from e-cigarettes to medical insurance companies.

NPR Illinois reporters have been breaking down those revenue-generating ideas. Today we’re looking at a potential tax on shopping bags.

The Illinois Senate Thursday approved raising the legal smoking age from 18 to 21. All eyes now turn to Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who has yet to say where he stands on the idea. 

It's not the first time some Illinois lawmakers are pushing to end the so-called gender pay gap. The House of Representatives approved a measure Wednesday that could be a first step. 

The Illinois House Wednesday approved a plan that would require k-12 history textbooks to include LGBTQ  figures.

Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, a Glenview Democrat and supporter of the bill, says if it had been law 15 years ago, her brother would not have been denied tenure in a suburban Chicago public school for his decision to talk about sexuality with his students.

There's an old saying that the hardest animal to kill is a school mascot. But Illinois lawmakers are taking a look at possibly thinning the herd.

 

Illinois has some school districts operating with only elementary grades, some with only high school grades, some with fewer than a hundred children — a total of 852 school districts. That's more than any other state except California and Texas, both of which have more than twice our population.

Does it matter?

Illinois lawmakers in the House voted Tuesday to raise the age to purchase cigarettes and other tobacco products from 18 to 21.  Last year, the proposal made it to the governor’s desk, but then-Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed it. Supporters of the change are more optimistic this time.  

 

Illinois Nurses Call For Safe Patient Limits

Mar 8, 2019

Illinois nurses are calling on state lawmakers to restrict the number of patients under their care.

March 8 is International Women’s Day. It’s a call to raise voices within the women’s rights movement and strategize to create a more gender-equal world.

Reporter Dana Vollmer talked with Susan Bramlet Lavin, executive director of the Illinois branch of the National Organization for Women, about what’s been accomplished and what still needs work.

This interview have been edited for clarity.

A large crowd gathered late Wednesday afternoon in front of Western Illinois University's main administrative building on the Macomb campus.

Faculty, students, staff, and community members huddled on the steps of Sherman Hall in the cold, chanting, and waving signs with messages such as "Faculty is committed to WIU,"  "Teaching makes admin jobs possible," and "Fight for our families." The group was there for a rally in support of the 132 employees who received layoff notices on March 1.

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.

An Illinois study of racial profiling in police stops is set to expire in July. State lawmakers are considering whether to keep collecting data.

Officials from each of Illinois' public universities traveled to the statehouse this week to tell lawmakers about their leaky roofs, outdated science labs and broken air conditioners, in hopes of getting funding to fix them. It’s part of a push toward a public works program, known in the legislature as a capital bill. Gov. J.B. Pritzker has promised the state will spend billions of dollars in infrastructure improvements, and public agencies are lining up to ask for a piece of that pie.

Last summer, Chantil was forced to leave the townhome she shared with her two daughters and her mother in Des Plaines. (We’re withholding Chantil’s last name to protect her family’s privacy.) Her landlord wanted to sell the building, and Chantil had only about a month to find a new home. Landlords, however, kept turning her down because of her credit, and her income. Chantil makes $12 an hour at a department store.

Brian Otten likens his process for dealing with road problems to a triage system.

As the highway engineer in Perry County in southern Illinois, Otten says he gets calls about potholes or cracked drainage pipes. 

“And we’ll go out there and take a look and say, this pipe is about fall in and somebody could have an accident here and really get hurt. That takes precedence over the inconvenience of a pothole,” he said.

Problems on interstate highways and bridges get a lot of attention. But you may be seeing more potholes and cracks on the roads you take to work or even live on, particularly in rural areas.

Nearly 100 Illinois children who died within the last two years were involved with the state’s Department of Children and Family Services, according to a recent Inspector General report.

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. 

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