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Sen. Jason Barickman headshot
Illinois General Assembly

Agreement On School Funding Fizzles

School funding has been one of the most hotly debated issues in the statehouse, but in recent days, there’s been a glimmer of hope. A Democrat filed new funding plan, and a key Republican in the Illinois Senate appeared to endorse it, issuing a statement saying that he was “cautiously optimistic.” Was this the beginning of a bipartisan solution? We decided to do a reality check.

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Statehouse

Sen. Don Harmon and Democrats
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

It’s been two years since Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner unveiled his Republican “Turnaround Agenda.” On Wednesday, a group of rank-and-file Democratic legislators responded with their own “Comeback Agenda.”

State Sen. Don Harmon, a Democrat from Oak Park, says the agenda grew out of frustration with the fighting and lack of progress in Springfield.

“We wanted to be for something. We wanted to outline a vision of where Illinois could go,” Harmon says.

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Education Desk

Muslim children are more likely to be bullied in school than children of other faiths. A new survey by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) reveals that 42 percent of Muslims with children in K–12 schools report bullying of their children because of their faith, compared with 23 percent of Jewish and 20 percent of Protestant parents.

These results confirm recent findings by other research and advocacy groups showing that bullying of students of color is on the rise.

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Health+Harvest Desk

They come from places like Vietnam, China, Mexico and Guatemala, lured by promises of better-paying jobs and legal immigration. Instead, they're smuggled into the U.S., forced to work around the clock as bussers, wait staff and cooks, and housed in cramped living quarters. For this, they must pay exorbitant fees that become an insurmountable debt, even as their pay is often withheld, stolen or unfairly docked.

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Arts & Life

Courtesy of Mini Kiss

This week Rachel and Scott talk to Louie Fatale of Minikiss. The tribute band is comprised of little people, Fatale plays the role of "Mini Gene."

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Equity

Rachel Otwell

Last month, a Springfield police officer named Samuel Rosario beat a resident of east Springfield. It was captured by a body camera. Rosario is facing charges and is on unpaid leave. 

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President Trump's executive order to restrict travel to the U.S. from six majority-Muslim countries and suspend the U.S. refugee program has been blocked indefinitely.

The state of Hawaii sued to stop the travel ban, arguing the president's policy violates the Constitution. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson has extended his nationwide order blocking the executive order while the lawsuit continues.

It's somewhat rare to find three singers so in sync as The Wild Reeds' Kinsey Lee, Sharon Silva and Mackenzie Howe. Rarer still is the trio's songwriting skills; think Crosby, Stills and Nash.

Alex Luciano is a guitar-slinging human tornado on a Pixy Stix bender. As the singer, guitarist and one half of the undeniably charming duo Diet Cig, Luciano is known to bop, flail and high-kick around the stage. And that boundless exuberance is infectious, coaxing crowds into pop-punk sock hops. It's also emblematic of the joyful musical bond between Luciano and drummer Noah Bowman, who can frequently be spotted sharing a glance and a wide grin in the split seconds before Luciano leaps off the front of his bass drum.

When Taylor Kirk and his bandmates in Timber Timbre set out for France a year ago to record their newest record, Sincerely, Future Pollution, they envisioned a sound you could dance to, that was worthy of celebration. For more than a decade, the Montreal-based band — led by Kirk, who handles much of the writing and recording — has explored the gnarled and shadowy corners of rock, evolving from sun-bleached cabin beams (Timber Timbre) to '70s country twang (Hot Dreams).

San Fermin was conceived as a vehicle for the chamber-pop compositions of Ellis Ludwig-Leone, whose flair for ornate arrangements helped make the band's 2013 debut a complex and intoxicating concoction. On that self-titled record, the mouthpieces for Ludwig-Leone's vision — singer Allen Tate, plus Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe of the band Lucius — helped give San Fermin's sound a broad emotional palette.

First Listen: Annie Hardy, 'Rules'

2 hours ago

Pouring tragedy into a work of music is nothing new. What's different each time around are the particulars. For Annie Hardy, the pain that inspired her debut solo album, Rules, is as personal as it is unimaginable. In March 2015, her newborn boy Silvio died of SIDS. He was 17 days old. Ten months later, her partner Robert Paulson—Silvio's father—died of a drug overdose.

Rachel Otwell

Last month, a Springfield police officer named Samuel Rosario beat a resident of east Springfield. It was captured by a body camera. Rosario is facing charges and is on unpaid leave. 

A video of Springfield police Officer Samuel Rosario beating up a 19 year old on the east side of Springfield has gone viral - it was captured by a body camera.

They come from places like Vietnam, China, Mexico and Guatemala, lured by promises of better-paying jobs and legal immigration. Instead, they're smuggled into the U.S., forced to work around the clock as bussers, wait staff and cooks, and housed in cramped living quarters. For this, they must pay exorbitant fees that become an insurmountable debt, even as their pay is often withheld, stolen or unfairly docked.

La Vida Boheme plays upbeat music on somber themes. The Venezuelan rockers' last album, Será, came as student protests were erupting in their home town of Caracas. The band's booking agent was murdered; their tour manager was kidnapped. The four members of the group locked themselves inside their apartments. They would later describe the record, which won a Latin Grammy, as "the soundtrack to an apocalypse."

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100 Expressions of 100 Days

A commitment by NPR Illinois to cover the state's historic budget impasse and what it means to you.

The First 100 Days

President Trump's executive order to restrict travel to the U.S. from six majority-Muslim countries and suspend the U.S. refugee program has been blocked indefinitely.

The state of Hawaii sued to stop the travel ban, arguing the president's policy violates the Constitution. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson has extended his nationwide order blocking the executive order while the lawsuit continues.

Two separate high-profile incidents broadcast this week highlighted the criticism black women regularly face in the workplace and spurred many to share their own experiences on social media.

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Illinois Edition: Weekdays Noon-1 PM and 7-8 PM

investigatinginnocence.org

Curtis Lovelace: Life After A Not Guilty Verdict

Earlier this month, Quincy native Curtis Lovelace was found not guilty after the second trial that accused him of killing his first wife, Cory Lovelace. Curtis served as a prosecutor and before that played football for the U of I. His former wife was also a college grad, and a stay-at-home mom for their four children.

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Illinois Issues

Kendall Coyne

Illinois Issues: When Women Are Paid Less Than Men

A bill in Springfield seeks to ease the gender pay gap. Palos Heights native Kendall Coyne, an Olympic silver-medalist in the 2014 Sochi Winter Games and a member of the U.S. Women’s Hockey Team, has joined her fellow skaters in a fight off the ice.

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Trending Stories

Grand Bargain GOP
senators via ILGA.gov / Rauner by Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

Did Rauner 'Pull Votes' Off The Grand Bargain?

Ten Republican senators voted for at least one bill in the grand bargain. We asked all of them about Gov. Bruce Rauner's role in stopping them from going further.

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Featured

6 Changes The Trump Administration Can Still Make To Obamacare

After seven years of trying, Republicans failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act last week. That doesn't mean the health care drama is over, though. House Speaker Paul Ryan this week told donors that the party is "going to keep getting at this thing," according to The Washington Post. But whatever Ryan and his colleagues manage to do, plenty could still change in the Affordable Care Act. Last week's failed bill, after all, was only one part of the GOP's plan. The second part —...

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