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Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Statehouse Ethical Issues Might Need Outside Oversight, Legislators Say

The Illinois General Assembly took some steps last week to address concerns of sexual harassment in the statehouse. But some lawmakers themselves don't think legislators policing each other is the best approach.

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Alex Proimos
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Health Care Providers Try To Recover From Impasse

During the more than two years that Illinois went without a state spending plan, hospitals, dentists and other health care providers waited months or even years to get paid for services to state employees and Medicaid patients.

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Statehouse

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

The Illinois General Assembly took some steps last week to address concerns of sexual harassment in the statehouse. But some lawmakers themselves don't think legislators policing each other is the best approach.

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Education Desk

The new tax plan introduced by House Republicans could have negative implications for universities, graduate students and those with student loans.

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Health+Harvest Desk

Jeff Stevens decided to give up alcohol when he was 24.

He's 50 now — and he's had no regrets about going sober for the sake of his health. Except for one thing: He has really missed good beer.

"If you're drinking, you have an infinite amount of things you can drink," Stevens says. Shelves are full of craft IPAs, stouts and bitters. "Whereas only about half the bars I've been to have a non-alcoholic beer. And if they do, it's usually just one choice."

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Arts & Life

Andy Weir's debut novel, The Martian, was an unrepeatable success story, largely because its path to the bestseller lists was so unconventional. Weir posted it as a free serial on his website, then self-published it as a 99-cent e-novel. His Kindle sales led Podium Publishing to create an audiobook version before a physical edition existed.

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Equity

Indonesia is the fourth-largest country in the world, and its population very young. The median age is about a decade younger than in the U.S. or China. Half of Indonesians are under the age of 30.

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Police officers from across Illinois gathered in Springfield Thursday to honor colleagues killed in the line of duty — including one killed in 2012.

On the Monday after Thanksgiving, Illinois State Police Trooper Kyle Deatherage was patrolling on his motorcycle on Interstate 55, about 30 miles south of Springfield. He pulled over another vehicle when the driver of a semi-truck is alleged to have hit and killed Deatherage. The driver has been charged with reckless homicide.

Illinois lawmakers are "weighing in" on Olympic organizers' decision to drop wrestling from the summer games. 

The Illinois House passed a resolution encouraging the International Olympic Committee to reinstate wrestling as an Olympic sport.   The state Senate is poised to do the same.

Former U-S House Speaker Denny Hastert made a special appearance in Springfield for it.  Hastert was a wrestling coach in Yorkville before he went on to Congress.  He says it's important to give young people the opportunity to reach for an Olympic dream. 

  The Central Illinois Foodbank collects grocery items and gives them to charitable organizations in over 20 counties. The foodbank will be moving its Springfield location later this year to a new donated facility. Kaleigh Friend with the foodbank recently joined WUIS’ Rachel Otwell for this interview:

CLICK HERE for more information about the Central Illinois Foodbank.

Consumers who unwittingly buy a diseased animal from a pet store could get their money back under a measure approved by the Illinois Senate. 

 

It's similar to someone who buys a jalopy under false pretenses. But in this case, the "lemon" isn't a car.

It's a puppy. Or a kitten.

Someone who buys a dog or cat could get a refund, exchange their pet for a new one, or seek reimbursement for veterinarians' fees.

But only if the pet came from a pet shop.  That bothers Republican Senator Dale Righter of Mattoon, as those dogs can cost $1,000.

Amanda Vinicky

The Illinois House is poised to vote Thursday on an overhaul of the state's pension systems. The plan easily advanced out of a House committee Wednesday morning. But the Senate's working on different method. 

Wednesday began with a widespread feeling that after more than a year of failed attempts to reduce the state's pension debt, House Speaker Michael Madigan's proposal might be it. 

Sen. Terry Link (D-Waukegan)
Illinois Senate

The Illinois Senate has once again approved an expansion of gambling. But it remains to be seen whether Governor Pat Quinn will go along with the plan.

The Illinois House is poised to vote Thursday on an overhaul of the state's pension systems. It would reduce state workers', teachers', and university employees' future retirement benefits. The plan easily advanced out of a House committee Wednesday morning. 

There's a feeling in the capitol that after countless attempts to reduce the state's pension debt, this may be it. Insiders say it's significant that the plan's sponsored by House Speaker Michael Madigan — who rarely takes action without having support locked up. 

afscme31.org

Illinois’ new deal with the state’s largest public employees union could be null and void.   The union is going to take a second vote on its contract agreement with Governor Pat Quinn’s administration.  Amanda Vinicky reports from the WUIS Statehouse Bureau.

It took 15 months for AFSCME to reach an agreement.   They finally got a deal in late February.

But AFSCME says because a key condition of the settlement has not been met,  it will ask members if they still want to proceed with the new contract.

The survey of employers find many have positive expectations for their own firms, but have a negative overall outlook for the coming year.  Ashley Kirzinger, Director of the UIS Survey Research Office, spoke with us about the findings:

The survey is sponsored by the University of Illinois Springfield's Chancellor's Office, the Center for State Policy and Research at UIS and the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce.

A plan to have a form of concealed carry in Illinois is in for changes in the state Senate

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Jaclyn Driscoll

Women's Caucus Created By State Senators

Women in the Illinois Senate plan to advance their voices in leadership with the creation of their own caucus. Women on both sides of the aisle say they’ve had a significant role in crafting policy, but may not always get the credit they deserve.

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Featured

When It Comes To Sexual Harassment Claims, Whose Side Is HR Really On?

As more executives accused of sexual harassment are being ousted from companies around the nation, including NPR, many are rethinking whether human resources departments are willing or able to handle the job of fielding and investigating complaints. Many have grown skeptical, after recent news stories suggesting some HR departments knew of issues, but failed to adequately respond. Many others have lost faith in HR through experiences of their own. Sophia Dean says she was 25 years old,...

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Illinois Issues

Football players on sideline
Jaclyn Driscoll / NPR Illinois 91.9 UIS

Is State Concussion Law A Level Playing Field For All Schools?

A 2015 state law required high schools to develop concussion response procedures to protect student-athletes from further injury, but smaller schools may be at a disadvantage.

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Illinois Issues: Is The State Budget Balanced?

Illinois Issues Forums

Carter Staley / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

WATCH: State Budget Forum - Carbondale

Watch the tenth Illinois Issues forum on the state budget and Illinois' financial future in Carbondale, Illinois. The forum is hosted by NPR Illinois and WSIU Radio with support provided by AARP.

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Continued Interest

BRENT LEVIN / CC BY 2.0 / FLICKR

The Recreational Marijuana Legalization Debate In Illinois

Some lawmakers say legalizing recreational marijuana should be on the horizon for Illinois. But they admit there are still details to work out.

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Politics

Russia's State Duma has adopted restrictions on foreign media outlets, days after the U.S. Justice Department forced a Russian TV station's production company to register as a foreign agent operating in the U.S.

"A total of 409 lawmakers out of 450 voted for the amendments, no one voted against them or abstained," Russian state media Tass reported.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, in an interview airing on Wednesday's Morning Edition, says he has no plans to run for president in 2020, but that it would be "foolish" to rule it out entirely.

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The X | 91.9-3 HD

American Football Dreams Of Japan For 'My Instincts Are The Enemy' Video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCI1QXMumBo Apart from from Buddhist temples, parts of Japan sure do look like Central Illinois. At least that's the story sweetly told in director Chris Strong's video for "My Instincts Are The Enemy," where Japanese and Japanese Americans sing along to the song while bowling, making noodles and getting tattooed. American Football 's return to the studio last year still yields quietly glowing rewards, an emo band making sense of its time away and what's been...

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