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Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Peace Rooms and Mindfulness: New School Discipline Philosophy One Year Later

School districts had a year to implement a state law that banned zero-tolerance policies and emphasized restorative justice practices. We check back in with five districts we visited in the summer of 2016 to see how school discipline has changed.

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Illinois General Assembley

State Senator McCann Won't Run For Re-election

A Republican state senator who had a high profile disagreement with Governor Bruce Rauner says he won’t run for re-election. Senator Sam McCann of Plainview would have faced his second opponent backed by the governor.

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Statehouse

WUIS

Next year Illinois will have a new way to dispose of dead bodies where no next of kin is found,or families don’t have the means to pay for a burial and it could benefit students. 

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Education Desk

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Health+Harvest Desk

Pizza-Making Gains World Heritage Status

4 hours ago

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Arts & Life

Rachel Otwell

Bill Crook grew up in Springfield and was inspired to draw by his mother - an active member of the Springfield Art Association. His new book, titled Springfield Illinois: A Pen & Ink Artist Looks at His Hometown, covers the artist's life work thus far. He's been at it for over 40 years. For more information about a reception and reading of the book at The Pharmacy Gallery & Art Space in Springfield on Friday night, click here.

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Equity

Veronica Mullen

Across the country, it appears that a cultural sea change is taking place. Sexism that has long been inherent in society is getting acknowledged perhaps more than ever, in large part due to the #MeToo movement and activist women who have organized as a result of the 2016 presidential election. It’s unclear what lasting effects might take hold.

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The Illinois House of Representatives on Thursday approved a massive overhaul of state pensions. It's the first time the House has passed such a plan after more than a year of negotiating and many failed attempts.

Its also the first time Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, put his full support behind a specific proposal.

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.

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Carter Staley

"Homegrown" Poet Aims To Preserve & Enhance Vachel Lindsay’s Legacy

At 6 foot 5 inches, Ian Winterbauer is a tall man. And a witty one too - his poems posted online are often accompanied by the hashtag #tallestpoetonearth. He dresses conventionally - usually in a flannel shirt and jeans. He has golden blonde hair and hip, clear frame glasses.

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Several women running for statewide office.
IL General Assembly, Comptroller's Office, Lieutenant Governor's Office, Friends of Nancy Rotering, Darlene Senger, Erika Harold.

Illinois Seeing Mixed Results In Female Candidate Participation

Featured

25 Years Later, He Speaks To The Man Who Killed His Son

Editor's note: This StoryCorps conversation was difficult to have, and may be hard for some listeners to hear and read. Greg Gibson and Wayne Lo recently spoke for the first time in person at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution in Norfolk, a medium-security level prison for male inmates, but the story behind their meeting — how their lives collided and subsequently crumbled — began decades ago. They acknowledged this at the beginning of their StoryCorps conversation at the prison. "My...

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Illinois Issues

A derivative of photo by Erik Hersman, licensed under CC BY 2.0 / FLICKR

Third Party Candidates Want Rules Eased To Get On Ballot

A recent federal appeals court decision struck down the requirement that minor parties offer a full-slate of candidates for statewide or countywide offices, while another court battle looms.

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Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois 91.9 UIS

Legislative Checklist: Veto Session

Illinois Issues Forums

WATCH-LISTEN: State Budget Forum - Edwardsville

Watch the eleventh Illinois Issues forum on the state budget and Illinois' financial future in Edwardsville.

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Continued Interest

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Ken Bradbury: Playwright On The Prairie

For a true sense of the impact Ken Bradbury has had, his Caring Bridge website lends a clue. It's been visited more than 60,000 times and there are hundreds of comments from those whose lives he’s touched, many of them his former students.

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Politics

The U.S. economy added 228,000 jobs in November, according to the monthly jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate remained steady at 4.1 percent, unchanged from October.

"Employment growth has averaged 174,000 per month thus far this year, compared with an average monthly gain of 187,000 in 2016," the agency's acting Commissioner William J. Wiatrowski said of the report.

Wealthy Americans may get a new conduit for political money in the tax overhaul bill now being reconciled on Capitol Hill.

A small provision in the House version of the bill would let big donors secretly donate unlimited amounts to independent political groups — and write off the contributions as charitable gifts.

The Future Of Franken's Seat

4 hours ago

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/.

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The X | 91.9-3 HD

Review: Wilco, 'Being There: Deluxe Edition' (Bonus Disc)

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page . At the start of 1996, Wilco seemed like an also-ran. The group's debut album, 1995's A.M. , had showed plenty of promise, but it was overshadowed by Trace , the debut album by Son Volt, the other band born from the breakup of the alt-country outfit Uncle Tupelo. Where A.M. was upbeat yet unfocused, Trace was moody and deep....

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