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NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll: Republicans Sour On Mueller, FBI

Republicans and Democrats are deeply divided on how they see special counsel Robert Mueller and his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible ties to President Trump's campaign, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll . Overall, the former FBI director's favorability ratings have dropped over the past month as Trump and other Republicans have ratcheted up their attacks on Mueller and his ongoing probe. There's been a net-negative swing of 11 points over...

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Illinois Prison System's Budget, A 'Five-Alarm Fire'

The Illinois Department of Corrections says a major cash crunch has it struggling to keep its facilities running. The warning came Wednesday at a Senate budget hearing. But some Democratic lawmakers say that was the first time they were hearing the situation was so dire.

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Statehouse

Jaclyn Driscoll / NPR Illinois

Illinois lawmakers are moving ahead with legislation that would harshen penalties for texting and driving. The bill will allow law enforcement to issue a moving violation on a first offense. That  carries a fine of $75 for the first violation. Current law only allows a ticket to be issued on the second or subsequent stops.

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Education Desk

Copyright 2018 Wyoming Public Radio. To see more, visit Wyoming Public Radio.

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Health+Harvest Desk

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The opioid epidemic continues to hurt communities across the state. But for Illinois’ youth, it’s not the illicit drugs, it’s the prescription pain pills that can too often be easily accessed from their home medicine cabinet.

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Arts & Life

NPR Illinois will host a letter-writing station throughout the month of April, which will lead to this reception. The public is asked to contribute "survivor love letters" - anonymously written and addressed in support of those who have survived sexual assault. This will result in a community art exhibition of the letters at the gallery in the NPR Illinois station.

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Equity

LGBTQ rights advocates have been pushing a measure they say would amend school code in a way that would be beneficial when it comes to noting the community's role in state and national history. Last week those representing groups like Equality Illinois urged lawmakers to pass the proposal, which has yet to reach a vote outside of committee.

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Illinois Economy

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Illinois needs more money to cover its deteriorating transportation systems, but the federal government’s new infrastructure plan doesn’t offer much. 

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The American Cancer Society is now recruiting volunteers in central Illinois for its third major cancer prevention study.

Dr. Wiley Jenkins is an epidemiologist with the SIU School of Medicine and is a member of the Simmons Cancer Institute in Springfield.

He joined Peter Gray on Illinois Edition to explain why those who’ve witnessed a loved one’s battle with cancer should sign up to be a “volunteer champion”.

The Illinois Senate is expected to vote Thursday on the latest proposal to fix the state's drastically underfunded pension systems. In what's become a multi-year pension debate, many aspects of the plan have been put forth before. But it has one element that makes it unique.

ler.illinois.edu

Are government workers underpaid?  Bob Bruno says his research shows in many cases, they are.  He authored a study that found when comparing comparable jobs in the public and private sector, those who work for government, including teachers, get the short shrift.    Bruno is a professor of Labor and Employment Relations at the School of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois.  

He told WUIS' Sean Crawford the purpose of the study and how he went about the comparisons:

springfield.il.us

Springfield Mayor Mike Houston says he's gathering more information about events last month that triggered allegations that the city destroyed files sought in a Freedom of Information Act Request.

Attorneys for Springfield resident Calvin Christian say the police department violated a state public records retention law last month by destroying dozens of internal affairs files subject to a FOIA request filed by Christian.

SJ-R

This week, Tim Landis of the State Journal-Register discusses the new use for the Maisenbacher House in Springfield, the city’s first major project tied to consolidation of rail traffic and a survey that shows small businesses play an big role in the area’s economy:

When a federal court declared Illinois' ban on letting people carry guns in public unconstitutional ... it also gave legislators an assignment: pass a concealed carry law by June 9. Lawmakers are in continued negotiations, but so far gun rights' activists have been unable to reach an agreement with those who favor stricter gun control.  Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is doubtful they will ... at least in time.  He fears that could leave Illinois temporarily without ANY real limits on who can carry a gun, and where.

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Tensions were high at last night’s (5/6) Springfield district 186 school board meeting as the 

  new board was seated and a president and vice president were appointed.

The meeting started with goodbyes for the previous school board members.

Landmarks Illinois

The Fernwood Mausoleum is more than just the story of a dilapidated building.  It’s a sad result for those who thought that they would spend eternity inside the enclosure located in the Greene County town of Roodhouse.

But the future for the nearly 100 bodies still housed at the mausoleum remains uncertain, nearly a century after it was built.  Costly repairs are needed.  Ray Coons, with the Illinois Valley Cultural Heritage Association, is among those volunteers working to save the site.

sps186.org

 A Springfield school board race that was too close to call is now over. Katharine Eastvold announced today she has conceded in the race for subdistrict five. She lost by one vote to Donna Moore. A partial recount found that votes had been counted accurately. Eastvold says she considered asking a judge for a full recount but did not find enough evidence to warrant that move. A supporter of Eastvold had used the Freedom of Information Act to uncover election documents. But Eastvold says those documents failed to turn up information to justify dragging out the contest.

  Community gardens are cropping up in urban areas across the country. They’re a way for those without the yard space to grow their own food. Kemia Sarraf is the founder and president of the local group gen H Kids, which stands for Generation Healthy. She tells WUIS’ Rachel Otwell about how the group is bringing a new community garden to Springfield:

CLICK HERE for more information or email George@genHkids.org to register for a garden plot.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Will Illinois Face Another Budget Impasse?

Passing a state budget is arguably the most important thing the Illinois General Assembly does every year — or at least should do every year. After last year's drama — when a two-year standoff ended with a Republican revolt against Governor Bruce Rauner — it's an open question about how things will go this year. So I set out to answer a simple question: Will there be another impasse?

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Featured

Will You Soon Have To Pay Sales Tax On Every Online Purchase?

Going into Tuesday's arguments at the Supreme Court, it looked as though the court was headed toward reversing a 50-year-old decision and allow states to tax all online sales. But after the arguments, the vote on the court looked extremely close with the states looking like they could lose. It's a multibillion-dollar dispute, and the decision will directly affect consumers, cash-strapped states and companies large and small. On one side of the case are states, almost all of them with sales...

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Illinois Issues

Illustrator Pat Byrnes​

Illinois Takes On Sexual Harassment

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, state lawmakers have tried to address sexual harassment in a variety of ways. We explore what's been done and what some say may be ahead.

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Politics

States are continuing to do battle with budget-busting prices of prescription drugs. But a recent federal court decision could limit the tools available to them — underscoring the challenge states face as, in the absence of federal action, they attempt on their own to take on the powerful drug industry.

It's been almost a year since since James Comey first learned that President Trump had fired him. The former FBI director was in Los Angeles visiting the field office for a diversity event when a ticker announcing his ouster scrolled across the bottom of a TV screen.

"I thought it was a scam," Comey says. "I went back to talking to the people who were gathered in front of me."

Charlie Dent was already one of a record number of House Republicans who weren't running for re-election this November. Now he's rushing out the door even faster.

The moderate Pennsylvania Republican — who hasn't been shy about voicing his frustrations with the congressional GOP and disdain for President Trump — on Tuesday announced he would soon resign from Congress instead of sticking around until January.

The Supreme Court declared a clause in federal law, requiring the deportation of immigrants convicted of a "crime of violence," unconstitutionally vague Tuesday.

It's a blow to the Trump Justice Department, and came at the hands, ironically of conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch, who sided with the court's liberals in a 5-4 decision.

In 2015, the court also held that a clause alluding to a "violent felony" in the Armed Career Criminal Act was unconstitutionally vague.

For background on the case, Sessions v. Dimaya, here's Oyez's summary:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Turning The Tables: The 150 Greatest Albums Made By Women (As Chosen By You)

The results are in for the first-ever NPR Turning the Tables readers' poll, and they send a strong message to anyone fancying themselves a cultural justice warrior in 2018. It is this: check your intervention . The original list of 150 Greatest Albums Made By Women , assembled by a committee of nearly 50 NPR-affiliated women, sought to correct a historic bias against putting women's stories, and their artistry, at the center of popular music history. Your votes and comments, which deeply...

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NPR Illinois Classic | 91.9-2 HD

Vespers Or Vision Quest? Soulful Music For A Violin In Flight

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fN6P8m9w8bA Vespers, the traditional late afternoon prayer service, gets an enigmatic twist in a new video by director James Darrah, premiered here, with music from Missy Mazzoli , performed by the spirited violinist Olivia De Prato. The track is from her new album, Streya . The narrative, shot in slow-motion, opens with dancer Sam Shapiro's character, heavy with sleep, stirring on a sun-drenched morning. It mysteriously unfolds as a kind of barefoot vision...

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