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Illinois lawmakers approved legisltation that would allow farmers to grow industrial hemp. Hemp is derived from the cannabis plant, but it has a non-drug use. It can create bio-degradable building materials, paper, textiles and more.

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State lawmakers are continuing to push Illinois gun legislation in the wake of a recent run of mass shootings. The Illinois House approved a measure Wednesday that would allow police to take guns away from someone if a court finds them dangerous.


Update: The measure unanimously passed both chambers and now heads to the Governor's desk. 

NPR Illinois is hiring Sponsorship Account Executives.

Seeking candidates with track records of success and the passion to innovate and sustain the public media mission.  Sponsorship AEs will secure funding primarily from businesses, but also foundations and individuals to support the public journalism of NPR Illinois and the Illinois public radio network through sponsorships and acknowledgements in digital, broadcast and print media.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan said he will cooperate with a special investigation over claims he used intimidation to pressure state Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) to quit her part-time job with Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart's office. Cassidy alleges Madigan retaliated after she criticized him over his handling of sexual harassment cases within his office earlier this year.

Illinois State Police

 

For this week’s Illinois Issues, we bring you a story about a measure that would train more nurses how to collect DNA evidence after a sexual assault for use in a criminal trial, often referred to as rape kits. NPR Illinois spoke with Melissa Souto about her experience undergoing the testing.

Souto, a 23-year-old Chicago resident, said she was sexually assaulted two years ago on an Illinois college campus. She could not say where since her legal case is pending. Following the incident, Souto decided to get a rape kit.

BlueRoom Stream

More than 260 girls and young women came forward to tell their stories of sexual assault by former USA Olympic doctor Larry Nassar, who is currently serving multiple prison sentences for the abuse. The trial resulted in more than a prison sentence and settlement money for victims. It shined a light on the mishandling of sexual assault reports by young athletes. And last week, Illinois took center stage in this national issue.

Operation Kidsafe

When a new employee is fingerprinted for a job in Illinois, the employer receives a snapshot of their criminal record, and they receive notifications for any future run-ins with the law in the state. But lawmakers are considering a proposal that would also allow employers to be notified of convictions that happen across state lines.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Illinois lawmakers are pushing a measure to allow immigrants who are victims of domestic or sexual abuse to more easily make their case to the police.


A group of school superintendents is suing Gov. Bruce Rauner and the State of Illinois seeking more than $7 billion for schools.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

An Illinois House committee Monday discussed Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposal to reinstate the death penalty for mass shooters and for those who murder police officers. The proposal is part of a broader public safety plan put forth in an amendatory veto.  

millikin.edu

Millikin University in Decatur has broken ground on a center to house classes and performances. It includes a new state of the art theater that can seat over 250 people.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

After more than two years of extensive renovations, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner moved back into the Governor’s Mansion in Springfield on Monday.

MATT ALANIZ ON UNSPLASH

Talks to legalize sports betting in Illinois have heated up after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a federal ban last week.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Governor Bruce Rauner has signed an executive order he says will mean more minority-owned businesses will get government contracts. But some are skeptical about his true intentions.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner used his amendatory veto powers to rewrite a gun bill, simultaneously proposing more gun control than the original bill called for while also reinstating the death penalty.

Meanwhile, local governments are complaining about the state's attempt to share less money from the income tax, while gambling interests prepare to fight it out after the U.S. Supreme Court paved the way for legal sports betting in every state.

Peoria Public Radio

Conversations around gun violence often revolve around long-term solutions, like improving schools or the local economy.

But even if those things were easy — and they’re not — it would take a generation to realize the benefits.

And for the Illinoisans living and dying in these communities — mostly low-income, black communities — they don’t have time to wait.

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The Illinois General Assembly approved a measure allowing parents to give their kids medical marijuana while at school.


siu.edu

Documents published today by the Southern Illinoisan newspaper have sparked calls for the immediate resignation of Randy Dunn, president of Southern Illinois University. For weeks, lawmakers have been mulling a package of bills — one of which would boost funding to the Edwardsville campus, another would split the two campuses entirely, and the third would reconstitute SIU's Board of Trustees. The documents published today suggest that Dunn may have withheld information from the Carbondale campus chancellor in an effort to funnel more than $5 million in state funds to the Edwardsville campus and split SIU into two separate schools.

Rachel Otwell / NPR IllINOIS | 91.9 UIS

Illinois House members will soon consider a measure that clarifies whether graduate research assistants have the right to unionize.  But, Wednesday's Human Services committee hearing took quite a detour. 

'Down The Hill:' Violence Often Rooted In Inequality

May 17, 2018
Brandon Towns for Illinois Newsroom

For many families and young adults living in Peoria’s South Side, gun violence is too often a part of life and something they’ve been fighting against -- with few resources.

Part of the challenge, according to researchers, is getting the broader community to examine a part of itself and confront the barriers that keep families, predominantly minorities, from moving out of poverty.


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Keeping cases unsealed leaves guiltless tenants at risk for rejection, but that could make it difficult for landlords to be diligent in screening, Realtors say.

Public Domain

Earlier this week Governor Bruce Rauner issued an amendatory veto of gun legislation and added his own ideas, including a plan to reinstate the death penalty in certain cases. It would apply to mass shooters and those who kill police officers.

State Representative Jonathan Carroll website

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner this week added sweeping changes to a piece of gun legislation, in a move some state legislators called “political gamesmanship” and “unconstitutional.” But the lawmaker behind the original bill isn’t backing down, announcing Wednesday he's asking the Illinois House to agree with those changes.


Illinois Republican Party

After weeks of feuding within the Illinois Republican Party an unusual agreement has been reached with hopes of bridging the divide.

Illinois Public Radio

Illinois lawmakers have two weeks to get together a spending plan. Officials from cities across the state are going on the offensive to keep lawmakers from balancing the budget by raiding their pockets.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

A measure to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment got approval from an Illinois House committee Wednesday, in what could be the final step before it's called for a decisive vote in that chamber.  

The measure has already passed the state Senate. Opponents argue it could mandate government funded abortions and force co-ed prison populations.

Chief sponsor and Democratic representative from Skokie, Lou Lang, says two of his colleagues told him they're worried a "yes" vote could be used against them in future campaigns.

Suicide A Driver Of Gun Deaths In Rural America

May 16, 2018
Beth Martinez and her brother Ben Bloom
Courtesy Beth Martinez

The national conversation around gun violence generally centers around mass shootings, school shootings and gang activity. These problems need to be addressed, but may overshadow the largest group affected: suicide victims.


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About 114 million people visited Illinois last year, setting a new state record. That’s according to the latest state tourism data released on Tuesday.


Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Update 5/16/18: The Senate approved the measure 35-18.  After Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a proposal to license gun dealers, several legislators are suggesting a new, bipartisan approach in hopes of getting his support. 

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