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Illinois Issues: LGBT In The Time Of Trump

2 hours ago
Equality Illinois

As rapid-fire change comes at the federal level, advocates want  to keep Illinois' status as one of the leading states in offering protections.

Alex McCray didn’t want to believe Donald Trump had won the election. In the words of the transgender nursing student from downstate Sherman: “I was hoping it was all just one terrible nightmare. It felt like my rights were being ripped out right from underneath me.”

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois lawmakers from both political parties seem to be gathering behind a new school funding plan called the "evidence-based model." Today, Jason Barickman, a Republican from Bloomington, announced that he plans to file his own version in the Senate.

facebook.com/Kumler-Outreach-Ministries

Over the weekend a facility providing services to the needy, including a food pantry and prescription medication service, was severely vandalized. 

Reps. Darlene Senger and Elaine Nekritz
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois criminal justice system has become increasingly reliant on fees. People convicted of crimes have become money makers for state and local government — paying for everything from prosecutors' offices to new police cars.

Carter Staley

With multiple legislative proposals, a task force and a lawsuit all aimed at overhauling the way Illinois funds its schools, it’s hard to predict what might happen. But in this chat that aired on Tuesday, our Capitol Bureau reporter Brian Mackey makes me try.  

Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois

Lawmakers have been trying to change the way Illinois funds schools for years now, with no luck. But a new plan called the Evidence Based Model seems to be gaining momentum. State Rep. Will Davis, a Democrat from Homewood, is sponsoring this legislation. He sat down with our Education Desk reporter Dusty Rhodes just a few days after his bill made it through committee.

DR: And it has passed committee with bipartisan votes. There was only one vote against it. How big of a victory was that?

Rep. Davis: Well, I’d say that’s huge.

KevinDooley/flickr

There are plenty of scary climate change predictions about what could be coming our way in the future.  So what is a person to do?  Move to Michigan.  

The Illinois Innocence Project, based at the University of Illinois Springfield, has exonerated ten clients so far. They have over 2,000 prisoners seeking their services, and about 40 cases they are currently working on. The group has a limited staff plus volunteers who are largely comprised of students and lawyers working pro bono. Executive Director, John Hanlon, joined us to talk about recent developments and upcoming events. 

SJ-R.com

Sean Crawford talks with State Journal-Register Business Editor Tim Landis.

Milkweed could become the Illinois state wildflower under legislation pending in the General assembly. The proposal would also prohibit local governments from treating it as a noxious weed.

Vanessa Tyler is a Girl Scout who attends Pleasant Plains Middle School, near Springfield. She and her troop lobbied lawmakers to support the proposed state designation. She says it’ll help people think twice about killing milkweed.

 

CREDIT SIU.EDU

The Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees last week pushed off a major financial decision.

JC Brooks and The Uptown Sound
jcbrooksband.com

Purchase Tickets
Friday, April 28, 2017, 8 PM
Bar None, 245 S 5th St, Springfield IL

JC Brooks had been known to explore a node of soul with inspiration from the softer side of punk rock. However, much has changed since the release of his 2013 album, Howl. Not only has Brooks dropped his band's name, Uptown Sound, but his old label as well. 

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

As public universities face fiscal emergencies and domestic violence shelters are closing, House Democrats approve what they call "lifeline spending." Republicans object, saying it relieves pressure on legislators to pass a comprehensive state budget.

Meanwhile, billionaire businessman J.B. Pritzker formally declares his candidacy for governor. Will the Democratic primary be a story of David vs. Goliath vs. David vs. Goliath vs. David?

handgun
Wikimedia Commons

The Illinois Senate on Thursday passed stricter gun legislation long sought by the Chicago Police.

Credit wikimedia commons

 

Democrats in the Illinois House of Representatives Thursday passed a plan to send more than $800 million to human services and universities. They call it a “lifeline” for programs facing catastrophe.

No Republicans joined them, saying a temporary fix just removes the urgency to enact a real budget. "The reality is we don’t do things around here without pressure. And so we need that pressure to get to a full budget,” said Rep. Steve Andersson (R-Geneva).

The Scene Meets Capital City Improv

Apr 6, 2017
courtesy

This week on The Scene Scott and Rachel talk with Drew Stroud, a founder and member of a new comedy group. Capital City Improv's first show is at The Legacy Theatre in Springfield on Saturday night.

Brent Levin / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

There are reasons for legalizing industrial hemp.

Might pot and ditch weed help ease the state's financial crisis and boost its farm economy?

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The name was chosen on a whim - because no one else would have it. That was over five decades ago. The band's initial success came after winning a contest that got them a record contract.

Art Ryan, superintendent of Cahokia schools, addresses media with other superintendents who are plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Gov. Bruce Rauner and the State Board of Education.
Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

A Chicago law firm representing a group of mostly rural school superintendents sued the state of Illinois today. They're asking Gov. Bruce Rauner and the state board of education to come up with a funding formula that would help schools meet the state's learning standards.

The 17 superintendents say that — between Illinois' notoriously inequitable funding formula and years of reduced state spending — this lawsuit is their last resort.

Barbara Wheeler headshot
Illinois General Assembly

In a way, it's just one little box on a lengthy college application form. But for many would-be students, that box is more of a stop sign if the instructions say "check here if you have a criminal record." State Rep. Barbara Wheeler, a Republican from Crystal Lake, wants to change that. She sat down with our Education Desk reporter Dusty Rhodes to explain why.

Illinois State capitol building in the fog / rain
Amanda Vinicky / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

As Illinois enters its 22nd month without a real budget, the state services most affected by the political fight include those that help victims of domestic violence.

Zach Savich and Hilary Plum headshots with book covers
Courtesy Zach Savich and Hilary Plum

Zach Savich and Hilary Plum, a married couple and awarded and acclaimed authors, will share their memoirs in Springfield on Thursday April 6th.

Carter Staley / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Last week, when Southern Illinois University revealed that its main campus in Carbondale needs to borrow money from its Edwardsville location, the news seemed shocking. Who knew SIU was in such dire straits? It wasn’t the kind of news any school would want to broadcast.

Bee on a pink flower
Dun.can / flickr

Want to add some beauty to your yard while also doing something beneficial for wildlife?  Native plants are a good choice.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A month after Gov. Bruce Rauner conveyed to Republicans his opposition to the grand bargain, Senate Democrats are rejecting his attempt to break off pieces of the deal. Meanwhile, Democrats are offering a "Comeback Agenda" as an alternative to Rauner's "Turnaround Agenda," and House Speaker Michael Madigan is taking public offense to some of the governor's remarks.

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On Monday, a trio called The Peoria Three will present at the Hoogland Center for the Arts in Springfield. 

Will Davis headshot
Illinois General Assembly

The effort to overhaul the way Illinois funds public schools has been gaining momentum over the past few years, and yesterday, the latest plan got the green light to be heard by the House of Representatives. Sponsored by State Rep. Will Davis (D-Homewood), the plan cleared committee on a 15-1-0 vote, marking the first time in recent history that a school funding plan got bipartisan support.

That's despite the fact that Davis chose not to provide a spreadsheet showing how much money each district would get.

The Illinois General Assembly is considering legislation meant to expand privacy rights on the Internet. Two of the bills cleared procedural hurdles Thursday in the House, but they both have powerful opponents.

If you’ve spent any amount of time online, chances are you’ve been confronted with a long privacy policy. And if you’re like most people, you scroll to the bottom and click “accept” — without reading it.

violin
Jose Zaragoza / flickr.com/jose_zaragoza

UIS' Yona Stamatis talks with guest conductor Aram Demirjian about Friday night's Illinois Symphony Chamber Orchestra concert at the First Presbyterian Church in Springield.  Tickets and information at 217-206-6160.

I Voted sticker roll
Wikimedia

 

Yesterday’s “I voted” sticker is today’s ballot selfie. But some voters last fall found out Illinois makes it illegal to take a selfie with your ballot. Lawmakers are trying to change that, inspired by the young people who simply wanted to share their fulfillment of their civic duty on social media.

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