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Rachel Otwell / NPR Illinois

Now retired, Lea Joy became part of the Springfield Police Department in 1983. She had three children and had been a social worker, but she felt too powerless in that role. She wanted to make things better.

Comptroller Susana Mendoza

The Illinois Senate passed a measure Thursday that would require the governor to disclose his total office staff and pay them all from his own payroll. The bill now heads to Governor Bruce Rauner's desk. 

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Hundreds of police officers, families, and state officials gathered in Springfield on Thursday for an annual service honoring officers killed in the line of duty. Officers from the Chicago area and Rockford were memorialized in the service at the Illinois State Library.

Methodist College students take a break between classes at the campus in Peoria, which is a former furniture store.
Mary Hansen / NPR IllINOIS | 91.9 UIS

As more retail chains shut down, cities across Illinois figure out what to do with millions of square feet of empty space.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Governor Bruce Rauner’s administration says a costly rebuild of the Quincy Veterans Home is the best way to get rid of legionella bacteria linked to more than a dozen deaths there. While some state legislators support the move, others remain skeptical.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

When Illinois public officials are dismissed for misconduct, they are sometimes awarded large severance packages – which are paid for by taxpayers. A new proposal approved by the Senate would stop the practice.

Rachel Otwell / NPR Illinois

Last week, Springfield's Iles Elementary School got a surprise when a musician and speaker who travels the world made a stop in town for the day. His message helped inspire acts of kindness and compassion.

Mark Warner via Flickr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Lawmakers in the Illinois House voted to implement more stringent background checks on drivers for rideshare services like Uber and Lyft.

Katie Buck / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The Rev. Martin Woulfe of Springfield has spoken from the pulpit about the need for what he calls saner gun control measures.

His sermons at the Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation preaching gun safety have gone back more than a decade. And he’s talked about gun violence as a social justice issue.

Flickr: Bret Arnett / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Several Illinois legislators are pushing to bring more construction jobs to the state. A plan under consideration in the House would award tax credits to companies that put up new buildings or improve existing structures. 

Courtesy of Ann Baltzer

Earlier this month, we posted a story about discipline practices inside Noble Network of Charter Schools, which educates approximately one out of 10 high school students in Chicago. One former teacher quoted in the piece described some of the schools’ policies as “dehumanizing.”

The story was shared widely on social media, and drew responses from Noble employees — both current and former — and other education advocates.

Flickr: Brianna Laugher / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The Illinois General Assembly is considering a proposal to expand birth control access. 

Piush Dahal via flickr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

The Illinois House has voted to allow tax breaks for those who take vacant land and use it for urban farming. The aim is to give an economic boost to the state’s low-income areas.

Dave Leonatti

This blog post differs from my “Best Of’s” postings and will be unlike anything I will pen in the future.  This reflection, and please indulge me, is for Paul David Povse. Advocate and Pal.  Paul passed away on Valentine’s Day/Ash Wednesday more than two months ago.

Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner has a track record of handing the toughest topics to small bipartisan panels of legislators. These “working groups” have been tasked with solving budget and pension problems, plus criminal justice reform. And weeks after the Florida mass shooting, Rauner formed a working group on public safety. Like the others, that group meets in private.

 

Speaking after today's meeting, State Rep. Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) said it's probably meant to prevent politicians from grandstanding.

Rachel Otwell / NPR Illinois

Record Store Day is an international event that promotes artists and independent record stores. Each year, special releases come out featuring old and new music. 

Flickr: Cannabis Culture / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

The Illinois Senate Thursday approved a measure allowing the use of cannabis as an alternative to opioids. Under the plan, patients could get immediate -- but temporary -- access to cannabis with just a doctor’s certification. 

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

House Speaker Michael Madigan was re-elected to another term as chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois. Meanwhile, gun owners marched on the Capitol, Gov. Bruce Rauner returned from his European trade mission, and a new report looks at the crushing late fees run up during the budget stalemate.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Illinois' largest public employee union feels it has plenty to complain about. The union known as AFSCME has been fighting for what it says is overdue pay -- going all the way back to 2011.

401KTAXCALCULATOR.ORG

Commentary - The lack of detail from Pritzker makes it unclear whether his graduated tax plan would lower taxes.

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A federal judge has ruled the Illinois prison system is still providing inadequate mental healthcare to inmates and that the treatment qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment.

The ruling comes after attorneys representing inmates filed a claim last year with the court that the department was not following through on a settlement reached in 2016 to overhaul mental health treatment in Illinois prisons.

Jaclyn Driscoll

In the wake of mass shootings comes the debate around gun laws. This week, I explore a different angle: the personal responsibility of carrying a firearm. 

Sen. Julie Morrison / http://www.senatorjuliemorrison.com/

In response to the deadly Waffle House shooting in Nashville, one Illinois lawmaker wants to make sure firearms stay with those who can legally carry them.

Daisy Contreras

The Illinois General Assembly was unable to override Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of a measure to license gun shops. The deadline to vote was Wednesday -- the same day hundreds of gun owners marched to the Statehouse to ask that legislators oppose the measure. 
 

courtesy

When Making A Murderer was released by Netflix in late 2015, it made a ripple among the public at large. Many were swept up in the debate as to whether or not the film's subject, Wisconsin man Steven Avery, was guilty of the murder of Teresa Halbach.

Landmarks Illinois

The Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield and Du Quoin, which are frequented by hundreds of thousands of people annually, are included on Landmarks Illinois’ latest list of Most Endangered Historic Places.

Landmarks Illinois compiles the annual list as a way to call attention to threats of development, deterioration and more.  

Illinois Innocence Project

Criminal justice advocates say a measure that's cleared the Illinois legislature will keep innocent people from winding up in prison. Among other things, it would require criminal informants to be vetted before their testimony could be used at trial.


Rachel Otwell and Daisy Contreras headshots
MattPenning.com/Carter Staley / NPR Illinois 91.9 UIS

NPR Illinois had been recognized for excellence in reporting during the recent Illinois Associated Press Broadcasters Awards. 

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

The Illinois General Assembly has only a few hours left to vote on a gun dealer licensing measure that would require gun shops to register with the state and pay a license fee. Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed the proposal earlier this month, giving lawmakers only 15 calendar days to get enough support for an override. The deadline is today.

NPR Illinois/courtesy

Over the weekend, members of the Hindu Temple of Greater Springfield prepared for their new temple with "Bhoomi Puja" ceremonies - meant to help break new ground and appease positive energies while honoring the earth.

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