Capitol News

Flagpole removed from Old State Capitol

Flagpole removed from Old State Capitol

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – People walking through downtown Springfield on Monday morning looked up to an unusual sight – a helicopter hovering over the Old State Capitol, dropping a rope and lifting away the flagpole that sat atop the bronze-colored dome. “We took off the flagpole of at the Old…

Welch, poised for another term as speaker, reflects on growing House majority

Welch, poised for another term as speaker, reflects on growing House majority

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, who recently announced he has the support for another term as House speaker, says he looks forward to governing with an even larger supermajority than he had during his first two years. “Expanding our caucus was definitely a priority of…

Curran eyes ‘balance’ as he prepares to lead Illinois Senate’s GOP minority

Curran eyes ‘balance’ as he prepares to lead Illinois Senate’s GOP minority

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Senate Minority Leader-elect John Curran will take over a caucus that’s more than doubled in size by the majority-party Democrats. His goal: “Bring balance to state government.” “Because we’re going to produce better results with that balance for working families throughout all Illinois communities,” Curran said…

CAPITOL RECAP: Statehouse Republicans choose new leadership

CAPITOL RECAP: Statehouse Republicans choose new leadership

By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – Republicans chose new leadership for their caucuses in the Illinois General Assembly on Tuesday night, Nov. 15, while the two Democratic leaders have each announced they have the votes to maintain their positions. House Republicans elected Tony McCombie of Savanna and Senate Republicans chose John Curran of Downers Grove.…

With three session days left, SAFE-T Act changes could be forthcoming, ‘technical’ in nature

With three session days left, SAFE-T Act changes could be forthcoming, ‘technical’ in nature

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Changes may yet come to the SAFE-T Act criminal justice reform before its Jan. 1 effective date, but some of its major proponents in the General Assembly said the results of the Nov. 8 general election have signified that the ship has sailed drastic amendments to…

McCombie to take reins of House GOP caucus

McCombie to take reins of House GOP caucus

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – State Rep. Tony McCombie said Wednesday that her top priority when she becomes the next House minority leader will be to rebuild the GOP caucus following last week’s elections that were, for Republicans, a disappointment. “The top priority is to bring balance to the Republican Party,”…

GOP chooses new leadership in General Assembly as Dems retain control

GOP chooses new leadership in General Assembly as Dems retain control

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Republicans chose new leadership for their caucuses in the Illinois General Assembly on Tuesday night, while the two Democratic leaders have each announced they have the votes to maintain their positions. House Republicans elected Tony McCombie of Savanna and Senate Republicans chose John Curran of Downers…

Right to unionize amendment projected to pass

Right to unionize amendment projected to pass

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Illinois voters have approved a state constitutional amendment guaranteeing workers the right to organize and engage in collective bargaining. Estimates compiled by multiple media outlets projected Tuesday that the ballot measure had support on an estimated 53 percent of the total ballots cast in the election,…

Theis, sworn in as chief justice, says partisanship has no role on state Supreme Court

Theis, sworn in as chief justice, says partisanship has no role on state Supreme Court

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Mary Jane Theis was sworn in as chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court on Monday in a public ceremony, becoming the fourth woman to hold the gavel since the court was created in 1818. By next month, the Democrat will find herself presiding over a…

CAPITOL RECAP: Democrats maintain control in Illinois

CAPITOL RECAP: Democrats maintain control in Illinois

By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – As votes continued to be tallied this week, returns showed Illinois Democrats would hold every statewide elected office and maintain supermajorities in the General Assembly while extending their majority on the Illinois Supreme Court. After a fiery election night speech in which Gov. JB Pritzker excoriated the Republican Party…

Report Finds “code of silence” at mental health facility where staff abused and neglected patients

Report Finds “code of silence” at mental health facility where staff abused and neglected patients

By BETH HUNDSDORFER Capitol News Illinois & MOLLY PARKER Lee Enterprises Midwest This article was produced for ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network in partnership with Lee Enterprises, along with Capitol News Illinois. Several employees at Choate Mental Health and Developmental Center attempted to cover up a brutal assault on a patient, according to a new report…

Illinois Democrats maintain control of all levers of state government

Illinois Democrats maintain control of all levers of state government

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – As votes continued to be tallied Wednesday, returns showed Illinois Democrats would hold every statewide elected office and maintain supermajorities in the General Assembly while extending their majority on the Illinois Supreme Court. After a fiery election night speech in which Gov. JB Pritzker excoriated the…

Pritzker poised for second term as Bailey concedes

Pritzker poised for second term as Bailey concedes

By JERRY NOWICKI & PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – By the time speakers came out to pray, say the Pledge of Allegiance and play the national anthem at Republican challenger Darren Bailey’s election night watch party in Springfield on Tuesday, the Associated Press had called the Illinois governor’s race for incumbent Democrat…

Candidates make final push to get out the vote

Candidates make final push to get out the vote

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker was crisscrossing the state Monday while his Republican challenger, state Sen. Darren Bailey, focused on the Chicago suburbs as they both made their final pitches to voters ahead of Tuesday’s general election. Pritzker, along with other Democrats at the top of the…

CAPITOL RECAP: Election nears; research looks to contextualize cash bail's end

CAPITOL RECAP: Election nears; research looks to contextualize cash bail’s end

By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – In the Tuesday, Nov. 8, election, Illinois voters will cast a ballot on a state constitutional amendment, every statewide constitutional office, every seat in the General Assembly and, in 12 counties, a spot on the state’s Supreme Court. For more information about voting, including how to and where…

Contextualizing cash bail’s end

Contextualizing cash bail’s end

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – While a new law overhauling Illinois’ system of pretrial detention continues to face scrutiny ahead of its Jan. 1 implementation date, new research suggests that the old cash-based system “results in much less pretrial detention than is generally assumed.” That’s according to the Loyola University of…

Madigan, McClain enter not guilty pleas

Madigan, McClain enter not guilty pleas

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and his longtime political ally Michael McClain entered not guilty pleas Tuesday to bribery and corruption charges involving utility giant Commonwealth Edison and telecommunications company AT&T Illinois. Both were charged previously in the ComEd scandal, but federal prosecutors last month…

Donate to Capitol News Illinois’ during its NewsMatch fundraising campaign

Donate to Capitol News Illinois’ during its NewsMatch fundraising campaign

Capitol News Illinois today begins its year-end NewsMatch fundraising campaign. It has been a big year for Capitol News Illinois, and 2023 promises to be even better! The news service operated by the Illinois Press Foundation received a $2 million, 3-year grant from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. That grant will allow CNI to begin…

A look at the statewide races as election enters its final week

A look at the statewide races as election enters its final week

By JERRY NOWICKI & PETER HANCOCK [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – In the Tuesday, Nov. 8, election, Illinois voters will cast a ballot on a state constitutional amendment, every statewide constitutional office, every seat in the General Assembly and, in 12 counties, a spot on the state’s Supreme Court. For more information about voting, including how…

CAPITOL RECAP: Early voting expands in campaign's final stretch

CAPITOL RECAP: Early voting expands in campaign’s final stretch

By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – Early voting hours and locations greatly expanded across the state this week as the campaign season entered its final two-week stretch. Polling places opened across the city of Chicago as well. Information on early voting for each local election authority can be found on the Illinois State Board of…

Pritzker, Ayala point to positive trends in report card, acknowledge pandemic’s toll

Pritzker, Ayala point to positive trends in report card, acknowledge pandemic’s toll

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker and State School Superintendent Carmen Ayala on Thursday touted some of the more positive findings from the 2022 school report card, insisting that Illinois schools are on the right track while also acknowledging that the COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on student learning.…

Schools, students still recovering from pandemic learning loss, state report card shows

Schools, students still recovering from pandemic learning loss, state report card shows

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Student test scores continued to fall last year but new data shows Illinois’ students are on the path to recovering from the learning loss that occurred during the pandemic. Numbers from standardized tests administered last spring show steep declines in the percentage of students who met…

Theis sworn in as Illinois Supreme Court chief justice amid possible election shake-up

Theis sworn in as Illinois Supreme Court chief justice amid possible election shake-up

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Justice Mary Jane Theis was sworn in Wednesday as chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court, the fourth woman in the state’s history to hold the position. She’ll serve a three-year term replacing Justice Anne M. Burke, whose term as chief justice concluded Tuesday ahead of…

Early voting expands as campaign season enters final two weeks

Early voting expands as campaign season enters final two weeks

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Early voting hours and locations greatly expanded across the state this week as the campaign season entered its final two-week stretch. Polling places opened across the city of Chicago as well. Information on early voting for each local election authority can be found on the Illinois…

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cook county helicopter

Cook County Board approve Aguilar’s proposal for a sheriff’s helicopter

The Cook County Board of Commissioners voted overwhelmingly last week to approve Commissioner Frank J. Aguilar’s proposal to lease a helicopter to the Cook County Sheriff’s office. While Cook County is among the largest metropolitan areas in the nation, its helicopter fleet lags far behind other large urban areas. The Los Angeles metropolitan area has…

Nazareth players celebrate winning the fourth football championship in the school's history on Nov. 26 in Champaign. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Football Class 5A State Championship: Roadrunners win shootout for fourth state title

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer Nazareth opened the season in August with a 2-0 win over Kankakee. It closed the season the afternoon of Nov. 26 with a 45-44 win over Peoria at Memorial Stadium in Champaign to take the IHSA Class 5A state championship. In between was a rollercoaster of wins and losses and…

reporter EPCHS Inktober

EPCHS art teacher draws something every day In Inktober

A series of drawings from Evergreen Park Community High School art teacher Libby McArthur will grace the walls of the Evergreen Park Public Library through the end of November. The drawings, collectively known as her ‘Inktober’ collection, were made during October. McArthur took part in a worldwide drawing month activity that had specific prompts for…

reporter OLCHS Thanksgiving Food Drive Freshman Academy

OLCHS Thanksgiving food drive a success

OLCHS students and staff participated in the annual Student Council Thanksgiving food drive. Cans, paper goods and over $1,750 in cash/gift cards were collected on November 21. Participating teachers were DeMatteo, Hennelly, Jepsen, Kallenborn, Kolimas, La Spina, Meyers, Strelow, Vazzana, Watson and Wirtz. Numerous district offices also donated items. The winner of Student Council’s handmade “Turkey Chalice” award was Eric…

regional palos park police cadet food drive 2022

Palos Park Police Cadet food drive underway

The Palos Park Police Cadet program is in holiday season mode and the program’s annual Holiday Food Drive is well underway. Cadets are looking for donations of non-perishable foods such as canned goods or boxed goods. The cadets will accept donations at the Palos Park Police Department, 8999 W. 123rd Street. Collections will continue through…

Twins Aiden and Ethan Schilling at last year’s Bingo with Santa. (Photo by Alexandria Shipyor)

Orland Township to hold Bingo with Santa

Whether you’ve been naughty or nice, don’t think twice about attending Orland Township’s Bingo with Santa! Children and their families are invited to join Santa Claus and Supervisor Paul O’Grady with the Board of Trustees in celebrating the most wonderful time of the year with pizza and a fun game of Holiday Bingo, just for…

Rich Jensen cuts the ribbon on November 17 at the new location for Pizza Castle. (Photos by Don Pointer)

Comings & Goings: Pizza Castle now open in Hickory Hills

By Bob Bong After almost five decades of serving pizzas from a small storefront in Chicago’s Gage Park neighborhood, Pizza Castle co-owner Richard Jensen had an opportunity to move into a bigger space and he jumped at the chance. So, Jensen packed up the family business and made the move a few miles south to…

Brookfield Zoo’s ring-tailed lemurs—Skinner (left) and Moses—were treated to an early Thanksgiving feast that featured all the trimmings. This annual tradition, now in its ninth year, takes place the day before the holiday. (Photo by Jim Schulz/Brookfield Zoo)

Ring-tailed Lemurs at Brookfield Zoo enjoy 9th annual Thanksgiving feast

The annual tradition of Brookfield Zoo’s ring-tailed lemurs receiving an early Thanksgiving feast took place today, November 23. Now, in its ninth year, the animal care staff prepared the meal for the primates that featured all the trimmings laid out on a fall-themed table setting. This year, the menu for the lemurs—15-year-old Moses and 12-year-old…

Palos Heights' Thomas Chong tags one of the hundreds of trees being sold by the Palos Lions Club. (Photos by Jeff Vorva)

Palos Lions trees have arrived and are ready for sale

By Jeff Vorva For more than three decades, the Palos Lions Club has been selling Christmas trees Close to 600 trees arrived at the lot on Harlem Avenue near 127th Street on Saturday. The only difference this year is that unlike in past years, there are no monster-sized trees available. “We can’t get the bigger…

Stickney Mayor Jeff Walik holds up a Veterans Parking Only sign that will be installed at various village locations (Photo by Carol McGowan)

Stickney to designate parking for veterans; will add more police officers

By Carol McGowan The Village of Stickney has approved the installation of parking signs to designate spots for veterans. At the November 15 Village Board meeting, Mayor Jeff Walik revealed the sign and explained why they were going up at various locations in the village. “I was recently at Jewel in the village, and saw…

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