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Capitol News

Longtime lawmaker reflects on time in General Assembly, calls it ‘honor of lifetime’

Longtime lawmaker reflects on time in General Assembly, calls it ‘honor of lifetime’

By GRACE KINNICUTT Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – House Majority Leader Greg Harris, the number two Democrat in the Illinois House of Representatives, never imagined landing the role of state representative – or that he would leave office feeling that he has been successful at it. The first openly LGTBQ leader in Illinois History,…

11th contempt citation filed against DCFS director

11th contempt citation filed against DCFS director

By BETH HUNDSDORFER Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – On Thursday afternoon, a Cook County judge found Illinois Department of Children and Family Services Director Marc Smith in contempt of court for the 11th time for violating court orders to move children to proper placements. The 11-year-old girl at the center of the case has…

Criminal case against senior staff at state-run hospital dismissed

Criminal case against senior staff at state-run hospital dismissed

By BETH HUNDSDORFER Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The official misconduct case against a Choate Mental Health and Developmental Center senior staff member was dismissed on Thursday. Union County State’s Attorney Tyler Tripp dropped the charges, related to a cover-up of abuse at the state-run facility, against Choate’s quality assurance manager Gary Goins. The…

ANALYSIS: Fuel retailers sue over ‘compelled speech’ at the gas pump

ANALYSIS: Fuel retailers sue over ‘compelled speech’ at the gas pump

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] “As of July 1, 2022, the State of Illinois has suspended the inflation adjustment to the motor fuel tax through December 31, 2022. The price on this pump should reflect the suspension of the tax increase.” Those two sentences may be coming to a gas pump near you…

CAPITOL RECAP: Survey: Illinois undercounted in 2020 census

CAPITOL RECAP: Survey: Illinois undercounted in 2020 census

By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – The Census Bureau released new survey data Thursday, May 19, suggesting the population of Illinois may have been undercounted by nearly 2 percent in the 2020 headcount. That was one of the findings of the Census Bureau’s Post-Enumeration Survey, or PES, something the bureau does after each decennial census…

Census Bureau: Illinois may have been undercounted in 2020 census

Census Bureau: Illinois may have been undercounted in 2020 census

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The Census Bureau released new survey data Thursday suggesting the population of Illinois may have been undercounted by nearly 2 percent in the 2020 headcount. That was one of the findings of the Census Bureau’s Post-Enumeration Survey, or PES, something the bureau does after each decennial…

Illinois rejoins federal Title X family planning program

Illinois rejoins federal Title X family planning program

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Illinois has resumed participation in the federal Title X family planning program after refusing to take part for the past three years in protest over a Trump administration policy regarding abortion services. Gov. JB Pritzker announced this week that the state has been awarded $5.4 million…

Pritzker signs bill requiring serialization of unfinished ‘ghost guns’

Pritzker signs bill requiring serialization of unfinished ‘ghost guns’

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFILED – Owners of firearms that do not have serial numbers – referred to as ghost guns – will have 180 days to take them to a federal firearm dealer to have them serialized or they will risk being charged with a misdemeanor. Gov. JB Pritzker signed the…

What’s in the SAFE-T Act? A look at the 2021 criminal justice reform and how it has evolved

What’s in the SAFE-T Act? A look at the 2021 criminal justice reform and how it has evolved

By GRACE KINNICUTT Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Amid a campaign season in which every constitutional office and seat in the Illinois General Assembly will be up for vote, rising crime and a landmark criminal justice reform passed in 2021 have become dominant topics for Republicans trying to loosen Democrats’ hold on state government.…

Cost of Statehouse renovation higher than estimated but within state’s budget

Cost of Statehouse renovation higher than estimated but within state’s budget

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The cost of renovating the north wing of the Illinois Statehouse will be more expensive than officials initially estimated. Only one bid came in for the project, which is about to get underway. CORE Construction Services of Illinois Inc. priced the job at $243.5 million, well…

10th contempt citation filed against DCFS director as 13-year-old locked in psych ward

10th contempt citation filed against DCFS director as 13-year-old locked in psych ward

By BETH HUNDSDORFER Capitol News Illinois [email protected] Leah is a 13-year-old girl under Department of Children and Family Services care who lives in a psychiatric ward in a Chicago hospital. Capitol News Illinois is using a pseudonym to protect her identity, but has confirmed she’s been held for months behind locked doors despite a doctor…

Pritzker signs bill aimed at addressing organized retail crime

Pritzker signs bill aimed at addressing organized retail crime

By GRACE KINNICUTT Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker signed legislation Friday that is aimed at cracking down on high-profile “smash-and-grabs” and other organized retail theft. “This important piece of legislation will help to combat these unlawful activities by addressing the problem from multiple angles,” Chauncey Rice, government relations manager for the…

ANALYSIS: Poll shows ‘undecided’ leads GOP governor field, followed by Irvin, Bailey

ANALYSIS: Poll shows ‘undecided’ leads GOP governor field, followed by Irvin, Bailey

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] We’re about a month and a half from the June 28 primary, and “undecided” was the lead vote-getter this week in a new poll of 1,000 likely GOP primary voters, with 36.9 percent of respondents falling into that camp. For those polled who have picked a candidate, Aurora…

Audit finds DCFS failed to implement reforms

Audit finds DCFS failed to implement reforms

By BETH HUNDSDORFER Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Ta’Naja Barnes was two years old when she was found wrapped in a urine-soaked blanket amid rodent droppings, garbage and rotting food. The temperatures dipped to 45 degrees inside the Decatur home on Feb. 11, 2019, the day Ta’Naja was found. Medical personnel couldn’t get a…

CAPITOL RECAP: Former lawmakers seek back pay for raises they voted against

CAPITOL RECAP: Former lawmakers seek back pay for raises they voted against

By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – Two former state senators who sponsored and voted for bills to reduce lawmakers’ pay and forgo annual cost-of-living adjustments are now asking the Illinois Supreme Court to declare those measures unconstitutional and award them their back pay. Former Sens. Michael Noland, D-Elgin, and James Clayborne, D-Belleville, have been successful…

Pritzker urges Congress to ‘be like Illinois’ in protecting abortion services

Pritzker urges Congress to ‘be like Illinois’ in protecting abortion services

By GRACE KINNICUTT Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker called on Congress Wednesday to “be like Illinois” and codify abortion access into federal law. Pritzker made those comments at a Fairview Heights abortion clinic, touting steps Illinois has taken to protect abortion services should a U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning the 1973…

Illinois Supreme Court weighs ex-lawmakers’ case for back pay

Illinois Supreme Court weighs ex-lawmakers’ case for back pay

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Two former state senators who sponsored and voted for bills to reduce lawmakers’ pay and forgo annual cost of living adjustments are now asking the Illinois Supreme Court to declare those measures unconstitutional and award them their back pay. Former Sens. Michael Noland, D-Elgin, and James…

Illinois Democrats’ public safety approach centers on funding infusion

Illinois Democrats’ public safety approach centers on funding infusion

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – In the run-up to the early-morning April 9 adjournment of the spring legislative session, Illinois lawmakers passed a spate of public safety measures backed by hundreds of millions of dollars in the $46 billion Fiscal Year 2023 operating budget. The package, pushed by Democrats in an…

CAPITOL RECAP: Pritzker signs public safety measures creating mental health co-responder program

CAPITOL RECAP: Pritzker signs public safety measures creating mental health co-responder program

By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker signed House Bill 4736 into law Tuesday, May 10, in Peoria, one of the four communities that will be part of a co-responder pilot program that aims to send social workers and mental health professionals on law enforcement calls. The others are Waukegan, Springfield and East…

Pilot program to send mental health professionals with law officers in 4 Illinois communities

Pilot program to send mental health professionals with law officers in 4 Illinois communities

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Police departments in four communities in Illinois will be part of a co-responder pilot program that aims to send social workers and mental health professionals on law enforcement calls. That was part of House Bill 4736, a measure signed into law Tuesday by Gov. JB Pritzker…

Appellate Justice Lisa Holder White named to replace Justice Garman

Appellate Justice Lisa Holder White named to replace Justice Garman

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Supreme Court announced Tuesday that 4th District Appellate Justice Lisa Holder White has been appointed to succeed Justice Rita Garman, making her the first Black woman to serve on the state’s high court. “Being appointed to the Illinois Supreme Court is the honor of…

Garman to retire from state Supreme Court, setting up appointment to replace her

Garman to retire from state Supreme Court, setting up appointment to replace her

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Republican Illinois Supreme Court Justice Rita Garman announced Monday that she will retire on July 7, marking the end of a long legal career that has included 48 years as a jurist. She would have been up for retention this year, but the timing of her…

DCFS director: ‘Stuck kids’ docket a problem years in the making

DCFS director: ‘Stuck kids’ docket a problem years in the making

By BETH HUNDSDORFER Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Department of Children and Family Services Director Marc Smith has faced nine cases of contempt of court in recent weeks for failing to comply with a judge’s order to place the state’s most vulnerable children in an appropriate setting. In a recent interview with Capitol News…

ANALYSIS: Where does the GOP governor field stand on abortion?

ANALYSIS: Where does the GOP governor field stand on abortion?

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] Perhaps the biggest news affecting state government this week came not from Springfield but from Washington, D.C. That news was an unprecedented leak of a draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion that would overturn the landmark 1973 abortion rights decision Roe v. Wade. That case’s precedent protects access to…

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Local News

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New ward map OKed

Reflects Madigan’s power By Tim Hadac The City Council this week approved a new ward map that, among other things, will see all of Clearing and most of Garfield Ridge shifted to the 13th Ward. Midway International Airport also would shift from the 23rd Ward to the 13th. Monday’s 43-7 vote means the issue will…

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Pop’s to celebrate National Italian Beef Day with week of specials

Palos Heights-based Pop’s Italian Beef & Sausage is beefing up May this year with a week-long celebration of National Italian Beef Day at each of their locations. As part of the celebrations, Pop’s is hosting an interactive contest on their Facebook page during the week of National Italian Beef Day from Monday, May 23, through…

Members of the “Small Island, Big Song” presented educational workshops to students at Moraine Valley Community College. (Supplied photo)

‘Small Island, Big Song’ workshops enrich classroom learning at MVCC

From staff reports Coming from some of the smallest islands in the world, performers from “Small Island, Big Song” talked about climate change, indigenous cultures and island history from their homelands to students in select sociology and geography classes at Moraine Valley Community College last month. The group performed their musical and spoken word endeavor…

Elaine Grande

Pathlights names new executive director

From staff reports Elaine Grande has been appointed Executive Director by Pathlights’ Board of Directors effective May 30. Grande brings more than 30 years of successful leadership experience and becomes only the third Executive Director in the Palos Heights nonprofit’s 46-year history. She currently leads all Pathlights program and services as Director of Program Development…

The squeal of tires and roar of engines continue to be a nighttime nuisance for thousands of neighbors living along the Pulaski corridor, from Archer Heights on the north to Scottsdale on the south. --Images captured from cellphone videos

‘You knew this would happen’

Neighbors angry, but not surprised by shooting By Tim Hadac What a number of Southwest Siders living along the Pulaski corridor have been warning about appears to have occurred. A 22-year-old man was shot in the abdomen and buttocks as he stood with a group of people in a parking lot at 7050…

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Cubs come through for Gage Park

Leaders of the Gage Park Baseball & Softball Association, along with Chicago Park District officials, are all smiles as they celebrate the coming renovation of their diamonds, courtesy of a grant from Cubs Charities. Details in today’s Gage Park column. –Supplied photo

Heavy with recent immigrants, Brighton Park is a young community with thousands of children. Recognizing that, Esperanza places a strong emphasis on providing pediatric care. --Photo courtesy of Esperanza Health Centers

Health care expansion planned for Brighton Park

Esperanza secures $4.2 million for 47th/California From staff reports Esperanza Health Centers is one of 26 finalists to receive more than $33.5 million in grant funding from the city’s Recovery Plan Community Development grant program. The award of $4.2 million will enable Esperanza to break ground on a long-awaited expansion of its current Brighton Park…

U.S. Rep. Jesús "Chuy" García (D-4th)

Forgive Ukraine’s debts, Chuy says

Bill passes House, issue heads to Senate From staff reports Legislation designed to bring debt relief to Ukraine—a bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García (D-4th)—was passed last week by the U.S. House of Representatives. The measure instructs U.S. representatives at international financial institutions to use their voice and vote to pursue comprehensive relief…

Anita Cummings, executive director of UBAM (center), talks at the May 11 UBAMmeeting, flanked by guest speakers Alex Leon, deputy commissioner of the Chicago Department of Aviation, and Elizabeth Granados-Perez, managing deputy commissioner of Midway Airport. --Greater Southwest News-Herald photo by Dermot Connolly

Midway bouncing back

UBAM hears update from airport chief By Dermot Connolly Midway International Airport is bouncing back from the pandemic, and the $333 million Midway Modernization program is nearing completion, Chicago Department of Aviation officials told local business leaders last week. Elizabeth Granados-Perez, managing deputy commissioner of Midway, and Alex Leon, deputy commissioner in charge of design…

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Orland Park police arrest 2 men for commercial burglaries

By Bob Bong Orland Park police have arrested two men suspected of committing multiple commercial burglaries throughout the Chicago area and northwest Indiana. Police have been hunting the men since they were believed to be responsible for a March 13 break-in at Binny’s Beverage Depot at 103 Orland Park Place.   Police said they responded…

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