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Capitol News

Lawmakers consider lowering trailer license fee

Lawmakers consider lowering trailer license fee

By GRACE BARBIC Capitol News [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – In 2019, the fee for licensing a small trailer in Illinois jumped from $18 to $118. Lawmakers are now looking for a solution to lower that fee without causing major drops in infrastructure funding. The $100 fee increase was included in Gov. JB Pritzker’s 2019 Rebuild Illinois…

COVID-19 Update: ‘Bridge’ phase to begin Friday as state seeks to incentivize vaccination

COVID-19 Update: ‘Bridge’ phase to begin Friday as state seeks to incentivize vaccination

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The state is opening vaccinations to Illinoisans age 12-15, and a major theme park operator is offering 50,000 free admission tickets in an effort to encourage vaccination in that age group. That news came as the governor’s office confirmed the state will enter the “bridge” phase of…

CAPITOL RECAP: State leaders plan to talk to Treasury about stimulus spending

CAPITOL RECAP: State leaders plan to talk to Treasury about stimulus spending

By Capitol News Illinois SPRINGFIELD – State officials said Wednesday, May 12, they would petition the U.S. Treasury to use federal stimulus funding to repay borrowing from the Federal Reserve that was undertaken amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The state borrowed $3.2 billion from the Federal Reserve during the pandemic, plus another $400 million borrowed from…

Pritzker’s energy proposal gets first legislative hearing

Pritzker’s energy proposal gets first legislative hearing

By GRACE BARBIC Capitol News [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – As Illinois lawmakers continue to push for the passage of an energy overhaul this spring, the Illinois House Energy and Environment Committee discussed the latest proposal to enter the discussion – Gov. JB Pritzker’s Consumers and Climate First Act. House Bill 4074, sponsored by Rep. Kam Buckner,…

State launches $6 million tourism campaign aimed at boosting post-pandemic travel

State launches $6 million tourism campaign aimed at boosting post-pandemic travel

By TIM KIRSININKAS Capitol News [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker announced a new $6 million tourism advertising campaign Wednesday aimed at attracting visitors to the state and sparking economic activity following the COVID-19 pandemic. The multimedia campaign, featured around the theme “Time for Me to Drive,” showcases various destinations in all parts of the…

Senate passes expansion of maternal care coverage

Senate passes expansion of maternal care coverage

By RAYMON TRONCOSO Capitol News [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate passed legislation Wednesday expanding maternal and postpartum care in Illinois, as well as changing existing statutes to be more inclusive of different gender identities. Senate Bill 967, sponsored by Elgin Democratic Sen. Cristina Castro, passed the Senate floor Wednesday on a 58-0 vote. It…

Mendoza suggests Illinois due for credit upgrade

Mendoza suggests Illinois due for credit upgrade

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza is asking the nation’s three major credit rating agencies to reconsider the state’s credit rating with an eye toward a possible upgrade. In an April 28 letter to executives at Moody’s Investors Service, S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings, Mendoza argued that Illinois…

Bills allow redistribution of prescription drugs, require menstrual products at homeless shelters

Bills allow redistribution of prescription drugs, require menstrual products at homeless shelters

By TIM KIRSININKAS Capitol News [email protected] SPRINGFIELD — The Senate Health Committee voted Tuesday to advance two bills which would create a prescription drug repository program and require that feminine hygiene products be provided free of charge at homeless shelters. Both bills have already passed the House and will now be considered before the full…

Special education, hair discrimination bills pass Senate Education Committee

Special education, hair discrimination bills pass Senate Education Committee

By RAYMON TRONCOSO Capitol News [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The Senate Education Committee advanced several bills Tuesday, including measures addressing special education, hairstyle discrimination and teaching Asian American history in public schools. Those were among more than a dozen bills to pass the committee, the majority of which passed unanimously without debate or discussion. Springfield Democrat…

High court hears challenge to mandatory life for young adults

High court hears challenge to mandatory life for young adults

By SARAH MANSUR Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD — A man who was found guilty for acting as the lookout in a double homicide nearly three decades ago is asking the Illinois Supreme Court to find his mandatory life sentence without parole unconstitutional. A lawyer for Antonio House argued before Supreme Court Tuesday that his…

WITH PODCAST: Disinvestment, pandemic leave Illinois’ state of mental health care in ‘crisis’

WITH PODCAST: Disinvestment, pandemic leave Illinois’ state of mental health care in ‘crisis’

By GRACE BARBIC Capitol News [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Rooted in disinvestment and growing amid economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, Illinois is facing a statewide mental health crisis due to workforce shortages and accessibility. “It’s been recognized that we are no longer in an emergency, we’re in a crisis,” said Marvin Lindsey, CEO of the…

LaSalle investigation prompts legislation strengthening inspectors general

LaSalle investigation prompts legislation strengthening inspectors general

By SARAH MANSUR Capitol News [email protected] SPRINGFIELD — Lawmakers representing the LaSalle Veterans’ Home, including Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, unveiled new legislation that would allow inspectors general of state agencies to subpoena former state employees. The legislation was prompted by an investigation into the COVID-19 outbreak last year at the LaSalle home that killed 36…

Watchdog report finds COVID-19 safety protocols not enforced at Pulaski County jail

Watchdog report finds COVID-19 safety protocols not enforced at Pulaski County jail

By SARAH MANSUR Capitol News [email protected] SPRINGFIELD — An unannounced inspection by federal authorities of the Pulaski County Detention Center found that supervisors were not enforcing COVID-19 safety protocols, such as masking and social distancing requirements, for inmates being detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The jail in Pulaski County, which is in the…

Senate passes Medicare, tax zone legislation

Senate passes Medicare, tax zone legislation

By RAYMON TRONCOSO Capitol News [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Capping off a slow legislative week as the General Assembly grapples with drawing redistricting maps, the state budget for the upcoming fiscal year and massive energy overhaul legislation, the Senate passed 14 bills Thursday, most of them unanimously. Senate Bill 1747, introduced by Grayslake Democratic Sen. Melinda…

CAPITOL RECAP: Pritzker announces plans for broader reopening

CAPITOL RECAP: Pritzker announces plans for broader reopening

By Capitol News Illinois SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker said Thursday that Illinois will enter the “bridge” phase to full reopening on Friday, May 14. And barring any reversal of current trends, Phase 5, or full reopening, will begin on June 11. He also announced that residents can now obtain COVID-19 vaccines from their physicians’…

Pritzker: Broader reopening to begin next week

Pritzker: Broader reopening to begin next week

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker said Thursday that Illinois will enter the “bridge” phase to full reopening on Friday, May 14. And barring any reversal of current trends, Phase 5, or full reopening, will begin on June 11. He also announced that residents can now obtain COVID-19 vaccines from…

Pritzker now says budget can include added $350 million for K-12 schools

Pritzker now says budget can include added $350 million for K-12 schools

By JERRY NOWICKI and TIM KIRSININKAS Capitol News [email protected]@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Citing an “improved” economic outlook, Gov. JB Pritzker announced Thursday his support to increase evidence-based education funding in the state by $350 million in fiscal year 2022 which begins July 1. In his February budget proposal, Pritzker originally proposed flat spending for education, citing…

GOP leaders call out House Dems for redistricting ‘hypocrisy’

GOP leaders call out House Dems for redistricting ‘hypocrisy’

By GRACE BARBIC and SARAH MANSUR Capitol News Illinois [email protected] [email protected] SPRINGFIELD — Illinois House Republicans continue to demand a “fair” redistricting process, following a news report depicting Democratic lawmakers meeting behind a closed door to discuss the mapmaking process. The “secretive” room on Capitol grounds where House Democrats are said to be drawing maps…

Bill proposes standardized election procedures

Bill proposes standardized election procedures

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Two Republican senators have introduced legislation to standardize the way local election authorities across Illinois handle elections, from the training of election judges to posting information about delays in election night ballot counting. Sens. Sally Turner, of the Logan County town of Beason, and Sue Rezin, of…

Illinois law enforcement community honors officers killed in line of duty

Illinois law enforcement community honors officers killed in line of duty

By TIM KIRSININKAS Capitol News [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – After a delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic last year, members of Illinois’ law enforcement community gathered in Springfield Thursday to honor officers killed in the line of duty in 2019 and 2020. In a ceremony at the Illinois State Capitol, the names of 16 Illinois officers…

Illinois Attorney General responds to cybersecurity attack, audit warning

Illinois Attorney General responds to cybersecurity attack, audit warning

By SARAH MANSUR Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul on Wednesday addressed the recent cyber breach of his office’s online network, as well as an audit of his office released earlier this year that warned of weaknesses in its cybersecurity programs. Raoul told a House committee his office has implemented…

Judge vacates nationwide eviction moratorium, doesn’t impact Illinois

Judge vacates nationwide eviction moratorium, doesn’t impact Illinois

By SARAH MANSUR and TIM KIRSININKAS Capitol News [email protected]@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD — A federal judge invalidated a nationwide eviction moratorium on Wednesday but the decision will not impact the moratorium on rental evictions in Illinois, according to housing attorneys. The decision from U.S. District Judge Dabney L. Friedrich involves the eviction moratorium issued by the U.S.…

Senate committee advances bills on sex ed, decriminalizing HIV transmission

Senate committee advances bills on sex ed, decriminalizing HIV transmission

By RAYMON TRONCOSO Capitol News [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Legislation that would overhaul sex education in Illinois and a measure to decriminalize the transmission of HIV were among several bills that passed the Senate Executive Committee Wednesday. The committee, following a long and contentious debate, advanced legislation that would require public schools to teach sex ed…

Illinois House votes to endorse ‘abolition amendment,’ D.C. statehood

Illinois House votes to endorse ‘abolition amendment,’ D.C. statehood

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois House voted Wednesday to endorse a proposed U.S. constitutional amendment that would finally eliminate what some see as the last vestige of slavery in the United States – forced labor by people convicted of crimes and sentenced to prison. House Joint Resolution 7, by Rep.…

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Local News

Promoter Katie Goggin discusses the Countryside Summer Concert series. She has to book acts well in advance. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

Countryside plans summer concert series, bluegrass festival

By Steve Metsch It might be winter, but it’s never too soon to talk about summertime music. Such was the case Jan. 11 when the Countryside City Council’s Special Events Committee heard from promoter Katie Goggin regarding the city’s annual Summer Concert Series. The committee also heard about the second annual Bluegrass and Brews Festival from Sharon…

Newly elected Judge Nick Kantas gives the oath of office to Senator Mike Porfirio. (Supplied photos)

Porfirio resigns township post to take Senate seat

By Steve Metsch Mike Porfirio is now a state senator and the Township of Lyons Board of Trustees has a vacancy. Porfirio submitted his resignation as a trustee, which was accepted by the board at its Jan. 10 meeting. Porfirio was elected to the Illinois Senate in November, and was sworn in as a state…

Deputy Police Chief David DeLeshe (left) and McCook Mayor Terrance Carr said the new drone will help investigate crimes. It can also be used to find hot spots in fires. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Drone takes McCook crime fighting to new level

By Steve Metsch The McCook Police Department has a new weapon to fight crime. A new drone equipped with an infrared camera and the ability to zoom in 200 times was at the village’s latest board meeting on Jan. 17. The village used part of a $50,000 grant from the Secretary of State’s office to…

CRRNH_CathSchoolsWeekOLS_020823

Super Hero fun at Our Lady of the Snows

Catholic Schools Week was plenty of fun this year at Our Lady of the Snows School, as students were encouraged to dress as a super hero. Parents interested in checking out the school, 4810 S. Leamington, for 2023-24 are encouraged to call (773) 735-4810. – Supplied photo

new lane configuration 2-6-23

Tri-State lane closures start Monday as area ramps prepare to reopen

Overnight lane closures are scheduled next week to shift traffic on Interstate 55 and on the northbound Tri-State Tollway (Interstate 294) between Willow Springs Road and Plainfield Road and reopen the ramp connecting northbound I-294 to southbound I-55 and Wolf Road. On Monday, February 6, beginning at 9 p.m. and continuing until 5 a.m. on…

Newly installed Orland Park Area Chamber president Ramzi Hassan addresses members during last week’s installation dinner. (Photos by Steve Neuhaus)

Comings & Goings: Orland Area Chamber installs new officers

Ramzi Hassan of Edwards Realty Company was installed last week as president of the Orland Park Area Chamber of Commerce. The 2023 board of directors was also installed and annual membership awards were handed out during ceremonies last Thursday at the Crystal Tree Country Club. Installation duties were performed by Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau.…

Oak Lawn resident Clayton J. Beck III displays his work of art accompanied by the model at the first unofficial event for the Acorn to Oak Studios at the Pilgrim Faith Church campus. Beck will be on hand to moderate the first official session to be held Sunday at the church. (Supplied photo)

Oak Lawn studio wants to be haven for artists

By Joe Boyle An acorn may be the symbol that inspires the Oak Lawn community to unleash its artistic talents. The first official session of the Acorn to Oak Studios will be presented from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5, in the north wing of the Pilgrim Faith Church campus, 9411 S. 51st Avenue,…

Matt Dugan

EPCHS names Matthew Dugan next principal

From staff reports Evergreen Park Community High School has hired Matthew Dugan as its next principal. Dugan’s appointment was made official during the January 24 meeting of the Evergreen Park Community High School Board of Education. Dugan will become principal on July 1, upon the retirement of current Principal Bill Sanderson. “I am thrilled and…

Willow Springs resident Jim Distasio was the first speaker to criticize the proposed land sale for use as an industrial park. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Lyons Township school board rejects sale of 70-acre parcel in Willow Springs

By Steve Metsch The sale of 70 acres in Willow Springs to a developer who wants to build an industrial park has been rejected by the Lyons Township High School District 204 board, but the door remains wide open to a sale. The board voted unanimously Jan. 23 to reject bids of $46.5 million from…

Children enjoying themselves at Flying High in Countryside on January 14. (Supplied photo)

Venezuelan asylum seeking families enjoy a night out at Flying High in Countryside

By Carol McGowan Twenty-three adults and 30 children of Venezuelan families seeking asylum enjoyed a fun night out on January 14 courtesy of Flying High in Countryside. The event was a collaboration between St. Cletus Church in LaGrange, and Flying High, at 5400 East Avenue in Countryside. Flying High opened their gym doors over 30…

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