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House GOP advances 2 human trafficking victim protection bills as others remain in limbo

House GOP advances 2 human trafficking victim protection bills as others remain in limbo

By COLE LONGCOR Capitol News Illinois clongcor@capitolnewsillinois.com After Illinois received another failing grade from a national advocacy group, state House Republicans have introduced legislation aimed at further protecting victims and prosecuting perpetrators of human trafficking. Shared Hope International, an advocacy organization that works to prevent sex trafficking, said in its 2023 Illinois report card that…

Hundreds of bills pass, including changes to state’s biometric data privacy law

Hundreds of bills pass, including changes to state’s biometric data privacy law

By HANNAH MEISEL COLE LONGCOR & ALEX ABEDDUTO Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Lawmakers passed more than 200 bills this week ahead of their scheduled May 24 adjournment.  Many of the measures will soon head to Gov. JB Pritzker, including a bill that changes how damages accrue under Illinois’ first-in-the-nation biometric data privacy law.…

Pritzker pledges to expand access to mental health care in Illinois

Pritzker pledges to expand access to mental health care in Illinois

By DILPREET RAJU Capitol News Illinois draju@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – In the middle of Mental Health Awareness Month, Gov. JB Pritzker and Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton hosted a panel in Springfield this week at which he pledged to expand the state’s behavioral health services. With several dozen services providers from around the state in attendance, Pritzker…

With 1 week left in session, Pritzker admin says all revenue options remain on the table

With 1 week left in session, Pritzker admin says all revenue options remain on the table

By JERRY NOWICKI  Capitol News Illinois jnowicki@capitolnewsillinois.com While the governor’s office instructed its agency directors to prepare for $800 million in potential budget cuts last week, all facets of his plan to raise $1.1 billion in revenue to avoid those cuts remain under consideration.  Read more: ANALYSIS: ‘Significant enough’ opposition to Pritzker’s revenue plan leads to…

Illinois launches summer food assistance program

Illinois launches summer food assistance program

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – The state is launching a new program to provide food assistance during the summer for families with children who qualify for free or reduced-price meals at school. Gov. JB Pritzker joined other state officials and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Thursday to announce that Illinois will…

Lawmakers consider tax break for news publishers, state-sponsored journalism scholarships

Lawmakers consider tax break for news publishers, state-sponsored journalism scholarships

By ALEX ABBEDUTO & ANDREW ADAMS Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com  SPRINGFIELD – A new measure being debated in the Illinois General Assembly would create a tax credit for certain news publishers based on the number of reporters they employ.  The proposal from Sen. Steve Stadelman, D-Rockford, is part of a package of policies that he…

House gives OK to new state agency focused on early childhood programs

House gives OK to new state agency focused on early childhood programs

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois House gave final passage Thursday to a bill establishing a new cabinet-level state agency whose mission will be to provide a kind of one-stop shop for services focusing on early childhood development and education. By the time it’s fully operational in 2026, the new…

As vacated Centralia funeral home prepares for new tenant, owner makes a startling find

As vacated Centralia funeral home prepares for new tenant, owner makes a startling find

By BETH HUNDSDORFER Capitol News Illinois bhundsdorfer@capitolnewsillinois.com In the basement of a Centralia funeral home in a dark hallway off the embalming room, tucked inside a nook behind two steel plates and a door, a visitor found three disembodied, neatly wrapped human legs, two of them marked with names and dated to the 1960s.  The…

Illinois Supreme Court considers expectation of privacy in hospitals

Illinois Supreme Court considers expectation of privacy in hospitals

By DILPREET RAJU  & ANDREW ADAMS Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – While Cortez Turner was in a hospital room being treated for a gunshot wound to his leg in 2016, police took his clothes. Now, the Illinois Supreme Court is weighing whether that action violated Turner’s expectation of privacy under the Fourth Amendment. The…

Capitol Briefs: House OKs program for student teacher stipends – but not the funding for it

Capitol Briefs: House OKs program for student teacher stipends – but not the funding for it

By PETER HANCOCK & ANDREW CAMPBELL Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois House approved a bill Tuesday to allow student teachers to receive stipends while earning their education degree, even though the money needed to fund those stipends is unlikely to be included in next year’s budget. House Bill 4652, by Rep. Barbara…