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Just weeks before Republican National Convention, Illinois GOP chair announces resignation

Just weeks before Republican National Convention, Illinois GOP chair announces resignation

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com Halfway through the 2024 election cycle and just a few weeks away from the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, Illinois GOP Chair Don Tracy on Wednesday announced his resignation as head of the state Republican Party. Tracy, who’d held the job since February 2021, explained his resignation in…

As Illinois session ends, lawmakers’ attempt to reinstate wetland protections fails

As Illinois session ends, lawmakers’ attempt to reinstate wetland protections fails

by JENNIFER BAMBERG Investigate Midwest jennifer.bamberg@investigatemidwest.org In 2006, 19-year-old Jessica Whinston inherited 20 acres of land that her grandparents once farmed in Quincy, Illinois. The land had sat dormant since the 1980s and was overgrown, but Whinston and her husband Bradley worked to turn it into a productive farm. The couple were eventually able to…

Elections board dismisses illegal campaign coordination complaint, declines to clarify law

Elections board dismisses illegal campaign coordination complaint, declines to clarify law

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com CHICAGO – State elections officials on Tuesday indicated they were unlikely to step in to clarify what constitutes illegal campaign coordination after voting to dismiss a complaint alleging such coordination in the 2022 campaign for governor. At their monthly meeting in Chicago, Illinois State Board of Elections members…

Illinois’ ban on ‘bump stocks’ remains in place despite U.S. Supreme Court decision

Illinois’ ban on ‘bump stocks’ remains in place despite U.S. Supreme Court decision

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – An Illinois law banning the sale and use of “bump stocks” and other devices that increase the firing power of semiautomatic weapons remains in place, at least for now, despite a U.S. Supreme Court decision Friday striking down a federal ban on such items. “Illinois law…

Lawmakers pass on oversight vote for Pritzker’s prison closure, rebuild plan

Lawmakers pass on oversight vote for Pritzker’s prison closure, rebuild plan

By HANNAH MEISEL & DILPREET RAJU Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – For the last two decades, each time a governor has moved to close a large state-run facility like a prison or mental health center, a legislative oversight panel has voted on the plan. That changed on Friday – at least for now –…

‘We don’t really know what we’re voting on,’ top Dem says of Pritzker’s prison plan

‘We don’t really know what we’re voting on,’ top Dem says of Pritzker’s prison plan

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com LINCOLN – On the eve of a scheduled vote to advise Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration on plans to close and rebuild a pair of dilapidated state prisons, hundreds filed into a junior high school gymnasium Thursday evening clad in matching green T-shirts. Printed on the shirts was a…

Illinois child tax credit: who gets it, how much is it?

Illinois child tax credit: who gets it, how much is it?

By ANDREW ADAMS Capitol News Illinois aadams@capitolnewsillinois.com In the final hours of their spring legislative session, Illinois lawmakers approved a tax credit of up to about $300 for families with young children.  The credit is available to Illinoisans with children under age 12 who qualify for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC. Although…

Members of House speaker’s staff sue over ongoing unionization conflict

Members of House speaker’s staff sue over ongoing unionization conflict

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Members of a would-be union representing staffers in House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch’s office filed suit against their boss on Friday, asking a Cook County judge to force recognition of the union. The Illinois Legislative Staff Association, which formed in the fall of 2022, claims Welch’s…

Elections board urged to dismiss complaint that Bailey illegally coordinated in 2022 campaign

Elections board urged to dismiss complaint that Bailey illegally coordinated in 2022 campaign

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com A hearing officer is recommending the Illinois State Board of Elections dismiss a complaint that alleged conservative radio host and political operative Dan Proft illegally coordinated with former Republican state Sen. Darren Bailey during his 2022 campaign for governor. Proft, a one-time gubernatorial candidate himself, is behind an…

Communities, commission push Pritzker admin for more prison plan details

Communities, commission push Pritzker admin for more prison plan details

By DILPREET RAJU Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com Jimmy Soto spent more than 42 years wrongfully imprisoned in Illinois Department of Corrections facilities. In 2020, he was moved to the “F-House” at Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet, a condemned unit, not because he was being punished, but because it was where the facility was housing individuals…

Judge blocks law that would have banned newly slated candidates from ballot

Judge blocks law that would have banned newly slated candidates from ballot

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com A Sangamon County judge on Wednesday blocked the Illinois State Board of Elections from enforcing a new law that would have prevented certain General Assembly candidates who didn’t run in the March primary from getting on the November ballot. The move doesn’t void the bill in its entirety,…

“No Schoolers”: How Illinois’ hands-off approach to homeschooling leaves children at risk

“No Schoolers”: How Illinois’ hands-off approach to homeschooling leaves children at risk

By BETH HUNDSDORFER  & MOLLY PARKER  CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS investigations@capitolnewsillinois.com This article was produced for ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network in partnership with Capitol News Illinois. It was on L.J.’s 11th birthday, in December 2022, that child welfare workers finally took him away. They arrived at his central Illinois home to investigate an abuse allegation and decided…

Brushing off concerns of overspending, Pritzker signs $53.1 billion state budget

Brushing off concerns of overspending, Pritzker signs $53.1 billion state budget

By ANDREW ADAMS JERRY NOWICKI & HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com CHICAGO – Gov. JB Pritzker on Wednesday signed the state’s $53.1 billion spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year, the largest in state history.  The signing caps months of work – and tension – among top Democratic leaders in Springfield and within the…

Stalled bills: ‘Dignity in Pay Act,’ Prisoner Review Board changes fail to move

Stalled bills: ‘Dignity in Pay Act,’ Prisoner Review Board changes fail to move

By ALEX ABBEDUTO,  COLE LONGCOR & DILPREET RAJU Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com A bill eliminating the subminimum wage for workers with disabilities failed to pass the General Assembly ahead of its May adjournment, although sponsors say they hope to pass it when lawmakers return in the fall. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938…

Time running out to net and protect young plants from cicada-related damage

Time running out to net and protect young plants from cicada-related damage

By DILPREET RAJU Capitol News Illinois draju@capitolnewsillinois.com While Illinois’ dual emergence of periodical cicada broods is harmless to people and animals, young trees may sustain serious damage if not protected by mid-June, experts at The Morton Arboretum said. This is the first co-emergence of these two broods since 1803, researcher Katie Dana from the Illinois…

Illinois made a bold promise to end poverty. In Alexander County, it’s hard to tell.

Illinois made a bold promise to end poverty. In Alexander County, it’s hard to tell.

By LYLEE GIBBS JAMILAH LEWIS MOLLY PARKER & JULIA RENDLEMAN Capitol News Illinois & the Saluki Local Reporting Lab news@capitolnewsillinois.com This story, produced in partnership with Southern Illinois University journalism students, was supported by grant funding from the Pulitzer Center. Pink and purple toys line the living room of this tiny public housing apartment in…

Illinois made a bold promise to end poverty. In Alexander County, it’s hard to tell.

Illinois made a bold promise to end poverty. In Alexander County, it’s hard to tell.

By LYLEE GIBBS JAMILAH LEWIS MOLLY PARKER & JULIA RENDLEMAN Capitol News Illinois & the Saluki Local Reporting Lab news@capitolnewsillinois.com This story, produced in partnership with Southern Illinois University journalism students, was supported by grant funding from the Pulitzer Center. Pink and purple toys line the living room of this tiny public housing apartment in…

Another Choate Mental Health Center employee indicted for abuse of resident

Another Choate Mental Health Center employee indicted for abuse of resident

By BETH HUNDSDORFER Capitol News Illinois bhundsdorfer@capitolnewsillinois.com Another caregiver at Choate Mental Health and Developmental Center in Anna is facing charges for abusing a patient. A grand jury indicted Joseph A. Clark, 24, of Grand Chain, on a felony charge of aggravated battery and a misdemeanor charge of battery. Clark pinned a Choate resident to…

Potawatomi hope to finalize land transfer when lawmakers return in the fall

Potawatomi hope to finalize land transfer when lawmakers return in the fall

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – The leader of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation says he believes Illinois lawmakers will eventually pass a bill granting the tribe title to a 1,500-acre park in DeKalb County, but it may take a few more months. Chairman Joseph “Zeke” Rupnick said in a statement this…

Potawatomi hope to finalize land transfer when lawmakers return in the fall

Potawatomi hope to finalize land transfer when lawmakers return in the fall

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – The leader of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation says he believes Illinois lawmakers will eventually pass a bill granting the tribe title to a 1,500-acre park in DeKalb County, but it may take a few more months. Chairman Joseph “Zeke” Rupnick said in a statement this…

Time running out to net and protect young plants from cicada-related damage

Time running out to net and protect young plants from cicada-related damage

By DILPREET RAJU Capitol News Illinois draju@capitolnewsillinois.com While Illinois’ dual emergence of periodical cicada broods is harmless to people and animals, young trees may sustain serious damage if not protected by mid-June, experts at The Morton Arboretum said. This is the first co-emergence of these two broods since 1803, researcher Katie Dana from the Illinois…

Senate Democrats send $53.1B spending plan to House

Senate Democrats send $53.1B spending plan to House

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois jnowicki@capitolnewsillinois.com Two days after the General Assembly was scheduled to adjourn its spring session, Democrats in the Illinois Senate advanced a $53.1 billion budget to the House Sunday night, where leaders expect it to pass without changes. The fiscal year 2025 spending plan, which came together over a stretch…

Health insurance changes targeting ‘utilization management,’ more will head to governor

Health insurance changes targeting ‘utilization management,’ more will head to governor

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – A package of health insurance reform measures that Gov. JB Pritzker called for at the beginning of the legislative session will soon be headed to his desk for his signature. The Illinois House gave final approval Saturday to a pair of bills that limit the ability…

Judge blocks law that would have banned newly slated candidates from ballot

Judge blocks law that would have banned newly slated candidates from ballot

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com A Sangamon County judge on Wednesday blocked the Illinois State Board of Elections from enforcing a new law that would have prevented certain General Assembly candidates who didn’t run in the March primary from getting on the November ballot. The move doesn’t void the bill in its entirety,…

Local News

A statue from a monument lies on the ground at Resurrection Cemetery in Justice. (Photo by Carol McGowan)

EF1 tornado barrels through Justice and Bridgeview

By Carol McGowan An EF1 tornado, packing winds of 90 miles per hour, swept through Justice and Bridgeview Monday night. Village of Justice Public Works Director Joe Cekus said he knew trouble was on the way. “I was looking in the sky for rotation and I heard a train,” he said. “I quickly realized that…

Two pickup trucks in the 7400 block of Roberts Road in Bridgeview were destroyed by fire. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Bridgeview family loses two pickup trucks, but house is saved

By Steve Metsch A Bridgeview family in the 7400 block of Roberts Road knows first-hand the damage weather can do. When high winds hit around 9:30 p.m. Monday as a tornado blew through Justice, a cemetery and then into Bridgeview, two power lines were brought down near their bi-level house. One line fell in the…

Rihanna will open her first Savage X Fenty store in Illinois at Orland Square Mall on Friday. (Photo by Allie Baar)

Rihanna to open Savage X Fenty store in Orland Park on Friday

By Bob Bong Barbados superstar Rihanna will open her first Savage X Fenty store in Illinois on Friday morning in Orland Square Mall in Orland Park. The singer, actor and businesswoman will open the store at the mall’s lower level near the Coach store at 10 a.m. Savage X Fenty will host a grand opening…

The Village of Palos Park encouraged residents to unplug their devices for a day at part of Unplug Illinois on July 13. (Supplied photo)

Palos Park encourages residents to unplug

By Kelly White The Village of Palos Park encouraged residents to unplug their devices for a day at part of Unplug Illinois on Saturday, July 13. The day is a state-wide effort, started in 2014, to encourage everyone to “plug into” the amazing recreational opportunities offered by local park and recreation agencies. The Village of…

Portillo's Hot Dogs (PRNewsFoto/Portillo's Hot Dogs)

Comings & Goings: Portillo’s coming to Orland Park

By Jeff Vorva After the Orland Park Village Board voted Monday night to allow for a special use program, it set the wheels in motion for a Portillo’s Hot Dogs drive through to be built at 20 Orland Square Drive, the site of the shuttered Denny’s. It will be a 3,305-foot square building and will…

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau said that pre-concert problems caused by the weather on July 13 are fixable.
(Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Mayor says Centennial Park West concert snafus ‘easily solvable’

By Jeff Vorva The weather gods hit Orland Park’s Pat Benatar concert with their worst shot. A major storm took place July 13 when the event at the refurbished Centennial Park West was scheduled to open the gates. That caused a delay in opening the gates for 40 minutes which resulted in massive lines and…

reporter worth welcome sign

Worth approves $590,000 for street repairs

By Joe Boyle A variety of projects ranging from street repairs and a new pump station for the golf course have been approved for the Village of Worth. A bid was awarded to Lindahl Brothers during the Worth Village Board meeting Tuesday night. Lindahl was the lowest bidder among four entries at $590,384.90 for future street repair…

Alumni Association members Heather Leininger, Emily Szymczak, Candice Mares and Miriam Cruz (at table) lead a crowd of LeaderShop alumni and community members waving posters saying Morals Matter, Demand Change, and Integrity for the Kids. (Photos by S. Kirchman)

LeaderShop alumni, board meeting turns testy at times

By S. Kirchman The LeaderShop Alumni Association rallied under the pavilion at The LeaderShop office in La Grange for the board’s scheduled 6 p.m. meeting after it was switched from in-person to virtual earlier on Thursday. The Alumni Association consists of volunteers, previous staff members, former members of the board of directors, funders, donors, and…

Cleveland Cavaliers guard-forward Max Strus hits a 3-pointer last season over the Boston Celtics' Jaylen Brown. Photo courtesy of Max Strus

Hometown Hoops Hero: Stagg alum Max Strus discusses his rise through the NBA, hitting big shots and his annual youth hoops camp

By Xavier Sanchez Correspondent A lot of changes have taken place for Max Strus during the past year. While the Cleveland Cavaliers guard has played in an NBA Finals and been featured as No. 1 on ESPN SportsCenter’s “Top Plays,” among other noteworthy events, the Stagg alum is the same homegrown kid who grew up…

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Migrants coming to Ford City

. Nearly a thousand coming this month to Holiday Inn . By Tim Hadac The Pritzker Administration is converting a vacant hotel in the Midway area to a shelter expected to house as many as 950 migrants. The action is occurring quickly, with migrants expected to move in this month. In a press release posted…

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