Illinois Economic Policy Institute and the Project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign / Illinois Economic Policy Institute and the Project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Illinois Lawmakers Set On Legalizing Sports Betting

Illinois Democrats are offering several options on how legal sports gambling could work in the state.

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Illinois Needs A Trained Workforce, Money To Update Crumbling Water Infrastructure

Several Illinois environmental and labor groups say the state needs more workers to upgrade its aging water and sewer systems. Money to prepare these workers could come from an infrastructure plan.

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Kristin Walters / IL Newsroom

Ask The Newsroom: Section 8 Housing

In Illinois, there are only 35 affordable housing units for every 100 families considered extremely low-income, according to Housing Action Illinois, a housing advocacy organization. Housing Choice Voucher, also known as Section 8, is a federal program designed to make market-rate apartments accessible to people who wouldn’t be able to afford it otherwise. The voucher program covers part of the rent for around 97,000 families in Illinois . In response to a call for questions on affordable housing, one Illinois Newsroom listener asked: “How does Section 8 work? It seems like a great program in theory that also seems really hard for families to access in practice.”

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Unpacking Pritzker's Tax Proposals

a plastic bag in a tree
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Unpacking Pritzker's Tax Proposals: Bag Tax

Gov. J.B. Pritzker wants to create a host of new taxes to help balance Illinois’ budget — on everything from e-cigarettes to medical insurance companies. NPR Illinois reporters have been breaking down those revenue-generating ideas. Today we’re looking at a potential tax on shopping bags.

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Community Voices

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PodCamp and Podcast Academy 2019

PodCamp and Podcast Academy 2019 Click to register for NPR Illinois PodCamp or for NPR Illinois Podcast Academy NPR Illinois is hosting two podcast programs in summer 2019, one aimed at middle school students and the other at high school students. These two programs are uniquely designed by NPR Illinois and Ann Strahle, associate professor in communication at UIS. Ann and NPR Illinois staff members will instruct the programs with support from college students and other public media professionals.

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On Friday, en route to Florida aboard Air Force One, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders announced that ISIS' "territorial caliphate has been eliminated in Syria."

Sanders showed reporters a before-and-after map of Syria, indicating that ISIS no longer controlled any territory.

She said acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan was on board Air Force One and briefed President Trump on the way.

We tried something new this year at the annual SXSW Music Festival. We tracked down a bunch of Latin musicians, put a microphone in front of them wherever we find them and then ask them about their music.

To do this, I needed help so I called in Alt.Latino contributors Marisa Arbona Ruiz and Catalina Maria Johnson.

The 39-year-old Springfield man accused of killing McHenry County Sheriff's Deputy Jacob Keltner pleaded not guilty in federal court in Rockford Wednesday morning. 

A federal grand jury indicted Floyd E. Brown Tuesday for Keltner's death earlier this month. Keltner was working as a member of a U.S. Marshals Service task force when he was shot and killed while trying to serve a warrant at a Rockford hotel.

It's early Friday evening, at a small municipal stadium in Bangkok. The sun is going fast, but the rally for the pro-military Palang Pracharath party is just getting started.

Candidate Watchara Kannika is on the stage, warning would-be voters to keep out the "liars" and vote for "the truth." That truth, he says, is the country's coup-leader-turned prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, who toppled an elected government five years ago.

A version of this story was first posted by member station WBUR.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Nearly four years have passed since Tame Impala's Currents, a glitter-dusted masterwork of astral rock music th

Between 1997 and 2000, a band from San Jose released two albums, an EP and a couple 7"s of slow, spacey rock, then more or less vanished. Not that the disappearing act took much effort. Duster wasn't exactly a band with a public presence, playing few shows, lending few interviews and releasing little information about its members. The members of the trio went on to play in other bands and work on other projects. In 2000, the founder of Up Records, who released Duster's music, died; operations at the label ended shortly after, and Duster's records went out of print.

In a move that appeared aimed at what some view as a growing trend of political correctness on college campuses, President Trump signed an executive order Thursday to bar federal research grants to institutions that don't "avoid creating environments that stifle competing perspectives."

Scrappers Film Group

Stateville Calling is a documentary about parole reform and its effect on aging prisoners.

The film follows 84-year-old activist Bill Ryan as he works to pass legislation reinstating parole in Illinois, which the state hasn’t had since 1978.

Screenings are taking place around the state. Reporter Dana Vollmer talked with Director Ben Kolak and Producer Yana Kunichoff ahead of a March 26 screening in Springfield.

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With Thousands Of Migrants Crossing The Border Daily, We Asked 'Why Now?'

Irsi Castillo clutches her 3-year-old daughter to her chest to shield her from the wind. They've just crossed the Rio Grande and stepped onto U.S. soil in El Paso, Texas, after traveling from Honduras. Thousands of migrants like Castillo are crossing the border every day and turning themselves in to the Border Patrol. They're fleeing poverty and violence in Central America. At the current pace, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen says, almost 100,000 migrants will cross the border...

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Analysis & commentary on the events that made news this past week in Illinois state government & politics.

Fridays 12:30-1 PM, 7:30-8 PM
Saturdays 6:30-7 AM
Reporting and analysis taking you beyond the daily news and providing a deeper understanding of our state. 

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21st century conversation for the 21st state.

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Arts & Life

A preview of Friday night's Illinois Symphony Chamber Orchestra "French Connections" concert at First Presbyterian Church in Springfield with guest violinist Clayton Penrose-Whitmore.  Yona Stamatis talked with Clayton and ISO Music Director and Conductor Ken Lam about the music to be featured - Haydn’s Queen Symphony, Chevalier de Saint-George's Violin Concerto, and Milhaud’s "The Creation of the World".

https://www.ilsymphony.org/

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Education Desk

Carter Staley / NPR Illinois

Illinois lawmakers have proposed a variety of plans to tackle the state's severe teacher shortage. This week, State Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), bundled three popular concepts into one bill.​

"These are three things that I hear almost in complete unison from teachers across the state, in small rural districts to larger districts, that in different ways impact the profession,” he told the Senate education committee.

Those three things:

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Equity & Justice

Scrappers Film Group

Stateville Calling is a documentary about parole reform and its effect on aging prisoners.

The film follows 84-year-old activist Bill Ryan as he works to pass legislation reinstating parole in Illinois, which the state hasn’t had since 1978.

Screenings are taking place around the state. Reporter Dana Vollmer talked with Director Ben Kolak and Producer Yana Kunichoff ahead of a March 26 screening in Springfield.

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Health+Harvest Desk

Jacob Torres

Spring is back in Illinois, and soon comes April showers, May flowers, and of course the bees that help those flowers grow. In recent years though, bee populations have been dwindling for largely unexplained reasons. If the trend isn’t reversed, food supply chains across the country could suffer shortages of food from apples to avocados.

But one graduate student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is out to stop that, by arming beekeepers and concerned citizens alike with data. Reporter Sam Dunklau sat down with entomology student Jacob Torres to talk about his work assembling a beehive database.


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Illinois Economy

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently signed into law an increase to the state’s minimum wage. But restaurant servers, bartenders and other workers who depend on tips, say it’s not a full victory. 

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Statehouse

Brian Mackey

Lawmakers are considering whether to ask Illinoisans to pay more for gasoline — with the money dedicated to fixing crumbling infrastructure.

A new proposal at the Statehouse would double the motor fuel tax — from the current 19 cents up to 38 cents a gallon. It would also up driver’s license and vehicle registrations fees, with the goal of raising $2 billion a year to pay for road, bridge, highway and rail improvements.

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Politics

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

For Democrats, one of the keys to winning control of the House of Representatives last year was convincing voters in formerly Republican districts that there's more than one way to be a Democrat.

Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., was one of dozens of new members who ousted Republicans, in part on a pledge to buck party leaders and work across the aisle. Spanberger spent her first three months in office following through on that promise — she voted against Nancy Pelosi for speaker of the House and split from Democrats on a number of procedural votes.

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Judge Restores Wisconsin Governor's Powers, Strikes Down GOP Laws

A judge has struck down the laws that Wisconsin Republicans passed in December's lame-duck session of the state's Legislature, restoring powers to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, if only temporarily. A county judge ruled on Thursday that all of the laws and appointments passed by legislators were unlawful because they met in what's known as an "extraordinary session," which isn't explicitly allowed under the state's constitution. Evers seized on the decision almost immediately, calling on the...

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The X from NPR Illinois - “stream-only” until new transmitter complete

On Country Music Airwaves, Female Artists Fight For Equal Play

With  Meghna Chakrabarti Women of country music are raising their voices against the old boys’ network in Nashville they say discriminates against them. Guests Beverly Keel , chair of the Department of Recording Industry at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. Longtime music journalist, critic and commentator who currently writes for The Tennesseean newspaper and Parade magazine. Co-founder of Change the Conversation , a coalition designed to help fight gender inequality in...

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NPR Illinois Classic - “STREAM-ONLY” UNTIL NEW TRANSMITTER COMPLETE

NPR Music's Best Classical Albums Of 2018

Narrowing a list to just 10 is always a painful game. This year, amid a multitude of albums, I found favorite musicians ( Víkingur Ólafsson ), newcomers (the young Aizuri Quartet) and familiar players in compelling collaborations ( Brooklyn Rider and Magos Herrera ), all offering fascinating performances of music from the baroque to the freshly minted. Think of the albums on this list as portals. They'll take you to Tsarist Russia, the New Mexico desert, 18th-century Spain, the austere...

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