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Former vice president Joe Biden will be making a stop in central Illinois this summer, speaking to Democrats before the State Fair in Springfield.   

Jaclyn Driscoll / NPR Illinois

Downstate Senator Sam McCann filed petition signatures on Monday to get on the fall ballot. Back in April he announced a run for governor for the newly created Conservative Party. 

Jaclyn Driscoll / NPR Illinois

The Libertarian Party filed a slate of statewide candidates on Monday, turning in more than 47,000 signatures to the Illinois State Board of Elections. That’s nearly double the required 25,000. 

Jenna Dooley

Even after the Illinois General Assembly approved legislation meant to tackle the backlog of discrimination cases before the Illinois Human Rights Commission, Gov. Bruce Rauner is putting forth his own plan.

Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

As news has centered on the plight of hundreds of families who have been separated while trying to enter the US through Mexico, concern has been raised over the ultimate destiny of about 1,500 children being held in detention centers and shelters. There are at least 66 of those children in Chicago, according to Heartland Alliance, a non-profit with nine shelters for unaccompanied minors there.

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner and black state legislators are escalating a fight that began earlier this week.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling this week means shoppers will more often be paying sales taxes for online purchases. It might also have meant a windfall for state government, but Illinois lawmakers anticipated the decision and already spent the money.

U.S. Supreme Court exterior
Brittany Hogan / flickr

A decision from the U.S. Supreme Court Thursday gives more power to states to collect taxes on Internet sales. It could be a boon to Illinois, but not as much as in other states.

Marcia O'Connor, Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Hemp has been used for centuries to make rope, fishnets, paper, car parts, fuel and much more. It’s an unruly crop. It’s skinny, it’s tall, but what has made it controversial is that it’s a derivative of the cannabis plant.

Lee V. Gaines / Illinois Newsroom

Chuck Bleyer is worried the southern Illinois school district he heads won’t be able to fill an open teacher position by the time classes start this fall.


c/o Lorin Devine

For decades, women have been battling to break through the “glass ceilings” in their chosen fields. Females whose identities include an intersection of "minority" designations face increased obstacles when it comes to advancement. To the Front is an NPR Illinois series where we talk with female and nonbinary people about the way their identity intersects with their art and work. 

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The fate of Southern Illinois University's president may be decided tomorrow at a special meeting of SIU's board of trustees, which is set to consider placing Pres. Randy Dunn on administrative leave.

This decision comes amid a heated debate about dissolving the SIU system and making its two campuses independent entities.

We asked Jennifer Fuller, who has been covering this issue for nearly two decades, to explain how SIU got to this point.

 

Rhodes: How close are we to a breakup of these two university campuses?

Jennifer Fuller: You know, it appears to be the closest that it has been.

In Illinois, somebody being paid minimum wage would have to work 99 hours a week to afford the average two-bedroom apartment. That means an individual would have to earn more than $20 an hour to be able to pay for that two-bedroom apartment.

Those statistics come from a June report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Illinois’ average cost for a two-bedroom apartment is just above $1,058 a month. Illinois’ minimum wage is $8.25 an hour

Illinois Senate Democrats

After a Chicago Tribune investigation uncovered years of sexual abuse in the city’s public schools, Illinois lawmakers are calling on school officials for answers. A hearing is scheduled Wednesday morning in Chicago.

David Jackson

A team of Chicago Tribune reporters looked into cases of sexual misconduct in the city's public schools spanning a decade. Their series 'Betrayed' tells the stories of students abused by educators or other school employees. We talked to David Jackson — one of the reporters involved — about what they uncovered. 

Dese’Rae L. Stage for Live Through This

Amid the news of high profile celebrity taking their own lives, the Centers for Disease Control reports suicide rates have gone up across the United States.  Since 1999, Illinois has seen a 23-percent increase. 

Chicago author Kelley Clink tried to kill herself when she was 16, and several years later her younger brother, Matt, died by his own hand.

Reporter Maureen McKinney talked with Clink about the ways suicide has touched her life. Clink’s memoir, published in 2015, is called A Different Kind of Same.

Statehouse exit sign
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois is losing residents, according to recent census estimates, and common explanations include high taxes, unfriendly business policies or the state’s growing pension debt.

An article from the watchdog group Better Government Association examines those claims. The BGA’s senior editor, Bob Secter, says they distract from a deeper look at demographic trends.

Carter Staley / NPR Illinois

Illinois has struggled for decades to persuade high school graduates to stay in-state for college. The recent two-year budget impasse only made things worse. Now, a group of lawmakers has a plan to reverse the trend, starting with the state’s Monetary Award Program.

Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs, via Twitter

Illinois will soon mint commemorative coins to mark the state’s 200th birthday. They're the latest in a string of products the state is offering to mark its bicentennial year.

Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs hosted a several months-long contest, challenging designers to capture Illinois’ history on a single coin face. Submissions poured in from far and wide, but they were eventually whittled down to five finalists, whose designs were then voted on by the public.

Kathryn Decker / Flickr- CC BY-SA 2.0

A measure aimed to bridge the gender wage gap was approved by the Illinois General Assembly last month. This is the second attempt by lawmakers to get a ‘no salary history’ initiative into law. Employers would no longer be able to ask someone what they previously earned during interviews.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

AFSCME, Illinois biggest laobr union representing state government employees, was in the Fourth District Appellate Court this week. It's fighting a move by the Rauner administration to declare an impasse in contract negotiations, which are three years overdue.

Senator Dick Durbin via Twitter

Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin is supporting President Donald Trump’s pick to be the next ambassador to Kenya: Illinois state Sen. Kyle McCarter. That’s despite the significant political differences between Durbin and McCarter.

Durbin says he met with McCarter this week in Washington, D.C. to discuss his Kenya nomination.

McCarter is quite conservative, and Durbin says his voting record poses “some issues.” But that isn’t stopping him from giving the Republican a thumbs up.

Charles E. Freeman
handout / Illinois Supreme Court

Thursday was the last day on the job for the first African American on the Illinois Supreme Court.

Marcus Butler of  Springfield has been unemployed since October of 2016.
Katie Buck / NPR IllINOIS

Experts blame the long-standing problem on discrimination, especially the "inadequate, inequitable'' education funding system.

AFSCME picket
Amanda Vinicky / NPR Illinois

The latest skirmish between Gov. Bruce Rauner and the AFSCME labor union took place in a Springfield courtroom Wednesday. This time it was before a panel of the Fourth District Appellate Court.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The debate continues over whether Illinois’ law allowing for taxpayer-funded abortions violates the state constitution. A trial judge dismissed the case last year but anti-abortion advocates are fighting back.  

WIkipedia commons/taken by W. Wadas

The latest employment numbers show Illinois is adding jobs, and the rate of unemployment across the state is dipping below 4 percent.

However, Jim Clifton, CEO of the research firm Gallup, says those reports can be misleading because they count people who have part-time jobs, but who would prefer full-time hours and pay.

SAM DUNKLAU / NPR ILLINOIS 91.9 FM

Immigrants' rights advocates are close to celebrating what they consider a win in Illinois, especially for domestic abuse survivors. They are hoping Gov. Bruce Rauner will sign 'The Voices Act' soon, as it passed out of the state's General Assembly during the final days of the spring legislative session.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Allegations of bullying and inappropriate comments prompted the resignation of the top aide to House Speaker Michael Madigan. Tim Mapes had been the speaker's chief of staff since the late 1990s, and was also executive director of the Democratic Party of Illinois.

Meanwhile, Gov. Bruce Rauner signing a full-year budget into law, a first for the incumbent Republican, who's in his fourth year as governor.

Last year NPR Illinois toured the state in partnership with NPR member stations to hear how the two-year state budget impasse impacted communities in Illinois. The adoption of a budget provided some clarity for those affected but many challenges remain. 

This year, we aim to seek solutions to many of the fiscal problems that persist and discuss the prominent issues in the 2018 elections. 

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