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Anti-Defamation League

Hate crimes rose by 30 percent in Illinois in 2018, according to a recently released FBI report.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

After four decades in the legislature, Senate President John Cullerton announced he'll retire in January. Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot spent a day lobbying in the Capitol, but came away empty handed. And lawmakers approved measures intended to improve the fiscal future of police and fire department pensions.

NPR Illinois

Several media and legal organizations spoke out at a University of Illinois Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday, saying university policy is impeding reporting on sexual assault at the school.

In August, an NPR Illinois and ProPublica investigation found the university had protected multiple professors accused of sexual harassment. Reporters reviewed a total of seven cases.

Travis Stansel / Illinois Public Media

In the midst of #MeToo movement and several high-profile sexual misconduct cases involving its own faculty, the University of Illinois is announcing recently released recommendations that would change how the university handles cases of sexual harassment and misconduct. Recommendations include prohibiting confidentiality agreements that keep findings of misconduct secret, and a system for tracking and disclosing findings of misconduct on a "need-to-know" basis.

This week, we hear about a community once known as a "sundown town" because African Americans were warned to be out of the city limits by nightfall.  It can be difficult for towns to shake that history.  We hear from a reporter who spent time in one to see if things have improved today. 

A northern Illinois man shares his story of getting to know German POW's who were kept in the state during World War II.  

And we learn about a camp for kids with type 1 diabetes.  That and more on this episode of Statewide.

Rodney Davis speaking at the Illinois State Fair in August 2019
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

With the impeachment investigation moving into a more public phase this week, members of Congress are calibrating their responses.

Rodney Davis’ 13th District includes wide swaths of rural, central Illinois, where President Trump is popular. But is also includes college towns filled with Democratic voters, and Davis was re-elected by a slim margin last year.

It’s against that backdrop that Davis has traveled from being a Trump objector — to a Trump supporter.

Blue Room Stream

Illinois lawmakers Wednesday advanced a plan to pool more than 650 downstate and suburban police and fire pension funds. Passing the measure out of both chambers by week’s end is a top priority for Governor J.B. Pritzker.

Pritzker’s office has been arguing for weeks that combining all of those funds would make more money for retired police and firefighters, while cutting fees and reducing the need to raise local property taxes.

Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois

Teachers and educational support personnel in the Springfield School District approved a new two-year contract last night by a vote of 422 to 150.The package includes annual 3 percent raises for teachers and 4.75 percent for support personnel over each of the two years of the contract.

Christine Sanders, a teacher assistant at the Early Learning Center and a member of the bargaining team, said there's a reason support personnel got a higher percentage raise.

Dick Durbin
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says he’ll try again this week to pass legislation that would permanently resolve the immigration status of the young immigrants known as “dreamers.”

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot leaves the Press Room in the Illinois Statehouse on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019.
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

After spending Tuesday lobbying in the state Capitol, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says she’s optimistic lawmakers will go along with her changes for a proposed Chicago casino. Otherwise she says there could be negative consequences for the entire state.

Stuart Rankin / via Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

The Illinois Senate approved a move Tuesday that would allow Illinois to stay on daylight saving time permanently.

Sally Deng, special to ProPublica

Tuesday, November 19, 6 - 8 p.m.

Main Library, Room 66

University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

T. Christian Miller, a Pulitzer-winning journalist and editor with ProPublica, will moderate a discussion about issues of sexual harassment at UIUC, especially sexual misconduct perpetrated by faculty and staff.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

University of Illinois at Springfield students are pushing for more dialogue around racism on and off campus.

This is after photos of two UIS employees dressed up in Halloween costumes depicting a U.S. border patrol agent arresting a man wearing a sombrero were shared on Facebook.

Some argue the issue of racism is deeply rooted in the Springfield community.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

The second and final week of the Illinois legislature’s fall veto session begins Tuesday. State lawmakers will have just three days to get a number of proposals — big and small — over as many legislative hurdles as possible.


McConchie in office
Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois

Illinois has more than 850 school districts, and most of those stop at 8th grade, or serve only high school students. State Sen. Dan McConchie (R-Lake Zurich), has proposed legislation that would give such districts three years to merge to become “unit” districts — the kind that serve all grades.

“I actually have a K-8 district that feeds more than one high school district,” he says. “And some of the experts that I’ve talked to, when I tell them that, they just look at me kind of incredulously and say, ‘How do they even establish a curriculum appropriately?’ ”

Illinois Capitol Development Board

Final construction work on the long-awaited Chicago Veterans Home is on schedule, and a state official says the facility will be fully operational by next summer.


REVIEW - Doctor Sleep

Nov 11, 2019
Warner Bros. Pictures

In 2012, filmmaker Rodney Ascher waded into the fever swamps of cinema obsession in the documentary Room 237, an exhaustive deep dive into the myriad of suspected secret messages in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Those who were anxious to lap up that film’s fan-brewed fantasies will hate Mike Flanagan’s semi-sequel to Kubrick’s film, Doctor Sleep (heretofore Sleep). That’s a shame, because director Mike Flanagan has managed to adapt Stephen King’s novel that pays tribute to both artistic titans while creating something all his own.

Pat Nabong special to ProPublica

The ACLU of Illinois, press freedom groups and victims’ rights advocates urged the university to alter a policy that requires reporters to tell campus officials about sources’ sexual harassment complaints.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Democrats and Republicans are calling for an ethics crackdown in the wake of now-former state Rep. Luis Arroyo being charged with bribery.

Tim Shelley/WCBU

This week marks 30 years since the Berlin Wall came down.  In Illinois, there are two locations where pieces of the wall are on public display.  

You can see a chunk of the wall at a Chicago CTA station.  Or in a more relaxed setting in a peace garden at Eureka College in Woodford County.  The college is the alma mater of President Ronald Reagan, who gave the famous directive to Soviet Leader Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.”

Carter Staley / NPR Illinois

If a school resource officer wants to question a student about a criminal act, they first have to notify the student's parents. That's according to a new law implemented at the beginning of this school year.

But State Representative Stephanie Kifowit (D-Oswego), says at least one district has already created a workaround. 

"The resource officer's dog, a K-9 unit, was walking through the parking lot and alerted on a student's car. The student got questioned with the resource officer present. They looked at the car, there was nothing there,” Kifowit says. “And the parent was never notified of this questioning until the student came home upset."

More than 2,000 state employees report to work at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago's Loop.  But the building, constructed in the early 1980's, has a host of problems.  Repairs will be costly.  The State of Illinois is moving forward in an effort to sell the facility, which some say is an architectural gem.  We look at the pros and cons of the Thompson Center on this epsiode. 

Also, the tragic story of young women who suffered radiation poisoning working at an Illinois factory. That and more on Statewide.

A coalition of 26 advocacy organizations sent a letter to Gov. J.B. Pritzker this week asking him to order the Illinois Department of Corrections to immediately improve its treatment of a suicidal transgender inmate. 

Janiah Monroe, who is isolated in a medical unit, is in danger of committing suicide because of the departments’ refusal recognize her as a woman and its denial of her request to provide surgery to treat gender dysphoria, according to the letter. She's one of five transgender women who have a lawsuit pending against IDOC.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has a bill on his desk that would end the practice of suspending driver’s licenses for most non-moving violations, like unpaid parking tickets.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Gambling has expanded throughout Illinois as the state struggles to catch up with its budget deficit. The lure of additional revenue brought support from local governments, businesses and unions. But not everyone is a fan, as some argue it takes advantage of the vulnerable among us.

One woman has spent the last two decades fighting against state-sanctioned gambling.

ACE Universe

It’s easy to see why people would gravitate towards ACE Comic Con. Didn’t get your convention fill this year? Trying to meet that one last celebrity? Tired of waiting for hours to go to that panel only to be turned away due to max capacity? ACE is the place to be - billed as a family and fan first experience, as well as something different than the typical convention.

via Illinois Department of Central Management Services

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker says he’s "furious" about the behavior of state lawmakers ensnared in federal probes this year. Now he’s calling for changes in the way lobbyists disclose their finances.

Tom Irwin & John Arden, used with permission

Springfield singer-songwriter Tom Irwin and playwright John Arden are bringing their production about the life and times of a Sangamon County teenager back for another run.

Two people in business attire ascending on an escalator.
Alex Proimos / Flickr.com/proimos (cc by-nc 2.0)

A new report from the Illinois General Assembly suggests concerns about the economy might be overblown.

Carter Staley / NPR Illinois

Springfield teachers are headed back to the bargaining table after their union, the Springfield Education Association, voted last night to reject the latest proposal from School District 186. Although the district made an offer that included raises, only 300 union members voted to accept the contract, while 448 voted against. 

Larry Hale, a member of SEA’s bargaining team, said they're asking the school board for more than just money.

"I was in there counting votes. The number one issue is safety and security. We've had several talks with them, but there's no teeth to what they tell us that they're going to do and all they are are talks," he said. 

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