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Deficit spending continues via piecemeal budget

Another spending measure was pushed through by Senate Democrats this week in the absence of a state budget. The Monetary Award Program (MAP), which provides grants to low-income college students, would see funding of $373.3 million this fiscal year under Senate Bill 2043.

Legislation authorizing federal funds for social services signed by Governor

In the wake of the state’s budget impasse, this week the Governor signed legislation that will allow the state to distribute $5 billion in federal funds to critical social service programs.

New law enforces government transparency and accountability

Enforcing transparency and accountability in government meetings is the aim of a new law sponsored by three Senate Republican lawmakers.

Synthetic drug ban becomes law

Illinois now has one of the strictest laws on the books to combat newly-styled street drugs. This legislation was proposed in response to a rise in the use of drugs such as synthetic marijuana and bath salts in Illinois and across the country.

Rough year taking a toll on crops

Months of wet weather have taken a toll on much of the 2015 Illinois corn and soybean crops. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, only 56 percent of corn acres and 50 percent of soybean fields are rated as “good” or “excellent.”

Governor signs Righter legislation for newborn screening

Legislation requiring the Illinois Department of Public Health to provide all newborns with screening tests for the presence of adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) under a new law sponsored by State Sen. Dale Righter was signed Aug. 19 by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Lessons from Illinois, Part 1: Turmoil, uncertainty for Illinois jobs

This week, Suburban Chicago-based Hoist Liftruck, a forklift manufacturer, announced that it would be taking 300 jobs out of Illinois and into neighboring Indiana.

House Democrats play politics with $5 billion affecting in social services

Last week, the Senate took unanimous, bipartisan action to pass nearly $5 billion in federal funds for social service programs, ranging from meals for senior citizens to rehabilitation services for children with disabilities. Gov. Rauner indicated that he would quickly sign the bill, allowing federally-funded programs to continue unimpeded by the stalemate in Springfield.

Lessons from Illinois, Part 2: State losing residents, revenue

As Illinois continues to work its way through the state budget mess, and as businesses continue to leave or question their future in Illinois, families are too often left in the lurch.

Crops begin catching up

With a few weeks mostly filled with sunshine, Illinois crops are nearing their five-year progress averages.

Farmers and crops making progress

Another week of drier weather meant more time for farmers to finish up field work, and more sunshine for crops to make their own progress.

Senate approves measure to appropriate federal funds

As the state budget gridlock continues into its second month, the Senate took action Aug. 4, authorizing the appropriation of nearly $5 billion in federal funds to programs that provide meals for senior citizens and supplemental nutrition programs for women and children, help crime victims, and provide community and rehabilitation services for individuals with disabilities, among others.

Senate joins House in voting to block cost-of-living increases for state lawmakers

This week, the Senate joined the House in overwhelmingly rejecting a two percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for state lawmakers during the current fiscal year.

Childcare vaccination protection measure signed by Governor

Small children will now be further protected from exposure to contagious diseases, such as the measles.

New law seeks to help the terminally ill

Illinois’ new “Right to Try” law will give terminally-ill residents hope for the future by allowing citizens with HIV, ALS, cancer and many other serious health conditions to move forward more quickly with clinical-trial, experimental medicines and treatments.