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NIU Shooting Anniversary

(DeKalb, IL)  --  Five years ago today, a gunman opened fire on the campus of Northern Illinois University.  Six people were killed and 20 others injured when a man walked into a lecture hall inside and started shooting.  The gunman was a former graduate student at the university.  He turned the gun on himself before police arrived on the scene.  Governor Quinn will join families of the victims on campus today to lay a wreath in memory of each life lost.

Senate to Vote On Gay Marriage Today

(Springfield, IL)  --  Gay couples could get a sweet victory this Valentine's Day.  The State Senate is expected to pass a bill that will make it legal for the gay couples to get married.  The couples can already engage in civil unions but they say it isn't enough, they want the same rights as any heterosexual couple.   Senate leaders say they believe they have the 30 votes needed to pass the bill.

Lawmakers Want Voters To Decide On Gay Marriage Issue

(Alton, IL)  --  Gay marriage could get a vote in the Senate today but two lawmakers want voters to have the final say.  State Senator Bill Haine and Representative Dan Beiser each filed an amendment to the Illinois Constitution, which would only allow marriage to be between a man and a woman.  At least one of their proposals would have to pass in the House and Senate before it could be placed on the ballot in the next general election.  Sixty percent of the voters would then have to approve the measure in order for it to become a part of the state's Constitution.

Quinn Wishes Simon Well In Next Endeavor

(Springfield, IL)  --  Governor Quinn says he wasn't surprised by Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon's decision not to seek reelection.  He confirms that Simon told him about the decision back in December.  Simon says she plans to run for a different political office but won't confirm which one.  She says she's keeping her options open and will make an announcement soon.

Lawmakers Consider Raising Doctor's Fees

(Springfield, IL)  --  License fees for doctors appear to be heading up.  A Senate committee approved a bill that will boost fees from 300 dollars every three years to 700 dollars through June of 2018, when the fee would drop to 500 bucks.  The state would allow the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to borrow more than six and a half million dollars from the local government taxes account.  The IDFR says the money will help them hire people to process licenses for doctors.  Proponents say Illinois is losing doctors to other states because it's taking too long for them to be licensed here. 

State Gets Go Ahead To Create Health Care Exchange

(Chicago, IL)  --  Illinois has been given the go-ahead to create a health care exchange, giving hundreds of thousands of people a Marketplace to shop for health care coverage.  Everyone in the state must be insured by January 1st of next year.  Those who can't afford to purchase insurance might qualify for government assistance if they obtain coverage through the marketplace.  People can start purchases plans in October of this year.  Check out for more details.

Ed Helms To Deliver Commencement At Knox College

(Galesburg, IL)  --  Actor and comedian Ed Helms will be making a stop in Illinois this June.  He's agreed to deliver the Commencement address at Knox College.  Helms is best known for scene-stealing roles on both the big and small screen, including his work on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, his character Andy Bernard in The Office, and his role as Dr. Stu Price in The Hangover films.  Knox College President is pleased with the student's choice, calling Helm's an iconic figure with a distinctive contribution to our popular culture.  The Knox College Commencement will be held on June 8th, at 10 a.m.

IL Senator Says Drones Should Be Regulated Now

(Springfield, IL)  --  Best known for their use by the U.S. military in Afghanistan, one state senator says unmanned drone aircraft could soon be utilized to keep watch over Illinois.  Democratic Senator Daniel Biss of Evanston says because drones could soon become a new age crime-fighting tool for Illinois law enforcement, he wants to regulate their use before they get here.  Biss tells the "Sun-Times" quote, "Now is the time to lay down appropriate privacy guidelines."  Biss said because the technology is still emerging legislators have time to quote, "set a series of modest restrictions that will guard the privacy of all persons in Illinois."

Sheriffs Band Together Against Obama's Gun Bans

(Undated)  --  Sheriffs around Illinois are banding together in opposing President Obama's plan to ban assault weapons.  The Illinois Sheriff's Association -- a group that represents law enforcement officials all over the state -- says the debate over gun violence needs to focus on the real issue: mental health.  One Illinois Sheriff tells WSIL-TV banning assault weapons won't prevent tragedies like the elementary school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.  The association is pitching other ideas to reduce gun violence that include taking a harder look at violence in video games, better enforcement of existing gun laws and improved access to mental health records by law enforcement officials.

Red-Light Camera Firm Questioned Again

(Chicago, IL)  --  Controversial red-light cameras in Chicago are once again at the center of a fierce debate.  The "Tribune" says a group of city aldermen want embattled Redflex Traffic Systems to show proof that its street cameras were installed to improve traffic safety and not in a devious effort to collect money from unsuspecting drivers.  City Councilors introduced a resolution yesterday calling for hearings on specific intersections where the cameras are located and why those spots were chosen in the first place.

Elmhurst Charity Assists IL Make-A-Wish

(Springfield, IL)  --  An Elmhurst charity is kickstarting a new campaign to benefit Illinois' Make-A-Wish Foundation.  An agency called Illinois Spinal Care is running its "Year of Wishes" campaign which will offer special wellness exams in exchange for donations to Make-A-Wish.  As its name implies the "Year of Wishes" will last all yearlong.  For more information on what the campaign is all about, people can either log onto Illinoisspinalcare-dot-com or call 630-617-9790.


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