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Quinn to Deliver Budget Address Today

(Springfield, IL)  --  Kids in Illinois are paying the price for lawmakers' failure to reform the state's pension system.  That's according to Governor Quinn's team, which says rising pension costs are crowding out funding for other vital areas of government.  Quinn plans to suggest a 400-million dollar cut to education in his budget address today, with less money being spent on each student across the state.   Quinn's Budget Director says it wasn't easy to make the cuts, but with pension costs reaching more than six billion dollars next year, they had no choice.

State Retirees To Start Paying Own Healthcare Premiums

(Springfield, IL)  --  The state plans to save about 900-million dollars in group health insurance costs over the next three years.  The new contract with the AFSCME union will require state retirees to pay their own healthcare premiums.  Each person's out of pocket costs will be calculated based on their ability to pay.  The new policy will take effect July 1st, that's if the union ratifies the tentative deal they struck with the state last week.

House Opens Debate On Assault Weapons Ban

(Springfield, IL)  --  Lawmakers are moving forward with their plan to ban assault weapons.  State reps opened up the discussion in a floor debate yesterday, crafting a bill by voting yea or nay on amendments to a bill that could eventually become law.  Chicago lawmakers want to ban guns like Uzi's, Beretta AR-70's, Tec-9's, Glock 19's, and assault rifles with detachable magazines.  But state Rep Bandon Phelps calls it an attack on hunters and sports enthusiasts because it will ban quote, "just about every type of gun there is." Not one of the amendments added to the bill yesterday got 60 votes, which is how much the bill will need to pass.

State Leaders Want Polling Places Out Of Schools

(Springfield, IL)  --  Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka is backing a plan that would keep polling places out of schools.  She says opening the doors to the public gives a potential shooter direct access to innocent students.  She's working with several lawmakers to get a bill through the general assembly.  It would require governments to find alternative polling places.  Topinka wants to see a new law on the books by the time voters head to the polls next year.

Drew Peterson Could Lose Pension

(Bolingbrook, IL)  --  The Bolingbrook Police Department is looking to strip Drew Peterson of his pension.  They've hired an outside attorney to help them make the decision.  According to the "Chicago Tribune," the attorney will review trial transcripts and determine if Peterson used his law enforcement power or skills to drown his third wife back in 2004.  Peterson stands to get about 79-thousand dollars a year in retirement cash.  He would be granted a public hearing before the pension is revoked.

Senior Citizen Job Fair Coming To Quincy

(Quincy, IL)  --  The downturn in the economy is forcing many senior citizens out of retirement.  And now, the Quincy Senior and Family Resource Center is making their job search easier.  They're hosting a job fair for senior citizens tomorrow from 9a.m. until 11a.m.  More than 20 employers will be on hand to help the seniors find either part-time or full time work.  The fair will open up to the public from 11a.m. until 1p.m.

Snowstorm Packs A Wallop

(Chicago, IL)  --  The Windy City is digging out from its worst snowstorm in two years.  Over nine inches blanketed Chicagoland -- the most since the Groundhog Day blizzard of 2011.  Out at O'Hare International yesterday the official snowfall total was nine-point-two-inches.  That brings the 2013 total to just under 30-inches.

Residents Want Prep Academy

(Springfield, IL)  --  Springfield community members say a college-preparatory should stay open.  Parents told the school board yesterday they don't want Capitol College Prep closed.  A compromise vote that would have kept the academy open recently failed.

Great Cleanup Event Coming Soon To IL

(Undated)  --  Illinois volunteers are readying for the Great American Cleanup this April.  Participants collect litter from all over their communities.  Volunteers with businesses and civic groups are encouraged to apply by April 19th.

Oil Magnate Dies

(Fairfield, IL)  --  An Illinois oil magnate is dead.  Bernard Podolsky died this week at a southern-Illinois hospital.  The 97-year-old is remembered as an environmentalist, philanthropist and leader in conservation.  He also ran the Podolsky Charitable Trust.  That offered Wayne County high-school seniors a chance to go to Washington D.C.


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