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Pensions Up For Debate Today

(Springfield, IL)  --  Pension reform is the topic of the day in the Illinois House.  State reps will debate several amendments aimed at drafting a bill that both Democrats and Republicans can support.  The state's pension system is in dire need of repair.  It's eating up about 20-perecent of the budget and leaders say vital services like education and public safety are suffering because of it. 

Quinn, Lawmakers Differ On Budget Projections

(Springfield, IL)  --  Governor Quinn has given his budget proposal and now it's time for lawmakers to get to work.  They'll have the final say on how the state the money next year.  Governor Quinn thinks the state will have about 35-point-six billion dollars to spend, but state reps think it'll be about half-a-billion less than that.  They say the final budget will more than likely fall under Quinn's projected amount.

Medical Marijuana Proposal Advances In House

(Springfield, IL) --  Good news for people struggling with MS, cancer, and other terminal illnesses.  Lawmakers are considering a plan that would let them use marijuana to ease their pain.  It would allow some sick people to purchase two-and-a-half ounces of marijuana every two weeks.  Anyone who tries to purchase more than the legal amount would face criminal charges. The bill passed a House committee and now heads to the floor.

New Gaming Bill Moving In Springfield

(Springfield, IL)  --  A new gaming bill is moving in the state senate.  Lawmakers rushed to get the bill on the books after Quinn mentioned he was more open to the idea.  The bill would add five new casinos across the state, allow slots at race tracks, and create a new online gambling system.  Supporters say the money from gambling would go toward education, which Quinn says will take a 400-million dollar funding cut next year.

Pinckneyville Correctional Center On Lockdown

(Pinckneyville, IL)  --  Inmates are on lockdown at the Pinckneyville Correctional Center.  AFSCME Regional Director Eddie Caumiant [[ Caw-me-awnt ]] confirms multiple prisoners were involved in a gang fight yesterday.  He says the fight points to the ever-growing problem of overcrowding within the prison system.   A DOC spokesperson says no one was injured in the brawl.

FBI Executes Search Warrant At NIU

(DeKalb, IL)  --  The FBI is looking into possible misconduct at NIU.  They executed a search warrant at the university police department yesterday and removed several boxes.  Officials would not provide specific details about what they were looking for, but they say it involves the Illinois State Police, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  The FBI says they'll release more details if and when any arrests are made.

Husband Accused Of Valentine's Day Murder

(Peoria, IL)  --  A Peoria man is accused of shooting and killing his wife on Valentine's Day.  Police say they believe Nathan Leuthold committed the crime then tampered with the scene to make it look like robbery.  Police say he's always been a suspect but they needed to build up evidence in order to make an arrest.  Luethold was taken into custody yesterday morning, which left the couple's three kids in the care of DCFS.

Quinn Calls Budget Most Difficult In IL History

(Undated)  --  Governor Quinn is calling his proposed budget yesterday the most difficult in Illinois history.  Quinn's proposed operating budget of 35-point-six-billion dollars suggests huge cuts to education.  Most of the revenue proposed in the budget would be consumed by the 930-million dollar increase in pension costs.

Bill Proposes New Casinos

(Springfield, IL)  --  Five new casinos in Illinois could be a reality thanks to a bill under proposal.  A Senate committee approved S-B 1739 yesterday that would authorize casinos in Chicago, Danville, Rockford, Lake County and in Chicago's south suburbs.  The bill now heads to the full Senate.

Prisons Set Up Temporary Housing

(Undated)  --  Temporary housing is being set up at several minimum security prisons in Illinois.  The six prisons include Vandalia and Centralia correctional centers.  The housing is being established as the state moves inmates between prison facilities.

IL Witnesses College Tuition Jump

(Undated)  --  A new report says Illinois is among the states witnessing a major jump in the cost of college tuition.  The "Wall Street Journal" found that tuition and fees at the University of Illinois leapt nearly 50-percent between 2006 and 2012.  U-I-C saw a 43-percent increase for in-state students during the same time period.  The report attributes the increases on reduced state funding for universities.


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