>>Quinn Still Pushing For Pension Reform
(Chicago, IL) -- Governor Quinn says it’s about time the conference committee reached a deal on pension reform. He says the 100-billion-dollar liability continues to hold the state back from starting vital projects, like building roads, bridges, and rails systems. Quinn says his staff is in contact with members of the committee every day, offering ideas and providing feedback on the concepts that come up for discussion. He says he’d like the conference committee to reach a deal before lawmakers head back to veto session next month.
>>More Teens Using E-Cigarettes
(Undated) -- Teenagers are using e-cigarettes at more than twice the rate they were just a couple years ago. The CDC reports one in ten high school students have tried the electronic smokes. Experts believe teens that are already experimenting with e-cigarettes are more likely to actually start smoking. Illinois is taking steps to reverse the trend, though. Governor Quinn signed a new law which bans anyone under 18 from buying the e-cigarettes. That law takes effect January 1st.
>>Nearly Two-Million Will Qualify For ACA Aid
(Bloomington, IL) -- There’s less than a month left before people can start enrolling for healthcare under the Affordable Care Act. About one-point-seven-million people in Illinois will likely qualify for help paying their premiums. Experts say young adults will make up a good chunk of those who receive benefits. But, individuals making up to 46-thousand dollars and a family of four bringing in about 94-thousand may be eligible for aid. Come January 1st, everyone in the nation will be required to carry health insurance.
>>Pundits Take Notice Of Chicago Gun Crimes
(Chicago, IL) -- Chicago gun violence is getting national attention, once again. Satirical pundit Stephen Colbert recently compared the chemical weapons crisis in Syria to gun violence on the streets of Chicago. Former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, compares the city’s streets to the battlefields of Iraq. A new documentary actually highlights gang members calling their neighborhoods war zones, and they’ve even coined the term “Chiraq,” describing the gang infested areas of the city. About 250 people have been killed by gun violence this year.
>>Tourism Reaches All-Time High In Illinois
(Springfield, IL) -- Illinois’ tourism industry is at an all-time high. Governor Quinn says a record 101-million people visited the state last year, and they brought their wallets with them. The tourists generated about 33-and-a-half-billion-dollars for the state’s economy.
>>Capitol Renovations To Cost $50M
(Springfield, IL) -- The renovations at the Illinois State Capitol are rattling the critics. The "Chicago Tribune" says a host of renovations to the Springfield landmark including new historically correct fixtures come with a price tag of nearly 50-million-dollars. Critics like Democratic Representative Jack Franks of Marengo say the state simply can't afford such extravagances right now.
>>IL Has One Of Highest Rates Of Convictions
(Springfield, IL) -- Illinois has a lot of room to improve when it comes to corruption. According to the "Most Corrupt States" survey in "Business Insider" Illinois' four convictions per 100-thousand places 16th nationally. That's also well below number-one Louisiana's nine convictions per 100-thousand.
>>DuPage Co. Chairman Pics Cronin For Metra Board
(Chicago, IL) -- The DuPage County Chairman makes a new selection to the Metra board. Dan Cronin has reportedly appointed former County Board member John Zediker to fill the empty seat. Zediker's confirmation is Tuesday.
>>IL Layoffs Total 600 In August
(Undated) -- Newly-released data says 600 Illinois workers were laid-off during the month of August. Nearly 200 layoffs alone were felt at Booklet Binding's Carols Stream location. Several Illinois firms are warning workers about imminent layoffs including C-T-S Automotive in Carol Stream, Daco in North Aurora; Thermtrol MGI Global in Cary and Oxbow Midwest Calcining in Lemont.
>>Almost All Of Iowa Either Abnormally Dry Or In Drought
(Washington, DC) -- Nearly all of Iowa is now either abnormally dry or in drought. The latest report from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows 32-percent of Iowa is in "severe drought," up ten-percent from last week. While up from last week, it's a marked improvement from last year at this time, when all of the state was in the severe category, and over 58-percent of Iowa was in "extreme drought."