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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn's administration says the statewide average workers' compensation rate has dropped 4.5 percent.

Officials say the figure set by a national rating agency continues a downward trend that has saved Illinois employers $315 million in insurance premium costs since 2011.

The National Council on Compensation Insurance issued the figure Monday. Insurance companies often use the number to figure workers' compensation premiums.

James Stephens is deputy director of the Department of Insurance. He says the drop reflects an overall 13.3 percent decrease in the rate in the last three years.

Quinn's office says the decrease is because of a money-saving workers' compensation reform package the Democratic governor signed into law in 2011.

The rate changes take effect Jan. 1 if the Insurance Department accepts them.

Published in Local News
Monday, 19 August 2013 02:03

Gov. signs in tougher new IL gun laws

   CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois gun owners who fail to report the theft or loss of a weapon will face tougher restrictions under a new law signed by Gov. Pat Quinn.

   The law beefs up background checks and requires firearm thefts or losses to be reported within 72 hours.

   Quinn signed the bill Sunday at a South Side Chicago park where police officer was fatally shot in 2010. The Chicago Democrat says the restrictions are common sense and will help crack down on crime.

   Democrats State Sen. Kwame Raoul and state Rep. Mike Zalewski sponsored the bill.  It's also supported by Chicago Police Chief Garry McCarthy.

   The requirement to report thefts goes into effect immediately. The background check changes start next year.

 

 
Published in Local News
Thursday, 15 August 2013 16:42

Illinois unemployment rate creeps up again

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The unemployment rate rose slightly in Illinois in July, according to preliminary data from the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

State officials say Thursday that Illinois' unemployment rate inched to 9.2 percent last month. That's up from an adjusted 9.1 percent in June. The figure was 9 percent in July 2012.

Employers around the state added a net 6,600 non-farm jobs in July. Overall, the private sector added 7,100 positions.

Meanwhile, manufacturers cut a net 900 jobs in July. Illinois' manufacturing had been one of the state's strongest employment sectors until recent months.

Construction firms added 1,600 jobs in July while the education and health services sector cut 3,600.

Nationally, the unemployment rate was 7.4 percent in July 2013, although the state's figure is often higher than the national one.

 

Published in Local News

CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation that bans tanning in Illinois for anyone under age 18.

Quinn signed the measure on Thursday, saying he wants to spare families "serious and preventable" health problems.

Its supporters include 51-year-old Donna Moncivaiz of Beach Park. Moncivaiz is a former tanner who suffers from late-stage melanoma. She testified at a Senate committee hearing in support of the ban. Her daughter had an early-stage melanoma removed from her hip.

Tanning industry advocates say a ban is bad for small businesses. They say parents, not the government, should decide if children can use tanning equipment.

The American Academy of Dermatology says about 8 percent of those who tan indoors in the U.S. every year are teens.

Chicago and Springfield already ban teen tanning.

Published in Local News
Thursday, 15 August 2013 14:16

Gov. Quinn signs electronic cigarette bill

CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation that prohibits the use of electronic cigarettes in Illinois by anyone under age 18.

Quinn signed the measure on Thursday. The new law applies to electronic cigarettes and other alternative nicotine products. Electronic cigarettes don't contain tobacco, but do contain nicotine which is the addictive substance that makes smoking difficult to quit.

State Sen. John Mulroe of Chicago is the bill sponsor. He says governments ban minors from buying other forms of nicotine and electronic cigarettes should be no exception. Mulroe says the new law helps the government "keep up with the advancements" in the ways nicotine is being sold.

The law takes effect Jan. 1.

 

Published in Local News

   CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn has until Saturday to act on legislation that would ban indoor tanning in Illinois for anyone younger than age 18.

   The General Assembly sent Quinn the legislation in June. Its supporters include 51 year old Donna Moncivaiz of Beach Park. Moncivaiz is a former tanner who suffers from late-stage melanoma. She testified at a Senate committee hearing in support of the ban. Her daughter had an early-stage melanoma removed from her hip.

   Tanning industry advocates say a ban is bad for small businesses. They say parents, not the government, should decide if children can use tanning equipment.

   The American Academy of Dermatology says about 8 percent of those who tan indoors in the U.S. every year are teens.

   Chicago and Springfield already ban teen tanning.

 
Published in Health & Fitness

Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill that will close a loophole in sex offender rules.

The law will ban convicted sex offenders from playgrounds of recreation areas in private buildings. That means offenders will not be able to set foot in play areas like those found in McDonalds restaurants.

Published in Local News

GRANITE CITY, Ill. (AP) -- Authorities issued charges against an East St. Louis man for the death of a Cahokia man who was found in an Illinois state park lake on Sunday.

Scott L Thompson, 42, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder for the death of 20-year-old Dakota Jones.

Illinois State Police say Jones’ body was found Sunday morning in the water near a boat launch ramp at Horseshoe Lake State Park near Pontoon Beach.

Authorities say Jones died of blunt force trauma, and evidence at the scene indicates the case was a homicide.

Illinois State Police Capt. Jim Morrissey says Jones had been dead less than 24 hours when his body was found.

Thompson was taken into custody on Sunday and remains in police custody with no bond.

 

Published in Local News

CAVE-IN-ROCK, Ill. (AP) - Authorities have identified the 24-year-old man who died at an annual southern Illinois outdoor music festival.

The Hardin County coroner says the cause of death for Cory Collins of Harrisburg is pending the results of toxicology tests. 

The Southern Illinoisan reports Hardin was found dead at the Hog Rock campground during the Gathering of the Juggalos. That's a weekend festival based around the band Insane Clown Posse.

Hardin County Coroner Jessica Cullum says her office received a call about the death on Friday. Illinois State Police are investigating.

The festival that runs through Sunday is expected to draw about 10,000 people.

The event in past years has resulted in unrest, including in 2011 when one attendee drowned while trying to swim in the Ohio River.

 

Published in Local News
Saturday, 10 August 2013 08:02

Sentencing delaying in corruption trial

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — A federal judge has again delayed the sentencing of a former Madison County treasurer to allow him to continue cooperating with a federal corruption investigation.

U.S. District Judge David Herndon on Friday delayed Fred Bathon's sentencing from August 30th until December 6th. Earlier this year the judge delayed Bathon's sentencing from May until August.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports Bathon's attorney filed a motion requesting the delay. Prosecutors didn't object.

Bathon pleaded guilty in February to rigging 2005-2008 tax lien auctions so that his political donors profited from inflated penalties paid by property owners.

Bathon could receive a prison sentence of between 31 and 40 months, though his sentence could be reduced because of his cooperation with investigators.

Published in Local News

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