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   WASHINGTON, DC (AP) - U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin wants Illinois police departments to use a federal firearms tracing system that can tell investigators the chain of custody of a gun from the manufacturer to the first legal purchaser.

   Durbin says fewer than half of Illinois' more than 800 police departments use the eTrace program of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He said Monday he will be introducing legislation creating an incentive for police to use eTrace.

   The legislation would require police departments seeking federal COPS grants to tell the federal government how many crime guns they've recovered. They would have to report how many were submitted to ATF for tracing and why any recovered guns were not submitted.

   COPS grants are designed to encourage the development of community policing programs.

 
Published in Local News

CHICAGO (AP) - Former White House chief of staff Bill Daley is calling on Gov. Pat Quinn to bring the state's legislative leaders together for around-the-clock talks to resolve the state's $97 billion pension shortfall.

At a news conference on Monday, Daley urged Quinn to get more aggressive in trying to solve the worst-in-the-nation crisis by bringing legislative leaders to the governor's mansion in Springfield to negotiate until they reach some kind of deal.

Daley has formed an exploratory committee as he considers running against Quinn in next spring's Democratic primary.

Daley says the governor is wasting time and dismissed Quinn's suspension of lawmakers' pay until they come up with a solution to the crisis as a gimmick that may even be unconstitutional.

Published in Local News

   CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn has signed into law new rules for tethering a dog outside.

   Quinn says the legislation ensures dogs are treated humanely.

   The Illinois Democrat says dogs bring unconditional love and comfort to their owners' lives and become "part of our families." He says the new law makes sure "our pets receive the same love and care they give us."

   The measure requires the leash used to tether a dog to be at least 10 feet long and to not exceed one-eighth of a dog's body weight. It also says people who don't provide sufficient food, water, shelter and veterinary care could be subject to up to six months imprisonment.

   The legislation was sponsored by Rep. Dan Burke, a Chicago Democrat, and Sen. Linda Holmes, a Democrat from Aurora.

Published in Local News

   CHICAGO (AP) - A pair of new Illinois laws will fund diabetes research and track economic costs of the disease.

   Gov. Pat Quinn signed the bills Thursday at a conference organized by the University of Chicago Medicine's Kovler Diabetes Center.

   One measure creates a special license plate. Just over half of the $40 cost of the plate will go to the Diabetes Research Checkoff Fund.

   House minority leader Tom Cross sponsored the bill. He hopes the license plate will serve as a "moving billboard" for diabetes awareness.

   The second bill requires the Illinois State Diabetes Commission to report regularly on the economic and social costs of diabetes and efforts to prevent the disease.

   The laws take effect Jan. 1.

   The Illinois Department of Public Health says about 800,000 state residents have diabetes.

 
Published in Health & Fitness

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - The state of Illinois is amplifying its argument that a federal judge reject a push by gun-rights advocates who want to be allowed to publicly carry firearms immediately, rather than waiting months under Illinois' new concealed carry law.

Under the law passed last week, Illinois State Police have about six months to set up a concealed-carry program before accepting applications. Police then have 90 days to process the forms.

Gun-rights advocate Mary Shepard and the Illinois State Rifle Association say that's unconstitutionally too long and want an East St. Louis U.S. District Judge to allow immediate concealed carry.

But Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office argued in a filing Thursday that Shepard needs to file a new complaint spelling out why the law's time allowances are unreasonable.

 

Published in Local News

CHICAGO (AP) - The unemployment rate in Illinois increased slightly in June while manufacturers and local governments cut more jobs than they added.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security says Thursday that unemployment increased to 9.2 percent last month. That was up from 9.1 percent in May. June's figure ended two months of decreasing unemployment.

Employers around the state added a net 5,400 non-farm jobs for the month. And department Director Jay Rowell says the net 9,000 jobs added by private-sector employers is an encouraging sign that they're optimistic about the future.

Meanwhile, manufacturers cut a net 1,600 jobs for the month. Illinois' manufacturing had been one of the state's strongest employment sectors until recent months.

Construction firms added 5,400 jobs in June.

 

Published in Local News

   WASHINGTON (AP) - More than a decade ago, then-state Sen. Barack Obama helped pass a racial profiling bill in Illinois. Now that effort is offering clues about how America's first black president feels about an issue still polarizing the U.S. months after Trayvon Martin's death.

   Obama has said little about the acquittal of George Zimmerman, who was charged with killing the black teenager in Florida. Obama says the jury has spoken, but wants the nation to seek ways to prevent future tragedies.

   In 2003, Obama passed a bill requiring police to keep track of the race, age and gender of drivers they pulled over. The records could then be analyzed for bias.

   Obama has written about his own experiences with profiling, including being pulled over, in his words, "for no apparent reason."

 
Published in National News

CHICAGO (AP) - The decision by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to seek re-election and not run for governor has created a ripple effect among Illinois Democrats weighing 2014 bids.

State Sen. Kwame Raoul had been considering running for attorney general if Madigan didn't seek re-election. He says now that he's not sure if he'll seek another office instead or run for re-election.

The Chicago lawmaker says he first has to deal with Illinois' biggest financial problem. Raoul chairs a panel charged with addressing the state's nearly $100 billion pension crisis.

Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon had also been considering a run for attorney general, along with other statewide offices.

Campaign manager Dave Mellet says Simon will make a decision soon. He says state comptroller is among the offices she's eyeing.

 

Published in Local News

PARK RIDGE, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois state senator wants to add churches to the list of places where concealed guns wouldn't be allowed.

Park Ridge Democrat Dan Kotowski says he doesn't agree with a provision in the state's new concealed-carry law that allows guns in churches, temples or mosques. He filed an amendment to the law Monday and says he'll push for its approval.

Illinois was the last state in the nation to approve concealed-carry legislation this month.

Kotowski is a former gun control lobbyist.

He's one of a number of lawmakers seeking changes to the gun bill, although lawmakers voted to override changes that Gov. Pat Quinn proposed last week to meet a federal court deadline.

Several other states, including Nebraska, South Carolina and North Dakota, prohibit carrying concealed guns in churches.

 

Published in Local News

   EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - The state of Illinois is asking a federal court to reject a push by gun-rights advocates to let the state's residents start publicly toting weapons as soon as next week, rather than waiting months for implementation of a new concealed carry law.

   Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office asked a judge Thursday to throw out the request filed in East St. Louis by Mary Shepard. She filed the injunction a day after lawmakers lifted the last-in-the-nation ban. The state argues Shepard needs to file a new complaint instead of a motion seeking an emergency hearing from a judge.

   No hearing has been scheduled.

   Shepard says an unconstitutional ban on packing pistols remains because it will be as long as nine months before the first carry permits are approved in Illinois.

   

Published in Local News

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