Veterans in Illinois will some be able to use their experience as military medics to become licensed practical nurses or emergency medical technicians. That's because the state was one of six chosen by the National Governors Association to participate in the "Veterans Licensing and Certification Demonstration Policy Academy."
Governor Pat Quinn on Monday announced Illinois' participation in the program that eases licensing requirements for medics and helps ex-military police officers transition to civilian police forces.
The other state chosen to participate include Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nevada and Virginia.
CHICAGO (AP) — Shoppers in Illinois and other states were unable to use their food stamp debit cards because of an outage at the vendor that processes the payments on Saturday.
Xerox Corporation said Saturday night that access to food stamp systems has been restored in 17 states that were affected by a temporary outage.
People in Ohio, Michigan and Texas were unable to use food stamp debit-style cards for hours on Saturday. Xerox said a routine test of backup systems resulted in a temporary system failure.
Xerox Spokeswoman Jennifer Wasmer said in an email that it took time to restore the system and make sure it was fully functional.
CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn slashed lawmakers' salaries because he wasn't happy with their inaction on Illinois' pension crisis. But these days the only elected official working without pay is Quinn himself.
A judge told the Chicago Democrat it's unconstitutional to hold back legislators' salaries. But Quinn also gave up his own paycheck and still vows not to collect it until the pension crisis is solved. So three checks totaling about $44,000 await Quinn at the state comptroller's office.
Some Republicans challenging Quinn's 2014 re-election bid call it a populist stunt. But his supporters say he's as frugal as he's always boasted and is probably faring just fine.
But things could get tight for him if the committee charged with proposing a solution to the pension crisis doesn't come through soon.
Drivers in Madison County should allow extra time for their travels Saturday if they use Interstate 270.
Starting at 5:30 AM, all westbound lanes of I-270 will be closed between Interstate 55/70 and Illinois Rte. 157. Crews will be replacing a damaged beam in the Meridian Road Bridge.
A detour is marked directing drivers to use I-55/70 west to I-255 north.
Transportation officials say the interstate should reopen by 9 PM Saturday.
CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn's budget office says most state workers whose salaries are paid by federal money are back on the job, but more layoffs could come if the federal shutdown continues.
Roughly 100 workers were issued temporary layoffs last week, including employees with the Department of Military Affairs, the Illinois Department of Employment Security and Labor Department.
Quinn's budget office says temporary layoffs for more than 70 employees expired Wednesday. The U.S. House has approved back pay for some workers.
More than three dozen workers are still off the job, including Labor employees who conduct work site safety inspections. More state layoffs could be issued next week.
Quinn has sent U.S. House Speaker John Boehner a letter, urging the shutdown's end and predicting hundreds more layoffs if the shutdown continues.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois' top Democratic legislative leaders are asking the Illinois Supreme Court to reject Gov. Pat Quinn's appeal of a lawsuit over legislative pay.
Quinn halted lawmakers' pay in July until pension reform was achieved. A Cook County Circuit Court judge ruled last month that the move was unconstitutional and ordered lawmakers to be sent back pay, with interest. An appeal is being reviewed by the state Supreme Court.
House Speaker Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton dispute Quinn's argument that the Illinois constitution only bans mid-term increases in pay.Illinois' unfunded pension liability is close to $100 billion, due largely to lawmakers shorting or skipping payments. A committee of lawmakers has been working on one possible reform package that could save $138 billion over 30 years.
CHICAGO (AP) — More than 150,000 people have visited a state website to learn if they qualify for Medicaid or to buy health insurance on a new online marketplace.
The marketplaces are a key part of President Barack Obama's signature health care law, which were launched Tuesday.
Kelly Sullivan is a spokeswoman for Illinois' site, Get Covered Illinois.
She said as of Friday, about 12,000 people have submitted applications for Medicaid after completing an online screening tool.
But glitches continue on the federal site where Illinoisans may comparison shop for insurance. The government has said it's working to address the problems.
Sullivan says the state is working on educating residents about the health care law and will step up advertising once the federal site can handle increased demand.
FREEPORT, Ill. (AP) - Hundreds of people across Illinois have been registered as concealed-carry instructors. One of them is a reserve deputy with the Stephenson County sheriff's office.
Rena Kerchner formed the company Cloaked Carry LLC. She tells The Journal-Standard in Freeport that she wants to teach residents to be concealed-carry certified before Illinois launches its program next year.
Illinois approved a law in July allowing the public possession of a concealed firearm. Anyone who wants to carry a weapon first must complete 16 hours of training from a state-approved instructor. Those instructors must use the state's training curriculum. Illinois is the last state in the U.S. to allow concealed carry.
As of Thursday more than 850 instructors had been established across Illinois.
CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn says he plans to talk to the Legislature about making sure state police have enough resources at their disposal to deal with a backlog of applications for gun ownership.
The Illinois State Police continues to struggle with a backlog of applications for gun ownership. So it remains to be seen how they can handle an influx of requests for permits to carry concealed weapons.
The department has 49,000 applications for Firearm Owners Identification cards awaiting approval.
Police estimate there will be 400,000 applications for "carry" permits in the first year.
Quinn says he wants to make sure police are able to do their jobs.
In July Illinois became the last state in the nation to allow residents to carry concealed weapons.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Companies that want to perform high-volume oil and gas drilling in Illinois may begin registering with the state.
But it will be several months before companies may apply for a permit to use the drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking."
Gov. Pat Quinn signed a law regulating fracking in July. It created a two-step permit application process that requires companies to first register with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
IDNR won't accept applications for drilling permits until a legislative committee approves rules. Spokesman Chris McCloud says that process - which will include public hearings - will take months.
Fracking uses high-pressure mixtures of water, chemicals and sand to crack rock formations deep underground to release oil and gas.
Opponents fear it will pollute and deplete water resources.