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   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Thousands of disappointed Illinois residents are expected at the state Capitol to rally for same-sex marriage.

   Organizers say several thousand people are expected to take part in the "March on Springfield" -a grassroots effort to urge the passage of same-sex marriage legislation in Illinois.

   The Illinois Senate approved the measure last February, but the measure has stalled in the House. Speaker Michael Madigan has said about a dozen votes are still needed.

   The event will begin with a noon concert followed by a rally at 1 p.m. and a 2:30 p.m. March. Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin and Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn are participating in the event. The governor says he will sign legislation if passed by the General Assembly.

   Currently 13 states and the District of Columbia allow gay marriage.

 

 
Published in Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The $50 million renovation of the Illinois Capitol building includes three copper-covered wooden doorways that cost $669,608.

State officials released the price tag for the doors Wednesday in response to media inquiries more than a week ago. They had first said the cost could not be itemized.

Capitol architect J. Richard Alsop III says materials and fabrication made up $535,808 of the cost and installation and engineering make up the rest.

Alsop says the doors give the building a "desired and appropriate historical fabric." A spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan explained the cost by noting that the building is a national landmark.

The $50 million project is being paid for with construction bonds. It includes replacement of heating and air-conditioning and bringing the building up to current safety codes.

 

Published in Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Panhandlers are suing Illinois' capital city for allegedly violating their First Amendment rights to free speech by stopping them from asking for money.

The suit filed this week in federal court in Springfield says police wrongly tell panhandlers it's illegal to panhandle. If they don't leave an area, the suit says the panhandlers are sometimes arrested.

The lawsuit cites one plaintiff as making less than $25 a day panhandling with a sign reading, "Please Help Out Any Way U Can." It claims the 52-year-old has been arrested for panhandling.

Similar lawsuits have been filed across Illinois, including in Chicago.

The Springfield suit seeks unspecified damages and asks that a city law prohibiting "vocal appeals" for "immediate donations" be declared unconstitutional.

Springfield's city spokesman didn't immediately return messages seeking comment.

Published in Local News
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Dozens of environmentalists and land owners are meeting with lawmakers in Springfield hoping to persuade them to temporarily ban high-volume oil and gas drilling in Illinois.

Opponents of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," held a rally and lobbied Illinois legislators Tuesday. They're hoping to win support for a two-year moratorium on the practice instead of regulations that would allow it.

Fracking opponents say they were ignored during negotiations over a regulatory bill, which proponents say would give Illinois the nation's toughest regulations.

Protesters say they fear the water around their southern Illinois homes could be polluted by the practice.

Fracking uses high-pressure mixtures of water, sand or gravel and chemicals to crack rock formations to release oil and natural gas.
Published in Local News

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