SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn has issued an emergency declaration following the flooding and severe weather affecting areas across Illinois.
Quinn issued the declaration yesterday. The action will allow the state to access federal resources including generators, pump systems sandbags and additional funds. The declaration is a step below a disaster emergency declaration.
Quinn says the American Red Cross has opened two shelters in north central Illinois. One is in Oglesby and another in Roanoke.
Earlier yesterday, Quinn initiated the State Incident Response Center to monitor flooding and severe weather in portions of Illinois and help coordinate assistance local authorities may need.
The governor is encouraging people affected by the weather to go online for real time updates on the storms.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois House has defeated a proposal allowing the carrying of concealed guns in public.
The vote of 64-45 in favor of the bill failed because it needed 71 votes. A super-majority was necessary because the law would preempt the home-rule powers of several cities.
The legislation sponsored by Democratic Rep. Brandon Phelps of Harrisburg would have required authorities to issue concealed-carry permits to anyone who passed background checks.
Phelps used a legislative procedure that will allow him to recall the bill later for another vote.
Illinois is the only state in the nation that prohibits possessing guns in public. A federal appeals court in December ruled the law unconstitutional and gave Illinois until June to adopt a new law.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Rep. Lou Lang says he is thankful on behalf of patients in the state for the Illinois House approval of a measure authorizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
Lawmakers voted 61-57 Wednesday to allow physicians to prescribe marijuana to patients with specific terminal illnesses or debilitating medical conditions.
The Skokie Democrat is the sponsor of the legislation. He says the bill's regulations make it the strictest in the nation. He says those regulations were key to putting the bill "across the goal line."
The legislation sets a 2.5 ounce limit per patient per purchase. The measure calls for 60 state-regulated dispensaries where patients could buy the drug.
Lang says he looks forward to a "strong" vote in the Senate.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Gov. Rick Perry is heading to Illinois to recruit businesses to relocate to Texas.
The former presidential candidate made the announcement Wednesday, after purchasing $42,000 in radio advertising in the Chicago area. Perry calls Texas' business-friendly. The ad is paid for by Texas One, a public-private marketing firm using private money.
His office says Perry will spend one night in Chicago from April 22-23 meeting with business leaders in the biotechnology and financial industries. He will also speak at the 2013 BIO International Convention.
Perry says he wants to "spur competition between states and recruit jobs and employees to Texas." He frequently travels to blue states with big Republican donors, including California, to recruit businesses to Texas.
Perry has also said he is considering running for president again in 2016.
Metro-east police continue to search for an armed man who held up the National Bank in Alhambra Tuesday afternoon.
The Madison County Sheriff's office reports that the bandit walked in the front door of the bank with a handgun and demanded cash from an employee. The robber took the cash, and then fled on foot.
Authorities locked now the near-by Alhambra Elementary School as a precaution while they searched for the suspect.
He's still at large.
CHICAGO (AP) - Nearly 250 physicians are calling on Illinois lawmakers to legalize the use of marijuana for patients with serious illnesses.
Three physicians spoke during a news conference Tuesday. They say marijuana can be a safer and more effective treatment than narcotics for patients with diseases such as cancer and HIV.
The Illinois House is expected to vote Wednesday on a bill that would create a medical marijuana pilot program. It would allow physicians who have an existing relationship with a patient to prescribe marijuana for certain conditions. Patients would be limited to buying 2.5 ounces at a time from dispensaries regulated by the state.
Julie Falco of Chicago uses marijuana to treat multiple sclerosis symptoms. Falco says she and other patients shouldn't be considered criminals for trying to ease their suffering.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan raised more than $800,000 in political funds compared to $565,000 for Gov. Pat Quinn in the first three months of the year.
Madigan is a potential Democratic primary challenger to Quinn. Madigan says she has not yet decided whether to take on the governor next spring.
Campaign finance reports filed with the state Elections Board show Madigan spent $77,000 during the first quarter and had $4.4 million in the bank on April 1. Quinn spent $119,000 and had $1.5 million on hand.
Among possible Republican candidates, businessman Bruce Rauner's (ROW'-nerz) exploratory committee raised more than $1 million and already has taken in $91,000 in large donations since April 1.
GOP Treasurer Dan Rutherford (ROO'-ther-ferd) raised $300,000 and had $740,000 in the bank.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn says it's "good news" for Illinois that the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to stay out of the gun debate in New York.
The justices declined Monday to hear a challenge to a strict New York law making it difficult to get a license to carry a concealed handgun in public.
In Illinois, lawmakers are crafting guidelines for concealed carry after a federal appeals court said Illinois' concealed carry ban was unconstitutional. Lawmakers have until early June to come up with a law.
Quinn wants Madigan to appeal to the Supreme Court. She's said she'll see what lawmakers do and hasn't decided yet.
New York has some of the strictest gun laws in the country and Quinn says it's a model for other states.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Officials say the Illinois Department of Human Services staff is so lean that caseworkers can devote only 45 minutes a year to some families in need of social services.
Human Services Secretary Michelle Saddler told lawmakers today that the agency needs more money to hire employees. Some have caseloads of 2,600.
Votes are still being counted in some metro-east elections.
Some of the race results are in: Edwardsville has chosen a new mayor. Hal Patton defeated Barb Stamer in that race. Patton will replace Mayor Gary Niebur, who's led the city since 1992. Mark Eckert will remain Mayor of Belleville, having beaten Jospeph Hayden and Phillip Elmore.
Other contests are still up in the air: In Alton, Mayor Tom Hoechst could possibly lose his seat to write-in candidate Brant Walker but county Clerk Debra Ming-Mendoza said final numbers probably won't be available until Wednesday.
A property tax increase aimed at preventing the sort of cuts made in other districts has failed in O'Fallon. Supporters had asked residents to approve a temporary tax to cover the gap until the state of Illinois paid its share of funding. The tax would have generated about $3 million dollars a year, but it was soundly defeated with 65-percent of voters saying no.
Voter turn out was low, as expected, in most polling places in Tuesday's Consolidated Elections. The Belleville News-Democrat reports that turnout ranged from 13 percent in East St. Louis, to 21 percent in Belleville.