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   WASHINGTON, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn says he's received a phone call from President Barack Obama after fatal storms hit Obama's home state.

   Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said Monday that Quinn received the call on his cellphone while touring damage in the central Illinois community of Washington.  The community was among the hardest hit. The White House confirmed the call, saying Obama relayed concern and expressed gratitude for the responders.

   Quinn gave Obama an update on the damage, relief efforts and emergency response. Quinn was with Washington Mayor Gary Manier, who also spoke to Obama.

   Authorities say six people died in Sunday's storms when tornadoes flattened homes and caused severe damage. So far seven counties have been declared state disaster areas.

Published in Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn's administration wants lawmakers to approve $221 million in extra funds to spend this fiscal year. The request comes on top of the $35 billion budget the Legislature approved in May.

The Springfield Bureau of Lee Enterprises reports that a draft of the request includes $112 million to pay back wages owed to 25,000 state workers.

Another $40.5 million was requested for the Illinois Department of Corrections and $31 million for the Department of Human Services and state police to help implement the state's new concealed carry law. The state's Emergency Management Agency wants $6 million to help cover April flooding.

Lawmakers heard some spending requests during the fall session that began last week but have yet to vote on them.

 

Published in Local News

WHEELING, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn says he's not discouraged that lawmakers came away from two days of their fall veto session without tackling any of the major issues on their agenda.

The Chicago Democrat says the days were valuable for discussion to "lay a foundation" on the state's pension crisis and same-sex marriage.

However, neither issue came up for a vote before lawmakers left town.

They'll be back next month. Quinn says that'll be the time to take votes.

A bipartisan panel has been tasked with coming up with a solution to Illinois' nearly $100 billion pension problem, but the panel has been stalled on a plan that would save an estimated $138 billion.

Meanwhile, advocates and opponents of legalizing same-sex marriage both held rallies this week in Springfield.

 

Published in Local News

   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

   CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn says he's pleased the Illinois Supreme Court has agreed to hear his appeal of a ruling that found his veto of lawmakers' pay unconstitutional.

   The court issued its one-page order Wednesday. A hearing date has not been set.

   Quinn halted lawmakers' salaries in July.  He said they shouldn't get paid until they addressed Illinois' nearly $100 billion pension crisis.

   House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton then sued, arguing Quinn didn't have the authority to halt lawmaker paychecks.

   A Cook County judge in September ordered that legislators be paid immediately.

   Quinn appealed directly to the state's high court, saying his move was allowed through the state constitution.

   Quinn's spokeswoman says the governor will continue to not accept his own paycheck until pension reform is achieved.

 
Published in Local News

   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.

 

Published in Local News

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.

 
Published in Local News

   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.

 

Published in Local News

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.

 

Published in Local News

CHICAGO (AP) - A budget director for Gov. Pat Quinn says if the federal government shutdown proceeds, Illinois employees paid by federal funds could face temporary layoffs as early as Wednesday.

The budget office had no estimates Monday for how many employees would be affected.

Abdon Pallasch is Quinn's assistant budget director. In a statement, he says that the timing of the layoffs would depend on existing resources and individual agencies. Agencies that could be affected include Illinois Emergency Management Agency, Veterans Affairs and Military Affairs.

During the last shutdown in 1995, about 1,200 Illinois employees were temporarily laid off. They were hired back after two weeks.

Pallasch says most state agencies have sufficient funds to provide services in the short term, but a longer term shutdown would have a greater impact.

 

Published in Local News
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