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ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn says he'll decide on a concealed carry bill in a "very reasonable period of time" as the state faces a court-mandated deadline next month.

Lawmakers have sent the Chicago Democrat a bill that outlines rules for who can carry.

Illinois had the nation's last ban on concealed weapons in public. But a federal appeals court ruled it unconstitutional. Lawmakers have until July 9 to comply.

Twenty-three Senate Democrats sent Quinn a letter last week urging him to make his intentions known soon. They're worried they won't have enough time to figure out next steps if he vetoes the bill.

Quinn told reporters Tuesday that it's a very complex and long bill and he wants a thorough review.

Several counties are refusing to uphold the state's ban.

Published in Local News

MONTICELLO, Ill. (AP) — The roster is growing of counties where prosecutors won't charge people with breaking the state's law banning concealed weapons.

The Decatur Herald and Review reports that Piatt County State's Attorney Dana Rhoades says she is through prosecuting because a federal court has deemed the state's law unconstitutional. And in Macon County, the paper reports that State's Attorney Jay Scott says people with valid concealed carry permits from another state will be allowed to have concealed weapons in the county.

Prosecutors in other counties, including Madison, Peoria, Randolph, Tazewell and White counties have already said they won't enforce the law. It's a clear signal of the growing impatience with Governor Pat Quinn, who has not yet signed a concealed carry bill that state lawmakers approved last month.

Published in Local News

   SPRINGFIELD, IL (AP) - Doctors providing primary care in Illinois can get higher Medicaid reimbursement rates through the end of 2014.

   Illinois officials are reminding doctors to sign up online for the higher rates, which are expected to increase by an average of 93 percent. If doctors sign up by June 30 they can get reimbursed at the higher rate retroactively to the beginning of this year.

   Julie Hamos is director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. She says the temporary raise should help increase doctors' participation in Medicaid.

   That's important because thousands of uninsured Illinois residents will be newly eligible for Medicaid in 2014.

   The pay increase for primary care was authorized by the Affordable Care Act.

 

Published in Local News

The jobless rates in Missouri and Illinois are moving in opposite directions.

Despite adding 4,600 jobs in May, Missouri's rate climbed to 6.8 percent from 6.6 percent in April. For the first time in several months, the government sector added jobs.

In Illinois, the unemployment rate fell in May to 9.1 percent. It was the second straight monthly drop after a series of increases earlier this year. State officials says that May's decrease was due in part to gains in construction employment.

Illinois' jobless rate still remains much higher than the 7.6 nationwide unemployment rate for May that was reported earlier this month.

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Published in Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois lawmakers have convened a special session in Springfield, where they're expected to move ahead with plans to form a committee to deal with pensions.

Moving to committee requires a vote by both the House and Senate.

Gov. Pat Quinn met separately with Democratic and Republican legislative leaders Wednesday morning.

Republican House Leader Tom Cross says the governor wants to move ahead quickly so pension reform can be voted on by early July in another special session.

House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton each would get three appointees to the 10-member committee. Cross and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (rah-DOH'-nyoh) each would get two.

Illinois' $97 billion unfunded pension liability is the worst in the nation.

 

Published in Local News

Alton, Illinois police are reminding residents, do not bring concealed weapons to this weekend's Block Party.

Despite the Madison County State's Attorney issuing new guidelines on conceal carry this week, the police will arrest anyone found with a concealed weapon. State's Attorney Tom Gibbons agreed with this weekend's prohibition. New rules from Gibbons stated that people in Madison County can have a loaded gun in their car or person if they have a firearm owner's ID card.

But, that is not the case for this weekend's event.

Published in Local News

CHICAGO (AP) - If Illinois becomes the 19th state to legalize medical marijuana, experts say there may be scores of legal questions for businesses.

Crain's Chicago Business reports the bill that was approved by lawmakers in Springfield is prompting questions from observers.

The measure, which is awaiting Gov. Pat Quinn's signature, is being billed as the strictest in the nation. It's not clear if Quinn will sign it.

The measure's sponsor says there'd be minimal impact on employers with a zero-tolerance drug policy.

But critics say there could be legal issues related to hiring and firing workers who test positive for the drug or show up to work while they're impaired.

 

Published in Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A 140-year-old Illinois prison housing the state's toughest criminals could one day be home to a modern and ecologically friendly power-generator.

The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises Newspapers in Illinois reported Friday that Department of Corrections officials are studying whether Menard Correctional Center in southwestern Illinois could be run by waste products from other prisons.

Officials say wood, paper and food waste could be burned to generate about 10 percent of the power used at Menard, a 3,600-inmate prison built in the 1870s that's located about 60 miles southeast of St. Louis.

Jen Aholt is the CEO of Illinois Correctional Industries. She says the industries division could turn the refuse into dried, burnable pellets and transport them to Menard.

Published in Local News

   Illinois Governor Pat Quinn wants lawmakers to return to Springfield later this month, but some legislators aren't sure why.  

   Quinn released a statement Thursday criticizing lawmakers for failing to address the state's nearly 100-billion dollar pension shortfall and calling a special session which begins June 19th. The announcement follows news that Moody's Investors Service is lowering Illinois' credit rating.  But a spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan says he believes the special session is to deal with guns, not pensions.

   Quinn is currently considering conceal-carry legislation that was passed last week.  Quinn hasn't said if he'll sign the plan. If he vetoes it, lawmakers could override the veto.

Published in Local News

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) - Concealed carry legislation is pending before the Illinois governor but the state's attorney in Madison County says citizens can start carrying weapons immediately.

Madison County State's Attorney Tom Gibbons said Thursday that "it serves no just purpose" to deny citizens the ability to carry weapons. The Illinois Legislature passed concealed-carry legislation during its recent session under order by a federal appeals court, which ruled the state's ban unconstitutional. That legislation is awaiting action by Gov. Pat Quinn, who hasn't said if he will sign it or not.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports that Gibbons says people can carry a concealed weapon in his county as long as they meet seven requirements. Those requirements include possessing a valid Firearm Owner's Identification Card. Citizens also must be carrying the weapon for self-defense.

 
Published in Local News

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