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.
CHICAGO (AP) - Up and down the state, Illinois voters are electing mayors, highway commissioners and filling school boards and fire protection districts.
Tuesday's turnout is expected to be low. And it won't be helped by rain in some parts of Illinois or by the many races in which candidates are running unopposed. Still, a number of communities do have real contests, including West Chicago, where three candidates are running for mayor.
The race to replace former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has received the most attention in the Chicago area.
Voters in some places will be asked to do more than elect candidates, including Tazewell, Woodford, Marshall and Fulton Counties, where voters will decide if they want to add a 1 percent sales tax to fund school facilities improvements.
CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn says he's confident same-sex marriage will become law in Illinois.
Quinn told reporters in Chicago on Monday that supporters are "very close" to the votes needed in the state House to pass legislation that grants same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples.
The Illinois Senate already approved it. But getting the 60 votes needed in the House is proving harder. Quinn didn't suggest a current vote count, but he said "we're going to get it done."
The Chicago Democrat says he's reached out personally to ask legislators to support the measure.
If the bill does become law, it would make Illinois the 10th state to allow same-sex marriage. The state approved civil unions in 2011.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - State auditors say the Illinois Department of Natural Resources didn't employ enough mine-safety inspectors the past two years to comply with state law.
An Illinois Auditor General's report released Thursday says the department had 10 inspectors for more than 40 mines. The state Coal Mining Act calls for at least 16 inspectors.
A spokesman for the department was not immediately available to comment on the audit.
Phil Smith is a spokesman for the United Mineworkers of America. He said many of the state and federal agencies responsible for mine safety lack the money to do their jobs.
The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration says one miner died on the job in Illinois over those two years. Another miner died this year.
MELROSE PARK, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn says the focus of his upcoming trip to Mexico is jobs and increasing trade and Illinois tourism.
The Chicago Democrat departs tomorrow for the three-day trip. He'll be the first Illinois governor to visit Mexico in 13 years.
His meetings will focus on water treatment and technology in Mexico for Illinois companies.
He'll also meet with Mexico's secretary of agriculture, mayors and state governors.
Quinn told reporters Tuesday that Illinois and Mexico have many ties and it's important to strengthen them.
The delegation will include representatives from Motorola Solutions, GSG Consultants and Elan Technologies.
Quinn says he's paying his own way for the trip through his campaign fund.
BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - A southwestern Illinois jury has acquitted one of four people who had been accused in the 2011 stabbing death of a Georgia man.
The Belleville News-Democrat reports that 39-year-old Christopher Mays of Caseyville was found not guilty Wednesday of first-degree murder and felony murder.
Authorities say 38-year-old Melvin Gregory moved to the area from Conyers, Ga., to live with his girlfriend. After those two got into an altercation that involved Mays and two other defendants, Gregory's body was found in August 2011 on the side of a road by horseback riders near Cahokia.
The three other defendants have pleaded not guilty and await trial.