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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois Senate has approved a measure that would create a state-governed "insurance exchange" so individuals and small businesses can shop for health care coverage as required by President Obama's health law.

Lawmakers voted Thursday 37-19 to send the House a bill establishing the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace.

The exchange will guide people through the purchase of health and dental plans. It will also help qualified businesses enroll employees in health insurance plans.

The Affordable Care Act requires that nearly all Americans have health insurance beginning in 2014 or pay a penalty. New marketplaces are scheduled to be operating by October.

Illinois will begin an exchange this year through a federal partnership. Gov. Pat Quinn hopes to establish a state-run marketplace for 2015.

 

Published in Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois legislation allowing public possession of concealed guns has passed the House Judiciary Committee. It was a compromise backed by Speaker Michael Madigan.

The measure was endorsed Thursday 13-3 and goes to the full House Friday. It comes two weeks before a June 9 deadline set by a federal appeals court for Illinois to abandon its prohibition on the public possession of weapons.

The legislation would require the Illinois State Police to issue concealed carry permits to qualified gun owners. It's patterned on a bill introduced by gun-rights advocate Rep. Brandon Phelps, a southern Illinois Democrat.

But Madigan's version significantly adds places that would be off limits to guns. Those include mass transit - a must for violence-weary Chicago Democrats.

 
Published in Local News

   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Legislation increasing the speed limit on interstate highways in Illinois to 70 mph is headed to Gov. Pat Quinn.

   The House approved the bill 85-30 Wednesday. The current maximum speed limit is 65 mph.

   Sponsoring Rep. Jerry Costello II says the bill is good for business. The Smithton Democrat says it will allow companies to move their wares more quickly.

   Gov. Pat Quinn's Transportation Department opposes the increase. But spokeswoman Brooke Anderson says Quinn will review the bill.

   House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie says studies show increased speeds result in more crashes and deaths.

   But a Jacksonville Republican Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer says motorists heading south avoid Illinois, meaning fewer stops for fuel and food.

 
Published in Local News

BELLEVILLE, Ill. -- AP —Police in Belleville say they’re investigating reports that female students at a Catholic high school secretly were videotaped by one of the school’s sports teams.

Police Chief William Clay Jr. isn’t discussing publicly details of the case involving the several Althoff Catholic High School females who may have been videotaped.

He says the investigation involves a possible violation of state law barring unauthorized video recording in a restroom or locker room.

Clay says the school’s staff did their own investigation of the matter before notifying police May 3.

St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly says a special prosecutor has been assigned to the case at his request because of a conflict in his office.

 

Published in Local News

 SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The longtime promoter of expanding Illinois gambling has taken his name from a bill over "perceived conflict of interest" with his law firm.

In a statement released Tuesday, Democratic Rep. Lou Lang says there've been no violations, but not only is his name off the gambling bill, he may not vote when it comes to the House floor.

Lang is counsel for Odelson and Sterk, an Evergreen Park firm hired by Rockford. The city is one of five that would get a casino if lawmakers approve pending legislation. Rockford officials have said there's no connection.

Lang says his actions have been respectful of laws and ethical rules. He declined to comment Tuesday beyond the statement.

Democrat Rep. Robert Rita is now the gambling bill's sponsor.

Published in Local News

Springfield, IL - AP - Gov. Pat Quinn says Illinois has a chance to make history before the end of the legislative session this month on the issues of pension reform and same-sex marriage.

The Chicago Democrat says he wants lawmakers to approve an overhaul of the state's nearly $100 billion pension crisis by the end of the month and send it to his desk. Lawmakers also have a proposal on the table that would make Illinois the 13th state to legalize gay marriage.

 

Published in Local News
Monday, 20 May 2013 12:06

UPDATE: Five dead after I-70 crash

UPDATE: Five people are dead following a single-vehicle accident on I-70 near Vandalia, IL.

The Vandalia Leader-Union reports the fatalities. Police say a van drove off the highway and flipped over. There were at least 14 passengers on board. Some of the people sustained serious injuries and are on their way to St. Louis hospitals.

Emergency crews have closed eastbound 70 near the accident.

Published in Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Medical marijuana use in Illinois is now in Gov. Pat Quinn's hands after the state Senate approved legislation.

Lawmakers voted 35-21 Friday to send the measure to Quinn for final approval. Quinn hasn't signaled whether he will sign it into law.

The proposal allows physicians to prescribe marijuana to patients with specific terminal illnesses or debilitating medical conditions. Cancer, multiple sclerosis and HIV are among the 33 illnesses listed in the bill.

The measure gives a framework for a four-year pilot program that includes requiring patients and caregivers to undergo background checks.

Supporters say marijuana can relieve continual pain without triggering the detrimental side effects of other prescription drugs. Opponents say the program could encourage the recreational use of marijuana especially among teenagers.

Published in Local News

Several schools just north of Alton, Illinois were placed on lockdown today.

Officials with the Southwestern Community School District #9 sent a letter to parents last night telling them that they discovered a possible threat to students. There was an increased police presence at several schools and backpacks, large bags, and coats were not allowed on the campuses today.

Schools that saw heightened security included Southwestern Middle School, Southwestern High School, Brighton North Elementary, Brighton West Elementary, Medora Elementary and Shipman Elementary.

 

Published in Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois concealed carry legislation that requires special permission to have a gun in Chicago is scheduled for a Senate committee vote.

The Senate Executive Committee will hear Sen. Kwame Raoul's proposal to comply with a federal appeals court ruling. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in December that Illinois' ban on concealed carry is unconstitutional and gave lawmakers until June 9 to rectify the problem.

Raoul's measure would allow gun owners to apply to the Illinois State Police for a permit. They would need training and to clear a background check.

But those wanting to carry a gun in Chicago would also need permission from city police. The National Rifle Association opposes such an "endorsement."

 

Published in Local News

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