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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - An expansion of Medicaid under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul could increase Illinois' unpaid bills.

The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports that the expansion would also force the state to take even longer to pay its existing $9 billion in backlogged bills.

Medicaid is the government health program for the poor and disabled. The General Assembly is considering approving a federally subsidized expansion of the program. Estimates show that about 342,000 additional Illinois residents could become eligible under the planned expansion.

The federal government would fully fund the first three years of the expansion. It would then incrementally drop the funding.

The Illinois Senate in February approved a measure authorizing the enrollment increase. Officials expect the House to vote on the issue by May 31.

 

Published in Local News

CHICAGO (AP) - State Treasurer Dan Rutherford says Texas Gov. Rick Perry has a point in picking out Illinois' financial problems, but Illinois businesses should stay put.

Perry is in Chicago to try and lure Illinois companies to Texas. He wants competition between the states and says Texas is a better place for companies. The Republican former presidential candidate is meeting with companies and speaking at a bioscience conference. He's made a similar trip to California.

But Illinois Republicans aren't so thrilled by the trip.

Rutherford is a Republican and considering a 2014 run for governor.  He says Perry's attempt to poach businesses should "sound an alarm to state leaders."

He says Illinois has the factors it needs for a good business climate, but it should address its nearly $100 billion pension problem.

Published in Local News
Saturday, 20 April 2013 07:22

Illinois gun bill would exempt Chicago

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A key Illinois senator says legislation allowing public gun possession will carve out an exception for Chicago.

Republican Senator Tim Bivins says the measure he and Democratic Senator Kwame Raoul negotiated would allow Cook County authorities to deny a concealed carry permit even if an applicant passes the required background checks.

The former county sheriff from Dixon says the rest of the state would be governed by a so-called "shall issue" law — anyone meeting requirements would get a carry permit.

Bivins says the bill is being written. He says it's not ideal but gun-rights advocates have to compromise.

A federal court has ordered Illinois to adopt a concealed carry law by June 9th.

A statewide "shall issue" bill failed Thursday in the House.

Published in Local News

   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.

 
Published in Local News
Friday, 19 April 2013 02:37

Concealed carry fails in Illinois House

   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.

 

Published in Local News

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.

Published in Local News

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.

Published in Local News

   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.  

Published in Local News

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.

Published in Local News

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.

 

Published in Local News

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