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Downstate Illinois

Head of Council’s Black Caucus, pastors tell Justice Burke they want diversity — not another white judge — on bench

The 28th Ward alderman and church leaders are crying foul after Burke recommended Cara Smith, the chief policy advisor to the Cook County sheriff, to fill a vacancy left by a retiring African American judge.

Springfield meteorologist who criticized TV station’s ‘Code Red’ weather alerts fired

A spokesman for Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns the station, confirmed Joe Crain’s firing.

TV station drops ‘Code Red’ weather alerts after on-air clash with meteorologist

The popular meteorologist’s absence from the air had prompted an advertising boycott, social media protests and a complaint from a U.S. senator.

House clears budget, gambling measure that includes adding Chicago casino

After two days of shaky behind-the-scenes negotiations, House lawmakers left Springfield having passed a comprehensive spending and capital plan. The Illinois Senate plans to return for bill action on Sunday and must still approve the gambling measure.

Six in 10 Illinoisans want recreational pot treated ‘just like alcohol,’ poll shows

The poll comes with less than two weeks to go before the end of the legislative session — and two weeks after an anti-legalization poll showed different results.

DCFS review: Information lacking, investigators and case managers not in sync

The review evaluated the state's Intact Family Services. About 85% of those cases are handled by private companies, with the rest by the state.

After troopers killed, Pritzker pushes bills to protect ‘our heroes’ on roadway

A question about Scott's Law would also be included in a written question on the driver's license test, should the legislation pass.

Transgender inmate sues for transfer to female Illinois prison

An anonymous inmate named "Tay Tay" alleges that the Illinois Department of Corrections has failed to keep her safe at downstate men's facility.

Senate leader: Lightfoot wants to do her homework on elected school board bill

Parents groups and incoming aldermen on Monday urged passage of a measure that would enact an elected school board in Chicago.

Fact-check: Democrat blowing smoke with claim of decreased teen marijuana use

Cassidy sent us an email promising an aide would "share the studies out of Colorado," but nothing arrived as of our deadline.

FBI investigating engagement ring given to ex-Gov. Pat Quinn’s press secretary

The FBI is trying to determine who paid for the ring former Pat Quinn press secretary Brooke Anderson got from her husband Lou Bertuca, the ex-governor’s 2014 campaign manager.

Poll: Support for legal pot thinning

Illinois residents might not be all that high on legalizing recreational marijuana.

Lightfoot cool to Peotone airport: Midway, O’Hare ‘1st priority’

That’s not a yes but also not a hard no, giving her ally, Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., space to see whether she can resurrect the long dormant project.

Uber, Lyft drivers protest outside City Hall, globally ahead of Uber’s IPO

The drivers demanded an increase in their pay; a cap on the number of drivers allowed in the city; better safety; and more financial accountability.

Transgender inmate seeks clemency — cites retaliation after reporting abuse

"Our understanding of this is that that the governor could make this happen tomorrow if he wanted to," said Sheila Bedi, one of Hampton's lawyers.

Springfield pension shocker! … Some ‘good news’

"This is good news arriving at a good time," Cullerton spokesman John Patterson said.

‘Disturbing’ DCFS audit shows spike in child abuse cases, swamped caseworkers

Gov. J.B. Pritzker's office called the report a "disturbing illustration," while the newly appointed head of DCFS said it showed "serious lapses."

‘Black and brown’ leaders: ‘We can do more together than we can do apart’

"[The issues] are identical except black people are in Cook County Jail, and Latinos are in detention centers," state Rep. Emanuel "Chris" Welch said.

Madigan: Parts of legal pot bill ‘very controversial’ — passage ‘not guaranteed’

Madigan said the decision process for which businesses will receive new licenses would affect the vote as well.

Medical marijuana growers see budding opportunity in legalizing recreational pot

A medical marijuana cultivation center in Elk Grove Village is financially banking on the state legalizing recreational marijuana.

Pritzker’s character seen as fair game in new TV ad opposing his tax plan

The new TV ad questions why the state should trust a billionaire governor to enact a "fair tax" if he's under federal investigation.

No degree? Fed’s study says Chicago is a tough place to work

In Chicago and other areas with plenty of college graduates, there’s evidence employers make that a prerequisite even for jobs that don’t need it.

Fact-check: Downstate Republican wrong about wage hike costing 50,000 jobs

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, show Illinois added — rather than lost — roughly 48,000 jobs overall in 2007.

Pols to Pritzker: Clear third airport for takeoff

"The time has come to finally build the South Suburban Airport, so Illinois can reclaim its aviation pre-eminence," the letter reads.

State Rep. Steven Reick arrested on downstate DUI charge

State Rep. Steven E. Reick was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol in Springfield, authorities said.

Target date to legally buy marijuana is Jan. 1, but details of bill still hazy

Rep. Kelly Cassidy said she hopes the bill would be approved by the General Assembly by the end of May.

Illinois’ Medicaid backlog leaves more than 100,000 without health coverage

Tens of thousands in Illinois are waiting months for health care because of state backlog in determining who’s eligible for Medicaid.

Husband remembers state trooper killed in crash: ‘so much more’ than a cop

"The cop in her was her job," he said. "This is what she loved, and the animals is what she loved. I wanted that story told.

‘Stairway to Heaven’ longer than Senate debate before historic tax vote

The Illinois Senate on Wednesday took the first major steps in advancing a graduated income tax package on strictly partisan lines.

Legal hemp to sprout in Illinois this summer, could become $1B industry: gov

Illinois accepting applications to farm industrial hemp, which was criminalized nationally in 1937.

Senate Democrats advance own income tax plan — and Pritzker says that’s fair

While the Senate plan is not final, Pritzker’s office released a statement in support of the committee process Tuesday.

Spring break ending, legislators go to pot, gambling, Pritzker’s budget

Lawmakers return to Springfield Tuesday to begin tackling Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s budget proposal, including his call to legalize recreational marijuana.