Absentee Voting? Here Are The Details

Aug 6, 2014

Applications for absentee voting begin today. According to the Illinois State Board of Elections, the first day for mailing-in absentee votes for the fall election is September 25th. Absentee voting forms must be postmarked by midnight on November 3, 2014.

Find out if you qualify for absentee voting here.

  Business and labor leaders are urging Illinois' Department of Natural Resources to finish the rules for hydraulic fracturing. The coalition says it's left wondering if the governor's administration might be dragging the process for political reasons.

It's been over 400 days since the General Assembly passed a law to allow hydraulic fracturing in Illinois. Proponents say the technique of drilling for natural gas deep in the ground will lead to job and revenue growth.

  A year after Illinois legalized concealed carry, new rules are out to determine the process for deciding who can't carry a gun in public. The Illinois State Police issued the emergency rules Monday 7/14 afternoon.

Illinois Tourism Sets Another Record

Jul 14, 2014

There were more than 100 million visitors to Illinois in 2013. State agencies aim to grow those numbers more in the face of budget cuts. 

For the third year in a row, Illinois broke its own record for visitors to the state. In 2013, travelers spent $34.5 billion dollars in Illinois, according to the state's office of tourism.

Galesburg city council members are reviewing new zoning rules that accommodate medical marijuana facilities.

Illinois Ends Fiscal Year In The Black...Temporarily

Jul 10, 2014

The state took in over a billion dollars more in taxes than the prior year, thanks to an uptick in sales tax money.  Personal income tax revenue also rose , but the amount coming from corporate income taxes dropped. It's something Jim Muschinske, a budget forecaster for the state, said was predicted.

"That was not unexpected. In fact, we actually did better this fiscal year than what was initially assumed back when the budget was passed," Muschinske said.

Assessing The Minimum Wage Landscape

Jul 9, 2014

Despite Democratic majorities and a push from the governor, Illinois' legislative session adjourned without a bump in the minimum wage.

Lawmakers settled for putting a non-binding question on the November ballot asking if that's something voters want.

Part of the problem was that legislators from downstate -- from both parties -- were against a hike.

Andrew Biggs says it doesn't make sense to make sense to have a national, or even statewide, minimum wage. Biggs is a scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, a D.C. think tank that leans toward free enterprise.

"Poaching" Not In Blueprint For Illinois Job Growth

Jul 3, 2014

Illinois' economy was slow to feel the effects of the Great Recession, and has been slow to recover from it. The state's Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is submitting a five-year plan to the General Assembly, with suggestions for business growth and more state spending.

An Illinois home care worker argued that being forced to pay union fees violates her first amendment rights.

The U.S. Supreme Court has taken her side.

But it limited its decision to non-traditional public employees-- like home care workers, who are paid by the state but hired and fired by the people they care for.

  The Illinois Teachers' Retirement System says it expects a lower return on its pension investments in the next year. That means the state will have to cover more of the cost of teacher pensions.

TRS says it's still a good assumed rate of investment return at 7.5 percent. That falls in line with similar pension systems nationwide. But it's not as profitable as 8-percent, which TRS had been using for the previous few years.

Illinois' jobless rate is now at 7.5 percent. It's the third consecutive monthly decrease. And it's at its lowest level since 2008.

Flickr Commons / Markheybo

An economist predicts raising the minimum wage would hurt already poor job growth in Illinois.

The election returns in yesterday’s Illinois primary were not even in before the candidates for governor started attacking each other. Republicans chose wealthy investor Bruce Rauner to take on Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn. Brian Mackey looks at the surprisingly close election results, and what’s ahead for the campaign.

Galesburg Reviews Paint Rebate Proposal

Dec 2, 2013

After months of debate a draft paint rebate program will be unveiled in  Galesburg  tomorrow.

Fight over Fulton County Coal Mine Drags On

Nov 25, 2013

A judge is set to rule soon on whether the Illinois DNR made the right call in renewing a permit for proposed coal mine near Canton Lake in Fulton County.