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Lawmakers Approve Fees For State Parks
(Springfield, IL) -- License plate renewal fees are likely going up. Lawmakers have approved a two dollar increase to the annual fee, bringing the total up to 101-dollars. The money raised will help with upkeep at state parks and offset cuts to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Governor Quinn still has to sign the bill in order for it to become effective.
Simon On Board With Illegal Immigrant Driving Rights
(Springfield, IL) -- Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon is backing a plan to allow illegal immigrants to get drivers licenses. She's asking lawmakers to move on the proposal before they wrap up veto session next week. Simon calls the proposal a proactive step to keeping the roads safe and guaranteeing the safety of all Illinois residents. On top of that, she says providing the licenses will generate much needed new revenue for the state..
No Vote On Gay Marriage
(Springfield, IL) -- A vote to legalize same-sex marriage won't likely happen in the next few weeks. State Representative Kelly Cassidy says they're still working to get 60 state reps to support the idea. Though legalizing same sex marriage is still widely unpopular, supporters say now is the time for everyone to get on board. Nine states and the District of
Columbia already allow same sex marriage. Cassidy, who is one of three openly gay lawmakers in Illinois, says gay and lesbian couples need the same protections as any other couple in Illinois.
House Says No To State Worker Raises
(Springfield, IL) -- The Illinois House wants to freeze wages for union workers next year. Representative John Bradley says the state can't keep making promises to pay raises when it doesn't have the money to do so. State reps passed a resolution to hold the wages flat for the next year. The measure isn't binding but Speaker Michael Madigan says it sends a strong message to Governor Quinn and the AFSCME labor union as they continue to negotiate a new contract.
Senate Votes To Restore Prison Funding
(Springfield, IL) -- The state senate has voted to restore funding to state prisons. That move overrides Governor Quinn's veto of 56-million dollars that was included in the original budget. He wanted lawmakers to use that money to fund vital services for children. The House still needs to override the veto in order for the money to be restored.
>>Medical Marijuana Vote Delayed
(Springfield, IL) -- The Illinois General Assembly is delaying its vote on the proposed legalization of marijuana. Lawmakers yesterday put off a vote because the proposal doesn't have the support it needs for approval. The vote will decide whether marijuana should be made legal in Illinois for medical purposes.
State's First GOP Senate Leader
(Springfield, IL) -- Illinois' first female leader of Republicans within the state Senate will remain on the job for at least two more years. Colleagues of Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno voted to keep her in her post yesterday. Republicans considered a challenge by Lebanon businessman Kyle McCarter who argued the party needs a change.
Jackson's Empty Seat Decided April 9th
(Springfield, IL) -- A special election to find a replacement for Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson Junior will happen in April. Illinois House members voted unanimously yesterday to stage an election April 9th. Jackson resigned last week due to health problems and a federal probe into alleged campaign finance misspending.
Less Thanksgiving Traffic Deaths
(Springfield, IL) -- Fewer people died on Illinois roadways over Thanksgiving weekend this year than in 2011. Data from Illinois Department of Transportation's crash information unit reported three traffic deaths and two crashes during the four-day holiday weekend, compared to eight deaths and seven crashes during the same time period last year. State officials credit increased patrols and several drive safe campaigns for the decline.
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