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Be Careful On The Roads
Drivers should be careful when they hit the road this morning. Roads are pretty slick after a mix of rain, sleet, and snow hit the area overnight. Remember to give yourself plenty of time to get to where you're going and leave space between you and the car in front of you. The snow is expected to keep falling until this evening.
Dixon Teachers Still On Strike
Students in Dixon are out of school again today, as the teachers strike there continues. Their teachers still haven't reached a deal with the school board on a new contract. The teachers hit the picket lines last Thursday. They've been working without a contract since August.
Gun Safety Up For Debate In Springfield Today
Gun safety is up for debate in the Illinois House. State reps will take up the issue in their "Weekly Order of Business" today. It's the third week in a row that they've been tackling the gun issue - starting with hearings on concealed carry. Lawmakers have three months to get a concealed carry
law on the books. The hearing and debates are designed to get a gauge on what lawmakers will and will not support when it comes to carrying weapons in public.
Police Credit "Hot Zone" Patrols With Murder Drop
Chicago police brass credit the use of officers on overtime for the relatively low number of murders in the city in February. Some two hundred officers working overtime were deployed to ten "hot zones" across the city to do overnight patrols. Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy says that allowed commanders to send regularly scheduled officers elsewhere within their districts. Chicago recorded fourteen murders in February, and murders are down over the past five months compared with the same period last year.
Quinn Says No To Gambling Expansion
Governor Quinn is turning thumbs down on new gambling in Illinois. He vetoed a bill that would have meant five new casinos, including one in Chicago, and slot machines at the racetracks. Quinn says the bill doesn't do enough to rein in lobbyists for the gaming industry and doesn't ban them from making campaign contributions. Quinn says he isn't opposed to gambling expansion, but says he wants a bill that includes more safeguards.
Sequester Cuts Producing Long Lines At O'Hare
Travelers at O'Hare today are seeing some of the first effects of the federal budget cuts known as the sequester. As the result of the cuts, there's been a freeze on overtime for TSA agents and that means there are already longer lines at security checkpoints, even before furloughs for security and customs agents kick in in a few weeks. There were already lines about twice as long as normal over the weekend, and they are expected to continue today. Similar delays are reported at airports in New York, and Los Angeles.
Governor Quinn Quiet On Budget Details
Governor Quinn is keeping quiet about the details of his budget address. Without giving specifics, Quinn says he'll propose very "hard and difficult cuts" for the upcoming year. That could mean a 400-million dollar cut to education, plus deeper cuts to human service and public safety programs. Quinn says lawmakers need to get moving on pension reform in order to relieve some of the state's financial pressure. He'll lay out the full budget plan during his annual speech tomorrow at noon.
Union Starts Scheduling Ratification Meetings
The AFSCME Union is scheduling meetings all across the state, so its workers can vote up or down on a tentative contract. The union reached a deal with Governor Quinn last week but details won't be released until it's approved by union members. Union leaders say the agreement protects the economic security of union members, staves off massive health care cost increases, and expands important rights on the job. Each local chapter of the union is set the time and date for their ratification meeting. All union workers are encouraged to attend.
Emanuel Enlisting Supporters To Urge Passage Of Same-Sex Marriage
Mayor Emanuel is spending some of his political capital, and his campaign capital to urge the General Assembly to approve same-sex marriage. Emanuel sent a email to his supporters urging them to use a link provided in the email to send a message to members of the Illinois House who could vote on the measure this week. Emanuel has listed passage of the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act among his legislative priorities for the current session. The bill has already passed the Illinois Senate and is supported by Governor Pat Quinn.
Illinois In Top Five For Business Expansion
Illinois is in dire straits when it comes to its money troubles, but it must be doing something right. The state is ranked number five in the nation for new and expanded business. That's up two spots from last year's annual analysis by "Site Selection Magazine." Last year 322 businesses either came to Illinois or expanded here, including Walgreens and Chrysler.
U of I Students Try To Restore Chief Illiniwek
A University of Illinois student group is trying to revive Chief Illiniwek as the school's official symbol. The student group was able to get the Chief's name on a non-binding campus ballot aimed at choosing a new mascot. The university dumped Chief Illiniwek under threat of sanctions from the NCAA. Chancellor Phyllis Wise says she'll watch the results of the campus ballot, but she says the Chief isn't coming back.
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