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IL Youths Prep For S-P-E-L-L-I-N-G B-E-E
Seventeen youngsters will represent their Illinois schools today when the Scripps National Spelling Bee gets cracking in Washington DC. The Illinois school kids ages 12 to 14 qualified for the prestigious national bee after competing in and winning local contests.
Concealed Carry Showdown In Senate
Two gun bills are caught in the crossfire in Springfield. Both are expected to come to the Senate floor for debate this week. Senate President John Cullerton doesn't like the House version of concealed carry because it'll trump any gun laws that Chicago, and any other home-rule city, has on the books. He prefers Senator Kwame Raoul's bill, which is similar to the
House bill but would allow the cities to keep their current gun laws. Lawmakers have until June 9th to pass a law letting people carry guns in public, but they hope to have something passed by the end of this week.
House Approves Medicaid Expansion
Hundreds of thousands of poor people in Illinois could get access to healthcare under a plan that's moving through the legislature. State reps approved a Medicaid expansion bill that would add more than 340-thousand new people to the rolls. The bill cleared the House after two hours of intense debate yesterday, with opponents saying it'll cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars that it just can't afford. But supporters say the state will be reimbursed 100-percent for the coverage as outlined in President Obama's Affordable Care Act. The bill heads to the Senate.
Gambling Expansion Faces Uncertain Fate
All bets for gambling expansion might be off the table for now. State rep Robert Rita says he's making a few changes before the bill will come up for a vote. He says a few people at the bargaining table have concerns about a provision that bans casino owners from giving campaign contributions. That's been a sticking point for Governor Quinn and any changes that would reverse that idea could face a veto if the bill reaches Quinn's desk. Rita says he hopes to tweak the bill, reach a compromise, and call it for a vote before they wrap up on Friday.
Fracking Protest Continues In Springfield
Protestors are back in Springfield this week staging a sit-in outside Governor Quinn's office. It's the second week the group has been in the capital city, hoping to meet with Quinn about the dangers of fracking. Five members of the group were arrested last week when they refused to leave the building when it closed to visitors. The arrests don't seem to bother them very much. They say they're willing to put their bodies in the way of stopping the fracking process because it's harmful to the environment and has been known to make people very sick.
House Passes Puppy Lemon Law
Lawmakers are cracking down on pet stores that sell sick puppies or kittens. They've passed the "Puppy Lemon Law," which would require pet stores to cover the vet's fees if an animal they sell gets sick or dies within the first 21 days. The store would also be required to provide a refund or exchange if something happens to the animal in that same time period. The bill now heads to Governor Quinn's desk.
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