Lawmakers, governor returning to Capitol next week

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois lawmakers will return to the Statehouse next week for their first in-person sessions since Jan. 4. House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, said Thursday that the recent decline in COVID-19 cases makes returning to the Capitol possible. “Our goal is to be productive while also keeping everyone safe, so masking and social […]

Superintendent survey details statewide teacher shortage in Illinois

URBANA – A study by the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools finds that 88 percent of schools say they have a teacher shortage. Seventy-seven percent report the problem is getting worse. And more than 90 percent of Illinois districts expect it to get worse for the next two years. Champaign and Ford County […]

Bill revamps rules for Prisoner Review Board

SPRINGFIELD – A bill was introduced in the Illinois House on Thursday revamping the Prisoner Review Board, the board that decides whether those convicted of felonies will be freed and the conditions they will face if they are released from prison. The goal of the new legislation, HB 5126, is to increase transparency, require a certain number […]

Sheriff responded to DCFS emergency shelter 161 times in one year

SPRINGFIELD – An emergency housing facility at the center of court case that led to the state’s Department of Children and Family Services director being held in contempt of court was the subject of 161 service calls to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department in 2021. The 12-bed facility is the Southern Thirty Adolescent Center near Mount […]

Champaign teachers vote to authorize strike over contract

A white man in a tan coat walks in a yellow school hallway.

CHAMPAIGN — Champaign teachers are willing to strike to protest Unit 4’s latest contract offer. That contract would extend the elementary school day by 50 minutes, starting in the fall of 2023. On Wednesday, about 700 Unit 4 teachers gathered at Jefferson Middle School in Champaign. 91 percent voted to authorize their union to strike. […]

NUTRIENT LOSS THREAT: Experts say changing attitudes key to reducing soil runoff

Editor’s Note: Taylor Vidmar is a student in the Public Affairs Reporting program at University of Illinois Springfield. She is a reporting intern at the Capitol for Lee Enterprises. Illinois has, for decades, laid out a nutrient reduction strategy aimed at reducing the amount of nitrogen, phosphorous and other nutrients that run off into its […]

217 Today: People who are incarcerated can face retaliation when they report staff sexual misconduct

Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022 Today’s headlines: Champaign teachers are willing to strike over Unit 4’s latest contract offer, which would extend the elementary school day by 50 minutes. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced Wednesday $220 million for projects to improve transit systems and ports outside of the Chicago area. A new study suggests CBD, the non-psychoactive ingredient of […]