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(ILLINOIS) 07/19 -- GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER IS CALLING ON THE LEGISLATURE TO SEND HIM THE EDUCATION FUNDING REFORM BILL THEY PASSED, SO HE CAN ISSUE AN AMENDATORY VETO. GOVERNOR RAUNER SAYS HE SUPPORTS MORE EQUITABLE FUNDING FOR SCHOOLS…BUT NOT A BAILOUT FOR CHICAGO’S TEACHER PENSION SYSTEM. HE SAYS HE WILL CUT THAT PART OUT OF THE LEGISLATION ONCE LAWMAKERS SEND IT TO HIS DESK. GOVERNOR RAUNER SAYS UNDER HIS AMENDATORY VETO…MOST SCHOOL DISTRACTS ACROSS THE STATE WOULD GET MORE MONEY.

(ILLINOIS) 07/19 -- MOST CROPS AROUND THE STATE RECEIVED SOME MUCH NEEDED RAIN AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT. SOME AREAS SAW JUST A LITTLE RAIN AND OTHERS EXPERIENCED FLOODING THIS PAST WEEK. OVERALL, AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IMPROVED SLIGHTLY TO SIX PERCENT VERY SHORT, 28 PERCENT SHORT, 63 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND THREE PERCENT SURPLUS. CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER GIVES AN UPDATE ON CORN. 56 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS ARE BLOOMING AND 17 PERCENT ARE SETTING PODS. THE CONDITION OF THE CROP WAS NEARLY UNCHANGED AT 67 PERCENT IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. WINTER WHEAT HARVESTING IS NOW COMPLETE.

(ILLINOIS) 07/19 -- ATTORNEY GENERAL LISA MADIGAN’S OFFICE IS WARNING THE PUBLIC ABOUT A SCAM RELATED TO THE TOBACCO MASTER SETTLEMENT. THE SETTLEMENT WITH TOBACCO COMPANIES OVER DECEPTIVE MARKETING WAS REACHED IN 1998…BUT CON ARTISTS ARE STILL TRYING TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE SITUATION SAYS ATTORNEY GENERAL SPOKESPERSON ANNIE THOMPSON. THOMPSON SAYS THAT’S A SCAM…SINCE INDIVIDUALS ARE NOT ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE MONEY FROM THE SETTLEMENT. SHE URGES CONSUMERS TO REPORT THESE BOGUS OFFERS TO THE ILLINOIS ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE.

(ILLINOIS) 06/30 -- GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER SAYS HE WILL KEEP LAWMAKERS IN SPECIAL SESSION UNTIL THEY PASS A BALANCED BUDGET. THE GOVERNOR SAYS HE WANTS A SPENDING PLAN ON HIS DESK BY FRIDAY, WHEN THE STATE’S FISCAL YEAR ENDS. THE HOUSE BEGAN CALLING VOTES ON REFORMS THE GOVERNOR PROPOSED…AND REPRESENTATIVE BARBARA FLYNN CURRIE SAYS ALTHOUGH THEY MAY NOT INCLUDE EVERYTHING RAUNER WANTS…IT’S TIME TO PASS SOMETHING. CRITICS DISAGREED…SAYING NEGOTIATIONS ARE ONGOING AND A FULL AGREEMENT COULD BE REACHED. THE LEGISLATURE HAS BEEN IN SPECIAL SESSION FOR A WEEK NOW TO PASS A BUDGET AND REFORMS.

(ILLINOIS) 06/30 -- THE CONDITION OF THE CORN AND SOYBEAN CROPS IMPROVED LAST WEEK AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT. CORN HAS BEGUN SILKING SAYS SAY CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER, AND 62 PERCENT OF THE CORN CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. TURNING TO SOYBEANS… 81 PERCENT OF SORGHUM HAS BEEN PLANTED AND THE SECOND CUTTING OF ALFALFA IS NOW 34 PERCENT COMPLETE. AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AS TWO PERCENT VERY SHORT…17 PERCENT SHORT…78 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND THREE PERCENT SURPLUS.

(Jefferson County) 06/28 -- The Illinois Department of Transportation would like to alert motorists traveling on I-57 that there will be a lane closure. This work will be north of Exit 83 - Ina, Illinois. The closure is scheduled to begin on Monday, July 10th, 2017 and will extend through Thursday, July 14th, 2017. Maintenance crews will be repairing the structure carrying northbound and southbound I-57 over Atchison Creek. Emergency vehicles will be allowed through the construction site as quickly as possible. Through traffic is encouraged to seek alternate routes while this work is underway. For IDOT District 9 updates on twitter, follow https://twitter.com/IDOTDistrict9

(ILLINOIS) 06/13 -- PRODUCERS HAD PLENTY OF TIME FOR FIELDWORK THIS PAST WEEK. WITH LITTLE RAINFALL…FARMERS FINISHED CORN PLANTING AND ARE NEARLY DONE WITH SOYBEANS SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN BRAD SUMMA. 96 PERCENT OF CORN HAS EMERGED AND 58 PERCENT OF THE CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. 73 PERCENT OF SORGHUM HAS BEEN PLANTED AND 24 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS BEEN HARVESTED. AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE DECLINED TO THREE PERCENT VERY SHORT…38 PERCENT SHORT…56 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND THREE PERCENT SURPLUS.

(ILLINOIS) 06/13 -- HOUSE LAWMAKERS ARE APPROVING ONE COMPONENT OF THE GRAND BARGAIN…PROCUREMENT REFORM. THE BILL REVAMPS PURCHASING RULES FOR STATE AGENCIES AND UNIVERSITIES, AND IS JUST A START SAYS REPRESENTATIVE AL RILEY OF CHICAGO. THE MEASURE IS A PART OF THE SENATE’S GRAND BARGAIN PACKAGE AND HOUSE SPEAKER MIKE MADIGAN SAYS IT SHOWS THEY ARE WILLING TO WORK WITH THE GOVERNOR. THE SENATE WILL NEED TO APPROVE AN AMENDMENT THE HOUSE ADDED.

(ILLINOIS) 06/01 -- THE STATE’S MINIMUM WAGE WOULD RISE TO 15 DOLLARS AN HOUR UNDER LEGISLATION APPROVED BY THE HOUSE TUESDAY. THE INCREASE WOULD BE PHASED IN…STARTING WITH NINE DOLLARS AN HOUR IN JANUARY…AND HITTING 15 BUCKS AN HOUR IN 2022. REPRESENTATIVE WILL GUZZARDI OF CHICAGO SAYS THIS IS A BILL ABOUT THE DIGNITY OF WORK. CRITICS NOTE THE EXTRA COST TO EMPLOYERS…ESPECIALLY SMALL BUSINESSES. THE SENATE ALREADY PASSED THE BILL BUT NOW MUST ACCEPT A FEW CHANGES MADE BY THE HOUSE BEFORE IT’S SENT TO THE GOVERNOR’S DESK.

(ILLINOIS) 06/01 -- CORN AND SOYBEAN PLANTING CONTINUES AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT. THREE DAYS WERE SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK THIS PAST WEEK…AND 93 PERCENT OF CORN IS NOW IN THE GROUND SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN STEVE MALISZEWSKI 62 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS HAVE BEEN PLANTED AND 38 PERCENT HAVE EMERGED. 98 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS HEADED AND THE FIRST CUTTING OF ALFALFA IS NEARLY HALFWAY DONE. AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE STANDS AT ONE PERCENT SHORT…74 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 25 PERCENT SURPLUS.

(ILLINOIS) 06/01 -- REPEAT GUN OFFENDERS COULD FACE TOUGHER PENALTIES UNDER LEGISLATION APPROVED BY THE HOUSE. THE MEASURE HAS BIPARTISAN SUPPORT AND IS DESIGNED TO HELP REDUCE GUN VIOLENCE IN CHICAGO AND OTHER CITIES. CRITICS SAY A LONGER SENTENCE DOESN’T NECESSARILY CURB CRIME…BUT REPRESENTATIVE DAVID HARRIS OF MOUNT PROSPECT SAYS THESE REPEAT OFFENDERS NEED TO BE LOCKED UP. THE SENATE MUST APPROVE A TWEAK THE HOUSE MADE TO THE BILL AND THEN IT WILL BE SENT TO THE GOVERNOR’S DESK FOR FINAL APPROVAL.

(ILLINOIS) 05/26 -- AN EXPERT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS EXTENSION SAYS NOW IS THE TIME TO THINK ABOUT RESEEDING YOUR LAWN. WITH TEMPERATURES WARMING UP AGAIN, IT’S BEST TO START PLANNING IF AND WHERE YOU NEED TO DO SOME RESEEDING SAYS U OF I EXTENSION COUNTY DIRECTOR JOHN FULTON. FULTON SAYS KENTUCKY BLUEGRASS CAN TAKE UP TO FOUR WEEKS TO GERMINATE SO IT’S GOOD TO BEGIN NOW. HE REMINDS THAT IF YOU ARE USING A PRODUCT TO KILL CRABGRASS, THAT WILL LIKELY KILL YOUR GRASS SEEDLINGS AS WELL.

(ILLINOIS) 05/24 -- ILLINOISANS FACE AN INCOME TAX INCREASE UNDER A REVENUE PACKAGE PASSED BY THE SENATE TODAY TUESDAY. THE MEASURE RAISES THE INDIVIDUAL INCOME TAX FROM THE CURRENT THREE POINT SEVEN FIVE TO FOUR POINT NINE FIVE. THAT HIKE WOULD BE RETROACTIVE TO JANUARY FIRST. CORPORATE INCOME TAXES WOULD GO UP TO SEVEN PERCENT. SENATOR KYLE MCCARTER OF VANDALIA VOTED AGAINST THE PROPOSAL, SAYING TAXPAYERS SHOULDN’T BE SADDLED WITH THE SINS OF PAST LEGISLATURES. SOME SERVICES NOT TAXED PREVIOUSLY NOW WOULD BE UNDER THE BILL. IT’S ESTIMATED THE PACKAGE WILL RAISE ABOUT FIVE POINT FOUR BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR FOR THE STATE.

(ILLINOIS) 05/24 -- GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER SAYS THE ONE ISSUE THAT MUST BE ADDRESSED IN ANY BUDGET DEAL…IS THE HIGH COST OF PROPERTY TAXES IN ILLINOIS. AS LAWMAKERS DISCUSS RAISING THE ILLINOIS INCOME TAX TO HELP BALANCE THE BUDGET… GOVERNOR RAUNER SAYS HE WANTS TO MAKE SURE A PROPERTY TAX FREEZE IS ALSO PASSED. THE GOVERNOR WANTS LOCAL CONTROL SO THAT TAXPAYERS HAVE A SAY IN WHETHER PROPERTY TAXES GO UP OR DOWN IN THE FUTURE.

(ILLINOIS) 05/23 -- ILLINOIS COMPTROLLER SUSANA MENDOZA SAYS THE STATE’S BACKLOG OF UNPAID BILLS HAS NOW REACHED MORE THAN 12 POINT EIGHT BILLION DOLLARS. COMPTROLLER MENDOZA SAYS THAT FIGURE IS AN ALL-TIME HIGH FOR ILLINOIS...AND PUTS IT INTO PERSPECTIVE… MENDOZA SAYS THE CURRENT PAY CYCLE IS ANYWHERE FROM SIX MONTHS TO TWO YEARS. SHE URGES LAWMAKERS AND THE GOVERNOR TO COME TOGETHER AND PASS A STATE BUDGET.

(ILLINOIS) 05/23 -- AN EXPERT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS EXTENSION SAYS NOW IS THE TIME TO THINK ABOUT RESEEDING YOUR LAWN. WITH TEMPERATURES WARMING UP AGAIN, IT’S BEST TO START PLANNING IF AND WHERE YOU NEED TO DO SOME RESEEDING SAYS U OF I EXTENSION COUNTY DIRECTOR JOHN FULTON. FULTON SAYS KENTUCKY BLUEGRASS CAN TAKE UP TO FOUR WEEKS TO GERMINATE SO IT’S GOOD TO BEGIN NOW. HE REMINDS THAT IF YOU ARE USING A PRODUCT TO KILL CRABGRASS, THAT WILL LIKELY KILL YOUR GRASS SEEDLINGS AS WELL.

(ILLINOIS) 05/19 -- EFFORTS TO JUMPSTART THE “GRAND BARGAIN” BUDGET AND REFORM DEAL IN THE SENATE MAY BE STALLING OUT. SENATE PRESIDENT JOHN CULLERTON TRIED TO START MOVING PIECES OF THE PLAN WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON BUT SAYS HE WAS MET WITH RESISTANCE FROM REPUBLICANS AND EXPRESSED HIS FRUSTRATION. CULLERTON SAYS THEY DON’T SEEM TO BE ABLE TO REACH AN AGREEMENT ON REFORMS, THEY ARE FOCUSING NOW ON THE BUDGET, INCLUDING A TAX INCREASE. SENATE REPUBLICANS SAY THEY ARE CLOSE ON SEVERAL ISSUES AND WANT TO KEEP NEGOTIATING.

(ILLINOIS) 05/19 -- WORKERS CARING FOR PEOPLE WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES WOULD GET A RAISE UNDER A BILL PASSED BY THE SENATE WEDNESDAY. DIRECT CARE SERVICE PROVIDERS CURRENTLY MAKE A LITTLE OVER MINIMUM WAGE…BUT THIS LEGISLATION INCREASES THEIR PAY TO 15 DOLLARS AN HOUR. SENATOR SAM MCCANN OF JACKSONVILLE SUPPORTS THE MEASURE, SAYING IT’S NEEDED TO KEEP GOOD WORKERS. OFFICIALS SAY THE PAY RAISE WOULD COST THE STATE ABOUT 300 MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR. THE BILL NOW MOVES TO THE HOUSE.

(ILLINOIS) 05/19 -- THE ILLINOIS STATE POLICE IS ANNOUNCING RESULTS FROM THE STATE’S FIRST “DISTRACTED DRIVING WEEK.” STATE AND LOCAL POLICE SPENT LAST WEEK TRYING TO RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT THE GROWING PROBLEM OF DISTRACTED DRIVING. MASTER SERGEANT MATT BOERWINKLE SAYS TROOPERS ISSUED MORE THAN 11-HUNDRED DISTRACTED DRIVING TICKETS AND 984 WARNINGS. TEXTING OR TALKING ON YOUR CELL PHONE WITHOUT A HANDS FREE DEVICE IS AGAINST THE LAW AND IS A PRIMARY OFFENSE. THAT MEANS COPS CAN PULL YOU OVER SOLELY FOR A PHONE VIOLATION.

Concerned Citizens of Jefferson County:

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