SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Governor Bruce Rauner's administration may have violated state law by awarding property leases to unqualified vendors and possibly shutting out other, lower bidders, a state audit released Wednesday found. Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino's highly critical report found that the Departments of Human Services and Central Management Services switched leasing requirements and prices after awarding bids and sorely lacked documentation for leasing property that lawmakers pointed out would have been far cheaper to buy.



CHICAGO (AP) — Lawyers for the Legal Council for Health Justice and the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law say tens of thousands of low-income people are being denied medical care. The reason is because Illinois is not processing Medicaid applications fast enough and they've asked a court to intervene. Their motion filed Wednesday in Chicago federal court says Illinois' Department of Human Services also isn't notifying people they're entitled to temporary coverage as their applications are processed. It alleges D-H-S has not provided temporary benefits to a single applicant since June 2016.


(Washington--jc)  -- There may be changes coming to how local U-S-D-A offices are staffed. Gary Crawford has the story…


(Champaign--jc)  -- Two Cissna Park High school and Parkland College graduates will be the keynote speakers at Parkland College’s commencement services tonight in Champaign.  Luke and Carter Boyce will provide the message to 2018 graduates from the Champaign based college. Luke is an Emmy award winning director and has over 100 productions ranging from commercials to short films. Carter Boyce is also a film director and is one of the college’s 50 most notable alumni. He has worked in the 3-D animation field. The two brothers will speak to Parkland College graduates at 8 pm tonight at the Krannert Center.



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois House committee has set up a historic floor vote to become the 37th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, but the sponsor said Wednesday that he doesn't have enough votes for approval yet  State Representative. Lou Lang, a Skokie Democrat, said he is still working with friendly Republicans to persuade members of the GOP to vote in favor of ratifying the amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The ERA, first proposed in 1972, guarantees equal rights for all citizens regardless of sex. Ratification requires the assent of 38 states, but there's some legal debate over whether it's too late for additional states to join those that acted years earlier. The Illinois House Human Services committee approved the amendment 7-5 Wednesday along party lines, sending it to the floor for a vote.



(Chicago--jc)  -- The best way to pay off Illinois' 130 billion dollars in unfunded pension debt is a statewide 1 percent property tax on top of local property tax levies for the next few decades, according to a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. In the report,  Thomas Haasl, Rick Mattoon, and Thom Walstrom said the best way to raise the 130 billion dollars in revenue would be to add another line in homeowners’ property tax bills. This would cost the owner of a 250,000 thousand dollar home another 2 thousand 500 dollars, each year. The report estimates a 1 percent tax on all home values in the state would pay off the debt in 30 years.



(Paxton-rb) Today’s WPXN business of the day is Farmer’s Merchant National Bank. Nick Ruetter talks about what plans and loans they offer…



He goes on to talk about what they do in the community…





(Champaign--rb)  --After being in limbo for a few months, downtown's upcoming millennial-focused boutique hotel is officially back on track with a new developer. The Champaign City Council unanimously voted earlier this weekend to turn the Best Western Hotel Vib (pronounced "vibe") project over to former Illini basketball player-turned-developer Doug Altenberger.  The new plan is to start work no later than January First.


(Iroquois Co-rb) The Iroquois County Public Health Department in Watseka continues to offer free water sample test kits. Anyone interested in the free kits are asked to stop by the office East Grant Street during normal business hours from 8-30am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday.



(Undated--jc)  -- Illinois is celebrating its 200th anniversary as a state. Here is today’s Bicentennial minutes…



(Springfield--jc)  -- Governor Bruce Rauner's administration says its proposed reduction of income tax revenue to local governments in the coming fiscal year is a continuation of the previous year's budget approved over the governor's veto. Rauner’s director of the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget Hans Zigmund told a Senate Appropriations committee Wednesday that the governor's proposed budget for the coming fiscal year has a 10 percent reduction in the Local Government Distributive Fund that will save the state 131 Million dollars The fund was set up decades ago to keep local governments from imposing their own income taxes. Democrat State Senator. Michael Hastings, of Tinley Park, asked Zigmund for suggestions on how local governments should handle the proposed reduction.



(Washington--jc)  -- With perhaps one exception, U-S-D-A expects to see increases in meat production, price and trade next year. Rod Bain reports…




CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois Republican Party officials say they've reached an agreement to share leadership of the party, heading off a weekend fight between moderates and conservatives over who should be the next state GOP chairman. Conservatives were backing Lake County GOP Chairman Mark Shaw against Tim Schneider, the current state chairman hand-picked by Gov. Bruce Rauner. The election is scheduled for Saturday.



(Quincy--jc)  The state of Illinois is partnering with the city of Quincy on a new water source for the Illinois veterans home. Kim Howard reports…



Dixon, IL – Illinois State Police officials announce charges against Matthew A. Milby, 19, of Dixon, Illinois, for his involvement in a shooting which occurred at approximately just after 8am Wednesday at Dixon High School. Police say they were called to conduct an independent investigation into a shooting which occurred at Dixon High School. Through their investigation, Agents discovered that at approximately at that same time Dixon High School Resource Officer, Mark Dallas, was on duty at Dixon High School, when he heard several shots fired near the school auditorium. Officer Dallas rushed to the area and confronted the suspect with shots being fired outside the building area.  Milby was taken into custody at that time. No other students, faculty, or officers were injured.


(St Joseph--jc)  -- Several vehicles and a semi were involved in a  multiple accident along Interstate 74 near St Joseph on Wednesday. Police say 31 year old Tyler Nash of Danville failed to stop as traffic was backed up in a construction zone on I-74. His vehicle struck the back of a second unit and then two more vehicles were struck. Nash and 70 year old Thomas Olds of Tennessee were taken to area hospitals with injuries. Nash was cited for failure to yield to avoid an accident.


(Springfield--jc)  -- It’s a simple bill, but one designed to make the lives of families who have lost a soldier, a little easier. Families have enough to worry about when a parent, sibling or child is killed in active military duty. State Senator Dave Koehler of Peoria says his bill lets immediate family members or dependents cancel  the fallen service members lease, if necessary…



Illinois State Senator Dave Koehler of Peoria

Both Houses have passed the bill and it is now awaiting action from Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner.




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