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Court cases challenging two major state laws are now before the Illinois Supreme Court

(Springfield-jm) – Roughly 40% of fourth graders in Illinois read below the basic level, and state lawmakers want to pass a plan this spring to improve literacy. Third graders who can't read proficiently are four times more likely to drop out of school. The Annie E. Casey Foundation also found that third graders lacking basic reading skills are six times more likely to drop out of high school if they come from a low-income family. State Representative Laura Faver Dias told the House School Curriculum & Policies Committee that her proposal could require the Illinois State Board of Education to develop a comprehensive literacy plan and modify the reading improvement block grants program. 


(Springfield-jm) – Court cases challenging two major state laws are now before the Illinois Supreme Court, but Governor J-B Pritzker says he remains confident that both will be upheld as constitutional. After a Macon County judge ruled the recent law banning assault weapons is unconstitutional, the Supreme Court agreed to an accelerated schedule for appeal. Oral arguments are set for May, and the Governor says the state expects to prevail…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The Governor says the same goes for the no-cash bail portion of the Safe-T Act. Oral arguments will be heard today.


(Sadorus-jm) – A 17-year-old from Ford County is under arrest after he was accused of stabbing a man in Sadorus late Friday night. The stabbing happened at a party. Deputies found a 19-year-old with three stab wounds to his lower back. A preliminary investigation indicated that a physical fight broke out at the party between the 17-year-old and his 15-year-old girlfriend, both from the Paxton area. When the victim intervened and tried to break up the fight, officials said, the 17-year-old stabbed him with a knife. The 17-year-old was arrested on charges of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and aggravated domestic battery. 


(Springfield-jm) – There was some big news recently about the lawsuits against the state’s new gun law.  A Macon County judge ruled the gun ban unconstitutional and a temporary restraining order was already in place.  It appears that attorneys for the state will appeal to the Supreme Court. 106th District State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington…



106th District State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington.


(Champaign County-jm) – Champaign County is cleaning up its finances. Board members voted unanimously to fix a 6-year-old mistake on the books. A memo from the county treasurer says back in 2017 and 2018, bank reconciliations weren’t completed in entirety. That means certain activity wasn’t recorded – things like chargebacks and wire fees. The shortages add up to just over $27,000. The resolution that passed will amend the budget and move money over from the fund balance to cover the shortage.


(Washington-jm) – U.S. corn exports are lower than most experts had expected. Gary Crawford reports…



(Springfield-jm) – A new study shows that Illinoisans are getting one of the largest amounts of federal tax refunds in the country.  SmartAsset found that for the 2021 tax year, Illinois ranked fifth in the country with an average federal tax refund of $1,739. To determine where taxpayers receive the largest refunds, SmartAsset analyzed the average dollar amount of 2021 federal tax refunds for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Though it did not play a role in Illinois' rankings, they also examined state and local income tax refunds for tax year 2020. The study also found that Illinois had the second-lowest average state and local tax refund out of all states in 2020 at an average of $581. 


(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is signing a new law guaranteeing Illinois workers up to 40 hours of paid leave each year. Illinois is now the third state in the nation with such a law, ensuring employees that need to tend to a sick child, go to a dentist appointment or get their car fixed can do so without losing money, or their job. Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton, who cared for her mother with Alzheimer’s Disease, says having this paid leave time will help ease the burden when life gets in the way…



Illinois Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton. The law takes effect next year and workers will be able to use the time for any reason.


(Broadlands-jm) – A man from Broadlands in Champaign County is wanted after Crime Stoppers said he failed to appear in court related to sex offender registration. Bert Zeanah was arrested in 2020 on a charge of failing to register as a sex offender. A court hearing was scheduled in 2021, but Zeanah did not come to the hearing. A warrant for his arrest was issued that day and he has been on the run since. Zeanah is described as being White with gray hair and brown eyes. He is 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighs 200 pounds.


(Urbana-jm) – Whether coming back from spring break or just starting fresh, it’s important for kids to develop healthy eating habits. Tim Ditman of OSF HealthCare has some tips for parents…



My plate dot gov has good suggestions to fill out your plate.


(Watseka-jm) – Iroquois County Clerk Breein Suver reminds citizens that the County Clerk’s office will be open for Grace Period Registration and Voting now thru April 4, 2023. During this grace period, an unregistered qualified elector may register to vote (two forms of I.D. will be needed) and also a registered voter may submit a change of address form in person at the County Clerk’s office. Office hours for Grace Period Voting are as follows: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Saturday, April 1st office hours are from 8:30 a.m. – noon. Additionally, the County Clerk’s office will be open for Grace Period Voting & Registration from 6:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 4, 2023.


(Washington-jm) – 2023 began with a big agricultural export sales month. Gary Crawford reports…



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