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Business leaders from around Illinois met with lawmakers and policy experts Wednesday to brainstorm on how to spur economic growth

(Springfield-jm) – Business leaders from around Illinois met with lawmakers and policy experts Wednesday to brainstorm on how to spur economic growth. The Illinois Manufacturers Association and the Illinois Retail Merchants Association hosted Business Day in Springfield. Illinois Manufacturers Association President and CEO Mark Denzler said updating the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act is crucial for Illinois businesses. Illinois Retail Merchants Association board chair Art Potash said many of the bills coming out of the 103rd General Assembly are anti-business. A recent report by the American Legislative Exchange Council ranked Illinois 46th in the country for economic competitiveness and ranked the state a dismal 44th in the corporate income tax rate category.


(Springfield-jm) – Working parents would have more time to grieve the loss of a child under a bill pending in the Illinois House. The legislation extends bereavement leave for moms and dads whose child has died by suicide or homicide. It’s sponsored by Senator Karina Villa of West Chicago…



State Senator Karina Villa of West Chicago. Under the bill, parents working at a company with 250 or more employees would be allowed up to 12 weeks of bereavement leave. Those at smaller companies would get 6 weeks.


(Springfield-jm) – Services for rape, child abuse and domestic violence victims in Illinois will be cut back this summer because of a change in the federal government funding formula for the Crime Victims Fund. The national estimates are 1 in 5 women and 1 in 33 men will experience an attempted or completed sexual assault in their lifetimes. For children the numbers are more alarming. One in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will experience sexual assault. The Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault is seeking $12 million in additional state funding for Illinois rape crisis centers to help avert severe cutbacks this summer.


(Springfield-jm) – Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza is hi-liting some important fiscal milestones for the state this week. For starters, Comptroller Mendoza says her office has deposited another 350 million dollars into the state’s rainy-day fund, bringing the total emergency stash to a record high $1.58 billion…



State Comptroller Susana Mendoza. Additionally, the state’s accounts payable has hit a 12 year low of 478 million dollars, meaning vendors are being paid faster than they have in decades.


(Urbana-jm) – A Champaign man will spend the next 40 years in prison after he pleaded guilty on Wednesday to murdering a 14-year-old boy in 2021. During a hearing that lasted just 15 minutes, Daryl Vandyke pleaded guilty to a single count of first-degree murder. In doing so, he admitted to killing Steven Butler III on July 29, 2021, hitting him in the head with an axe or sharp-edged garden tool multiple times. Butler’s body was found the next morning by a pair of bicyclists in the area of Washington Street and High Cross Road. In exchange for the guilty plea, the Champaign County State’s Attorney’s Office dropped several other counts of first-degree murder and a count accusing Vandyke of sexually abusing Butler’s corpse. The guilty plea also allowed Vandyke to avoid a life sentence without the possibility of parole.


(Springfield-jm) – Lawmakers got their chance to ask question officials from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services during an appropriations committee hearing. The department has faced severe scrutiny over their handling of children in the state’s care with the head of the department facing contempt of court charges over a dozen times. 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City…



53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.


(Champaign County-jm) – The Champaign County Association of Realtors reported the first uptick in six months in the county’s home sales, as inventory begins to grow. The association said comparable home sales increased slightly by .48% as sales rose to 210 units in March 2023 from 209 units in March 2022. Association officials said the monthly median home sale price in March totaled $174,950. It was 7.99% higher than the March 2022 price of $162,000. Area homes are staying on the market a bit longer for an average of 50 days, an increase from 44 days in March 2022. Association officials said inventory for homes for sale as of April 1 is a total of 635 properties, an increase from last month’s inventory of 561 properties.


(Rantoul–jc)  –  Today’s WPXN Business of the Day is A House of Flowers downtown Rantoul. Marlana Smith and staff have great ideas for your prom needs. Smith says Mother’s Day is also coming and they have great gift ideas at  A House of Flowers in Rantoul..



She adds more ideas for Mother’s Day  from a fresh floral arrangement to locally made candles to something with a bear…..



A House of Flowers downtown Rantoul Owner Marlana Smith.


(Springfield-jm) – State Representative Dan Caulkins of Decatur will not seek to be re-elected in 2024. Caulkins says he has no other political aspirations, and will not be seeking office for any other position aside from remaining connected to the republican party. The reason for his retirement is when he first decided to run he set a three-term limit for himself and is choosing to stick to that.


(Springfield-jm) – Illinois House Republicans are offering a package of public safety legislation. The bills create a new offense of domestic assault and prohibit someone arrested from using one of their three phone calls to intimidate their victim. Representative Dennis Tipsword, who is also a deputy chief in the Woodford County Sheriff’s Office, worked on the package…



State Representative Dennis Tipsword. Other bills aim to attract and retain more people to a career in law enforcement. That includes student loan repayment options and protecting officers from anonymous complaints.


(Springfield-jm) – Industry advocates and unions supporting caregivers for individuals with developmental disabilities are calling on lawmakers to more than double a funding increase proposed by Governor JB Pritzker in February.  The Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities is requesting a $4 hourly increase to the wage rate for direct service professionals in community-based settings that serve individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Direct service professionals, or DSPs, are the individuals who provide daily personal care such as assisting individuals with eating, grooming and dressing. The requested increase is $2.50 beyond an increase proposed by Pritzker earlier this year.  Supporters say the increase is needed to fill staffing shortages and offer more competitive wages. The current $17 wage rate is just $4 more than the state’s $13 minimum wage, although some DSPs make more than that and some make less.


(Springfield-jm) – New legislation has been introduced to reinvigorate plans for a Chicago Bears stadium in Arlington Heights. The bill creates a $3 per ticket tax to help pay off debt from the renovation of Soldier Field, and freezes property tax assessments for the site. Governor J-B Pritzker says he hasn’t reviewed this latest proposal but that his goal is to ensure the state remains on firm fiscal footing…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The Bears have said they don’t want taxpayers to help fund the actual stadium but are looking for state help for the surrounding entertainment complex and infrastructure.


(Danville-jm) – Attorney General Kwame Raoul announced his office obtained a life sentence in its prosecution of a Champaign man convicted of murdering two Danville men. Vermilion County Circuit Court Judge Derek Girton sentenced Nicholas Trimble, 42, of Champaign, to life in prison after he was previously found guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Rafael Arevalo, 26, of Danville, and Omar Roman, 26, also of Danville.


(Springfield-jm) – Illinois has been putting money into their rainy day fund. The fund was under $50,000 in 2018. Now the state has over a billion dollars in the fund. 106th District State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington says it’s a good thing they have reserves up because revenue has fallen…



106th District State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington.


(Roberts-jm) – Jeremiah 33:6 will be holding a free produce pantry in Ford County next month. The free produce pantry will be held Friday, May 19th from 3:30-5:30 pm at the Roberts Gym in Roberts.


Christ Lutheran High School in Buckley will hold their spring concert tonight with a dinner at 5pm and the concert beginning at 6 pm.

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