Illinois General Assembly approves Medicaid funding plan

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is expected to sign a $3.5 billion Medicaid funding plan for hospitals around the state after the proposal was quickly approved Wednesday by the House and Senate.

Both chambers approved legislation to update its current hospital assessment program in response to federal pressures mandating more Medicaid patients be covered by cost-cutting managed care organizations.

Lawmakers Push for Transparency in Illinois Fracking Law

A set of bills introduced this month in the Illinois legislature would update the state’s fracking law to increase protections for land owners and require more information from oil and gas companies applying for fracking permits.

Organizers from several environmental groups held a press conference Tuesday in Springfield to discuss three new pieces of legislation.

All are aimed at the state’s 2013 law that regulates hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which uses high-pressure chemicals and water to create cracks and release oil and gas from shale formations deep beneath the Earth’s surface.

Proposed Legislation Targets Illinois Gun Retailers

In the wake of Sunday’s mass shooting at a church in Texas, President Donald Trump once again incorrectly referenced Chicago as having the nation’s toughest gun laws as he spoke against stricter gun control measures.

“When you look at the city with the strongest gun laws in our nation, is Chicago. And Chicago is a disaster,” Trump said in response to a question posed by a NBC News reporter.

Pennsylvania, Illinois Grapple with Small Cell Legislation

The nationwide debate over how to regulate the small cellular sites needed to deploy 5G networks took center stage in Pennsylvania and Illinois in recent weeks.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that local officials are concerned that proposed legislation in Pennsylvania would erode their zoning authority, while the Aurora Beacon-News added this week that suburban Chicago communities are united against a measure before the Illinois legislature.

Study to explore Illinois’ energy future

QUINCY — The Illinois Commerce Commission has launched an 18-month study to explore the use of emerging technologies to improve the state’s electric grid.

The “NextGrid: Illinois’ Utility of the Future” study is the collaborative effort of the ICC, Ameren Illinois, ComEd, and the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Illinois, the Herald-Whig reported.

Illinois Governor Vetoes Plan to Require Teaching Cursive

Gov. Bruce Rauner has rejected a measure requiring Illinois elementary schools to teach cursive writing.

The measure was among several bills Friday that the Republican took action on. In his veto message, Rauner says the legislation is “yet another unfunded mandate” for schools that doesn’t protect students’ health or safety.

Proponents had said it’s important to teach tech-savvy kids to write in cursive so they can sign documents, write personal notes and read historical texts.

Fed-up Illinois legislators head for the exit in big numbers

Illinois residents aren’t the only ones throwing up their hands at the gridlock and increasingly polarized politics that have defined state government in recent years. More and more, fed-up and frustrated Illinois legislators are heading for the exits.

More than two-dozen legislators — about 15 percent of the General Assembly — have either resigned months into the current session or said they won’t seek re-election.

Gov. Rauner to bestow poetic license — seeking state’s fifth laureate

Roses are red. Violets are blue. If you think this is good poetry, Gov. Bruce Rauner doesn’t want you.

What the governor does want is a real poet to become the state’s fifth poet laureate. Rauner’s office on Wednesday announced Kevin Stein is stepping away on Dec. 1.

Stein, an English professor at Bradley University in Peoria, was appointed in December 2003 by former Gov.

Unfinished business: What’s still pending at Illinois’ Statehouse

With the signing of the school funding reform bill last week, Illinois lawmakers will get a bit of a breather from Springfield.

Their work for the year isn’t done however, with a list of bills vetoed by Gov. Bruce Rauner awaiting possible override votes, not to mention another 80 bills still pending some action by the governor and another high-profile bill still waiting on a decision about when to send it to the governor.

Illinois House to take up budget, tax bills, aiming to override governor’s vetoes

The fate of a spending plan and tax hike aimed at ending Illinois’ unprecedented two-year budget impasse moved on Tuesday to the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, which will seek to enact the legislation by overriding the Republican governor’s vetoes.

Steve Brown, a spokesman for Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, gave no time frame on possible House votes, though some House Democrats posted on their social media accounts that voting would take place on Thursday.