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Governor delivers annual budget address

Spending cuts, pension reform, and prioritizing education are a few items that make up the Governor’s balanced budget, which he presented to the General Assembly Feb. 14 during his annual budget address.

Flags lowered in honor of fallen Police Commander

Gov. Rauner has ordered all entities governed by the Illinois Flag Display Act to fly both the United States and Illinois state flags at half-staff in honor and remembrance of Chicago Police Commander Paul Bauer.

Righter: 2018 budget must include cuts

Our road-map in 2018 for a balanced budget first and foremost, must include cuts. Tax increases are not on the table. Funding only our priorities and respecting taxpayer dollars being sent to Springfield is what the people of Illinois rightfully demand.

Bills to raise smoking age to 21, provide opioid alternatives

A bill voted out of the Senate Public Health Committee would raise the legal smoking age to 21. Senate Bill 2332 would set the legal age to buy or use tobacco products, electronic cigarettes, and alternative nicotine products at 21 years of age. It eliminates the prohibition against minors possessing cigars, cigarettes, "smokeless tobacco, or tobacco in any of its forms."

EpiPen bill protects medical professionals

Legislation approved this week in the Senate Judiciary Committee would protect law enforcement officers and medical professionals from liability when they use EpiPens in emergencies.

Combatting Legionella at Veterans’ Home

The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee continued its efforts to learn more about the Legionella outbreak at the Quincy Veterans’ Home. Lawmakers discussed the state’s response to the outbreak in a joint Senate/House of Representatives hearing on Feb. 7.

Rauner: ‘We can and must grow our way into a more prosperous future’

Creating more jobs, spending within the state’s means, ending the practice of borrowing to cover the state’s deficits, addressing the state’s pension crisis, and lowering the tax burden on families and businesses were some major themes Gov. Rauner pushed during his annual State of the State Address Jan. 31.

Senate Democrats send more money to CPS at expense of rest of state

More than $45 million additional dollars is now projected to head to Chicago Public Schools at the expense of the vast majority of school districts throughout the state. This, after Democratic majorities in the House and Senate overrode the Governor’s Amendatory Veto of Senate Bill 444 on Jan. 31, making it law.

New campaign to provide free smoke alarms

“Be Alarmed!”, a new program being pushed by the State Fire Marshal and Illinois Fire Safety Alliance will provide free smoke alarms, education about fire safety, and proper smoke alarm installation to people throughout the state through their local fire departments.

State/federal government now accepting tax returns

Both the state and federal governments are now accepting 2017 income tax returns. The Illinois Department of Revenue says that filing tax returns electronically and using direct deposit is the fastest way to get your refund. They expect refunds will be issued four weeks from the time a return is filed electronically.

Righter: Keeping the next generation in Illinois is key

State Sen. Dale Righter (R-Mattoon) issued the following reaction in response to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s State of the State Address Jan. 31.

Closing the wage gap

Many jobs continue to pay women less than their male counterparts who are performing the same job duties. Legislation filed at the Statehouse would help close the wage gap between men and women.

Legislative session starts Jan. 30, State of State Address Jan. 31

Illinois lawmakers will return to the Capitol next week for three scheduled days of session on Jan. 30 and 31, and Feb. 1, which will include the Governor’s State of the State Address on Jan. 31 during a joint session of both chambers held in the House of Representatives.

Tax filing season begins

The Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) will begin accepting 2017 individual state returns on Jan. 29, the same day that the federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will begin accepting federal individual income tax returns.

Recreational marijuana hearing

Lawmakers from both the Senate and House held the fourth in a series of joint committee hearings to discuss the possibility of legalizing and taxing cannabis for recreational use in Illinois.