Illinois ranks near bottom on lobbyists

SPRINGFIELD - Illinois deserves a failing grade for its lobbyist disclosure and enforcement, according to a study The Center for Public Integrity released today.

Tornadoes, funnel clouds reported in area

   Despite their menacing appearance, the storms that swept through East Central Illinois on Wednesday evening did no damage.

House panel boosts UI budget

SPRINGFIELD - University of Illinois faculty got some good news this morning, when a House panel voted to add $5.36 million to the $699.4 million budget Gov. Rod Blagojevich proposed for the university.

Blagojevich to consider bill on sports facilities

SPRINGFIELD - A bill to create a bonding authority that would use hotel taxes to build new sports facilities and improve existing arenas downstate is on its way to the governor's desk.

Trustee resigns from UI board

SPRINGFIELD - Tom Lamont has resigned from the University of Illinois Board of Trustees, and Gov. Rod Blagojevich is nominating a veteran of the Chicago public school system to replace him.

Cord-blood bill reaches Blagojevich

SPRINGFIELD - Women about to give birth in Illinois hospitals would be offered a chance to donate their umbilical cord blood for transplant, under a bill awaiting Gov. Rod Blagojevich's signature.

Nursing home law challenged by new measure

SPRINGFIELD - State Sen. Dan Rutherford, R-Chenoa, is fighting attempts to delay a scheduled July 1 change in the way the state calculates Medicaid reimbursement rates for nursing homes.

SBC-backed bill clears Senate in second vote

SPRINGFIELD - A telecommunications bill speeding through the Legislature this week hit a bump Thursday night when it narrowly failed in the state Senate, but won approval on a second vote this morning.

Immigrant tuition bill sent to Blagojevich

   SPRINGFIELD ? At a time when Gov. Rod Blagojevich has asked the University of Illinois to increase its out-of-state tuition, the General Assembly sent him a bill Wednesday that would grant in-state rates to undocumented immigrants who graduate from Illinois high schools.

Black no longer backs bill to tape closed meetings

SPRINGFIELD - A bill that would require tape recording of closed-session meetings by public bodies has lost the backing of one of its once-staunch supporters. State Rep. Bill Black, R-Danville, a former sponsor of similar legislation, now has concerns about the idea and plans to vote no.