Complaint names Urbana attorney

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission has accused Urbana attorney Robert G. Frederick of engaging in an improper relationship with a client and making a false statement to the court.

In a complaint served this week, the commission alleged Frederick had a sexual relationship with a woman he represented in a custody case and five other lawsuits, a situation that would present a conflict of interest for him.

Bill aims to better protect children

SPRINGFIELD – State Rep. Bill Mitchell, R-Forsyth, wants to make sure that the Santa you take your kids to see at the mall doesn't have any unsavory motives.

Most malls already conduct background checks on applicants for such positions, but Mitchell has introduced legislation in the General Assembly that would prohibit convicted sex offenders from participating in any holiday event involving children, including Halloween trick-or-treating or wearing a Santa or Easter Bunny costume.

Web site puts focus on deadbeats

SPRINGFIELD – A Paris, Ill., man is now famous for something you don't want to be famous for.

The Illinois Department of Public Aid's Division of Child Support Enforcement launched a Web site Monday with photos of Illinois' worst offenders on child support.

Hospital tax bill is headed to Blagojevich

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois House Friday sent the governor a bill to institute a tax on occupied hospital beds as a way to capture more federal matching funds for health care.

The Senate passed HB 701 on a 51-to-6 vote Thursday night, and the House voted 80-30 to tax the state's 200 hospitals at a rate of $84.19 per occupied bed per day.

$2 million released for Lincoln Hall

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod Blagojevich released $2 million Friday afternoon in planning money for the renovation of Lincoln Hall at the University of Illinois.

"Senator Rick Winkel has been working diligently with our administration over the last several months to make sure that funds were available for the Lincoln Hall project and we are pleased to join him in seeing his hard work pay off," said Abby Ottenhoff, a spokeswoman for Blagojevich.

IP merger losing steam

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois House adjourned for the year without passing legislation Exelon Corp. said was essential to its plan to buy Decatur-based Illinois Power.

Exelon and Dynegy, the Houston-based parent of Illinois Power, could not be reached for comment Friday night, but were expected to release a joint statement this morning.

Outlook dim for Exelon's deal

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate approved legislation Thursday designed to help Exelon purchase Illinois Power, but it was a shallow victory for the utilities, as the bill is unlikely to get called for a vote in the House.

The tally was 39 in favor, 10 against and five voting "present."

Parent: Son might press for charges

The father of a University of Illinois student says that at least two suspended UI basketball players were among a group of people that broke into his son's apartment and stole about $3,000 worth of merchandise.

Randy Brown, whose son is a junior at Illinois, said Thursday that Luther Head and Aaron Spears were two of a group of men who broke into his son's Champaign apartment the morning of Nov. 2 and stole electronic equipment and clothes.

Bill to study water supplies becomes law

SPRINGFIELD – Concern for the future of the state's groundwater supply outweighed the General Assembly's budget worries Thursday.

The Illinois House successfully overrode the governor's veto of a bill to study the Mahomet Aquifer and other sources of drinking water throughout the state.

Lawmakers at odds over IP controversy

SPRINGFIELD – Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan called Exelon's bluff Wednesday night, and the company responded by threatening to call off its plans to buy Illinois Power.

Illinois Power President Larry Altenbaumer said that canceling the deal would put 400 people out of work and jeopardize the reliability of electricity in East Central Illinois and the rest of his company's service area.