Illinois News Roundup for Monday, July 23
Published on July 23 2012 11:35 am
Last Updated on July 23 2012 11:35 am
Written by Greg Sapp
>>Illinois House Returning To Springfield
(Springfield, IL) -- Illinois lawmakers will return to work August 17 and they could be disciplining one of their own. House Speaker Michael Madigan called lawmakers back to session to deal with Representative Derrick Smith. Last week, a House panel voted to expel Smith from the House. It would take 79 of the 118 members of the House to remove Smith from office. Smith is facing a federal indictment of bribery. He's accused of taking a seven-thousand dollar bribe. Governor Pat Quinn would like lawmakers to work on pension reform when they return, but right now, they're still at an impasse on what to do.
>>State Workers Get Layoff Notices
(Springfield, IL) -- Hundreds of state workers are getting layoff notices. Governor Pat Quinn's office sent out six-hundred layoff notices to Department of Children and Family Services workers. The governor wants to save the jobs, but right now, the money isn't there. He wants to close prisons and other facilities and use that money to help protect children. He vetoed 57-million dollars in the budget to keep those facilities open, but lawmakers have to approve shifting that spending. Right now, that isn't scheduled to happen until November. The layoffs are effective at the end of September.
>>Governor Signs Julie's Law
(Franklin, IL) -- Governor Pat Quinn has signed a new law that's designed to improve road safety in Illinois. Jule's Law will crack down on people that excessively speed. The law will keep people from getting court supervision if you're going 30 miles per hour over the speed limit on highways or 25 miles per hour over the limit in urban areas. The law is named after Jule Gorczysnski, who was killed by a driver that was going 76 in a 40 mile per hour zone. He had been placed on court supervision seven times. Julie's Law goes on the books next July.
>>Boaters Seeing Low Water Levels
(Springfield, IL) -- The drought and hot weather mean the rivers and lakes all across the state are down. Chris McCloud with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources says that could mean problems for boaters. He says they've heard of some places where boats are having trouble navigating. McCloud says even getting your boat in the water can be tricky. He says the shallow water near boat ramps can make it difficult to get some boats in the water. Without more rain, McCloud says he expects water levels to keep falling.
>>More Hot Weather
(Lincoln, IL) -- Parts of Illinois are bracing for more hot and dry weather. The National Weather Service in Lincoln has issued heat advisories and excessive heat warnings for parts of central and southern Illinois. Temperatures are expected to be around 100 degrees with a heat index that could top out around 110 degrees in some places. Forecasters say there's not much relief in sight from the hot weather. The extended forecast calls for more hot and dry weather and temperatures are expected to be above normal through October and rainfall will be below normal.
>>Feds Indict 19 For Unemployment Fraud
(East St. Louis, IL) -- A federal grand jury has indicted 19 people for stealing unemployment insurance benefits. Federal prosecutors say each of the people were able to get anywhere from 11-thousand to 40-thousand dollars. Prosecutors say a couple of the people indicted were able to claim benefits while in jail. Each of the people indicted for theft of government funds could face up to ten years in prison and fines of up to 250-thousand dollars.
>>Boy Dies After Being Shot By His Sister
(Granite City, IL) -- Authorities in Jefferson County say a ten-year-old boy is dead after he was accidentally shot by his sister. Police say the seven-year-old girl found the gun in an RV owned by their grandfather. She picked up the gun and accidentally fired it. The bullet hit Christian Clark and he died. Police say there's no foul play suspected in the death, but it remains under investigation by several agencies, including the Illinois State Police and the Jefferson County State's Attorney. Police say they do believe that Clark's death is a tragic accident.
>>Bloomington Considering Water Restrictions
(Bloomington, IL) -- The Bloomington City Council is considering a measure that would increase water rates during a drought. The ordinance would increase water rates by 50 percent in an extreme drought. It would also crack down on people that ignore water restrictions. They'd face fines of 50-dollars for a first offence up to 250-dollars for continued violations. Voluntary water restrictions would go into place when the city's lake levels are a combined eight feet below normal. Once the lake levels fall to ten feet below normal, mandatory restrictions would go into place with the severe drought. An extreme drought would be when lake levels are 12 feet below normal. City officials say their water sources could hit eight feet below normal in September.
>>EIU Faculty Reach Contract Deal
(Charleston, IL) -- Eastern Illinois University and its faculty union have come to terms on a tentative contract. The four-year deal includes a summer salary proposal. Each year of the contract includes a one-point-five percent salary increase for faculty members. It also sets a pay scale for all summer classes. The idea is to help simplify how teachers are paid during the summer. Those offering classes in the summer will get 78 percent of their regular salary during the first three years of the deal and 80 percent in the fourth year. Faculty members are expected to vote on the proposal late next month or early in September while the college's Board of Trustees will vote on it in September.
>>Horse Owners Bracing For The Worst
(Carbondale, IL) -- The drought is causing a lot of problems for farmers and livestock and horse owners say they're bracing for the worst. One owner says thousands of horses could be starving this winter due to a lack of hay. Owners are feeding their horses hay now because the pasture grass they usually feed on is gone. The drought also means that hay isn't growing like it normally does. Because of that, the price of hay is going up and will be harder to find. Horse owners say they are also seeing the price of other feeds like corn going up. They say increased prices are causing some to struggle while others are changing their plans.
>>Musician Arrested When He Kept Playing
(Murphysboro, IL) -- A guitarist found himself behind bars Saturday when he refused to stop playing. Jovanni Veramendi was playing at a tavern in Murphysboro when employees asked him to stop. The employees called the police and Veramendi kept playing and refused to leave. Police say Veramendi had a struggle with officers when he continued to ignore their requests to leave the tavern. They arrested him for criminal trespass and resisting an officer.