Illinois

A New Program in One State Will Help People Expunge Marijuana Convictions

A state-funded coalition of legal organizations will help Illinois residents navigate the process of criminal record expungement for pot-related offenses.

Rejecting the ‘Fair Tax’ Ballot Measure, Illinois Voters Decide to Keep a Flat Income Tax

Illinois voters rejected a ballot measure that would have allowed the state to implement a graduated income tax. Campaigns for and against the initiative together raised more than $120 million.

Revenue Shortfalls, Low Morale and New Technology: A Survey of Government Leaders in the Age of Covid-19

Facing reduced tax revenues and dealing with new challenges, local government officials in a new survey by ELGL, the Atlas and SeeClickFix reflect on staff morale and potential government cutbacks, as well as the technology that is helping them navigate this time.

Dribble, Don't Spit: University Debuts New Saliva-Based Covid Test

The test is free for students, faculty and staff at the University of Illinois, where it was developed. Results are available in 24 hours, but it's unclear whether testing would be mandatory.

Millions of Homeowners Who Need Flood Insurance Don’t Know It—Thanks to FEMA

It is FEMA’s job to warn homeowners about major flood risks, but its approach is notoriously limited. In Cook County alone, researchers found about six times as many properties in danger as FEMA estimated. Look up your address with a new tool.

To More Easily Ban Problem Police Officers, Some States Focus on Licensing

Proponents of professional licensing for police say that such a system would make it easier to fire an officer for misconduct.

States Contemplate Borrowing to Help Manage Pandemic’s Fiscal Impact

COMMENTARY | Short-term financing, Federal Reserve program may buy time, but budgets will need adjusting.

He Was Ordered to Self-Isolate. He Didn’t. Now He’s Facing Criminal Charges.

A man with coronavirus symptoms walked into a busy gas station store in southeastern Illinois. Prosecutors there charged him with reckless conduct, saying the man “showed a willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others.”

A State Senator Had Thousands of Dollars in Ticket Debt. Now She’s Fighting to Make Sure Others Won’t.

A Q&A with Illinois state Sen. Celina Villanueva, who introduced a bill to end driver’s license suspensions for unpaid red-light and speed camera tickets.

Some Nonprofit Hospitals Aren’t Earning Their Tax Breaks, Critics Say

Half of all charity care in Chicago falls to one health system.

Chicago Is Making the Case for Releasing Pregnant Inmates

Women in jail typically have limited prenatal support and return to custody soon after giving birth. One program is testing a different approach.

The Deep Divide: State Borders Create Medicaid Haves And Have-Nots

State borders can highlight Medicaid’s arbitrary coverage.

In Hair and Nail Salons, Beauty Experts Are Now Looking for Signs of Domestic Violence

Illinois requires cosmetologists to undergo training to learn the signs of domestic violence in order to renew their professional licenses.

Dispatching a 'Battle Buddy' to Help Distressed Veterans

An initiative in Joliet, Illinois, sends police officers with military experience to respond to calls for service involving veterans who need help.

A State Will Require Civics Education in Prisons

The goal of the new Illinois law is to reduce recidivism, help former prisoners reintegrate into their communities, and boost voter turnout.

Legal Challenge Over $14 Billion in State Debt Is Sidelined For Now

A judge has blocked the Illinois case from proceeding, but the think tank CEO who brought it says he plans to appeal.

Teaching Consent as Part of Sex Ed

Sex ed classes in Illinois schools must include a lesson on consent under a state law that goes into effect in January.

Leveraging Technology to Clear Criminal Records

Cook County, Illinois, will automatically expunge low-level convictions for marijuana offenses using software from Code for America.

The Latest State to Prohibit Smoking in Cars With Minors

In Illinois, people smoking in a car carrying a child can now face fines up to $250. At least nine other states have similar policies.

29 Dogs Died in a Kennel Fire. Legislators Hope to Prevent it From Happening Again.

Illinois became the first state in the country to mandate safety protections for dogs and cats in kennel facilities.