State News

News from around the state of Illinois

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois legislators are headed to the Capitol for a special session on school funding called by Gov. Bruce Rauner. At issue is a plan the Democrat-majority Legislature approved that changes how Illinois distributes school money. However, the Senate isn’t sending the bill to the Republican governor who says he’ll make changes through his amendatory veto powers. He objects to additional funding for Chicago Public Schools. If lawmakers want to override, they’ll need a three-fifths majority vote, including Republicans. Rauner claims Democrats are holding the bill hostage weeks before schools are scheduled to open. Democrats accuse Rauner of “political theater” and not revealing what he’ll change. Lawmakers convene at noon Wednesday, but what they do depends on if the bill is sent to Rauner. They could also draft a new proposal.

ELGIN, Ill. (AP) — Illinois State Police are marking Illinois Speed Awareness Day on Wednesday through education and enforcement efforts. State Police officials say speed was the reason for more than 34 percent of traffic fatalities during 2015. That’s 369 deaths for the year or about one fatality every day. Illinois State Police say the goal is to reduce speeding and increase safety for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists. Last year during the state’s speed awareness day police issued more than 2,200 warnings and 3,000 citations. State Police say motorists and passengers should know the chances of death, disfigurement or debilitating injuries increase with higher rates of speed. Officials say those risks double for every 10 mph over 50 mph. Authorities also say the effectiveness of safety devices like seat belts and airbag’s decline as speeds increase.

CHICAGO (AP) — Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx is expressing surprise at how few gun cases that her office prosecutes result in convictions. Foxx on Tuesday told the Chicago Tribune her office is working with law enforcement officials to collect better intelligence and build stronger cases against gun offenders. The issue of gun crimes has been often raised by Chicago police. She said officials from her office will meet with Chicago police on a monthly basis to share data. Foxx says about 80 percent of those charged with gun crimes in 2016 pleaded guilty, with the remainder of the cases going to trial. Only about 30 percent of the defendants whose cases were decided by a judge in a bench trial were convicted. Juries convicted about 42 percent of the gun crime suspects brought before them. She called the numbers “embarrassing.”

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — An auction of unclaimed property worth $113,500 at the Illinois State Fair will be previewed in coming weeks in Springfield and Chicago. State Treasurer Michael Frerichs (FRAYR’-iks) says items include a signed, 1983 Ryne Sandberg baseball card; souvenir medallions from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago; a Hohner 6-sided “paddle wheel” harmonica ; and coins from the 1622 Spanish shipwreck of the Atocha. The live auction of unclaimed items will be Aug. 19 at the fair. The items will be displayed Thursday at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago and Aug. 8 at the Illinois State Capitol. The treasurer is in charge of unclaimed money, accounts and valuable items left in financial institutions or safe deposit boxes. Items not claimed within 10 years are auctioned.