House guns bill passes committee
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois legislation allowing public possession of concealed guns has passed the House Judiciary Committee. It was a compromise backed by Speaker Michael Madigan.
The measure was endorsed Thursday 13-3 and goes to the full House Friday. It comes two weeks before a June 9 deadline set by a federal appeals court for Illinois to abandon its prohibition on the public possession of weapons.
The legislation would require the Illinois State Police to issue concealed carry permits to qualified gun owners. It's patterned on a bill introduced by gun-rights advocate Rep. Brandon Phelps, a southern Illinois Democrat.
But Madigan's version significantly adds places that would be off limits to guns. Those include mass transit - a must for violence-weary Chicago Democrats.
Ill. Senate approves health-coverage exchange plan
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois Senate has approved a measure that would create a state-governed "insurance exchange" so individuals and small businesses can shop for health care coverage as required by President Obama's health law.
Lawmakers voted Thursday 37-19 to send the House a bill establishing the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace.
The exchange will guide people through the purchase of health and dental plans. It will also help qualified businesses enroll employees in health insurance plans.
The Affordable Care Act requires that nearly all Americans have health insurance beginning in 2014 or pay a penalty. New marketplaces are scheduled to be operating by October.
Illinois will begin an exchange this year through a federal partnership. Gov. Pat Quinn hopes to establish a state-run marketplace for 2015.
Lawmakers ask Obama to aid flood-impacted areas
CHICAGO (AP) - The Illinois congressional delegation is asking President Barack Obama to make federal aid available to local governments in 25 counties impacted by floods earlier this month.
The delegation sent a letter to Obama Thursday saying that the state has found about $40 million in damage in those counties.
The federal government has already authorized assistance for families and businesses. The funds being requested by lawmakers would help state and local governments.
The counties listed in the letter are: Adams, Bureau, Clark, Cook, Crawford, DuPage, Fulton, Grundy, Henderson, Kendall, Knox, Lake, LaSalle, Livingston, Marshall, Mason, McHenry, Mercer, Ogle, Pike, Putnam, Rock Island, Stark, Warren and Woodford.
Individuals and businesses in these counties are currently eligible for low interest loans and other housing assistance funds through a federal program.
87-year-old woman loses to Trump in civil case
CHICAGO (AP) - Jurors have sided with billionaire Donald Trump and against an 87-year-old grandmother who took him to court alleging that the "Apprentice" star cheated her in a skyscraper condo deal.
The federal jury in Chicago returned with a finding in Trump's favor Thursday.
Goldberg claimed the real estate mogul-turned-TV star carried out a bait and switch by offering her profit sharing in his namesake Chicago tower and reneging only after she committed to buy.
The case pitted the New Yorker who revels in his image as a big talker against Goldberg. A plaintiff's attorney portrayed her as a former waitress who learned her values growing up during the Depression.
The Evanston woman had sought various damages totaling around $6 million.
ILLINOIS CORRUPTION-FITZGERALD'S SUCCESSOR
New federal prosecutor nominated for Chicago
CHICAGO (AP) - The Obama administration has named a private attorney and former federal prosecutor to head the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin announced the nomination of Zachary Fardon on Thursday. He would replace Patrick Fitzgerald, who stepped down last summer to enter private practice. Fitzgerald rose to national prominence during more than a decade in the office and successfully convicted two Illinois governors.
The U.S. Senate must confirm the nomination.
The post is widely regarded as Chicago's second-most powerful job, after the mayor. The chief prosecutor and around 170 assistant attorneys also have an impact beyond Illinois, including by handling major terrorism cases.
Fardon is partner at the Chicago law office of a major law firm. His job experience includes working as an assistant U.S. attorney in Chicago.
Wisconsin monk out on bail in Illinois case
WAUKEGAN, Ill. (AP) - A Benedictine monk from Wisconsin who faces charges he tried to abduct four Illinois girls has been released on bond.
A Lake County judge lowered 57-year-old Thomas Chmura's bail from $150,000 to $50,000. Chmura previously was held in the Lake County jail since May 2. Chmura has pleaded not guilty. He lived at St. Benedict's Abbey in Benet Lake, Wis. He was arrested based on a description provided by 1 of the girls.
The judge has restricted Chmura to living with his father in the Chicago suburb of Lansing. Chmura also can't have contact with anyone under age 17. That means he can't return to his abbey in Wisconsin because the abbey houses children on the property.
Chmura's trial is set for July 12.
Pathologist testifies at Beason murder trial
PEORIA, Ill. (AP) - Graphic autopsy photographs confronted jurors hearing testimony during the trial of a man accused in the slaying of a central Illinois family.
The photos were shown as part of the testimony Thursday of Dr. John Ralston, a pathologist who conducted autopsies of the five alleged victims of Christopher Harris. Harris is charged with first-degree murder in the 2009 deaths of Rick Gee, his wife, Ruth, and 3 of their children in their Beason home.
Jurors looked away from the screen on which the photos were shown and one cried, prompting a recess.
Ralston testified Rick Gee suffered a minimum of 13 blows to head. Ralston held a tire iron recovered by police that is believed to be the murder weapon. He testified the wounds were consistent with the tire iron.
Prosecutor: Feds probe southwestern Ill. judge
BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - A southwestern Illinois judge's docket of hundreds of cases has been reassigned after the county's top prosecutor revealed that the judge is under federal investigation.
St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelley didn't detail the reason for the investigation. But he said he filed a complaint Thursday against Circuit Judge Michael Cook with state judicial discipline regulators.
Kelly and the county's chief judge, John Baricevic, says they've been cooperating with federal authorities.
Kelly says he has "actively assisted in and advanced a federal investigation" of the judge. He says that aid resulted in law-enforcement searches of Cook's Belleville home and his hunting cabin in western Illinois' Pike County.
Calls on Thursday to Cook's judge's chambers and his home were not answered.
DEADLY VAN CRASH-ILLINOIS
APNewsBreak: Driver in fatal Ill. van wreck ID'd
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Public records show a New Jersey man behind the wheel of a van that overturned on an Illinois freeway, killing five passengers, had his driving privileges suspended last year for administrative reasons.
Fayette County State's Attorney Joshua Morrison says 45-year-old Malcolm Purnell was ticketed after Monday's wreck on Interstate 70 east of St. Louis for improper lane usage and driving with a suspended license.
Illinois State Police have refused to publicly identify the driver, but The Associated Press obtained the citation against Purnell.
Motor vehicle records show Purnell lost his license after failing to resolve insurance issues. His license also was suspended briefly in 2002 after falling behind on child support. The records show no actual driving-related violations over the past decade.
Purnell hasn't replied to AP interview requests.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2013 WorldNow and WGEM. All Rights Reserved.
Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Donna Vancil at 217-228-6617. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at firstname.lastname@example.org.