Week Of High Expectations Stumbles To New Lows For Team Trump

This was to have been the week when President Trump turned his fledgling presidency around, setting a course for success and letting the wind fill its sails at last. Instead, it became his worst week to date, ending with the ship becalmed and its crew in disarray. After other controversies had spoiled the weather, the Republicans proved unable to muster the votes to pass their repeal-and-replace Obamacare bill in the House. The president and Speaker Paul Ryan had to call off the vote...

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Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Now that the Republican replacement for the Affordable Care Act has been tabled, one Congressional Democrat from northern Illinois says it’s time to work together to make the existing law better.

17th District Rep. Cheri Bustos says she’s on the same page with President Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan on two important changes they want in the health care law: they all want people to pay less for premiums, co-pays, and deductibles, as well as prescription drugs. She says where they differ is how to get there.  

Peggy Doty

Monarch butterflies have started their long, three-generation migration north. Last year, a late-winter storm reduced their numbers drastically. It could be two months before they show up in Illinois again, but there are ways to start preparing for their return.

U.S. Senator Durbin Condemns GOP Healthcare Plan

Mar 24, 2017
durbin.senate.gov

Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin took a swipe at the Republican healthcare plan in Springfield Friday.

Republicans could not get the votes to pass the measure, even though both the president and the speaker of the House put their full weight behind the plan. Durbin says in Washington, that usually means a slam dunk.

“When the president puts his reputation on the line, whoever that president may be, they’ve never lost. Underline the word never,” Durbin said. “Ultimately, I expect the Trump and Paul Ryan effort to succeed in the House. If it doesn’t, it’s historic.”

Flickr user Pictures of Money / "Money" (CC BY 2.0)

Some Illinois lawmakers who had their paychecks delayed by 9 months are expressing relief they’ll finally get their salaries.

There was a popular slogan during last year’s campaign for Comptroller.

No budget, no pay.

The former Republican comptroller said with no budget, lawmakers’ paychecks will be delayed - just like payments for other critical government services.

WELCH: This was pure coercion, plain and simple.

State Representative Chris Welch and 5 other Democrats sued and won Thursday.

Flickr user JayMase / "Physical Education" (CC V 2.0)

Yet another plan to address the state’s lopsided school funding structure has been filed. This measure would freeze funding at current levels for all districts, including Chicago Public Schools.

When new revenue becomes available, it would be handed out based on each district’s demographics and needs, giving more to districts struggling financially. Republicans proposed the first draft of this plan, and now Senator Andy Manar, a Democrat from Bunker Hill, is sponsoring a compromise version.

IDES

The Illinois Department of Employment Security says the state's unemployment rate fell below six percent in February.

  

The drop to 5.4 percent leaves Illinois' jobless rate at its lowest since late 2007. Preliminary numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released by the department Thursday indicate 25,600 non-farm jobs were added to Illinois' economy last month.

January job growth was revised to show an increase of 8,100 jobs rather than the preliminary estimate of 1,700 jobs.

Cass Herrington/Peoria Public Radio

President Donald Trump’s order to deport immigrants living in the U.S. illegally left many undocumented people and their families feeling unsettled.

In response, immigrant rights advocates are mobilizing to spread information about how to better prepare for encounters with immigration officials.

 

“Fear debilitates you,” community organizer Jorge Mujica said. “We are in a full campaign against fear. Good information organizes, so what we are doing is giving people good information.”

Jennifer Brdlik

Democratic State Representative Kelly Cassidy and Senator Heather Steans are pushing to legalize recreational marijuana.

Their measures would allow people 21 and older to possess up to 28 grams. It would also let facilities sell pot products.

Illinois currently allows medicinal uses of the drug for certain approved conditions.

Representative Cassidy says the state could rake in as much as $700 million a year from the sale of recreational marijuana; she says it’s critical to help chip away at Illinois’ massive budget deficit.

"Blake Wilbur Building - Stanford Hospital & Clinics" by Flickr User Jennifer Morrow / (CC X 2.0)

The Illinois Supreme Court has vacated a lower court's ruling that found unconstitutional a state law allowing not-for-profit hospitals to avoid paying property taxes in certain cases.

The court decided unanimously Thursday to vacate a ruling last year by the Illinois 4th District Appellate Court because it lacked jurisdiction and remanded the case involving an Urbana hospital to the trial court for reconsideration.

Updated at 9:48 p.m. ET

The White House issued an ultimatum to House Republicans on Thursday: Vote for the current GOP health care replacement plan or leave the Affordable Care Act in place and suffer the political consequences.

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