Illinois Budget 2.27.09

Illinois Budget 2.27.09
Here are the top Illinois stories coming today from GateHouse News Service. Stories are available at Please check in the evening for changes to story lineup, including breaking news.
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Casey Laughman: (217) 816-3343,

The daily Illinois budget can be found online at Budget updates will be posted there.


New weekly feature: 5 things to do this weekend

Get variety of resources for covering stimulus package:

Story idea: Unemployment numbers rising in rural America:


SPREADING THE WORDS: For a variety of reasons, literary societies have gone the way of stock portfolios. But people in Jacksonville having been taking them seriously for a long time. By Steven Spearie (NOTE EMBARGO)

STATE BRIEFS: News from around the state. Will be posted this evening.

AL-MARRI: A federal grand jury has indicted Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri -- a former West Peoria man -- for allegedly conspiring with others to help the al Qaeda terrorist organization. By Andy Kravetz.

IDOT SECRETARY: Colleagues say they expect Gov. Pat Quinn will name longtime state Rep. Gary Hannig, D-Litchfield, to head the Illinois Department of Transportation. By Doug Finke. (WILL BE UPDATED)

HOSPITAL AID: As expected, Gov. Pat Quinn approves borrowing more than $500 million out of special state funds to provide aid to state hospitals. Colindres.

GOVERNOR TRANSITION: Lawmakers are looking at changing state law to allow Gov. Pat Quinn to fold the duties and employees of his old lieutenant governor office into the governor's office because there is no lieutenant governor. By Naing. For Saturday.

GOVERNMENT REFORM: The second in the series covering state officials' efforts to clean up state government, this time focusing on disclosure of ethics violations by state employees and a possible Web site for state government information, including employee salaries. By Colindres. For the weekend. WITH BREAKOUT

STATEHOUSE INSIDER: By Doug Finke. For Sunday.

PLUGGED-IN LAWMAKERS: A new study shows more lawmakers are using technology to connect with voters. But GateHouse-area legislative results are mixed: some legislators take full advantage of the Internet and its offerings, while others are less e-savvy. By Andrew Thomason. (NOTE EMBARGO)

BRADY FOR GOV: State Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, who placed third in a primary for governor in 2006, is renewing his bid for the state’s top office with a four-city fly-around planned for Monday. SJR.

DONKEY: Boone County seized eight horses, 10 goats, six donkeys, a sheep and a pair of cats in addition to the 103 dogs it took last year from a Capron property. Dixie, a donkey, was at greatest risk. But now she’s doing well thanks to a woman who wanted to help the underdog, or as she says, “underdonkey.” By Kevin Haas.

BRITT: Topic TBA. Will be posted this evening.
ELIZABETH DAVIES: We need to teach kids good sense so they don’t start sexting in the first place.
-- NOTE: This is Davies’ last column for a couple months – she’s going on maternity leave.

WOOD ON WORDS: Yes, friends, we’re all Americans.

PHIL LUCIANO: All signs point to Blago being an evil genius.

BRIAN DENEAL: It began as a normal quiet night Tuesday, but then …

BACK ON TRACK (for Saturday): A four-man senior class felt good about getting Illinois basketball headed in the right direction. Now comes finishing the home season in style against league-leading Michigan State. By John Supinie. Moving this afternoon.

COACH ON THE FLOOR (for Sunday): Senior point guard Chester Frazier's playing style and desire to be a coach reminds Bruce Weber a little bit about himself. Serves as Illinois-Michigan State preview. With preview capsule. By John Supinie. Moving Saturday afternoon.

GAME STORY (for Monday): Illinois hosts Michigan State. Tipoff 3 p.m. Game story with quotes and report card moving by 7 p.m.
Note: Second story available from Peoria Journal Star columnist Bill Liesse.