Afternoon News Update: March 20
- New legislation in Chicago has essentially banned puppy mills from the city. Now, dozens of animal right activists say they want the same for ones in the Stateline. Supporters of Angels 4 Animals are signing a petition to adopt stricter guidelines for puppy mills in Boone County. The group is hoping to adopt Chicago’s legislation that makes it illegal for pet stores to acquire dogs, cats or rabbits from mills.
- The race for Illinois Governor is already getting ugly. Governor Quinn’s campaign released a new video comparing Republican nominee Bruce Rauner to a character from the Fox show, ‘The Simpsons.’ Race officials expect the Quinn camp to harp on the issues contained within the video. This comes up after sources said that Rauner would possibly cut Illinois’ minimum wage to the federal level of $7.25/hour. He denied all reports and added that he would even consider raising it in exchange for tax breaks for businesses.
- Law enforcement officials from across Illinois are pushing to maintain early education and youth program funding as the state faces budget cuts next year. They say cutting money from these programs will result in higher crime rates and increased law enforcement costs in the future. State revenues are expected to dip $1.5 billion dollars if the temporary income tax increase expires as scheduled in 2015.
- The Illinois Department of Employment Security says unemployment held steady across the state in February at 8.7 percent. Officials say the Land of Lincoln added almost 6,400 jobs, which was an improvement from January when the state lost jobs. Currently, Illinois has one of the highest jobless rates in the nation. The nationwide unemployment rate is presently 6.7 percent.
- Legislation heading to the Illinois House would waive hunting and fishing license fees for senior citizens. The proposal would let people over 75 get a sport fishing and hunting license for free. Officials say, however, that waiving the fees could mean a loss of about $260,000 in revenue.
- The Illinois Supreme Court has struck down the state's strict eavesdropping law. The law passed in 1961 makes it illegal to make an audio recording of someone without their consent, even if that person is speaking in public. Justices say the law was written too broadly and criminalizes recordings that are clearly public.
- Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo is bringing back penguins in a planned $22 million renovation. Work on the project is scheduled to begin this fall with new exhibits opening in 2016. The new zoo habitat will house a breeding colony of endangered African penguins.