Stories by Andrew Adams — Capitol News Illinois

(Matheus Ferrero / Pexels)

Illinois Secretary of State Wants Permanent Increase in Driving Test Age Requirement

Illinois is the only state in the country that has a driving test requirement for people over a certain age. Illinois also requires more frequent driver’s license renewals for people over age 80, something only 23 states require.

The Illinois Supreme Court chamber is pictured in Springfield. (Peter Hancock / Capitol News Illinois)

As Illinois Supreme Court Weighs Another Biometric Privacy Lawsuit, Lawmakers Consider Child Data Framework

The Illinois Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a pair of class action suits brought by two suburban nurses who allege their employers violated the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act, a landmark 2008 law that gives Illinois residents the ability to sue companies that misuse biometric data, such as fingerprints or facial scans.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, organizers of the Illinois State Fair and others cut the ribbon at the main gate of the Illinois State Fairgrounds last month. (Jerry Nowicki / Capitol News Illinois)

Illinois State Fair Reports 9-Year Attendance High of 708,000 People

Fair manager points to good weather, recent renovations

The state Department of Agriculture, which hosts the fair each year, reported on Tuesday that about 708,000 people attended the fair, an 11% increase from 2022.  

An electric vehicle is pictured charging in Chicago. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)

Battery Manufacturing Plant Coming to Illinois With $530M Incentive Deal

The roughly $2 billion project is set to create 2,600 jobs and begin production in 2024. The plant will produce battery cells, battery packs like the kinds used in electric vehicles and large-scale energy storage systems.

(Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

Complaint Alleges ComEd Violated State Law by Raising Fees on Customer Bills

A group of businesses filed a complaint with state regulators alleging that Chicago electric company Commonwealth Edison improperly raised customer bills this summer. The complaint claims the utility failed to follow proper regulatory channels.

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Illinois Leaders Announce Mental Health Awareness Grant Program for Farmers and Rural Communities

Governor J.B. Pritzker announced Tuesday that chapters of FFA – the group once known as Future Farmers of America – will be eligible for $1,000 grants to fund mental health awareness programs in schools and rural communities.

Rep. Mary Beth Canty, D-Arlington Heights, is pictured during House floor debate.  (Jerry Nowicki / Capitol News Illinois)

Illinois to Put $20 Million Toward Grants for Grocers, Research Into Food Insecurity

New law aims to alleviate ‘food deserts’ throughout the state

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday signed a bill that sets up a program to distribute $20 million for grants and technical assistance for grocery stores as well as funding research into food insecurity.

State Rep. Larry Walsh, D-Elwood, is pictured in an Illinois House committee room earlier this year. He said he is going to try to override Gov. J.B. Pritzker's veto of a bill that would have granted existing utilities in downstate Illinois, notably Ameren Illinois, the “right of first refusal” for transmission line construction. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)

Pritzker Vetoes Measure Granting Ameren Authority Over Transmission Line Construction

The governor issued what’s called an amendatory veto, striking only the portion of House Bill 3445. He left the rest of the bill, which modifies a state grant program and requires several policy studies, untouched.

State Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, watches on May 19, 2023, as the Senate votes on her bill lifting the state’s moratorium on nuclear plant construction. (Capitol News Illinois photo by Andrew Adams)

Pritzker Vetoes Bill That Would Have Lifted 1980s Moratorium on New Nuclear Reactors in Illinois

The bill earned more votes than the three-fifths majority needed to override

The passed in May with three-fifths majorities in both legislative chambers, meaning that if all of the members that voted for it also support an override of the governor’s veto, it still could become law.

Illinois PIRG Director Abe Scarr offers public comment at a Tuesday Illinois Commerce Commission hearing on Peoples Gas’ requested utility rate increase. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)

Residents, Activists Ask State Regulators to Reject Utilities’ Rate Increases

The Illinois Commerce Commission is considering several rate hikes, including two sought by the utilities Peoples Gas and Ameren Illinois, who say they are needed to fund infrastructure improvements.

Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias speaks to reporters at a July 27, 2023, news conference announcing that several driver services facilities will begin requiring appointments in the fall. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)

Illinois Driver’s License Facilities to Require Appointments in More Than 40 Locations. Search for Yours.

Starting Sept. 1, 44 driver services facilities in medium- to large-sized cities around the state will require appointments for driver services.

(Regina Shanklin / Pixabay)

Labor Unions Promise Not to Strike During Next Year’s Democratic National Convention in Chicago

Top Democratic officials on Tuesday signed a “labor peace agreement.” The deal means that the Democratic National Committee will use union labor when available and that the unions won’t strike during the four-day convention scheduled for next August.

Sen. Cristina Castro, D-Elgin, and Rep. Eva-Dina Delgado, D-Chicago, question representatives of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services about proposed changes to programs that offer health care benefits to noncitizens in Illinois. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)

Illinois Lawmakers Criticize Pritzker Administration’s Handling of Noncitizen Health Care Limits

The controversy centers on the Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults and Health Benefits for Immigrant Seniors programs, which provide health care benefits to low-income noncitizens who would qualify for Medicaid benefits if not for their citizenship status.

Doug Scott stands for a photograph in the hearing room at the Illinois Commerce Commission offices in downtown Chicago. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)

Doug Scott, an Architect of Illinois’ Climate Policy, Takes Gavel of State’s Utility Regulatory Commission

Doug Scott is the new chair of the Illinois Commerce Commission. The commission is currently considering six proposed rate increases by gas and electricity utilities serving residents in Chicago and throughout most of suburban and downstate Illinois.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks to reporters at a news conference celebrating the continued recovery of the tourism industry on July 10, 2023. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)

Illinois Hotels Report Record Revenues for Fiscal Year 2023

On Monday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker, the state’s legislative leadership and representatives of the hospitality industry announced that hotels in Illinois saw record revenues in fiscal year 2023, which ended June 30.

The exterior of a new Siemens Venture passenger car is displayed at Chicago’s Union Station after a news conference announcing faster rail service on June 26, 2023. (Capitol News Illinois photo by Andrew Adams.)

Amtrak’s St. Louis-to-Chicago Route Begins Faster Service, Now Running at 110 MPH

The Amtrak line ran its first 110 mph service on Monday, up from 90 mph previously, which would make the one-way trip less than five hours long. The trip is now a full 30 minutes quicker than when the service ran at 79 mph when the project began in 2010.

Chicago City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin calls for a reduction to a requested utility rate increase by Peoples Gas at a June 1, 2023, news conference. Rosazlia Grillier, a resident of West Englewood and advocate for low-income families, is also pictured. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)

Consumer Advocates, Utilities Spar Over Potential Energy Price Increases

‘Unprecedented’ number of rate cases pending before Illinois Commerce Commission

Millions of Illinoisans could see higher energy bills next year, but the size of those increases will be determined by a state agency that has recently had its oversight powers expanded.

(Pok Rie / Pexels)

Illinois Expands Use of Police Surveillance Drones

Next time you attend a parade, there might be an eye in the sky. A new law signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker expands local police departments’ authority to use drones to surveil certain events, respond to certain 911 calls, inspect buildings and participate in public relations events.