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Radiac Abrasives Plant Manager Jim Baylis says the overall goal of the Salem facility is to continue to grow.  He told the Greater Salem Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon Thursday they are on an upward trend and expect a lot of growth over the next few years.

Right now the Salem plant is working on a project for an Italian company that could result in more overseas business.   Baylis notes despite all the technology, industries still have to relay on abrasive wheels that have been made since the 1800's to smooth surfaces. 

Baylis reported the company has installed equipment to reburn emissions from the plant to eliminate the odor that Radiac had become known for over the years.  Baylis says another three-million dollars in improvements to the plant are also being planned by their parent company Tyrolit.  They use about a third of all the natural gas in the city of Salem. 

The Austrian company purchased Radiac in 2009.  It is the largest of four plants they own, with 235 employees.  The Salem plant currently has 191-thousand square feet of manufacturing space, 16-thousand square feet of office space and 34-thousand square feet of warehousing space.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner plans to introduce legislation Friday in an effort to advance pieces of his so-called "Turnaround Agenda."

Documents obtained by The Associated Press show the Republican will push for six bills as the Legislature approaches its May 31 deadline.

Among them are measures to make workers' compensation insurance less expensive, freeze property taxes and impose term limits. He also wants to make it tougher for corporations to be sued in Illinois. 

A bill to allow municipalities to file bankruptcy was introduced earlier this year. 

Not included in the stack of new bills is a measure to create right-to-work zones where union membership would be voluntary.

But Rauner is pushing to allow some governments to opt out of prevailing wage agreements and collective bargaining.  

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan's effort to impose a new income tax on millionaires has stalled.

The powerful Chicago Democrat postponed the measure Thursday after a vote failed to produce needed 71 votes. Three House Democrats voted against Madigan's measure.

It wasn't immediately clear if the effort would see another House vote.

The attempt comes as Madigan has tried to put pressure on Gov. Bruce Rauner during a budget impasse by scheduling votes on the Republican's pro-business priorities.

The question on the millionaires tax would ask voters in November 2016 if the state constitution should be amended to add a 3 percent surcharge to incomes of more than $1 million.

Voters overwhelmingly favored the idea in a non-binding ballot question last fall.

The measure is HJRCA26.   Online: http://www.ilga.gov/ 

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - School officials say next year's statewide student assessment exam will have a shorter, simpler format to improve the testing process for students and educators.

The Belleville-News-Democrat says the governing board of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers voted this week to consolidate two testing windows into one and reduce total testing time for most students by 90 minutes. 

The vote came in response to school district feedback during the first year of testing and a review of the test design.

State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith says the changes will not affect making sure that every student is learning the skills and knowledge needed to advance to the next grade.

The exam will now consist of six or seven test units, depending on grade level.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Legislation to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana has passed the Illinois Senate.

Lawmakers voted 37-19 Thursday to make possession of 15 grams or less of marijuana a civil violation punishable by fines between $55 and a $125. Violators would not face jail time.

It will be sent to Gov. Bruce Rauner's desk after a second bill passes to address concerns, including allowing court clerks to expunge records of those who were fined.

Marijuana advocacy and civil liberties groups see the effort as a step toward broader marijuana decriminalization. Some Republican lawmakers object to it for the same reason.

Rep. Kelly Cassidy is the original sponsor. She has said the measure isn't about decriminalization, but addressing racial disparities in enforcing marijuana possession. 

The bill is HB3229.   Online: http://www.ilga.gov/ 

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