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CHICAGO (AP) - Top Democrats are warning that Illinois will run out of money to operate in just a few months if lawmakers can't agree on a state budget. But they still insist they won't cave to Gov. Bruce Rauner's demands to weaken public-worker unions to get a budget deal.

House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie said Wednesday the Republican governor's plan to let local governments opt out of collective bargaining is an attack on the middle class.

The Chicago Democrat says Rauner needs to focus on the budget before Illinois "goes totally broke come February or March."

Rauner has stepped up his push to curb bargaining rights this week.

He says it will save middle class families money by lowering taxes. Rauner says Democrats have previously supported changes to collective bargaining. 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Bruce Rauner has more than $19 million in his campaign fund after the most recent fundraising quarter.

The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers reports (http://bit.ly/1MgcHjB ) that Rauner received $15,000 from three contributors over the three-month quarter ending Oct. 1. That money came from three contributors: Anheuser-Busch, Kraft and a political action committee for certified public accountants.

Rauner spent $91,000 from the account with the largest amount going to a law firm for legal consulting services.

The governor also has a Turnaround Illinois political action committee. It reported having $2.4 million on June 30 with no reported fundraising since then.

Rauner campaign spokeswoman Sarah Clamp says Rauner "is focused on reforming state government and passing a balanced budget."

A 21-year-old Centralia man has pleaded guilty in Marion County Court to attempted meth conspiracy.  Kole Koehler of Jolliff Bridge Road in Centralia was placed on three years probation and 180 days in the Marion County Jail, with credit for time already served.  The three original counts against Koehler for meth conspiracy for receiving pseuoephederine from three Salem men were dropped as part of the plea.  

A 56-year-old Junction City man pleaded guilty during his first appearance in court for being a sex offender who failed to register a new address within three days of moving.  Darrell Branon will be sentenced on November 4th after a pre-sentence investigation is completed.  Branon remained in custody in lieu of $25,000 bond.  

A 49-year-old Sandoval man pleaded guilty during his first appearance in Marion County Court to a battery charge.  Timothy Lusch of North Vine was sentenced to two years probation, credit for time served in jail as well as fine and costs. He'll also have to undergo drug evaluation and treatment, with random testing. As part of the plea, a second battery charge stemming from an incident last October was dismissed.  

A 56-year-old Centralia woman has pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted forgery.  Terri Lyons of North Elm was placed on two years probation and ordered to pay $457 in costs.  She had originally been charged with two counts of forgery.  The charges all involve title transfer forms. 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois is continuing to approve patients to use medical marijuana, with about 100 more approval letters sent in September.

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced Wednesday it has approved 3,100 patients to use medical marijuana in the state's pilot program. That includes 16 children.

Medical marijuana growers say they will have products ready to sell later this month in licensed dispensaries. So far, dispensaries in Mundelein, Canton and Quincy are fully licensed and ready to open.

The health department said that about 4,000 people have submitted complete applications. The program began accepting application in September of 2014.

Qualifying patients pay an annual fee of $100 for a marijuana card and need a doctor's written certification.

Online: Medical Cannabis Pilot Program: http://mcpp.illinois.gov

For the first time in memory, the Marion County Board will not have to transfer funds to support the animal control program.    But that doesn't mean all is well in the effort to enforce the purchase of dog tags.  

The Community Relations Committee continued to express frustration Tuesday night with lack of cooperation with some veterinarians and dog owners.   Animal Control Officer Ken Ferguson says cooperation ranges from complete to none at all.

"What I'm asking everyone to do at this point is at least put up a sign that they have to pay for the tag as well as the rabies vaccination.  They can leave a check and staple it to the paperwork that is going to be mailed to me.  If they would at least do that, it would work.  But then we have other people who refuse to do anything to cooperate.  Then there are others that make my life easy," said Ferguson.  "I get it.  All I have to do is check it, file it.  It works."

Ferguson is left to follow up with some dog owners who obtained a tag when getting a rabies vaccination, but never followed up with payment.  

"I've been working on paperwork for some time now.  My concentration is on one vet only. I'm in the neighborhood of $3,500 of unpaid tag revenue because they refuse to collect them," said Ferguson.

Ferguson says some dog owners tell them they won't pay, while he's able to work out arrangements with others.  Those who refuse to pay are being sent to the State's Attorney's office for violation of the state law requiring the purchase of dog tags.   The committee agreed to re-visit vets who are refusing to cooperate to try and get their support.    

The committee members noted state law requires the tags and sets the $10 cost differential between dogs that have been neutered and spayed and those that have not been. 

The sale of the dog tags supports the county's animal control program.  Its budget for next year anticipates the sale of $34,500 in dog tags, which isn't enough to pay the $36,000 fee charged by the city of Centralia for use of the city's dog pound.   The budget also includes $24,000 for the animal control administrator's salary, $2,600 to pay a state mandated portion of the cost to neuter or spay a pet, and $11,000 for travel by the animal control officer.  The fund is also used to pay for livestock killed by dogs, but there have been no claims so far this year.  

 The fund is expected to start the year with a balance of $58,000.  The budget projects the fund will run in the red, with a $21,440 balance at the end of the year.  

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