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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois House Democrats failed to overturn a veto from Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on a bill that would let an arbitrator settle state-employee wages and working conditions if union negotiations stall.

Democrats fell two votes short of overriding the veto Wednesday with a vote of 69-47. 

Rauner vetoed the bill this month, saying that sending negotiations to an arbitrator would favor the union and strip away his power to represent taxpayers on a new labor agreement with state workers.

Rauner is in the midst of prolonged negotiations on a new labor deal with the largest union representing Illinois state workers - American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Democrats failed to override Rauner's veto of a similar bill last year.


CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois State Board of Elections officials say they're working with legislators to address logistical concerns raised in an automatic voter registration proposal.

The state's election authority opposed the bill over questions about cost and how the plan involving five state agencies would be implemented. 

In a statement Wednesday, election officials say they support the concept of automatic registration and ways to boost civic participation, but were concerned with parts of the plan. Elections officials say they're working with House and Senate staff to draft legislation that isn't cost prohibitive and addresses their questions. 

The plan to automatically register Illinois voters unless they opt out has cleared the Senate and awaits House consideration. 

Supporters say it would modernize the system and increase turnout. Opponents fear it could lead to registering ineligible people.


Bond has been set at $50,000 for a 42-year-old Centralia man who has been charged with aggravated battery to a person rendering first aide.  

Timothy Marshall of Clinmar Street is accused of striking a paramedic two times in the arm while being transported to SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital from the Centralia Police holding cell.  An ambulance was called after Marshall complained he was having seizures.

Marshall was first taken into custody for violation of an order of protection.    

The public defender was appointed to represent him.


The North Wamac Grade School District will be getting some much needed work done over the summer.  Superintendent Brad Morris presented a list of projects to be completed during the summer to the board of education at their regular monthly meeting this week.

Among the items that will be completed are repairing any roof leaks, installing door closers on doors in several of the rooms as well as repairing or replacing some carpet.  They will also install new wiring for receptacles on the floor of the resource room.  These are just a few of the odds and ends that need to get done, with no major construction projects expected.

Mr. Morris also presented information to the Board concerning the changes that will be needed to amend the Fiscal Year 16 budget.  He explained that due to  the increase of students this year and special education needs the expenditures were higher than expected.  The building fund also experienced a higher expense due to various supplies and equipment expenses.  Morris did tell the Board that North Wamac has applied for the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Grant for FY17.  

Morris also presented information concerning securing bids for several projects for the school.  The first bid would be for HVAC for the main offices and the gym.  The second bid would be for the installation of a canopy for the main entrance of the building.  The canopy would help redirect some of the water that frequently comes into the building with any heavy rainstorms.  

In the teachers report Byron Marcum reported that the teachers are reviewing new textbooks for several grades.  They are reviewing them to be sure that they enhance the curriculum and help the students with the PARCC testing.  

In personnel news, Kassidy Miller was hired as secretary and bookkeeper.  Byron Marcum and Sheila Donoho to help with the summer maintenance projects.


State Senator Kyle McCarter has crafted a balanced budget compromise combining what he calls true budget reforms and no new taxes.

McCarter says his plan is a balanced approach that incorporates ideas and proposals from legislators and the Governor's office.

"This is a responsible plan.  It provides sound and affordable pensions.  It protects education and human services.  And it provides constant savings and it spends money wisely."

McCarter says it's important there is no tax increase.

"The fact that this is a budget with no new taxes is important because we can't afford to repeat the mistake that we made the last time by increasing taxes by 67%.  The reason is because over 200,000 people left the state.  These are people that were paying taxes, that were generating energy in this economy and activity that was helping us pay our bills."

McCarter says enough is enough. He says the state has a moral and fiscal obligation to the people of Illinois to pass a balanced budget and the time for finger pointing is over. 

McCarter says his budget plan protects Education and Human Services, holding to current funding levels. It provides sound and affordable pensions by shifting the pension burden to local districts and universities in exchange for procurement reform and mandate relief, providing ample savings to handle the seven-year phased-in shift.

McCarter wants to replace the current pension system to a portable, affordable and constitutional 401-K retirement savings plan for all future employees.  There is Workers' Compensation Reform dealing with public employees and non-profits only.  The total cost savings would be $3.5-billion dollars, which is 83-percent of the current funding gap.  
 
McCarter says most families and business owners would agree that we should stop spending money we don't have; that we should cut wasteful spending and reform state government to make it more responsive and less of a burden. McCarter thinks it is time to expect more of government and less of taxpayers.




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