Quinn signs into law tough fracking regulations
CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation giving the state the nation's strictest regulations for high-volume oil and gas drilling.
In a news release, Quinn's office says the governor signed the bill Monday. Quinn says the law will "unlock the potential" for thousands of jobs in southern Illinois while protecting the environment.
Quinn's signature was expected after the measure sailed through the Illinois Legislature.
The process called "fracking" probably won't begin in earnest in the state until next year because the Department of Natural Resources must adopt rules to mirror the regulations and hire dozens of new engineers, inspectors and regulators.
The law was crafted with the help of industry and some environmental groups. The unusual collaboration has been touted as a potential model for other states.
Madigan seeks 2nd delay on Illinois gun plan
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is asking the U.S. Supreme Court for more time to decide whether to appeal a lower court's order saying citizens should be allowed to publicly carry concealed guns.
Madigan already got one extension - until June 24 - to challenge the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that said a ban on concealed firearms is unconstitutional. Now she wants until July 24.
The request was filed late Friday, but The Associated Press obtained a copy Monday before it was posted electronically.
The appellate court ordered the ban be lifted by July 9. Lawmakers complied by sending Gov. Pat Quinn a plan on permitting concealed carry.
A spokeswoman says one reason Madigan's seeking another delay is because of uncertainty over Quinn's plans for the measure.
ILLINOIS PENSIONS-LISA MADIGAN
Court fight on pension reform termed 'inevitable'
CHICAGO (AP) - A spokeswoman for Lisa Madigan says the Illinois attorney general is "doing her job" to advise state lawmakers and make sure the Legislature's final plan on pension reform "survives an inevitable court challenge."
Spokeswoman Natalie Bauer says the attorney general "for more than a year" has been providing lawmakers with legal advice and analysis of the constitutional issues involved in solving the state's nearly $100 billion pension shortfall.
Her comments came Monday as former White House chief of staff Bill Daley said Madigan should give a legal opinion on the constitutionality of competing pension reform plans.
Daley is exploring a Democratic primary challenge to Quinn and outlined a three-part plan Monday that he says would end pension deadlock in Springfield.
Madigan is also a possible candidate for governor.
PRISON-LONG LOST GUN
Long-rumored gun found behind Pontiac prison wall
PONTIAC, Ill. (AP) - Rumors have persisted for years that a gun was smuggled into Pontiac Correctional Center. But no one found it until prison workers cut open a wall.
Department of Corrections spokesman Tom Shaer (shehr) said Monday that the handgun was found Thursday based on a tip. The gun was found behind a wall covered in mortar and debris. Shaer says no ammunition was found and the weapon was in a spot where it couldn't be reached by hand.
Shaer says the gun is believed to have been smuggled in by someone visiting an inmate in 1996. Tips and rumors about it have become almost an urban legend.
Shaer says searches, metal detectors and other safeguards would make it far more difficult to get a gun into the prison now.
CHICAGO CORRUPTION-FORMER ALDERMAN
Jurors convict ex-Chicago alderman in bribery case
CHICAGO (AP) - A jury has convicted a former Chicago alderman of a single count of conspiracy to commit bribery.
Ambrosio Medrano showed no emotion as the verdict was read Monday, sitting at a defense table with his hands folded on his lap.
He faced federal charges accusing him of paying bribes he was told would be given to a Los Angeles official in order to secure a lucrative contract.
Jurors deliberated for about four or five hours before returning with their decision. Two businessmen tried with him were also convicted.
Medrano's conviction carries a maximum 5-year prison sentence.
The case isn't Medrano's first run-in with the law. He spent nearly two years in prison after pleading guilty in 1996 in a federal investigation into payoffs to aldermen and other Chicago-area politicians.
Violent weekend in Chicago leaves at least 7 dead
CHICAGO (AP) - Chicago Police are investigating several shootings after a violent weekend that left at least seven people dead and more than three dozen wounded.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported Monday that it was the city's most violent weekend of the year.
Authorities say the weekend's first homicide happened late Friday. The tally, which included at least 41 injuries, spanned Friday night through Sunday night.
Also, police say an officer shot and killed a teenager Sunday night on the South Side after the teen pointed a gun at them. The Cook County Medical Examiner's office identified the teen as 15-year-old Michael Westley.
Police say despite the spate of shootings over the weekend there have been fewer shootings and homicides this year compared to the same period last year.
Miners, supporters rally again in St. Louis
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Twelve demonstrators have been arrested following a protest by mine workers and their supporters in a dispute with St. Louis-based Patriot Coal.
The United Mine Workers of America staged another huge protest Monday in downtown St. Louis. A spokesman for the union says 12 people were arrested for non-violent civil disobedience.
Patriot wants to make significant changes to health benefits for retired miners and reduce pay and benefits for current miners. The company says the moves are necessary for survival. Union leaders say Patriot was set up to fail when it spun off from St. Louis-based Peabody Energy in 2007, so that benefits could be eliminated.
A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge has given Patriot the go-ahead for its changes.
Divers search Fox River for woman missing since '99
CARY, Ill. (AP) - Divers are searching a section of the Fox River, trying to find remains of a Chicago woman who vanished more than 14 years ago.
The Northwest Herald says Cary police decided to search the water Monday after getting new information about the disappearance of Wendy M. Kimura.
Authorities also searched property in the area this weekend.
The 28-year-old was last seen in the northwestern suburbs in May 1999. Authorities say she may have been walking to catch a train.
Sgt. Ed Synek said the case remains a missing person investigation.
SWEPT AWAY TODDLER
Illinois toddler dies when car swept into creek
MOUNT STERLING, Ill. (AP) - Authorities say a 2-year-old western Illinois boy is dead after flood waters swept his father's car into a rain-swollen creek.
Brown County Sheriff Karl Groesch says Malachi Phillip Smith died after the accident late Saturday night near Mount Sterling. The town is about 70 miles northwest of Springfield.
The sheriff says Anthony T. Smith drove over a bridge south of town around 11 p.m. Saturday. But rising water swept the car into the creek after. Up to 6 inches of rain fell in the area late that night.
Authorities say the father tried to save his son, but couldn't find him.
Groesch said the Versailles (vur-SAYLZ') boy was dead when his body was found Sunday morning about a half a mile from the bridge.
Equality Illinois gears up for 2014 election fight
CHICAGO (AP) - Advocacy group Equality Illinois says it's getting ready to launch a $500,000 effort to promote gay marriage ahead of the 2014 election.
The civil rights group says half the money will go toward voter education efforts, while the remainder will be used by the group's political action committee to fight opponents.
Equality Illinois says an organization opposed to gay marriage has pledged $250,000 to oppose lawmakers - particularly Republicans - who supported an effort to let same-sex couples wed in the state.
Lawmakers in the House adjourned last month without a vote on a measure that would have made Illinois the 13th state to allow gay marriage. The bill's sponsor said he didn't have enough votes to pass the legislation, which had already been approved in the state Senate.
CLOSED AIR BASE-FUTURE
Rantoul looks at ideas for old Chanute air base
RANTOUL, Ill. (AP) - A consultant working for the eastern Illinois town of Rantoul says the city is considering a range of ideas to help develop the long-closed Chanute Air Force Base.
Mike Royse is a consultant with the Center for Community Adaptation. He tells The News-Gazette in Champaign that the former base could host a biofuel production facility or be a location for growing and selling produce.
The base closed in 1993. That hurt the local economy by taking away thousands of jobs and left Rantoul with dozens of old, empty buildings.
Some businesses have moved in and the base hosts an air museum. But much of it remains empty.
Royse says Rantoul is working with the University of Illinois and others looking for long-term ideas to put the base to use.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.