Ruins of the Longfellow School in Murphysboro
A mid-March day in Illinois which features temperatures in the mid-60s would usually be considered quite pleasant, even though some rain was falling. Such was the case early in the afternoon on March 18, 1925, as unseasonably warm weather was recorded throughout the southern part of the state. But this day was different. Those warm temperatures and the rainfall were among the few warning signs of the storm that was coming. The state of Illinois was about to endure one of the most tragic hours in its history.

Today, meteorologists would have filled the air with warnings about this storm, likely many hours in advance and with increasing specificity as the storm grew nearer. Modern communications and construction technology would prevent much of the horror that tore across Illinois that day. But in the early days of radio, without television, cell phones, weather satellites or tornado sirens, with wooden and masonry structures, without safe rooms or many storm cellars, the scene was set for disaster.

TAXES
Democrats advance tax hike in state Senate. Language to amend the state Constitution and enable a $3.4-billion tax hike on middle-income families and businesses was approved by Democratic state senators in a committee hearing on Wednesday, April 10. SJRCA 1 will allow the State to levy graduated income taxes on all income levels within Illinois. The graduated income tax constitutional amendment has been moved to the Order of 3rdReading before a full vote by the Illinois Senate.

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin reiterated his caucus’ unanimous opposition to the Pritzker tax hike.
Mary Lincoln in mourning attire, 1865
At first, many in the audience might have thought it was part of the show. The famed actor had leapt onto the Ford’s Theater stage, shouted a line and then disappeared backstage. Some audience members must have tried to figure out what the line had been, while others wondered if John Wilkes Booth’s sudden appearance had been a surprise cameo in the evening’s play.

But a split second later, Mary Lincoln’s scream from the box overlooking the Ford’s Theater stage made clear that this was not part of the show. Instead, it was an unspeakable crime which would devastate a nation that had just begun to rediscover some happiness at the end of four years of civil war. For Mary Lincoln it was a deep personal tragedy which she would mourn every day for the rest of her life.
TAXES
House Republicans Renew Opposition to Pritzker’s Tax Hike. In a Capitol press conference on Tuesday, State Representatives Grant Wehrli, Mark Batinick and Jeff Keicher renewed their opposition to Illinois Democrats’ latest attempt to raise taxes on Illinois families and businesses. This latest tax hike proposal, spearheaded by Governor JB Pritzker, calls for removing the flat rate income tax guarantee from the Illinois Constitution.

The Battle of Shiloh
On an April morning a year after Fort Sumter, a large group of Illinois soldiers suddenly received their baptism by fire in a fight that would eclipse every battle the United States had ever fought before it.

Illinois had been among the most enthusiastic of the states in answering President Abraham Lincoln’s call for troops at the outset of the Civil War. Thousands of Illinoisans had joined small military units in their home towns and counties. The company or battalion-sized units had been organized into regiments, units of roughly 1000 soldiers. These regiments were then joined with other Illinois regiments (typically four or so) into brigades, which were themselves attached to larger divisions made up of three or four brigades from other western states. This force formed the western army of the United States.
CHICAGO
McAuliffe Files Legislation Prohibiting Film Tax Credit for Employers of Jussie Smollett. In response to the surprising decision by prosecutors to drop the case against Chicago actor Jussie Smollett, State Representative Michael McAuliffe has filed legislation to prohibit any production using the actor from receiving Illinois Film Tax Credits.

“A lot of valuable Chicago Police Department (CPD) man hours and resources were wasted chasing down a bogus crime arranged by Smollett,” Rep. McAuliffe said. “Hate crimes are serious and so is the time and effort of the CPD. He has cost Chicago a lot more than a $10,000 bond. Smollett should not be able to get anything more from the City of Chicago or Illinois.”