In the past 3 years, Illinois state leaders and medical facilities have teamed up to bring cancer patients coverage for Proton Beam therapy.

This is all thanks to House Bill 2799, sponsored by State Representative Norine Hammond (R-Macomb). The bill looks to open up doors for Illinois Cancer patients who are seeking proper care and treatment.

3 years ago, State Representative Norine Hammond got a call from a constituent who was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The patient's doctor recommended Proton Beam therapy, but because some insurance companies couldn't cover the cost, the family had to pay tens of thousands of dollars. Read the rest of the story by Mackenzie LaPorte with KHQA ABC News.

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Pricey programs included in Restore Illinois September 2023 report. The data was included in the Pritzker administration’s “Report to the Restore Illinois Collaborative Commission: September 2023.” The Commission was created by General Assembly action in 2020 during the opening phase of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. As a Commission, it was created to serve as an oversight panel over the State’s pandemic-oriented Economic Recovery Plan, and possesses no administrative powers.

Who doesn’t enjoy a big slice of pumpkin pie, or how about carving and decorating those pumpkins every October to celebrate Halloween? And where did those pumpkins come from? There’s a good chance they were grown right here in Illinois, which leads the nation by a wide margin in pumpkin production. In fact, nearly 40 percent of the pumpkins produced in the United States come from Illinois.

Illinois produced over 650 million pounds of pumpkins in 2021, more than the next five top states combined. Indiana was the second-largest pumpkin producing state with 181 million pounds.  Illinois is home to well-draining soil and hot, dry weather, and those are ripe conditions for pumpkin production.

Technology addiction is a growing problem in Illinois and the rest of the world. As more people become dependent on technology, negative impacts on mental and physical health are increasing. The statistics are alarming, with the average person spending nearly nine hours a day in front of an electronic device. Cell phones are unlocked 150 times a day on average, and 72 percent of teens and nearly half of adults feel the need to immediately respond to texts and other notifications. Americans check their phones nearly 100 times a day, a 20 percent increase from a similar survey conducted two years ago. The statistics by demographic group are also eye-opening. 

The annual Candlelight Walk at Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site will be held on Friday, October 6, and Saturday, October 7, from 7-9 p.m. each night. New Salem features a reconstruction of the village where Abraham Lincoln spent his early adulthood, and the Candlelight Walk offers the only opportunity to see the village at night. 

The grounds at New Salem include a recreated 1830s village of log buildings, and during the Candlelight Walk visitors will find a place of warm campfires, flickering candles, and swirling glow sticks. There will be live music each night, and staff and volunteers will be dressed in clothing of the 1830s era. Interpreters will also be on site talking about 19th century life in Illinois inside the log homes and shops. Seasonal favorites such as gingerbread cookies and cider will be served.

New Salem is located in Menard County just outside of Petersburg, about 20 miles northwest of Springfield. Lincoln spent six years in New Salem, engaging in a variety of activities. He clerked in a store, spit rails, enlisted in the Black Hawk War, and served as postmaster and deputy surveyor. Lincoln was elected to the Illinois General Assembly in 1834 and 1836. 

The grounds at New Salem include 12 log houses, the Rutledge Tavern, 10 workshops, stores, mills, and a school where church services were held. The furnishings were actually used by the people of New Salem during Lincoln’s time and were assembled and donated by the Old Salem Lincoln League. The collection includes 19th century articles such as wheat cradles, candle molds, cord beds, flax hackles, wood cards, dough and cornmeal chests, and early American pewter. Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site - Tour (

“Come see history in real life during the Candlelight Walk,” stated Rep. Wayne Rosenthal (R-Morrisonville). “Seeing the New Salem village at night is a truly unique and one-of-a-kind experience. This is a fun and family-friendly event to be enjoyed by all ages.”

“New Salem is a true gem that attracts visitors from all over the state and country,” stated Rep. Mike Coffey (R-Springfield). “These two nights offer an incredible look back into history and what life was like in the early 19th century.”
The Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program provides a state income tax credit equal to 25 percent of a project’s Qualified Rehabilitation Expenditures, not to exceed $3 million, to owners of certified historic structures who undertake certified rehabilitations. These substantial investments are creating jobs in Illinois, stimulating local economies, and revitalizing historic structures and neighborhoods. The program took effect in 2019 and has been extended through 2028. 


Starting this week, Illinois courts may no longer hold hearings or operate a process that requires cash bail for criminal defendants.  Although 49 U.S. states continue to have a process in place that seeks to ensure the good behavior of criminal defendants prior to trial through the use of financial incentives, Illinois is no longer one of them.  Under a new law that went into effect on Monday, September 18, Illinois courts can no longer impose cash bail on defendants after a due-process hearing.  The Prairie State is the only one of the 50 states where the courts  no longer have pretrial powers falling into this category.

The web of alleged deceit, lies, and corruption tied to Illinois House Democrats has been well-chronicled in the last several years, with the latest example being the conviction of former House Speaker Michael Madigan’s Chief of Staff Timothy Mapes on perjury and obstruction of justice charges in August. It was during that trial that another scandal was uncovered, as a top Democratic strategy firm was found to have been advising Madigan while at the same time providing support to the woman who accused one of his aides of sexual harassment and his inner circle of retaliation. 

Did you know southern Illinois is home to a cypress swamp? The nearly 15,000-acre Cache River State Natural Area in Johnson, Massac and Pulaski counties is composed of three distinct management units – Little Black Slough, Lower Cache River Swamps, and Glass Hill. These areas provide food, cover, and water for a vast array of plant and animal species, more than 100 of which that have been listed as endangered or threatened. The site offers a wide variety of recreation opportunities, including hiking, biking, canoeing, fishing, and seasonal hunting programs. 

There is no sugarcoating the reality that Illinois’ public pensions are the worst-funded in the nation. State and local pension debt in Illinois now sits at $211 billion, with both debt to GDP (21 percent) and funding ratios (50.8 percent) the worst in the nation, according to a report by Equable Institute. The top five states in the nation with unfunded liabilities have a shortfall of $787 billion, just slightly larger than the rest of the country combined ($778 billion). More than one-third of national unfunded liabilities are in California and Illinois combined. 

Genome editing, also called gene editing, is a group of technologies that give scientists the ability to change an organism’s DNA. These technologies allow genetic material to be added, removed, or altered at particular locations in the genome. Ever since scientists realized that changes in DNA cause cancer, they have been searching for an easy way to correct those changes by manipulating DNA. 

Only two horse racing tracks remain in Illinois, one in western Chicago in Stickney and the other in the Metro East in Collinsville. Three horse racing tracks have closed within the last eight years in Illinois, including Arlington Park, Balmoral Park, and Maywood Park, all in the Chicagoland area. 

The horse racing industry decline can be attributed to fewer equines being bred on downstate farms, and many breeders and trainers have left to race in other states. A long-anticipated ‘racino’ project at Hawthorne Racecourse in Chicago remains stalled amid financing woes.  Horse racing tracks have been facing increasing competition from casinos and the explosion of sportsbooks and other forms of gambling in Illinois in recent years. 


Worsening structural budget deficit could reach $1.9 billion/year by 2026. This would be approximately $700 per year for each Chicago resident. The grim budget projection is based on data generated by chronically challenged functions of the city and its government, including law enforcement, public-sector pensions, and the cost of housing and providing care to non-legal residents. In FY24 alone, the immediate budget deficit facing Chicagoans in the spending cycle that has already begun is $538 million.
In sharp contrast to budget projections generated by outsiders, the $1.9 billion-a-year worst case scenario came from the office of newly elected Mayor Brandon Johnson. It was developed with access to the city’s own budget books and cost trends, including cost trends for public-sector pensions and other historically underfunded city budget line items. Tax rates in Chicago are already among the highest in the U.S. When a Chicago purchaser buys non-grocery goods within city limits, the sales tax is above 10%.

Total consumer debt increased by seven percent from 2021-2022, rising from $15.31 trillion to $16.38 trillion. Auto loans, credit cards, mortgages and personal loans saw the largest increases on a percentage basis. Personal loans increased by 18 percent, and credit card balances grew by 16 percent. Consumer demand for auto loans was abundant, with cars selling for more than their manufacturer’s sticker price. Average car sale prices rose by 9.4 percent from September 2021-2022. 

Well-designed parks and trails are valued parts of the environment. They can promote physical activity and community engagement while providing environmental and mental health benefits. Parks can also help reduce stress. In addition, an important interaction between parks and health is through physical activity, which in turn can improve health outcomes. 

Rep. Ryan Spain (R-Peoria) passed his first bill back in 2017, and it involved a bipartisan measure to allow volunteer work to be performed at Illinois State Parks.

Missing out on a family wedding or having to reschedule a Christmas dinner is nothing new for Rep. Dan Swanson (R-Alpha), a fifth-generation family farmer in rural Henry County. And whether it’s service to his family farm, service to his community or service to his country, Swanson has always answered the call.

“There’s nothing 8 to 4:30 about farming,” Swanson stated. “There’s something about waking up and smelling the newly turned soil or getting down in there, putting in a long day and coming home to a good pork chop supper that’s something special.”

There have been many dark days in the history of the United States, with one of the worst being the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The four coordinated Islamist suicide terrorist missions killed nearly 3,000 people and injured thousands of others. The attacks forever changed how American leaders shaped and implemented security procedures in all areas of the country going forward. 


General Assembly budget watchdog reports on declining State income tax revenues. The report summarized revenue trends observed by the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) in August 2024. During this 31-day period, total Illinois income tax revenues declined $61 million from the revenues enjoyed in August 2023. The decline was $38 million in personal income tax payments (payments made by individuals and individual-equivalent taxpayers, such as trusts and estates) and $23 million in corporate income taxes. The August 2023 numbers were reported to the General Assembly by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA), the General Assembly’s nonpartisan budget monitor office.

The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association hosts a yearly contest called ‘Makers Madness,’ which involves a bracket-style tournament in which the public decides what product earns that year’s title of The Coolest Thing Made in Illinois. The fourth annual Makers Madness event was held earlier this year in February and March. The competition celebrates the incredible work of manufacturers across Illinois. Nearly 250 unique products from every corner of the state were nominated for this year’s contest, with submissions ranging from agriculture equipment to COVID testing supplies to sweet treats and a variety of vehicles.  The contest celebrates the diversity and strength of Illinois’ manufacturing industry. Qualifying products must be made in Illinois.

The United States and China have one of the world’s most important and complex bilateral relationships. Since 1949, the countries have experienced periods of both tension and cooperation over issues such as trade, climate change and Taiwan. One of the most recent examples was earlier this year, when a Chinese-operated ‘spy balloon’ flew across the United States. U.S. officials claimed the balloon was spying on sensitive military sites, while China claimed the balloon was a civilian weather monitoring craft that had accidentally veered into U.S. air space. The Biden administration ordered the Air Force to shoot down the balloon only after the balloon reached the Atlantic Ocean off the southeast coast. 

Scott Air Force Base in St. Clair County is integral to the economic growth and development of southwestern Illinois and the St. Louis metro region. Scott AFB is the largest employer in SW Illinois, and the fourth largest in the St. Louis metropolitan area. Scott AFB boasts an active working force of 13,000, with nearly 50,000 retirees and family members living in a four-state area. 

Labor Day officially became a federal holiday in 1894, and it is traditionally observed on the first Monday in September. While Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers and was created by the federal labor movement, it also symbolizes the end of summer for many Americans and includes a three-day weekend celebrated with parties, parades, and athletic events. 


Meteorologists’ count indicate Illinois could be No. 1 state for tornadoes so far this year. The funnel clouds often form in conjunction with derechos, squall lines, and other powerful low-pressure weather fronts. Pre-existing hot, humid weather can encourage the formation of the potentially deadly storms by creating conditions in which colder and warmer air masses are violently colliding with each other.