(SPRINGFIELD) Governor Bruce Rauner signed bipartisan legislation yesterday that protects safety net and rural hospitals while ensuring continued federal support for quality healthcare to more than three million Illinoisans. Senate Bill 1773 guarantees the state will continue to receive federal matching funds to offer services for Medicaid beneficiaries through the Hospital Assessment Program, which brings in $3.5 billion annually. The bill also includes two major changes, one of which makes sure that the critical Medicaid dollars available goes to the people who truly need it the most and the other supports both patients and taxpayers as public dollars will be spent more efficiently and effectively. The Governor also signed another bill into law that’s related to Medicaid managed care operations and reporting in Illinois.
(HARRISBURG) The Shawnee National Forest in downstate Illinois is closing a roadway so that snakes and other amphibians can safely migrate from limestone bluffs to a nearby swamp. The two-and-a-half-mile long Snake Road, also known as LaRue Road and Forest Service Road #345, is located on the western edge of the Forest, will close to the public this Thursday, March 15. Forest officials say some of the species that need to cross are considered threatened and endangered as the road closes every spring and fall to allow for the safe migration to and from winter hibernation areas. The Southern Illinoisan newspaper reports that the two-month migration attracts people from around the country who want to see the diverse amphibian and reptile species on the single stretch of road that’s protected every spring and fall in downstate Illinois.
(WASHINGTON) The Internal Revenue Service and the Illinois Department of Revenue are again reminding taxpayers to get those taxes filed electronically and to request direct deposit into a checking or savings account. This is still the fastest and most secure way to receive a tax refund. The nation’s tax deadline this year is Tuesday, April 17, one month from this coming Saturday. For tax forms, schedules, or if any questions in Illinois, logon at www.tax.illinois.gov or on the federal level go to www.irs.gov.