(SPRINGFIELD) Governor Bruce Rauner has signed into law the new state budget, citing hard work and bipartisanship by the General Assembly. The $38.5 billion spending plan includes millions of dollars more than in the past for education, including state colleges and universities. The budget also features pension buyout options for state workers, a new $5,000 adoption tax credit program, new money to battle the opioid epidemic, money to start building a new Veteran’s home in Quincy, and money to welcome another cadet class of 100 new State Troopers. The new spending plan will take effect on Sunday, July 1st, 2018.
(CHICAGO) A federal court has ruled that printing “In God We Trust” on U.S. currency does not amount to a religious endorsement and therefore does not violate the U.S. Constitution. The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin reports the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago made the ruling last Thursday in a lawsuit brought by a self-declared Satanist, Kenneth Mayle, arguing the motto propagates a religious view that he opposes. While a lower court tossed out the suit, Mayle appealed to restore the lawsuit, but the 7th Circuit refused, describing the phrase as a “historical reminder” of the heritage of the United States of America.
(SPRINGFIELD) Illinois residents can vote on their favorite of five designs for a souvenir coin marking the state’s 200th birthday. State Treasurer Michael Frerichs says the winning design will be minted on one side of the commemorative bicentennial coin while the other side will feature the official state seal of Illinois. All five designs highlight Illinois or Illinois history with options ranging from a portrait of the state capitol to a map of Illinois next to Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama. The voting ends June 15, a week from this Friday, People may also pre-order the coins online. They’re selling for $45 each and will be available around August 1st. To vote and place an order, logon at www.IllinoisCoinContest.com.