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News Headlines – March 2, 2018

Last Updated on March 1st, 2018

Written by Paul Bomleny

The Latest 

(Undated)  —  Here’s the latest news:  Illinois lawmakers spent their day doing something about guns in the state.  Illinois is moving to update the way it pays hospitals to take care of the neediest people in the state.  County leaders in far southern Illinois are hoping to get the green light in the next few weeks to fix the gaping hole in the Mississippi River levee.  Prosecutors are pushing ahead with new charges against a central Illinois piano teacher accused of molesting his students. 

>>Illinois Lawmakers Act On Wave Of Gun Control Plans 

(Springfield, IL)  —  For all of the back and forth over guns at the Illinoiscapitol, just one proposed law is headed to the governor’s desk.  Both the Illinois House and Illinois Senate yesterday approved a wave of gun control plans.  But just one, a proposal to create state-issued licenses for smaller gun dealers, could become law soon.  The others all passed one half of the legislature.  They included plans to ban bump stocks, to increase the age to buy a semiautomatic rifle to 21, to institute a 72-hour waiting period for all semiauto rifle purchases, and to give family members and the police more power to seize guns from people suspected of mental illness.  They all need at least one more vote before going to the governor. 

>>Illinois Looks To Update Medicaid Payments To Hospitals 

(Springfield, IL)  —  Illinois is about to change the way it pays hospitals across the state to take care of the sick, the old and the poor.  Both the Illinois House and the Illinois Senate yesterday approved an updated hospital assessment plan.  The assessment is essentially a tax on hospitals to help pay for Medicaid.  But the plan also changes how hospitals will be paid by updating the state’s Medicaid formula and trying to push dollars to the hospitals where Medicaid patients are actually being treated. 

>>Alexander County Still Waiting On Levee Fix 

(Cairo, IL)  —  County leaders in far southern Illinois hope to get the green light to fix the gaping hole in their Mississippi River levee soon.  Alexander County Highway Department Engineer Jeff Denny said earlier this week that the county is waiting for permission to fix the two-year-old hole in the Len Small Levee.  But even if it gets the okay, Denny said there’s no money to make the repairs.  Denny said Alexander County has been lucky so far this spring as the Mississippi River hasn’t flooded too badly. 

>>Geneseo Police Chief Retires, Questions About Leave Unanswered 

(Geneseo, IL)  —  Looks like folks in Geneseo may never know why their police chief was removed from the job and is now leaving.  Chief Thomas Piotrowski on Tuesday sent a letter to Geneseo’s mayor explaining that he will retire, effective today.  City leaders placed Piotrowski on leave at the end of January, but never said why.  The city yesterday said Piotrowski will receive a retirement bonus and will be paid for his unused sick time, totaling about 50-thousand-dollars, and that no further information will be released.