PI Original Aricka Flowers Friday February 19th, 2016, 8:15pm

The PI Week In Review

The week that was in Illinois and national news and politics (February 15, 2016 - February 19, 2016).

Chicago and Cook County News:

The idea of a high-speed rail system from downtown Chicago to O'Hare International Airport has reemerged in the city, with the Emanuel administration seeking an engineering company to study the project's potential costs, designs and routes.

No depositions were conducted by the city of Chicago in the case involving a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by the family of Rekia Boyd, who was fatally shot by an off-duty Chicago police officer in 2012.

The Chicago Urban League and the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform co-hosted a panel discussion on police-community relations Tuesday afternoon, the same day a group of lawyers, elected leaders and clergymen filed a petition for a special prosecutor in the Laquan McDonald case.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a new city initiative Thursday aimed at spurring downtown development while generating funds for neighborhood projects.

The University of Chicago Medical Center submitted its application to the state this week for a large expansion project, including the creation of a Level 1 adult trauma center on its Hyde Park medical campus.

The Illinois State Board of Education is investigating the Chicago Public Schools' finances.

State News:

Despite frigid temperatures, a handful of current and former child care workers came together Saturday to demand that Governor Bruce Rauner renegotiate the state's bad interest-rate swap deals with Wall Street and redirect the funds to child care programs.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Illinois higher education advocates called for action Monday on the state funding crisis impacting colleges, universities and students.

Tuesday was the last day of regular voter registration in Illinois before the March 15 primary election. Voters can, however, still take advantage of same-day registration and voting.

Legislation aimed at easing the process for transgender people in Illinois to change the gender marker on their birth certificate has been introduced in the state House.

On the eve of Gov. Bruce Rauner's budget address, Illinois social service advocates and grassroots organizations called for solutions to the state's fiscal crisis Tuesday.

Gov. Bruce Rauner's office received legislation Tuesday that would provide $721.5 million in state funding to community colleges and the Monetary Award Program (MAP).

Omar Aquino, Democratic candidate for the state's 2nd Senate district, announced endorsements Tuesday morning from several labor and progressive leaders and organizations.

Rauner delivered his second annual budget address Wednesday, during which he gave Democrats an ultimatum, even though the state has yet to enact a spending plan for the fiscal year that started more than seven months ago.

Some unions, health-care workers and low-income advocacy groups are saying Gov. Bruce Rauner's second budget address is more of the same.

As the budget battle in Illinois continues, a government watchdog group says the state's finances have been running on "autopilot."

As many Illinois colleges continue to struggle with their finances during the state's budget impasse, college students are still being encouraged to fill out their financial aid forms.

Eastern Illinois University issued layoff notices to slightly less staff than originally planned.

In an effort to reduce recidivism, State Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) introduced legislation last week that would increase "timely and comprehensive" access to GED education for Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) inmates.

Illinois lost about 300 jobs in the solar industry last year, according to the annual "National Solar Jobs Census" released by the Solar Foundation.

The Illinois State Museum system will remain closed amid the budget impasse after the state Senate was unsuccessful Wednesday in overriding an amendatory veto by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

The Sierra Club Illinois Chapter released its endorsements Thursday in Illinois legislative primary races.

Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed legislation Friday that would have freed up funds for the Monetary Award Program.

Equality Illinois unveiled its 2016 legislative agenda Friday, highlighting three issues the LGBT advocacy group supports and two bills it opposes.

Teachers in Lake Villa announced a strike date of February 29.

National News:

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died Saturday. His death has spurred a political firestorm in Washington.

A Tuesday morning protest against deportations outside the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's office in Chicago resulted in 12 arrests.

A new poll conducted on behalf of Raja Krishnamoorthi's campaign shows him with a double-digit lead over fellow Democratic competitors in Illinois' 8th congressional district primary race.

Democrats vying for the 10th congressional district seat participated in a candidate meet-and-greet Friday with members of the small business community and discussed everything from gun control to the Supreme Court vacancy.

Following in U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-VT) footsteps, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign is set to open two offices in Chicago next week to drum up enthusiasm and support for her run ahead of the March 15 primary.

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