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News Around Illinois – February 3, 2020

News Around Illinois Cover

Proposed Bill Would Add ‘Sexting’ To Sex Ed

DEKALB – A recently-proposed plan would add sexting to the list of topics covered in Illinois sex education courses. Middle and high schools in the state would be required to discuss with students the social, academic and legal consequences of sending or receiving sexually explicit images. State Rep. Maurice West (D-Rockford) introduced the measure. “Underage photos are under age photos, no matter who’s sending it. It doesn’t matter if a 16-year-old is sending it to another 16-year-old,” said West. “It’s still considered child pornography in the law.” And it’s still a felony that could get them labeled a sex offender for life. West also says sexting can make them an easier target of sexual exploitation or sex trafficking. – Peter Medlin, WNIJ News

New University Admission Guarantee Proposed

SPRINGFIELD – A state representative wants to guarantee university admission to any Illinois student with high enough test scores. State Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) is sponsoring legislation that would require Illinois’ public universities to admit anyone who scores in the top 10 percent nationwide on the ACT or SAT. Batnick also says high tuition costs are a huge recruiting problem. Public universities are already making changes with regard to test scores. Northern and Western Illinois are offering “test-blind admissions,” where students don’t have to submit standardized test scores. Meanwhile, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers free tuition for Illinois students from families with income of less than $67,000 a year. – Olivia Mitchell, NPR Illinois

Report: Required Parental Leave Would Not Hurt Economy

SPRINGFIELD – Requiring employers to offer paid parental leave would not hurt the Illinois economy — at least according to a University of Illinois report released today. The report argues more than 200,000 workers would have greater access to cash, potentially boosting local economies. The study comes from the Illinois Economic Policy Institute and its Project for Middle Class Renewal, which is headed by Robert Bruno. The leader of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce says the group supports the concept of paid family leave but not as a state mandate. Meanwhile, a lawmaker told public radio she plans to reintroduce mandatory paid leave legislation during the new session of the General Assembly. – Maureen McKinney, NPR Illinois

Transportation Agency Plans Event For Minority Entrepreneurs

SPRINGFIELD — State transportation officials are planning an event next month in Springfield for minority- and women-owned businesses. The conference on Feb. 10-11 will offer workshops and seminars on topics including financing, insurance, cybersecurity and making a safe work environment. Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman says the state’s $45 billion capital program will make things busier than ever for the agency. The conference is called “Today’s Challenge, Tomorrow’s Reward.” – Associated Press

Judge OKs Removal Of Sex Offenders From Aurora Halfway House

AURORA — A northern Illinois judge has ruled the city of Aurora can force the removal of registered sex offenders from a halfway house that is less than 500 feet from a park and playground. Kane County Judge Kevin Busch on Friday denied a temporary restraining order that would have barred the eviction of 18 sex offenders from the Wayside Cross Ministries halfway house. Under Illinois law, registered sex offenders can’t live less than 500 feet from a park or playground. Mark Weinberg, an attorney representing the sex offenders, told the Daily Herald  lawyers were prepared to appeal the judge’s decision. – Associated Press

Man Convicted For Second Time In Death Of 3-Year-Old Boy

WAUKEGAN — A northern Illinois man has been convicted a second time in the 2011 beating death of a 3-year-old boy. Thomas Albea’s first conviction in 2015 for the murder of X’Zavion Charleston was reversed in 2017 and remanded back to the Lake County Circuit Court by an appeals court ruling citing trial error. The 27-year-old was serving a 33-year sentence at the time. A jury late Thursday found Albea guilty in the death of X’Zavion Charleston. Prosecutors say the child died the day after Albea punched the boy repeatedly in the stomach. Albea told investigators he became angry after the boy swore while playing a video game. – Associated Press

Atari Plans To Open Video Game-Themed Resorts In 8 US Cities

LAS VEGAS — Atari, the arcade game company that ushered in the gaming revolution in the 1980s, is opening eight video game-themed hotels across the U.S. The company said this week it will break ground on its first hotel later this year in Phoenix. Atari says it wants to create a unique lodging experience combining the iconic brand with a video game-themed destination. In addition to Phoenix, hotels are planned in Las Vegas, Denver, Chicago, Austin, Texas, Seattle, San Francisco, and San Jose, California. Timeline for hotels other than Phoenix were not released. Founded in 1972 by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney, Atari was known for such games as Asteroids, Centipede, and Missile Command. – Associated Press

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