Reactions To Governor Rauner's Amendatory Veto; Chicago Companies At CES; Banned Books In Prisons

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  1. You may remember that last summer, members of our state government agreed to overhaul the way Illinois funds its public schools. You may also remember it took them so long that the state was late on its payments to public schools for the very first time.

    It turns out this story isn’t over. On Monday, Governor Rauner vetoed a bill that would have paved the way for the state to implement its new school funding formula. In a letter, he told lawmakers he wants to change the standard of how private schools are recognized by the state. That recognition determines which schools can receive that $75 million scholarship tax credit we’ve been talking about.

    And if this bill gets stopped dead in its tracks, public schools might not get the amount of money guaranteed by the new formula this fiscal year.

    We heard from Democratic State Senator Andy Manar from the 48th District, which includes Springfield, Litchfield, and Decatur. We also spoke with Kristin Humphries, superintendent of East Moline School District Unit 37, and Heather Berhalter, Director of Community Development with the Urban Prairie Waldorf School in Chicago.
  2. Plus -
  3. For most of us, January means New Year’s resolutions or going back to school. But if you work in the gadget industry, January means a trip to Las Vegas.

    Over 4,000 companies are currently at the Consumer Electronics Show hoping to get noticed for their innovative products and designs, whether that be a smartphone or a smart toilet.

    Illinois is well-represented, and we asked representatives from three hometown companies to step away from the conference floor to tell us how it’s going.

    Douglas Krone is the CEO of the 3D tech firm Dynamism. Tim Ryan is the Chief Marketing Officer for the Chicago startup Modobag, which has created a motorized, carry-on suitcase. And Stacie Thompson is one of the founders of Ovie Smarterware, the world’s first smart food storage system. They all joined us from Las Vegas.
  4. But first -
  5. The U.S. has had prison libraries for almost as long as the country has existed. And even though prisoners don’t have very many options in terms of leisure time, books in prison can be an important resource, both while people are incarcerated and once they’re released.

    But not all books are allowed in those libraries. There are more restrictions on prison libraries than your typical public library. About 10,000 books are banned in Texas prisons - including Freakonomics and the pop-up version of 'A Charlie Brown Christmas.' And earlier this week, New Jersey made headlines for banning an very influential book on mass incarceration - Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow.”

    This made the news after the ACLU of New Jersey got its hands on a list of banned books in state prisons there. One of those books was co-written by a journalist here in Illinois. WBEZ reporter Natalie Moore discovered that one of her books was on the list to be banned. That’s “The Almighty P. Stone Nation: The Rise and Fall of an American Gang.”

    Natalie joined us, along with Jenny Vollen-Katz, executive director of the John Howard Association, a nonpartisan prison watchdog group.
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