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Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Friday, June 16, 2017. Have a great weekend!
Governor Bruce Rauner has called a ten-day special legislative session from June 21 to 30 to try to end the nearly tw0-year-old state budget impasse before the end of the fiscal year. "Today, I'm calling the General Assembly back here to Springfield—a continuous special session that will start next week and stay in effect until a balanced budget is passed," Rauner said in a Facebook video. "We have tough, urgent choices to make and the legislature must be present to make them." [Sun-Times]
The Cook County state's attorney's office will stop prosecuting some traffic offenses due to lack of resources and personnel. "The state's attorney's office will not prosecute people accused of driving on licenses that have been suspended or revoked for financial reasons—such as failure to pay child support, tolls or parking tickets," the Tribune reports. Cities in Cook County will still have the option to prosecute these offenses. "We are in a triage mode, and we can't continue to do what we were doing ten years ago with 30 percent less resources," first assistant state's attorney Eric Sussman told the newspaper. [Tribune]
The Multi-State Lottery Association will drop Illinois from the Powerball and Mega Millions games at the end of June unless the ongoing budget impasse is resolved. Without a budget in place, the state isn't authorized to make payments to Mega Millions, or the association. It is just "another example of why the General Assembly needs to deliver a balanced budget to the governor," Illinois Lottery spokesman Jason Schaumburg told the Sun-Times. [Sun-Times]
The Obama Foundation is searching for a construction manager who can build the Obama Presidential Center in three years for $350 million, according to DNAinfo Chicago. Construction will start in the fall of 2018, with the 200,000- to 250,000-square-foot center slated to open to the public in 2021. The foundation is expected to fill the position in the fall. [DNAinfo Chicago]
The disappearance of 26-year-old Chinese scholar Yingying Zhang on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus is being investigated as a kidnapping by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Zhang had been in the central Illinois town for about a month when she disappeared June 9. "We have her on video getting into a car, and that's the last we see of her," campus police spokesman Patrick Wade told the News-Gazette. "That's obviously very concerning." [Associated Press via ABC7 Chicago]
A group of local fifth-grade students has asked the Chicago Park Board to rename Douglas Park, which is named after former congressman and Abraham Lincoln rival Stephen Douglas, after abolitionist Frederick Douglass. The students argued that it's not fitting for a park in a mostly African-American neighborhood to be named after Douglas, who supported slavery as a state's right. "He went with the majority, even if the majority wanted slavery," student Kirk Kelly said. "From our point of view, that wasn't enough to have a park named after you. . . . Frederick was a revolutionary who believed in freedom and black revolution." The students won the support of 24th Ward alderman Michael Scott Jr. "I don't think it's appropriate for someone who was a pseudo-champion of slavery to have a park named after them in a community that is [home to] people who are the descendants of slaves," he said. [DNAinfo Chicago]