Illinois briefs 7/13/11

*Ill. Catholics dispute foster care law for children placed with gay couples*

Three Catholic dioceses in Illinois are asking a judge to hold up enforcement of a law that would force them to place foster kids with gay couples. Catholic officials in Peoria, Joliet and Springfield have sued over the state’s civil union law because they oppose on religious grounds allowing gays in newly recognized civil unions to adopt children or provide foster care. The state Department of Children and Family Services says it won’t renew foster-care and adoption contracts with the not-for-profit organization Catholic Charities.

The move involves about 2,000 children, but state officials say their foster care won’t be affected. A hearing for a temporary restraining order in the lawsuit is scheduled before Circuit Judge John Schmidt this afternoon.

*Quinn signs bill to streamline permits online*

Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill Tuesday that could make the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency more efficient.

Quinn says it’s important that it not take forever for businesses to get their necessary permits so they can get working.

The Chicago Democrat assured people that the measure won’t sacrifice environmental protections in the state. The new law will let many low-polluting small businesses register with the agency rather than go through the extensive process of getting an air permit.

_Compiled from Associated Press reports_