Illinois briefs: 7/25/2011

*Illinois law raises funds for nuclear safety program*

Gov. Pat Quinn has signed a bill intended to improve safety at the state’s 11 nuclear reactors.

Exelon operates all of the reactors. The bill increases the annual fee that the company has to pay per reactor from $1.75 million to $1.9 million.

The extra money will be used by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency for its nuclear safety program.

Quinn says the money will allow IEMA to fill 12 positions, including nuclear safety scientists, health physicists and computer experts.

The legislation also includes a one-time fee of $3.6 million to be paid over three years for computer upgrades to the state’s remote monitoring system.

*Illinois gets $146 million for military construction*

The U.S. Senate has approved more than $146 million for military construction projects in Illinois.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says the projects were included in President Barack Obama’s 2012 budget.

The money has been slated to fund a $10 million training and support facility for the Army National Guard in Normal and changes to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Army Reserve Center in the southern Chicago suburb of Homewood.

Durbin’s office also says $12.8 million will be used for the Army Reserve Center in Rockford.

The largest chunk of money, more than $107 million, will be used for a new heating system and health clinic at the Great Lakes Naval Station in northern Illinois.

*Surge in police shootings seen in Chicago*

The Chicago Sun-Times reports in its Sunday editions that the number of deadly officer-involved shootings already outpaces all of last year when 13 people died in police shootings.

Such shootings are at a midyear high compared to the past four years. But Independent Police Review Authority director Ilana Rosenzweig says it’s too early to say what caused the spike.

Some officers blame the increase on a new boldness among youth who start shootouts with police. Officer Danny O’Toole says: “And we shoot back.”

_Compiled from Associated Press reports_