Briefs 6/17/2011

*Illinois unemployment climbs in May to 8.9 percent*

The Illinois Department of Employment Security says the state’s unemployment rate increased to 8.9 percent in May. That’s up from 8.7 percent just a month earlier and the first monthly increase since January 2010.

The department said Thursday in its monthly release on the statewide unemployment picture that Illinois still had lower unemployment in May than the country as a whole. The national rate was 9.1 percent. That’s up slightly from 9 percent in April.

More detailed data on Illinois counties and metro areas will be released next Thursday.

*Law: No more politician monikers on state signs*

Illinois politicians are no longer allowed to put their stamp on state signs.

Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation Thursday that prohibits elected officials from putting their names on state road signs, billboards or electronic signs. The legislation beefs up language in existing law prohibiting officials from using their names and likenesses to promote state programs. It takes effect immediately.

One of Quinn’s first acts as governor in 2009 was to dispatch crews to take down or cover up Blagojevich’s name on dozens of signs. It was shortly after Blagojevich was impeached and kicked out of office on corruption charges.

Each cost about $15,000 to change.

*Chicago mayor putting lobbying data online*

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he’s making it easier for the public to see who’s lobbying the city for what and what kind of gifts they’re giving.

In a news release Thursday, Emanuel says the city will post lobbying data online and will do so in a way that will be easy to use. Emanuel says the public can not only track gifts, but compensation and expenditures as well.

One of the things Emanuel promised during his mayoral campaign is that he would make city government more transparent. He says putting such data online helps do that.

_Compiled from Associated Press reports_