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Illinois is a state in the northern central of U.S., a center of Midwest, which entered the Union on December 3, 1818 making it the 21st state of the US (Illinois Encarta). Illinois’ economy has increased or developed, until now Illinois is the most dynamic and prolific in terms of its industrial and agricultural characteristics. Illinois is the 5th most populous and diverse state in the Midwest in terms of demography. Chicago is in the northeastern side, tiny industrial cities in the and huge agricultural part in the western and central Illinois, and a lot of natural resources like petroleum and coal in the southern part can be found.
Illinois is also an essential or significant transportation center having the “Port of Chicago” connecting the Mississippi to the Great Lakes through the Illinois River, and is also is surrounded by compact networks of highways, waterways, railroads, and air routes, which most of it unite or meet on the metropolis of Chicago, the third largest city in the United States. Illinois is consisted of two sections or partitions, and these are Chicago and the downstate or the smaller communities managing to keep their distinctive characteristics.
Illinois is divided or separated into 4 major natural regions and these include the Central Lowland, the Ozark Plateaus, The Golf Coastal Plain, and the Interior Low Plateaus. Except for some short streams, nearly all the rivers and streams flow west or southward to the Ohio River or to the Mississippi River, joining the Mississippi close to Cairo in the southern part.
Illinois’ climate is composed of cold winters and hot summers, with polar masses moving south to the state of Canada during winters and warm air masses moving up from Mexican Gulf during summers. The average July temperature in Illinois ranging from 24 degrees Celsius in the northeastern Illinois to above 26 degrees Celsius in the southern part wile January averages range from less than -4 degrees Celsius in the northwestern side to above 1 degrees Celsius in the south (Illinois Encarta).
The two top crops grown in the state with respect to value and quantity are soybeans and corns, ranking Illinois as the 2nd primary state its production. Illinois is placed 4th in the country as an industrial state next after California, Texas, and Ohio, based on the Illinois’ industry contribution to the country’s income, with which most manufacturing is done in the Chicago area.
Illinois’ urban and industrial areas need huge amounts of electricity with which 51% is supplied or generated through steam driven power plants through the use of coal and 48% is through its 6 nuclear power plants (Illinois Encarta). Chicago is the center of intricate systems of highways waterways, airlines, railroads, and gas and oil pipelines; making Chicago the major or main center of trucking activities in U.S.
According to the national census of 2000, Illinois is the 5th most populous state in the US, having a total population of about 12, 419, 293, and having an 8.6% increase compared to the 1990 census, with 88% are living in urban areas (Illinois Encarta). School attendance in Illinois was made obligatory since 1883 and is now oblige for all children 7 to 17 to go to school, resulting to $9851 expenses per student as of 2002-2003 (Illinois Encarta).
Illinois first constitution was adopted in the year 1818 and new constitutions have been adopted in 1848 and 1870, and a 4th constitution was adopted in 1970 concerning the 20th century industrialized state and responsibility for financing public education (Illinois Encarta).
Illinois’’ State Government
Illinois’ state government is composed of an executive, legislative, and judiciary, in the executive, the governor is the states chief executive who is elected for a 4 year term and has the power to appoint key officials of the state administrative agencies and department upon the approval of the state senate. The governor has the power to veto bills approved by the legislature, but the legislature can overrule or ignore such veto by 3/5 majority vote of each house’ members. Other elected officials of the executive who are elected for a 4 year term are the attorney general, comptroller, treasurer, secretary of the state, and the lieutenant governor.
On the legislative, the state legislature known as the General Assembly which is composed of the House of Representatives and a Senate, having 59 Senators and 1189 Representatives. Representatives are all elected to serve to 2 year terms while the senators are elected to either 2 or 4 year term. The assembly meeting is annually held on the 2nd Wednesday of January, and the governor or the presiding officer of both houses may call special meetings or assembly.
The Judiciary of Illinois has 3 types of courts, namely, the circuit courts, the appellate courts, and the supreme courts. The Supreme Court is the states’ highest court composed of 7 judges who are elected for 10 year terms, and the 3 judges are elected from Cook County including Chicago, and 1 judge from each of the 4 other districts. The Judges elect one as chief justice who will serve for 3 years unless the person’s term as a judge ends and the judges of the states appellate court are also elected for 10 year terms. Circuits are Judges elected for 6 year terms and they in turn designates associate judges for 4 year terms.
Illinois Local Government
An elected county board is the main policy making body of each of the 102 Illinois counties. A county board is voted in each county and the number of members of the county board is set by ordinance in each county. The members of the Cook County Board are elected from 2 districts such as Chicago and outside Chicago. In the local government, there are called county officers who have the responsibilities and power given by the law and by the county ordinance. The president of the Cook County Board is elected from the county having the power as the chief executive officer of the county and each county has a sheriff, a treasurer, and a county clerk who will serve for 4 year terms, and they may assign or vote recorder, coroner, auditor, assessor, and other officials.
The treasurer of the county may perform as a treasurer of any school district or local government in his respective county if a school district asked for it. In the local government there are also Home Rule Units or a municipality with a population of more than 25000 and has an elective executive. A Home Rule Unit doesn’t have the authority to acquire liabilities from ad valorem property tax receipts that will mature in 40 years, and doesn’t have the authority to give a penalty of a felony (Constitution of…).
Home rule units only have the power to punish offenders by imprisonment for more than 6 months or impose taxes based on occupants’ earnings. A home Rule Unit has the power to adopt, repel, or alter a form of government subject to the approval by referendum, and has the power to provide for its officers their manner of selection or terms of office through the approval by a referendum.
Municipalities and counties which are not Home Rule Units have only powers given by the law and the powers to have improvements in their locality by especial assessments. Special districts and units, townships, school districts, and appointed by law as local government units only have the authority given by the law. Chicago and most other cities have their mayor and a council form of government. Most of the medium size cities in Illinois have their chosen or selected professional city manager, and most villages are managed by the board president and Board of trustees.
“Constitution of the State of Illinois.” n.d.. Illinois Handbook of Government, 18 December 2007 <http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/handbook/ilconstitution.pdf>.
“Illinois.” 2007. Illinois – MSN Encarta, 19 December 2007 <http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761566615/Illinois.html>.
“Illinois Compiled Statutes.” 2007. Illinois General Assembly – Illinois Compiled Statutes, 19 December 2007 <http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs.asp>.
“Illinois Government.” 2007. Illinois.gov – Illinois Government – Judiciary, 19 December 2007 <http://www.illinois.gov/government/judiciary.cfm>.