News Minute: Here is the latest Illinois news from The Associated Press at 6:40 a.m. CST

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CHICAGO (AP) - The question of whether federal agents display racial bias by staging phony drug stash-house stings overwhelmingly in black neighborhoods is the focus of landmark hearings in Chicago. A rare panel of federal trial judges begins the hearings Thursday on the stings. They typically involve agents posing as cartel couriers who talk suspects into robbing caches of drugs that don't actually exist. How the judges rule could determine whether agencies nationwide curtail use of such stings.

CHICAGO (AP) - Voters in Cook County will get the chance to vote on a non-binding question in the March primary on whether recreational marijuana should be legalized. County commissioners voted unanimously on Wednesday to put the advisory referendum on the ballot. Such questions are used to gauge support of an issue and could help state lawmakers determine whether to pursue the issue with legislation in Springfield.

CHICAGO (AP) - A judge has ruled that Illinois video gambling parlors must continue to evenly split their profits with companies that operate the terminals. The Chicago Tribune reports Cook County Judge Neil H. Cohen ruled this month that splitting profits equally prevents terminal operators from offering incentives to gambling establishments. The two companies that own the Dotty's Cafe, Stella's Place and Shelby's gambling parlor chains in April sued the Illinois Gaming Board.

CHICAGO (AP) - Bus and train commuters are going to have to pay more for Chicago Transit Authority rides. The transit agency's board unanimous approved raising fares by 25 cents next year. It's the first across-the-board increase in nine years and was prompted by a $33 million budget hole partly caused by state budget cuts.

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