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After last year’s historic violence in parts of Chicago, a group of state legislators are once again pushing for tougher gun possession laws.

The proposal would ratchet up minimum prison sentences for people who illegally carry a gun.

The ACLU of Illinois opposes the legislation in part because it says it would target the act of carrying a gun, not shooting it.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

This week saw the inauguration of a new session at the Statehouse - the 100th General Assembly.  Will this new term be able to solve Illinois' long-standing budget crisis?  Chris Mooney, Director of the University of Illinois' Institute of Government and Public Affairs, and Lee Enterprises' Dan Petrella join the panel.

Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The Illinois Supreme Court considered a case Thursday that asks whether not-for-profit hospitals have to pay property taxes.

Jamey Dunn headshot
mattpenning.com / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

 Jamey Dunn is leaving the position of Illinois Issues editor. In this week’s Illinois Issues report, she reflects on her time working here and covering state government. 

Michael Madigan being sworn in at UIS
Ted Schurter / State Journal-Register (Pool Photo)

Michael Madigan was re-elected speaker of the House Wednesday in Springfield. It was the opening day of the 100th General Assembly, and Madigan used the occasion to call for a focus on economic growth.

Illinois Senate
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois state legislators opened a new two-year session of the Illinois General Assembly Wednesday. Amid the ceremonies and celebrations, the focus remains on the political stalemate that's left Illinois without a budget for more than 18 months.

Michael Madigan
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

State Rep. Michael Madigan on Wednesday will seek his 17th term as speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives. He's not expected to have any trouble winning.

Gov. Bruce Rauner and his fellow Republicans have spent years vilifying Madigan. But lately the party has gone further, trying to sway House Democrats away from re-electing Madigan as their leader.

Republican interference in the House Democratic leadership election is not just a departure from political norms. It's also a huge departure from Illinois history.

Matt Jones, Peter Baroni, Jehan Gordon-Booth
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

As Chicago confronts an increasing murder rate, the Illinois legislature is trying to take on the root causes of violence in some of the state's most traumatized communities.

John CUllerton and Christine Radogno
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Details of a massive, bipartisan compromise meant to end Illinois' budget stalemate emerged Monday in the Illinois Senate. But the plan has been put on hold.

John Cullerton
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois legislators return to Springfield Monday. Disagreements between Democrats and Republicans have left state government without a full budget for more than 18 months — though Senate leaders are now said be trying to hammer out a compromise.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois legislators are returning to Springfield for the final few days of lame duck session. Will there be a grand compromise? And what's the deal with the Illinois Republican Party's interference in the Democratic race for speaker of the House?

Public Domain

With the dysfunction in Illinois politics, state government this year is projected to spend as much as $13 billion more than it will collect in taxes. And the situation could be getting worse.

Randy Stufflebeam
randystufflebeam.com

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has made clear his intention to seek re-election. Days before Christmas, he dropped 50-million dollars into his campaign account.

Meanwhile, Democrats are pondering who should take him on. But they are not alone.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

A year-end overview of 2016, in which Illinois finds itself in much the same situation as it was 12 months ago, but with an even deeper budget hole and increasingly dire straits for social services and higher education.

President-elect Donald Trump, Gov. Bruce Rauner, and House Speaker Michael Madigan
Trump by Michael Vadon/Flickr, Rauner and Madigan by Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

As we get ready to welcome 2017, we thought we’d take a few minutes to listen back to another tough year in Illinois government and politics. We heard Republicans struggling to reckon with Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy, Democrats and Republicans engaging in another year of war over the soul of Illinois policy, and a growing list of everyday people being crushed by the budget standoff. Here now are some of the voices that made news in 2016.

Illinois Issues: New Laws In 2017

Dec 29, 2016
Chamber
Flickr user: Matt Turner

Nearly 200 new laws go into effect in Illinois on January 1. 

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois' stopgap spending plan expires December 31st and there is still no sign of a budget agreement.  State workers continue to be paid, but social service agencies, colleges, and universities are bracing for a chilly new year.

Bernie Schoenburg of The State Journal-Register  joins the panel.

AFSCME picket
Amanda Vinicky / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Governor Bruce Rauner's administration is accusing Illinois' biggest government union of an unfair labor practice.

A hospital room
Bill McChesney

President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to repeal the federal law known as Obamacare. A group representing Illinois hospitals is warning that doing so without a replacement plan could have dire consequences.

Electoral College
screencapture from pool video

Illinois has officially cast its 20 electoral votes for Hillary Clinton.

The slate of Democratic Party electors met Monday in the state Capitol building in Springfield.

J.B. Pritzker headshot
JBPritzker.com

There seems to be no shortage of names being floated as possible Democratic contenders for governor in 2018.  One of the wealthiest men in America is among them.  

Illinois Supreme Court
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The Illinois Supreme Court has upheld a barrier to suing for "negligent infliction of emotional distress."

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

As Gov. Bruce Rauner continues attacking Democrats, it's looking increasingly likely that Illinois will enter 2017 without a budget. Meanwhile, former Congressman Aaron Schock pleaded not guilty to federal corruption charges.

Matt Penning

Our Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky is leaving public radio to begin a new journalism job with public television station WTTW in Chicago and their program Chicago Tonight.  

John Baldwin
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois Department of Corrections on Wednesday announced most of its workers have completed mental-illness training. It's part of the settlement in a long-running legal dispute over how Illinois prisons treat inmates with mental-heath disorders.

State prison director John Baldwin says the training will help make working in prisons a safer job.

"Seventy-eight percent of all assaults on staff across the United States are committed by an offender with an identified behavioral health issue," Baldwin says.

Bruce Rauner
screen capture / Facebook

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner appeared in another Facebook Live video Tuesday. What's behind the Republican's push on social media?

Aaron Schock
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Former Congressman Aaron Schock has pleaded not guilty to federal corruption charges.

It happened Monday afternoon in Springfield’s federal courthouse. That’s just across the street from what had been one of the 35-year-old Republican’s district offices.

Jim Edgar headshot
Illinois Public Media

Talks between Illinois' leaders have come to a halt, even as an end-of-year budget deadline approaches. Former Governor Jim Edgar says that's a mistake -- Illinois needs a budget.

Edgar says Illinois economy will suffer for years as a direct result of the stalemate.

"The damage is ... the worst damage I've seen. I mean ever the bad years of Blagojevich and the image he gave of Illinois, I don't think has done anything as much damage as we've seen," he said Monday on the Illinois Public Media show "The 21st."

Aaron Schock
Aaron Schock / Instagram

Former Congressman Aaron Schock is due to be arraigned in a Springfield courtroom Monday afternoon.

Republican Leadership
Amanda Vinicky / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois hasn't had a true state budget for a year and five months. Even so, there's some talk of trying to work ahead on a spending plan for the future.

Talk to a university president. The head of a homeless shelter, rape crisis hotline, or other organization that depends on state funding. Even the director of a state agency.

They'll all tell you that one of the most difficult parts of going without a budget for so long, is that it's created tremendous uncertainty.

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