Statehouse

With Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's announcement last week that she won't be running for re-election, hopefuls are lining up to run.  Opposition is building against Cook County's controversial soda tax.  And Governor Bruce Rauner is promoting Illinois as a great location for Amazon's new headquarters.

Rick Pearson of the Chicago Tribune and the State Journal-Register's Bernie Schoenburg join the panel.

Yuri Samoilov / Flickr

Time is running out on Governor Bruce Rauner to act on a bill that would change the way websites track a user's location and how they store that data. 

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State financial regulators are recommending an increase in the fees that currency exchanges charge for cashing checks. Opponents say it will hurt Illinois' poorest residents.

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich gave his first interviews since reporting to a federal prison more than five years ago. We consider his long silence and ongoing legacy in Illinois government.

NPRIllinois.org

The first woman to serve as majority leader in the Illinois House of Representatives and a top lieutenant to House Speaker Mike Madigan says she won't seek re-election.  

power lines
Eric Bueneman / Flickr.com/n0uih (cc-by-nc)

Environmental groups are criticizing Ameren Illinois for what they describe as backing away from energy efficiency goals.

Gov. Bruce Rauner says his administration will finally go to the bond market to help refinance billions of dollars of unpaid bills. The move is expected to save the state hundreds of millions of dollars a year in interest penalties.

Matthew Penning / NPR Illinois

A new task force has been formed to combat opioid abuse in the state.

Susana Mendoza
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

More than two months after the Illinois General Assembly finally approved a state budget, Gov. Bruce Rauner is moving ahead with a plan to begin cutting into the $15 billion backlog of bills.

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

It’s been two months since Illinois government finally passed a full budget. Legislators hoped that would accelerate the payment of overdue bills, which total more than $15 billion. But the governor’s office is holding that up.

Broken piggy bank
flickr: https://www.seniorplanning.org/

The Illinois state pension funds are among the worst-funded in the nation.  Yet, a new state law allows less money to be put toward that purpose. 

Illinois schools will soon resume receiving state funding, after Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bipartisan compromise that passed the House and Senate earlier in the week.

NPR Illinois

Illinois is getting tougher on those convicted of hate crimes. In the wake of Charlottesville, the legislature passed resolutions taking a stand against hate. But resolutions are not legally binding.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

What we know as of Friday about a tentative compromise among legislative leaders on school funding, along with the continuing controversy over Governor Rauner's response to a political cartoon posted by the Illinois Policy Institute.  WBEZ's Tony Arnold and WTTW's Amanda Vinicky join the panel.

Wojcicki Jimenez campaign

Another Illinois legislator will not be seeking re-election.

State Rep. Sara Wojcicki Jimenez is from Leland Grove, near Springfield.

She was among the Republicans who defied Governor Bruce Rauner — helping Democrats pass Illinois' first budget in two years.

Republicans and Democrats gathered in Springfield this week for their annual rallies tied to the Illinois State Fair. Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Republicans outlined a campaign strategy that takes aim at House Speaker Michael Madigan. Democrats, meanwhile, tried to lash Rauner to the fortunes of President Donald Trump.

The Illinois Democrats seeking their party’s nomination for governor are spending more time campaigning against the incumbent than each other. And they’re not pulling any punches.

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Republicans are gearing up for Gov. Bruce Rauner’s re-election fight. At a state fair rally Wednesday, they made clear their campaign will focus on one man.

The Illinois General Assembly is still weighing what to do in the wake of Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto of the Democrats' new approach  to how the state sends money to schools in  Illinois. Meanwhile, Comptroller Susana Mendoza is urging Rauner to get going on issuing bonds to begin paying down the backlog of bills.

David Harris
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Another voice is urging Gov. Bruce Rauner to work with the budget that was passed over his objections.

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza is urging Gov. Bruce Rauner to step up the pace in dealing with the state’s debt.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has vetoed parts of the Democratic education funding overhaul known as Senate Bill 1. He used his Constitutional power to make recommendations for changes in the legislation, saying he wanted to stop a "bailout" of Chicago schools. But Democrats accuse him of tacking right and waging an "assault" on public education.

The coliseum at the state fair with flags waving above it.
Katherine Johnson / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

The Illinois State Fair opens in one week. Years of budget cuts and deferred maintenance have led to a series of problems at the fairgrounds. But officials say they’ll be ready.

Pawar, Pritzker and Biss
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

One of the Democrats running for governor of Illinois is proposing a huge expansion in a government healthcare program.

BRENT LEVIN / CC BY 2.0 / FLICKR

Some lawmakers say legalizing recreational marijuana should be on the horizon for Illinois. But they admit there are still details to work out. 

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

Despite Governor Bruce Rauner calling the Democrat-controlled Legislature into special session to resolve the issue of school funding, there is still no agreement on funding for Chicago Public Schools.  Also, the next gubernatorial race is shaping up to be the most expensive in state history; we'll look at the potential money involved.  Joining Sean Crawford in the studio is IPR Education Reporter Dusty Rhodes, UIS Professor Emeritus Kent Redfield, and Law360 Springfield Reporter Hannah Meisel.

Amanda Vinicky

We talked to leaders at the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability and The Civic Federation to learn about their insights on the state's first spending plan in more than two years.

A website that popped up this month asks a question as its URL: arethereanywomenrunningforilgovernor.com. It then very simply answers it with a bright red "NO." A group of professional women in the state are behind the effort to draw attention to the issue.

Illinois State Capitol
Daniel X O'Neil / Flickr

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s choices for new top staff positions — from chief of staff to policy director to the head of his communications team — have created a firestorm in recent weeks.

James Kluppelberg
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois is finally making good on some of its most overdue bills — compensating people who were unjustly imprisoned.

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