Statehouse

This week, Gov. Bruce Rauner dodged a Nerf-ball question about whether former Congressman and Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke was a racist. Meanwhile, Rauner, a Republican, is running an infomercial about Democratic primary candidate J.B. Pritzker. And we hear the latest on the school funding overhaul that just won't end.

PHOTO CREDIT BRIAN MACKEY / NPR ILLINOIS - TAXREBATE.ORG.UK / CC BY 2.0 / A DERIVATIVE OF “MAGNIFIER GLASS AND MONEY” - PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY CARTER STALEY / NPR ILLINOIS

Commentary: Expanded economic interest disclosures would lead to more accountability

CREDIT FLICKR USER / MICHAEL COGHLAN "PRISON BARS" (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Flanked by inmates at the all-female Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed legislation to create a women-specific division within the Department of Corrections. 

Bob Daiber, state Sen. Daniel Biss, J.B. Pritzker, Tio Hardiman, and Chris Kennedy
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Five of the six Democrats running for governor were in Peoria over the Martin Luther King Day weekend. They were making largely similar cases to voters at a forum on criminal and economic justice.

Gov. Bruce Rauner wrapped up his stay at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy, where 13 people have died from Legionnaires' Disease since 2015. It came a day after a legislative hearing at which members of the Rauner administration defended their response to outbreaks.

Scott Drury
ILGA.gov

"Access to the ballot is a substantial right" argued Scott Drury's attorney, Casey Westover. It was the argument that was overall victorious in the hearing which claimed Drury should not be allowed on the ballot for attorney general due to a technicality with his statement of economic interest. 

ilga.gov

Governor Bruce Rauner just ended a week-long stay at the Illinois Veteran’s Home in Quincy, the facility where 13 people have died from Legionnaires' Disease since 2015.

Gov. Bruce Rauner is staying at the Illinois Veteran Home in Quincy, in response to accusations that his administration has not responded well to repeated outbreaks of Legionnaires' Disease at the facility.

Meanwhile on the gubernatorial campaign trail, Chris Kennedy says Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel should be held accountable for driving African American people out of the city while Bob Daiber is getting detailed about a graduated income tax.

Bob Daiber
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Most of the Democrats running for governor of Illinois have long since come out in favor of a graduated income tax, where wealthier people pay a higher rate on income above a certain amount. But it wasn’t until Thursday that one candidate said what that amount ought to be.

John Cullerton and Christine Radogno
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

As we get ready to welcome 2018, we thought we’d take a few minutes to listen back to another wild year in Illinois government and politics.

Twenty-seventeen was a wild year in Illinois government and politics: it began without a budget and ended with the Republican governor facing a primary challenge.

Along the way there was a tax hike, a once-in-a-generation overhaul of education funding, hot-button bills relating to abortion and immigration, and accusations of a culture of sexual harassment in the Statehouse.

Peter Breen
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A new law allowing public funding of abortion in Illinois will take effect as scheduled on January 1. That’s after a judge on Thursday ruled against anti-abortion groups who’d sued to block it.

National Police Dog Foundation

When a police officer is injured, getting them medical help is expected.  But what about when that officer is a K-9?  A new Illinois law allows E-M-T's to transport the dog to a veterinarian for treatment. 

New Law Will Force Insurers To Pay Death Benefits

Dec 26, 2017
State Treasurer's Office

Beginning in 2018, insurance companies must become more diligent in notifying beneficiaries of life insurance policies

Mark Goebel-Flickr/https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

A law taking effect January first is meant to force Illinois government to be more honest about its money problems.

Gov. Bruce Rauner requested a sit-down with the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune, and covered a range of grievances in his hour-long conversation.

He blamed Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel for not supporting the governor's agenda, he said House Republicans were not principled enough, and he seemed disappointed that Illinois no longer had a crisis he could leverage to pass his business-friendly, union-weakening agenda.

bhvcpa.com

In Illinois, the number of people getting insurance through the ACA has, for the most part, remained the same since its launch.  About 350,000 people have been receiving coverage and the same goes for 2018 despite the lack of effort by President Trump’s administration to encourage enrollment.

The state representative challenging Governor Bruce Rauner in next year’s Republican primary is proposing several changes to Illinois’ pension systems.

Shutterstock

Illinois lawmakers acted quickly last month in response to sexual harassment allegations at the statehouse.  But several female legislators say this isn't a quick fix.  They say the process was rushed and not enough thought was given to explore alternative options.

State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, a Chicago Democrat, says the new policies were not inclusive of everyone affected by the issue—such as legislative staff and lobbyists. She says she hopes newly formed legislative task forces in the House and Senate will resolve this concern. 

Over the last few years, 13 residents of the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy have died from Legionnaires’ disease. Public radio station WBEZ this week published an investigation into problems at the home. The political reaction was swift, with calls for investigations that could last well into next year.

J.B. Pritzker and Daniel Biss
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

With roughly three months to go until Illinois' primary election, there are seven men seeking the Democratic Party's nomination to be governor of Illinois.

One of the key questions facing primary voters: To counter the vast wealth of incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, do Democrats need their own billionaire at the top of the ticket?

Brian Mackey explores the potential upsides — and downsides — of an ultra-wealthy candidate.

Jaclyn Driscoll / NPR Illinois

Even though the primary election is over three months away, Democratic gubernatorial hopeful J.B. Pritzker has already notched a win. Pritzker was selected to be first on the primary ballot among the seven candidates running. 

A mix of tourists and lobbyists milled about the rotunda of the Illinois Statehouse on Tuesday.
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

A Cook County Republican is running for state treasurer. Jim Dodge ran unsuccessfully for Comptroller in 2010. 

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday declared he's "not in charge" of Illinois government. Rather, he says, House Speaker Michael Madigan is really running the show.

That same day, Rep. Jeannie Ives filed to challenge Rauner in the Republican primary, saying the governor has "betrayed" their party.

WUIS

Next year Illinois will have a new way to dispose of dead bodies where no next of kin is found,or families don’t have the means to pay for a burial and it could benefit students. 

Several women running for statewide office.
IL General Assembly, Comptroller's Office, Lieutenant Governor's Office, Friends of Nancy Rotering, Darlene Senger, Erika Harold.

National politics and the recent surge of sexual harassment allegations have resulted in calls to increase the number of female candidates in the 2018 races for legislative and statewide offices. But Illinois did not necessarily follow along with these expectations.

Sam McCann headshot
Illinois General Assembley

A Republican state senator who had a high profile disagreement with Governor Bruce Rauner says he won’t run for re-election.  Senator Sam McCann of Plainview would have faced his second opponent backed by the governor.   

I Voted sticker roll
Wikimedia

Monday is the last day to submit petitions to run for office in Illinois next year. There are several people who’ve said they’re running for high profile offices, but who have not yet turned in paperwork.

The conservative magazine National Review has called Gov. Bruce Rauner "the worst Republican governor in America." We'll discuss the claim, and how it might affect next year's elections.

Meanwhile, a group of Republican lawmakers and anti-abortion groups have sued over a new law that extends abortion coverage to women enrolled in state health insurance programs.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A group of state lawmakers and anti-abortion groups sued the state of Illinois Thursday. They’re trying to block a new law that will allow state money to pay for some abortions.

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