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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

AFSCME, Illinois biggest laobr union representing state government employees, was in the Fourth District Appellate Court this week. It's fighting a move by the Rauner administration to declare an impasse in contract negotiations, which are three years overdue.

Senator Dick Durbin via Twitter

Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin is supporting President Donald Trump’s pick to be the next ambassador to Kenya: Illinois state Sen. Kyle McCarter. That’s despite the significant political differences between Durbin and McCarter.

Durbin says he met with McCarter this week in Washington, D.C. to discuss his Kenya nomination.

McCarter is quite conservative, and Durbin says his voting record poses “some issues.” But that isn’t stopping him from giving the Republican a thumbs up.

Charles E. Freeman
handout / Illinois Supreme Court

Thursday was the last day on the job for the first African American on the Illinois Supreme Court.

AFSCME picket
Amanda Vinicky / NPR Illinois

The latest skirmish between Gov. Bruce Rauner and the AFSCME labor union took place in a Springfield courtroom Wednesday. This time it was before a panel of the Fourth District Appellate Court.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The debate continues over whether Illinois’ law allowing for taxpayer-funded abortions violates the state constitution. A trial judge dismissed the case last year but anti-abortion advocates are fighting back.  

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Allegations of bullying and inappropriate comments prompted the resignation of the top aide to House Speaker Michael Madigan. Tim Mapes had been the speaker's chief of staff since the late 1990s, and was also executive director of the Democratic Party of Illinois.

Meanwhile, Gov. Bruce Rauner signing a full-year budget into law, a first for the incumbent Republican, who's in his fourth year as governor.

Illinois officials have persuaded a federal judge to delay a trial over health care in state prisons.

The move drew a rebuke from the plaintiffs’ lawyers — who are representing a group that includes every inmate in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

As part of the new Illinois budget, thousands and thousands of state workers will get paid for salary increases they were supposed to get as far back as 2011.


Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner was asked Tuesday whether he would support a shorter prison sentence for Rod Blagojevich.

Illinois House Democrats

A measure awaiting  Gov. Bruce Rauner’s signature would expand protections in the Human Rights Act to cover workers at businesses with 15 or fewer employees. 

State Rep. Will Guzzardi, a Chicago Democrat, says it’s impossible to know how many times employees of small businesses in Illinois tried to file complaints under the Human Rights Act because they’ve had no coverage under the 38-year-old act. He said he’s talked to many lawyers who’ve turned would-be clients from small business away because they had no protections under Illinois or federal law.

Dick Durbin
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois U.S. Sen, Dick Durbin says Rod Blagojevich should have gotten a shorter prison sentence.

Gov. Bruce Rauner signs the budget
handout / Illinois Information Service

Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed Illinois’ budget into law.

Sam Dunklau / via Wikimedia Commons, Flikr

Illinois lawmakers have approved a plan that would let schools, churches, and workplaces take out restraining orders against someone considered dangerous.

Under current Illinois law, only an individual can take out a restraining order against another person. But after recent shootings at schools and churches, state lawmakers have been pushing for legislation to protect those places from future attacks.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A busy week in Springfield as the Illinois General Assembly approves a budget, the House ratifies the ERA, and a leading Democrat is accused of inappropriate behavior.

Illinois Senate Democrats

The Illinois General Assembly is continuing its push to change what’s been criticized as a culture of sexual harassment. Lawmakers approved the first set of recommendations from a task force Thursday.

The measure would overhaul the power of the legislative inspector general — taking hiring and firing authority away from the legislative leaders and giving it to the Legislative Ethics Commission.

It would also allow the inspector general to investigate sexual harassment without getting permission from the commission.

 

Jim Durkin
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois General Assembly has approved a budget for the state — and Governor Bruce Rauner is indicating he’ll “enact” it into law.

via Wikimedia Commons

The Illinois legislature overwhelmingly passed a full year budget Thursday. It includes a few plans to cut down on the state’s massive pension debt.


A prominent state legislator, who led efforts in the Illinois House to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, has stepped down from his leadership post after being accused of bullying and intimidation. 

Andy Manar
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois is one step closer to having a budget for next year — the state Senate approved a spending plan late Wednesday night.

It follows years of bitter partisan fighting over state taxes and spending. But the mood around this year’s budget is remarkably different.

via Kari Söderholm / Flikr

The legal age to buy tobacco in Illinois may soon go up from 18 to 21. The measure narrowly passed the Illinois House Wednesday night 61 to 49, after failing once before.


via Flikr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Illinois lawmakers on Wednesday voted to make it easier to try to take guns from someone a court determines is dangerous. Supporters say “lethal order of protections” could prevent mass shootings.


Capitol in fog
Amanda Vinicky / NPR Illinois

As Illinois lawmakers try to pass a state budget by Thursday, credit rating agencies say they’re less focused on the timing of a spending plan than they were a year ago.

Statehouse exit sign
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

With just two days remaining in the spring session of the Illinois General Assembly, lawmakers are optimistic about passing a state budget on time.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

The Illinois legislature has again moved to regulate gun dealers. It comes after Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a similar measure back in March, calling it "onerous bureaucracy."


wikimedia

The Illinois General Assembly has approved a plan aimed at making sure people in jails can exercise their right to vote.

Lee Milner

Legislation allowing a major expansion of gambling in Illinois failed on Monday. It’s something lawmakers have been working on for years, as an effort to raise money for state and local governments.

Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

UPDATE: The House Tuesday voted down Senate Bill 2332, which would have raised the tobacco purchase age in Illinois to to 21.

A measure in play at the Statehouse would make it a crime to sell tobacco products,  including cigarettes and vaping devices, to those under age 21.

Laura Sido of East Alton worked in bars and restaurants all of her adult life.  She smoked on and off until earlier this month. Sido, a 49-year-old stay-at-home grandmother, now has a chronic lung disease, COPD. And she  says she is in favor of anything that could keep young people from smoking.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois lawmakers say they've made real progress toward passage of a budget. But even if they can get it passed by the scheduled end of session next Thursday (May 31), the big question remains: Will Gov. Bruce Rauner sign or veto it?

via Wikimedia Commons

Illinois lawmakers on Friday rejected legislation that would have loosened restriction on how police use drone surveillance. It was meant to help law enforcement keep tabs on large crowds.


Illinois legislators are trying to help state taxpayers get around limitations in the new federal tax law. But the federal government may negate the plan before it even has a chance to become law.

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