Statehouse

Toi Hutchinson
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A controversial abortion measure was approved Wednesday in the Illinois Senate. It would expand government funding of the procedure.

Michael Madigan
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has been in office a long time.  He’s been a House member since the early 70’s and served as Speaker since the 1980’s, minus a brief 2 year window. 

But Madigan has never seen the state fail to pass a full budget, until recently. 

WUIS

 

Comptroller Susana Mendoza says she’s not sure when school districts will receive state money owed to them for the rest of this school year. Mendoza’s office is in charge of paying the state’s bills.

The state of Illinois still owes local school districts nearly $1 billion to cover the current school year. But Mendoza, a Democrat, says she’s not sure when they’ll actually get the money.

 

Digging a hole. A really deep hole.
David Stillman / Flickr.com/stilldavid (CC-BY-NC)

A nonpartisan research group says Illinois’ desperate financial condition is getting even worse.

The Civic Federation of Chicago says unless something is done soon, by next year the state’s pile of unpaid bills could consume half of all new tax revenue.

Pat Quinn speaking next to his portrait
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Former governor Pat Quinn was back in the Illinois Statehouse Monday. The Democrat was there for a ceremony to unveil his official portrait in the Capitol’s Hall of Governors.

Dick Durbin
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin is putting his heart into attacking the Republican health care bill — literally.

Durbin is citing his own recent cardiac procedure to point out what he and other Democrats say are flaws in the legislation.

Daniel Biss speaking to group
Office of state Sen. Daniel Biss

The Illinois Senate passed a bill Friday that would prohibit a defense for murder based on a victim’s sexual orientation or a nonviolent sexual advance.

The gay panic defense bill, sponsored by Democratic Senator Daniel Biss of Evanston, passed unanimously with a vote of 41-0 and will be up for consideration in the House.

Biss says that although rare, these types of crimes do happen.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Budget talk continues in Springfield — but our panel isn't getting its hopes up yet. And what's really holding up the sale of the Thompson Center? (Spoiler alert: It's complicated.)

James Kluppelberg
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois’ budget stalemate has held up compensation for people who’ve been unjustly imprisoned. But on Thursday, a bipartisan group of state senators took a step toward fixing that.

The State Board of Elections says hackers gained access to the information of 80,000 Illinois voters — including their social security numbers and driver’s licenses.

Elections officials say hackers had access to Illinois’ system for nearly three weeks before they were detected. They did get access to personal information, but officials say that’s about it.

Medicaid is one of the largest pieces of the state’s budget, and Democrats say the governor is trying to significantly alter the way the program is managed — without oversight from the legislature.

Gov. Bruce Rauner announced in February a new format by which healthcare companies and organizations bid for contracts to administer Medicaid. Five years ago, Illinois moved to increase the use of outside parties to take care of the paperwork and administration of Medicaid.

Tom Lisi / NPR Illinois

The spring legislative session has been overshadowed by a 22-month stretch without a budget. Nevertheless, meaty legislation is being weighed. Those issues include abortion, wage theft, animal research and criminal justice.

Senate Committee
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The death of a one-year-old child in Joliet Township has Illinois' child-welfare agency on the defensive.

Department of Children and Family Services director George Sheldon testified Wednesday before a state Senate committee.

We’re in an era when Chicago politicians dominate state government.  But it wasn't that long ago that some of the more powerful state politicians came from southern Illinois. 

Heather Steans
file / Office of Sen. Heather Steans

Illinois Senate Democrats are hoping to win bipartisan support for a partial government spending plan.

The proposal would release more than $800 million that’s been collected in special state accounts for higher education and human services, areas that have been particularly squeezed during the 22-month budget stalemate.

bus stop
flickr.com/stevekeiretsu

The state budget impasse has left Illinois months behind in payment to downstate mass transit agencies. That’s led to cuts in service from Kankakee to Jacksonville.

Now lawmakers are looking to remove them from the fight.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois has gone 667 days without a budget. Asked to grade his performance in office, Gov. Rauner gave himself an A for what he could do without legislative support.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Michael Madigan requested a meeting with Rauner — thought to be their first in nearly 6 months.

And between 1,500 and 2,000 women marched on the Capitol in support of Democratic policies and candidates, as House Democrats sought to highlight Rauner's contradictory positions on abortion rights.

ilga.gov

 

A group of Republican lawmakers say Gov. Bruce Rauner has rescinded his decision to lay off 124 nurses at the Illinois Department of Corrections. Rauner was planning to move the jobs to a private contractor.

 

The governor has not confirmed the announcement. The Illinois Nurses Association, the union representing the IDOC nurses, says it’s taking all this with some skepticism.

 

Rep. Anna Moeller
Rep. Anna Moeller

Legislation passed out of the House Wednesday is meant to help close the gender wage gap in the state.

After a House vote of 91-24, the Equal Pay Act amendment will now be considered in the Senate as SB 981, under the sponsorship of Sen.  Daniel Biss, a Democrat from Evanston. 

Democratic Rep. Anna Moeller of Elgin, who sponsored House Bill 2462, says that while she expected the House to pass the bill, she was surprised by the number of yes votes.

“It just shows that this is an issue that is important to women in Illinois and families in Illinois,” she said. 

NPR Illinois

 

 

With support from labor unions, Illinois House Democrats passed legislation Wednesday that would restore certain bargaining rights for Chicago Public Schools teachers — letting them negotiate with the city on things like class size, length of school day, and layoffs.

Dennis Hastert
U.S. House of Representatives

Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert has lost his $28,000 annual state pension. He’s serving a 15-month prison sentence for banking violations — crimes he admitted were to pay someone to keep quiet about his sexual abuse of high school students decades ago.

Illinois House Chamber
Tom Lisi / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

As women rallied at the Illinois Capitol Tuesday, the House passed a measure that would allow abortion to be covered by Medicaid and state-employee health insurance.

NPRIllinois

If you feel no one is listening to your concerns about the state budget impasse, you’ll have a chance to be heard Thursday night.

Women's March on Springfield
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The minimum wage, abortion rights, and the state budget were among the rallying points for women marching on the Illinois Statehouse Tuesday. The event put liberal issues — and Democratic candidates — front and center.

John Cullerton
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton says he and his colleagues will take up a partial government spending bill passed by the House earlier this month.

John Cullerton
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner has been saying he thinks a comprehensive budget deal is “very close.” He points to negotiations in the state Senate, so Brian Mackey asked the Senate president if that’s the case.

Barbara Flynn Currie
Illinois House Democrats

Women from across Illinois are expected in Springfield Tuesday for a march and rally at the Statehouse.

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Governor Bruce Rauner was asked Friday why he’s changed his position on an abortion law since the 2014 campaign.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner says he'd veto legislation seeking to protect the right to abortion in Illinois. Pro-abortion-rights activists say that's a change of position from what Rauner told them as a candidate in 2014.

Meanwhile, S&P and Moody's say the budget impasse, approaching 22 months, is hurting the credit worthiness of state universities.

Warehouse Workers for Justice

Legislation aims to improve working conditions for temporary workers as the need for them increases.

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