Statehouse

Money is coming to all 50 states from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development & the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to help combat homelessness among veterans. The $1.5 million coming to Illinois is allocated mostly to Chicago. NPR Illinois spoke with Christine Haley about what it means for homeless vets in the state overall, she's the associate director of the Illinois branch of the Corporation for Supportive Housing:

Melissa Heil / Illinois Atlas of Austerity

From Chicago to Cairo, the lack of a state budget has affected people and programs throughout Illinois.

Melissa Heil, a PhD student at the University of Illinois in Urbana, is mapping that impact through an online project called the Illinois Atlas of Austerity.  

David Olson
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

  A number of American cities have seen a spike in violent crime this year. It’s not happening everywhere, but it is happening in Chicago.

What’s behind the crime wave of 2016? Does it represent a trend? And how could this affect the push to reduce the number of people sent to prison in Illinois?

Amanda Vinicky

Something has gnawed at me for about a decade – a promise I made to myself, but didn’t keep.

As a public radio reporter in Iowa City, Iowa, I covered a ceremony honoring people who'd donated bone marrow.

By now the details are vague; I recall a tear-filled hug between two people who'd have been strangers ... had the woman not signed up for the bone marrow registry, come up as a match, and saved the other person's life.

Sarah Mueller WUIS

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner used his veto pen Friday to reject a measure that would have provided about $3.9 billion for higher education, mental health treatment and other programs.

a metaphor about Illinois government
I.W. Taber / Wikimedia Commons (public domain)

  After spending seventeen months fighting over the governor’s agenda and the end of May fighting about a temporary spending plan, now Democrats and Republicans are fighting about political fighting itself. Also: whales (!).


The Illinois Department of Transportation plans to spend about $2 billion on roads projects for the next fiscal year that starts July 1, if there's a budget. But, the lack of a deal could kill the construction season. 

 


Judge Sharon Johnson, Diana Rauner and Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The cause near and dear to the First Lady of Illinois' heart has taken a hit. She said so herself Thursday with her husband, Gov. Bruce Rauner, looking on.


Examining Financial Health (stethescope on piggy bank)
https://www.flickr.com/photos/socialeurope / EU Social

Illinois' fiscal health continues to tumble, in the eyes of the analysts who assign credit ratings.

Moody's. S&P. Fitch. All three of the nation's big credit rating agencies have taken notice of the state's ongoing budget impasse.

None are impressed with what they're seeing. 

Even as Illinois is without a budget, the Illinois House has canceled its one-day session.

Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice / Kewanee

A program meant to rehabilitate juvenile offenders hasn’t seen state funding while Illinois has gone for almost a year without a budget. The program, called Redeploy Illinois, has had to make cutbacks, leaving more than 100 teens without services.

A recent report from the Associated Press found that some young people who lost access to the program have committed new violations, including a string of crimes in Rockford early this year. Illinois Issues editor Jamey Dunn talked with Associated Press reporter Sophia Tareen about her story. 

flickr/picturesofmoney

Civil asset forfeiture — when the government can take property even without charging someone with a crime — has been the target of attacks by civil libertarians. Law enforcement, on the other hand, has defended the practice.

Brian Mackey brings us this look at how the debate is playing out in Illinois.

A version of this story was broadcast June 7, 2016 on Illinois Edition.

House floor
Brian Mackey / WUIS

Illinois has a constitutional requirement that its budget must be balanced — spending has to equal revenues every year. But is the Illinois budget ever really balanced?

Brian Mackey put that question to two people who closely follow Illinois' finances: Charlie Wheeler, director of the Public Affairs Reporting at the University of Illinois Springfield, and Jamey Dunn, editor of Illinois Issues.

    

John Cullerton, Bruce Rauner and Michael Madigan
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Gov. Bruce Rauner marked the end of the legislative session with a blistering attack on Democratic legislators. He then embarked on an eight-city tour — mostly downstate — where he continued his critique.

One of Rauner’s main messages is that Democrats are holding the state budget “hostage” in order to get their way. I thought that accusation of political ill-will had a familiar ring, so I decided to take a closer look at the governor’s communication strategy.

Illinois State Museum

Gov. Bruce Rauner shuttered the Illinois State museum last fall, saying that the closure was a necessary cost-saving measure.

Earlier this week, his administration announced that the Springfield branch of the museum and the Dickson Mounds location will reopen on July 2 — that is if a legislative committee approves a plan to charge adults a five-dollar admission fee. 

caduceus medical symbol
Pixabay

The Illinois legislature has passed legislation amending the state law that decides when doctors can object to caring for a patient based on moral principle.

Legislative Checklist

Jun 3, 2016
Chamber
Flickr user: Matt Turner

Lawmakers and the governor weren't able to reach a budget agreement before the end of the spring legislative session. But several other proposals were approved by the General Assembly. 

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

Thwarted in a last-minute attempt to thrust a temporary spending plan on Democrats, Gov. Bruce Rauner is liberal in his use of the word "failure." Democrats, meanwhile, train their fire on each other.

Lisa Ryan/WUIS

Exelon is taking initial steps to close down two of its nuclear plants.

Jeff Bossert

Republican Governor Bruce Rauner is calling on more Democrats to break ranks with party leaders in order to pass a budget plan for the state.  Rauner says he was ‘stunned’ that Democrats were unable to agree on a budget plan on the last day of the spring session. Some Democrats did break ranks, leading to the defeat of a House budget plan in the Senate, and a Senate school funding bill in the House.

Amanda Vinicky

Illinois' budget crisis will continue, unabated. The regular, spring session came to an end Tuesday night, without any resolution to the stalemate that has the state entering its twelfth month without a complete spending plan. There's no plan for next year, either.

WUIS

  Illinois lawmakers finished their spring session without a budget and with little hope that the Democrats' 11-month standoff with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner over a spending plan will end any time soon.

Jim Edgar
Hannah Meisel/WUIS

Former Gov. Jim Edgar expressed a dim view of stopgap funding measures during an appearance Tuesday on the public radio program The 21st. He also shared his views on whether current Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democratic supermajorities in the legislature will ever come to terms on the anti-union aspects of the governor’s "Turnaround Agenda."

Amanda Vinicky

Illinois Democrats say they will not pass Gov. Bruce Rauner's last-minute pitch for a stopgap state budget -- at least not today, the final day of the legislature's regular spring session.

Just days ago, Rauner's office nixed the idea of a temporary budget -- something Senate President John Cullerton had floated -- saying it would kick the can down the road.

Now, he's had a "turnaround." He's pushing a plan to fund schools, finally pay what's owed to cash-starved social service agencies, and generally keep things running through the calendar year.

Amanda Vinicky / John Cullerton

Illinois could be heading into a second year without a budget. Lawmakers are beginning their final day of the regularly-scheduled spring session without a deal.

Mike Zalewski
MikeZalewski.com

A measure that would legalize fantasy sports in Illinois is dead for the remainder of the spring legislative session.

The plan passed the Senate, but stalled in the House after a legislator accused a fantasy sports lobbyist of offering charitable donations in exchange for votes.

State Rep. Michael Zalewski, D-Riverside, is the measure's sponsor. He said because of the controversy, he's not going to call the plan for a vote this month. It's too much of a distraction with lawmakers struggling to reach a budget deal, but he says he will probably try again this summer.

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The Illinois Senate passed legislation Monday that would let the state museum reopen. The measure allows the state to charge an admissions fee for the museum in Springfield and branch sites. The governor closed the museum last fall to save money.

Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel
WUIS/Illinois Issues

As Gov. Bruce Rauner continues to battle Democrats in Springfield, he's also battling them in Chicago. Rauner on Sunday upped the rhetoric against the city's mayor.

There was a time that Rauner and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel vacationed together.

But Rauner's most recent comments about Emanuel were anything but friendly.

NPRIllinois

A measure that would legalize fantasy sports in Illinois is dead for the remainder of the spring legislative session. 

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

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