Statehouse

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Nuclear plant workers in Clinton and Quad Cities — not to mention Exelon and ComEd shareholders — got a helping hand from Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Illinois General Assembly. But there was no such luck for the many social service providers, university students and countless others hoping for Illinois' first full budget in a year-and-a-half.

Jamey Dunn
Network Knowledge

Host Jamey Dunn and guest Dave Dahl (WTAX) discuss the end of the veto session.

CapitolView is a production of WSEC-TV/PBS Springfield, Network Knowledge.

Office of Sen. David Luechtefeld

Several long-serving lawmakers are retiring from the General Assembly when their terms end in January.  

Between now and the time they leave office, Illinois Issues editor Jamey Dunn will catch up with some of them for exit interviews reflecting on the time they spent as legislators.

Amanda Vinicky

The union that's representing 30 thousand state workers is suing Gov. Bruce Rauner. It filed a lawsuit late Wednesday in St. Clair County circuit court.

Wikimedia commons

Illinois lawmakers' two-week, fall veto session has come to an end.

Gov.  Bruce Rauner used his veto pen on 37 bills this second half of the General Assembly's two-year session.

Legislators successfully overrode just one of them -- a relatively minor measure having to do with Chicago fire fighters' pensions. Leaving the rest effectively dead.

That includes automatic voter registration, higher wages for caretakers of the disabled and legislation that will leave a $215 million shortfall in the Chicago Public Schools' budget.

nuclear cooling tower
Adam Winsor / flickr.com/avius (CC-BY-NC)

The Illinois General Assembly is allowing electric utilities to collect more money from customers. It's part of a deal in which Exelon Corporation has agreed not to close nuclear plants in Clinton and the Quad Cities for at least ten years.

Daniel Schwen / Wikimedia Commons

Exelon says it finally has a deal to subsidize its nuclear energy plants in Clinton and the Quad Cities. The corporation says Governor Bruce Rauner’s support was key.

But some Illinois legislators are nervous the governor might change his mind.

You remember those Charlie Brown specials, where Lucy promises she’ll hold the football?

“You just want me to come running up to kick that ball so you can pull it away and see me lie flat on my back and kill myself," Charlie says.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

With just one month until Illinois government loses spending authority, the state's political leaders remain sharply divided on how to unwind the crisis.

They've been clear about their positions: Republicans say no budget deal without first adopting the governor's agenda, which aims to help businesses, weaken labor unions and sideline long-serving politicians.

Democrats, on the other hand, have said state spending cannot be held hostage to such "non-budget issues."

flickr/ TaxCredits.net

New projections show nibbling around the edges of the state’s budget problems will get Illinois nowhere. 

Amanda Vinicky

Will Illinois legislators pass a tax increase before a new General Assembly takes over in mid January? A majority of Illinois state representatives say no.

There's no sign a vote on a tax hike is coming; Illinois' Republican governor, Bruce Rauner, and the Democrats who control the legislature remain divided on the path forward.

But the last time there was an income tax increase, legislators passed it during the so-called "lame duck" session. That's when lawmakers who either lost re-election or who retired are still around.

Phil Ponce and Amanda Vinicky
Chicago Tonight | WTTW-TV

It doesn't look like Illinois' budget stalemate will end anytime soon. 

Chicago Tonight is a production of WTTW-TV PBS Chicago.

Amanda Vinicky

Dozens of state legislators Wednesday publicly called on Governor Bruce Rauner to negotiate with the state's largest public-employee union, but Rauner has already started taking advantage of his ability to implement new contract terms without AFSCME's approval.

A state labor board recently found Rauner was fine to have broken off talks with AFSCME last January, because the two sides were so far apart.

The union plans to fight that decision in court, but otherwise, most state employees are faced with accepting Rauner's terms, or going on strike.

Amanda Vinicky
Chicago Tonight | WTTW-TV

Reporter Amanda Vinicky tells us where things stand in Springfield.

Chicago Tonight is a production of WTTW-TV PBS Chicago.

I voted sticker
Vox Efx / flickr

Illinois residents will have to be proactive about registering to vote. A bill that would have automatically registered voters died Tuesday.  

Automatic voter registration was approved by lawmakers from both parties in the spring, but Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner rejected it. He says it opened the doors to voter fraud.

When sponsors brought it back before the House Tuesday in an attempt to override Rauner's veto, more than a dozen Republicans sided with the governor and dropped their support, meaning Rauner successfully killed the bill.

nuclear cooling tower
Adam Winsor / flickr.com/avius (CC-BY-NC)

Illinois legislators are considering whether to approve an energy deal on behalf of power company Exelon. Without it, the corporation says it will close its nuclear plants in Clinton and the Quad Cities.

A special joint committee of Illinois Senators and Representatives will meet Wednesday to learn about abuse and neglect in the state's network of group homes for the developmentally disabled.

GM Media / Creative Commons

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner continues to demand legislators lower what businesses have to pay for injured workers. House Democrats scheduled a hearing on the subject Monday, and yet Rauner's fellow Republicans wanted nothing to do with it.

Illinois State Capitol
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

After taking a break for Thanksgiving, Governor Bruce Rauner and the four legislative leaders are scheduled to meet Monday afternoon, as the second, and final, week of Illinois' annual veto session begins.

The governor and leaders are meeting as Illinois approaches a deadline: When 2016 is over, so is a temporary spending plan.

Rauner continues to prioritize an agenda he says will grow the economy in the long run; Democrats continue to resist those plans.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Exelon says without a special deal from Illinois lawmakers, the company will close nuclear plants in Clinton and the Quad Cities. And with just one more week of veto session, what are the prospects for a full budget deal before the end of the year — or 2019?

Amanda Vinicky / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois won't financially support a wall on the Mexican border if some Democratic lawmakers can help it.

flickr/meeshpants

Illinois is making a concerted effort to encourage former prisoners to put skills they learned behind bars to use in the real world. 

Fewer than one percent of applicants with criminal records are turned away when they apply to the state for a professional license, but Illinois' Secretary of Financial and Professional Regulation, Bryan Schneider, says anecdotally, the department knows many former convicts don't even try.

Jamey Dunn
Network Knowledge

Host Jamey Dunn and guests Emilee Fannon (WCIA) and Andy Maloney (Chicago Daily Law Bulletin) discuss the latest meeting of Governor Bruce Rauner and Speaker of the House Michael Madigan.

CapitolView is a production of WSEC-TV/PBS Springfield, Network Knowledge.

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

Democratic leaders met for the the first time in months. Judging from their diverging responses, you might wonder if they were actually in the same room. Meanwhile AFSCME members rallied after getting bad news from the state labor board.

AFSCME picket
Amanda Vinicky / NPR Illinois

Now that a state board says there's no point to Gov. Bruce Rauner resuming negotiations with AFSCME, his administration is beginning to impose new terms on members of state government's biggest labor union. AFSCME, however, wants Rauner to return to the bargaining table. State employees across Illinois rallied for their cause Thursday.

Hundreds of workers carrying signs with slogans like "don't dictate, negotiate" marched in front of their Springfield offices.

"Two, four, six, eight! Rauner should negotiate!" they shouted.

Mendoza campaign

Democrats prevailed in statewide races, but couldn't hold on to seats in southern Illinois. Meanwhile, suburban Republicans may hold less sway in the party's legislative caucus.

Trump and Rauner
Trump by Michael Vadon / Flickr, Rauner by Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

He's a Republican. But Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner avoided talking about Donald Trump throughout the presidential campaign, but he opened up some Wednesday.

Rauner still didn't actually say Trump's name; he left it at "President-Elect" and "new administration." But Rauner did volunteer that he and Trump spoke by phone last Friday.

AFSCME Council 31

The Illinois Labor Relations Board has declared contract negotiations between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration and the state's largest public-employees union at an impasse.

The governor and Illinois' top leaders are set to meet Tuesday morning, after Republicans on Monday accused Democrats of a dereliction of duty.

It's been one year, four months and 15 days since the state of Illinois had a regular budget.

If you're wondering why Illinois' top politicians haven't been able to do something as important as passing a budget, here's a clue: They have a hard time even agreeing on when to meet.

Gov. Bruce Rauner's office made a big deal of wanting a meeting Monday with the legislative leaders.

flickr/Domas Mituzas

If you missed it last month, the state marked an anniversary.  4 years since the launch of video gambling.  The machines you see in bars, restaurants, truck stops and other places have permeated the landscape since that time.  Springfield leads the state with the most machines, Decatur is also near the top. 

Overall, Illinois now has more video gambling terminals than Nevada.

Amanda Vinicky

Illinois lawmakers will meet in Springfield this week for the first time since the election, but things are already off to a rough start.

Gov. Bruce Rauner and his allies made a big public push last week about his wanting to meet with the General Assembly's for top leaders ... including Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Mind you, Rauner and his allies spent months making a much bigger public push -- in hundreds of campaign ads -- to paint Madigan as a greedy, corrupt insider.

Sunday evening, Madigan's spokesman issued a short statement.

Pages