Statehouse

Jason Parrott / Tri States Public Radio

 The Illinois House lawmakers are considering a requirement that veterans’ home officials promptly inform families about Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks. The proposal is the latest in a string of measures responding to the state’s handling of an outbreak at the Illinois Veterans’ Home in Quincy.

Kids who use medical marijuana for a qualifying condition might be allowed to use the drug on school grounds under a Illinois proposal. The legislation would allow parents to give cannabis medication to those kids if and when they need it.  

Flickr/Meeshpants

If you’re under 21 and have been convicted of a crime, you might wind up serving time in the juvenile justice system instead of an adult jail. Illinois state lawmakers are considering a measure that would raise the system's age limit from 18 to no more than 20.

School desks
Flickr user: dcJohn www.flickr.com/photos/dcjohn/

Next Wednesday, March 14, is one month since the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, and students across the country are planning another walkout.

On Monday, the ACLU of Illinois encouraged schools to take the opportunity for a "lesson in civics."

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A series of gun control measures advanced in the Illinois Statehouse this week — requiring state licenses for gun dealers, banning "bump stocks," and raising the purchase age for so-called assault weapons, among other bills.

In Washington, an Illinois case was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. Janus v. AFSCME challenges "fair share" fees for workers who are in collective bargaining units but don't want to join a union, and could have dire financial implications for public employee labor unions across the country.

via Google Street

Illinois hospitals are one step closer to saving a program that generates a lot of money used to treat low-income patients. State lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a plan on Wednesday that revamps the so-called hospital assessment program.  

Under the program,  Illinois hospitals front money to take care of people with government health insurance. Federal matching payments then add $3.5 billion more. 

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Illinois lawmakers voted this week on a string of gun control measures amid renewed national concern about public safety. But Governor Bruce Rauner isn’t saying where he stands on most of the proposals.   

Rauner hasn’t taken questions from Statehouse reporters since last months’ school shooting in Parkland, Florida. 

Rachel Otwell, Daisy Contreras, Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

 

Big changes to Illinois' gun laws don't happen often. But a growing movement across the country appears to be resonating in the state's General Assembly.

Democratic candidates for Attorney General. From left to right: Sharon Fairley, state Rep. Scott Drury, state Sen. Kwame Raoul, Aaron Goldstein, Renato Mariotti, former Gov. Pat Quinn, Nancy Rotering and Jessie Ruiz.
Courtesy of Candidates' Campaigns

How would contenders for the state's top legal office have handled the budget stalemate?

Rachel Otwell

Hundreds of people descended on the statehouse Wednesday to urge legislators pass stricter gun regulations. Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense has chapters across the country; it was founded in 2012 as a response to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan tried to set the record straight on how his office handles sexual harassment claims. The Speaker issued a one-page press release on Tuesday with brief summaries of complaints involving staffers working in his state office. 

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Several gun-related proposals passed an Illinois House hearing Tuesday. 

Illinois House floor
Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Following the Florida high school shooting that left 17 dead, Democrats in the Illinois House plan to take up a package of gun safety measures this week.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A new panel will look at how to curb sexual harassment and abuse of campaign workers. It follows scrutiny of the Democratic Party of Illinois.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Five of the six Democrats running for governor met in Springfield for a debate. House Speaker Michael Madigan was once again a hot topic, as the speaker had earlier in the week cut ties with a second aide over allegations of harassment.

Meanwhile, Republicans were distancing themselves from their own problem candidate — one who'd used racial and anti-gay language in a conversation with Republican attorney general candidate Erika Harold.

Tom Woodward / Flickr- CC BY-SA 2.0

Several Illinois lawmakers want added regulations on car title loans. They say some lenders charge interest rates in the triple digits, putting borrowers at risk of losing their cars. 

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

An Illinois labor union is suing Gov. Bruce Rauner over an Illinois law. The case — filed Thursday afternoon in federal court — expects bad news for labor in the (potential) landmark Janus v. AFSCME case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

via Creative Commons / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Early voting in this year’s primary election came a little late in some parts of Illinois. But officials say the polls are now officially open statewide.

Democratic candidates for governor
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Five of the Democrats running for Illinois governor met at a debate Wednesday night in Springfield. Among the prime topics was House Speaker Michael Madigan’s handing of harassment in his political organization.

WUIS/Illinois Issues

Another state lawmaker is targeting weapons like the AR-15,  a  popular semiautomatic rifle used in the recent Florida school shooting.  Sen. Ira Silverstein, D-Chicago, filed a bill that would ban "assault weapons." 

AR-15
Ray Moore / Flickr.com/rarstudios (cc-by-nc)

An Illinois proposal has been drafted in response to the deadly shooting at a Florida high school last week. The newly filed measure would ban so-called "ghost guns." 

Flickr.com/morgnar (CC-BY-NC)

A divided Illinois Supreme Court says it was OK for the government to seize a woman’s Harley-Davidson — even though it was her husband who used it to drive drunk.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, Governor Bruce Rauner delivered his annual Budget Address before the General Assembly and House Speaker Michael Madigan fired a long-time campaign worker due to sexual harassment allegations.

Gatehouse Media's Doug Finke joins the panel.

Rich Saal / The State Journal-Register (pool)

Commentary: The governor's plan would rely on some iffy savings from shifting pensions costs to schools and universities and getting state workers to pay more for their health care.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy said this week House Speaker Michael Madigan should at least temporarily step down as head of the Democratic Party, while state Sen. Daniel Biss said he hopes Madigan’s firing of the aide accused of harassment isn’t just political damage control. Frontrunner J.B. Pritzker has been more tentative in his response. 

Bruce Rauner
Rich Saal / The State Journal-Register (pool)

When out campaigning, Governor Bruce Rauner has been making big claims about lowering taxes. But there was little follow-through in Wednesday's budget proposal.

Bruce Rauner
Rich Saal / The State Journal-Register (pool)

2018 Budget Address

Bruce Rauner
Rich Saal / The State Journal-Register (pool)

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has been campaigning relentlessly against last year’s income tax increase.

But in his annual budget address Wednesday, he'll call for spending the extra money that rate hike has generated.

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner is scheduled to unveil his fourth budget proposal Wednesday in a speech to the General Assembly.

Illinois lawmakers have only enacted a budget for one of the three years he’s been in office.

That led to service cuts and some layoffs, but the state didn’t collapse. For most people, life went on as normal.

So we asked Statehouse reporter Brian Mackey: Does it really matter if Illinois has a budget?

FRANKIELEON / FLICKR- 2.0 GENERIC (CC BY 2.0)

Opioid deaths nearly doubled in Sangamon County last year, with heroin as the leading cause in 20 of the 42 opioid-related deaths, according to data retrieved from the county coroner’s office.

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