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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Donald Trump's talk of "rigged" elections prompts Illinois and Chicago officials to say widespread voter fraud is a thing of the past. Meanwhile, a Chicago Democratic operative feels the burn of a conservative undercover activist. And could there be unintended consequences for state parks if Illinois voters approve the so-called transportation lockbox?

Capitol in fog
Amanda Vinicky / NPR Illinois

A pair of state legislators say this election season has exposed an ethics loophole that Illinois needs to close, but there are suspicions the introduction of the measure in the midst of a heated campaign season is itself a political gesture.

It's illegal for a director of a state agency, or any public employee for that matter, to use government resources for political purposes, but Illinois has no restrictions prohibiting agency directors from being identified by their title in campaign ads.

Capitol in fog
Amanda Vinicky / NPR Illinois

A pair of state legislators say this election season has exposed an ethics loophole that Illinois needs to close, but there are suspicions the introduction of the measure in the midst of a heated campaign season is itself a political gesture.

It's illegal for a director of a state agency, or any public employee for that matter, to use government resources for political purposes, but Illinois has no restrictions prohibiting agency directors from being identified by their title in campaign ads.

Starved Rock State Park
courtesy Brian Mackey / all rights reserved

A key source of funding for the Department of Natural Resources could be blocked. Or maybe not.

Public Domain

Even though it has lasted nearly a year and a half, most Illinois voters say they haven’t personally felt the effects of the state budget impasse. That’s according to a poll from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, which is based at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. 

Several long-serving members of the General Assembly have chosen not to run for reelection this year.

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 years they spent as lawmakers. 

Amanda Vinicky

The Girl on the Train. Suicide Squad. Bridget Jones's Baby.  

These are the movies showing now at a theater near you.

Throughout October, a handful of theaters are taking one night each to screen a smaller-budget film with much narrower appeal, starring Michael Madigan. Amanda Vinicky went to a screening last week at the Legacy Theater in Springfield.

(This post has been updated to reflect that a parody of the film is back online)


Amanda Vinicky

Mental health centers were decimated during Illinois’ extended budget stalemate. Illinois is moving forward with plan to extend and expand behavioral health services to people who couldn't otherwise afford it, in a way that officials say will be cost-neutral to taxpayers. 

Dr. Kari Wolf says Illinois is roughly where Texas used to be.

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

He may be the state's highest-ranking Republican, but Gov. Bruce Rauner Thursday continued to be cagey about where he stands on Donald Trump.

Rauner has been asked about Trump by reporters time and time again. He usually answers something like "I'm not going to talk about politics, per se, or the Presidential election. I've made my statements clear."

But actually not all that clear.

Rauner in May said he would back his party's nominee; at the time Trump hadn't locked up the nomination, but he was close.

South fork of the Apple River in Jo Daviess County
Helping Others Maintain Environmental Standards

Economic growth. Or the environment. Pollsters at Southern Illinois University's Paul Simon Public Policy Institute put them head to head.  Read on to hear which came out on top.

Illinois lawmakers talk a lot about the importance of growing the state's economy.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Republicans continue to struggle with their reactions to Donald Trump's bus video. Congressman Rodney Davis withdrew his endorsement while Gov. Bruce Rauner continues trying to dodge the question.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Tribune editorial board is backing Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth over Republican Sen. Mark Kirk, citing concerns about Krik's ability to do the job following his 2012 stroke. And the advocacy arm of the conservative Illinois Policy Institute has screened its movie attacking House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Public Domain

A proposed amendment to the state’s constitution would protect money set aside for transportation projects. Supporters say the change is needed because money that's supposed to be earmarked for building roads has gone to other expenses over the years. But the amendment could allow some of those practices to continue, while endangering other popular programs. 

Public Domain

Adults with disabilities often face long waiting lists for services or placements in group homes. This leaves parents filling the role of primary caregiver, often with little outside help.

In recent years, there have been multiple incidents of parents in the Chicago suburbs killing their adult children with disabilities and then killing themselves or trying to kill themselves. 

These tragedies prompted the Daily Herald to look at the pressures caregiver parents face. Marie Wilson wrote a series of stories on that topic. Illinois Issues editor Jamey Dunn talked with Wilson about her stories. 

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The Simon Poll says incumbent Sen. Mark Kirk is 14 points behind Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth. Democrats and Republicans are trying to use the other side's unpopular leaders to sink down-ballot candidates. Plus, Illinois is awash in campaign cash.

Jamey Dunn
Network Knowledge

Host Jamey Dunn and guests Brian Mackey (WUIS) and Bruce Rushton (IL Times) discuss a case of voter fraud in Kankakee County.

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

hourglass with dollar signs instead of sand filtering through
flickr/ Bill Brooks

Before he ran for governor, Bruce Rauner described a plan to use funding for social services as a “wedge” issue to persuade Democrats to support anti-union proposals. The fact that lawmakers did nothing to address the rollback of the temporary income tax increase, which was passed in 2011, set the stage for him to try out his strategy.

Rauner-Madigan-Cullerton approval poll
Fall 2016 Simon Poll / Paul Simon Public Policy Institute

We’re just over a month away from the election of 2016. It’s a season of campaign advertising, speeches, debates, and of course polling.

Every election cycle, Illinois voters are asked their opinions on a range of issues by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at SIU Carbondale.

This year, they weighed in on elections for president and U.S. Senate, the popularity state government leaders, and whether Illinois ought to amend its constitution to lock in road-building money.

Amanda Vinicky

A cannabis dispensary is using a new tactic nearly a year into Illinois' slow-rollout of a medical marijuana program. The advertising campaign is designed to encourage doctors and patients to view cannabis as an alternative to opioids.

More than 10,000 Illinois residents are certified to use marijuana for medical purposes; Kyla Travis, a Springfield resident who has multiple sclerosis, is one of them.

"I'm almost 60 years old. I was diagnosed when I was 17. So for these many years, they had me on opiates," she says.

I Voted sticker roll
Wikimedia

A federal judge is sticking by his decision, determining Thursday that a state law that would have made last-minute voting easier for residents of Illinois' biggest counties is unconstitutional.

With online voter registration, a prolonged early voting period, and registration that runs through election day, Illinois has recently made it easier to vote.

But a federal judge says one of the latest efforts violates the Equal Protection Clause.

State workers suing to put an end to mandatory union dues will appeal a federal judge's order dismissing their case.

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

A federal judge has put limits on election-day voter registration in the most populous parts of Illinois. The governor's office has a rosier view of the Illinois deficit then legislative analysts. And Donald Trump once again shines a light on violence and policing in Chicago.

flickr/ 401kcalculator.org

The political spotlight has shifted to the election, but the state budget crisis continues to cost the people of Illinois. 

Trump by Michael Vadon/Flickr / Rauner by Brian Mackey/WUIS

The man who calls himself the leader of Illinois' Republican Party conti ues to refuse to weigh in on this year's election.

Could the Republican nominee's emphasis on "law and order" derail a growing bipartisan consensus on crime and punishment?

wikimedia

A federal judge has blocked an Illinois law that had been aimed at making it easier to vote this fall.

The law required the state’s biggest cities and counties to let citizens register to vote on election day and at their local polling place. It did not impose the same requirement on smaller election authorities.

Amanda Vinicky

Illinois voters this fall will have a chance to amend the state constitution. The governor refuses to say whether he supports the change.

Amanda Vinicky

Illinois has long had a day to honor Gold Star Mothers. For the first time Monday the state recognized the rest of their families.

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library digitized a rare copy of a 1956 presidential primary debate. What does it have to say about American politics today?

House Republicans

Several long-serving members of the General Assembly are not running for reelection this year.

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 years they spent as lawmakers.

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

Gov. Bruce Rauner stuck to his script during his Facebook Live event. He also denies that his legislative agenda is "hurting some class."

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