Statehouse

Illinois Supreme Court
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The Illinois Supreme Court Thursday issued an opinion striking down a law that cut civil juries in half. The law would also have hiked juror pay.

When they passed it during veto session in late 2014, legislators argued that having fewer jurors made the higher pay affordable.

That, they said, was good for justice: People may be more willing to serve if they got paid $25 versus as little as $4.

But critics say really, it was a thinly-veiled parting gift to trial lawyers from Democrats while they still controlled the governor's mansion under Gov Pat Quinn.

Pension Prospects?

Sep 21, 2016

Lawmakers haven't touched state pension benefits in the nearly year-and-a-half since the Illinois Supreme Court ruled their last attempt unconstitutional. But Governor Bruce Rauner says he's "pretty excited": He thinks they will pass a new law this winter.


flickr/sideonecincy

When a man or woman is wrongfully imprisoned, Illinois law says they're entitled to compensation. But like so many others owed money by state government, 14 innocent individuals are still waiting. This is one of their stories.

Amanda Vinicky

 Gov. Bruce Rauner took to social media Tuesday to answer Illinois residents' questions in real time ... some of them, anyway.

The governor says he uses Google Hangout to video chat with his kids, but it was his first time trying Facebook Live.

"How you doing? Welcome to our first ever Facebook Live. This is going to be fun and interesting," he said at the start.

Amanda Vinicky

 Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican, has gotten a lot of traction with his push for term limits. Voters seem to love the idea just as much as legislators hate it, even if the governor's plan doesn't seem all that practical.

Illinois is getting ready to celebrate a milestone. In 2018, the state turns 200.

Gov. Bruce Rauner Tuesday used his executive authority to create an office and a 51-member commission (members haven't yet been appointed) to coordinate the festivities.

"And we want leaders from all over the state coming up with their ideas and recommendations on how we can best celebrate," he said. "It's going to be a lot of fun, it's going to be a really big deal."

the moon
NASA / flickr.com/nasacommons

Prisons often take an expansive view of their power to censor what inmates are reading. It makes sense that they might ban a book on, say, how to escape from jail. But what about medical textbooks? Classic works of literature? Or even a picture of a cat?

13th Congressional District
U.S. Department of the Interior / Wikimedia Commons (public domain)

A central-Illinois physician has lost another round in his fight to become an independent candidate for Congress.

Jamey Dunn and Brian Mackey
Network Knowledge

Host Jamey Dunn, Brian Mackey, and Andy Maloney (Chicago Daily Law Bulletin) talk about the new movie about the Illinois House Speaker 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

Gov. Bruce Rauner has donated $16 million of his fortune to help elect Republican candidates. But he also says he's not really involved in the election. Huh?

Illinois hunters are gearing up to harvest bobcats, for the first time since the '70s.

Interest in participating is outpacing the permit supply. 

Bobcats were once considered a threatened species in Illinois.

Not anymore.

"I used to never see a bobcat, now it's uncommon to go to the woods and not see bobcats. And not one or two, but three or four of five or six of 'em," Sen. John Sullivan, a Democrat from Rushville, explained when legislators debated the measure that ultimately became the state law lifting the bobcat hunting ban.

Illinois Issues: Legislative Checklist

Sep 15, 2016
Chamber
Flickr user: Matt Turner

Gov. Bruce Rauner has taken action on hundreds of bills over the summer. He signed most of them into law, but he also made some high-profile vetoes. 

A conservative-backed organization says it will continue efforts to topple the Illinois law limiting campaign contributions, after a judge ruled the law constitutional.

The law caps how much individuals, corporations, and political action committees can give.

Committees controlled by the legislative leaders are subject to caps too, but only in the primary. There's no limit on what they can give to candidates during the general election.

Liberty Justice Center attorney Jacob Huebert says the law is set up to help the leaders maintain power.

Amanda Vinicky

The November election will determine if the balance of power in Illinois politics tips in a direction that will help Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner carry out his agenda or whether Democrats will maintain enough seats to stand in his way. Even with that at stake, Rauner is professing a hands-off approach.

Before he was governor, Rauner was a private equity investor. He became rich by keeping a sharp eye on his investments.

But Rauner says he is not taking the same approach to politics.

Google Maps

A divided Illinois Supreme Court is sticking by its decision on redistricting.

The Independent Maps group spent millions of dollars pushing a plan it promised would do away with gerrymandering - if voters approved in the upcoming election. Supporters collected some 563,000 signatures from Illinois voters to put the question on the ballot. Independent Maps wants to change the Illinois Constitution so a commission would draw district boundaries, rather than legislators themselves.

Amanda Vinicky

Activists from across Illinois gathered in Springfield to recognize "Moral Monday."

Office of State Sen. Karen McConnaughay

More than ninety cases of human trafficking in Illinois have been reported so far this year. Gov. Bruce Rauner recently signed legislation about efforts to combat it and to assist its victims. One bill created a statewide task force on the issue. 

The task force will work with others in the state, including one in Cook County, says Sen. Sponsor Karen McConnaughay, a Republican from St. Charles. The task force is expected to give its findings and recommendations to the General Assembly by June 30, 2017.

Amanda Vinicky
Network Knowledge

Host Amanda Vinicky and guests Kent Redfield (UIS) and Dave Dahl (WTAX) discuss an impasse over the AFSCME contract and Governor Rauner as well as sinking enrollment in some state universities.

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

Closed Tinley Park Mental Health Center
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration announced Friday afternoon that a portion of a state mental health facility in Elgin will become a ward for prisoners with mental illness.

Illinois' hand was forced to do something along these lines; the government agreed in settling a 2007 lawsuit, Rasho v. Baldwin, that alleged poor treatment of mentally ill prisoners.

In a press release, Department of Corrections Director John Baldwin calls the agreement between it and the Department of Human Services a "fundamental change."

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

This week, discussion of a recent ruling on negotiations between AFSCME and Governor Rauner.  Also, enrollment numbers released for the state's public universities, and reflecting on the death of Phyllis Schlafly.  Illinois Issues' Jamey Dunn and Ivan Moreno of the Associated Press join the panel.

This week, we’re revisiting an Illinois Issues interview with House Speaker Michael Madigan from 1988. In the interview, Madigan talked about his views on taxation and its relationship to Illinois’ business climate, many of the same topics that are in play today.

  A state senator who staved off a primary fight is now also free from a complaint that he misused campaign contributions but perhaps he’s not free for long. 

Members of the same political parties generally stick up for each other, like family. Not so for GOP Senator Sam McCann. He was challenged in the primary by a candidate, state trooper Bryce Benton, well-financed by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

CREDIT (GAGE SKIDMORE)

The outspoken conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly has passed away.  She was 92 and died at her home in St Louis Monday. 

Jamey Dunn
Network Knowledge

Host Jamey Dunn and guests Jordan Abudayyeh (WICS) and Bruce Ruston (IL Times) discuss the latest on the redistricting lawsuit and social service provider lawsuit.

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

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

  Advocates for changing how Illinois’ legislative districts are drawn are not done yet, there’s continuing fallout from the ongoing unnatural disaster known as the Illinois budget, and Chicago violence hits a grim milestone.

book cover
The New Press

Even at this time of economic anxiety, America's system of organized labor is so convoluted, it’s no wonder unions are so unpopular.

John Bradley soft on crime ad
screen capture / Friends of John Bradley

In an era of political gridlock, one of the few topics on which there's been hope of bipartisan cooperation is on the issues of crime and punishment.

Politicians have traditionally been averse to doing anything that could get them painted as being "soft on crime."

It's an easy attack, and one that's been frequently deployed in the past. But this year, criminal justice reform advocates are fighting back.

IGPA

The ongoing budget debacle that’s hobbled Illinois government was front and center Wednesday in Springfield.

Debates over the minimum wage usually come down to economics — whether it helps or hurts workers and businesses. But new research suggests another potential winner: babies.

Economists have long known that people who make more money are generally healthier.

Robert Kaestner is with the University of Illinois’ Institute of Government & Public Affairs. He found that among new mothers with lower education levels, living in an area with a higher minimum wage led to heavier babies — about 11 grams for every dollar — and heavier babies are healthier babies.

The most recent attempt at changing the way legislative districts are drawn might have had a shot — had only the proposal left the auditor general out of the equation. 

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