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It's a rare occurrence of late: A credit rating agency saying something positive about Illinois' finances. But the comment published Tuesday by Moody's Investor Service was tempered.

Illinois could end up having to put an additional half billion dollars into one of its pension funds next year.

As the name suggests, the Teachers Retirement System is the retirement benefits fund for all Illinois public school teachers outside of Chicago.

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Eric Skiff

The Illinois Teachers Retirement System voted last week to reduce the amount of money it assumes it will make from its investments. The board revised this rate of assumption down to 7 percent from 7.5 percent.

This change means that as lawmakers and the governor are putting together a budget for next fiscal year, they will have to come up with a projected $420 million more than what they might have expected to pay into the retirement system for teachers outside of Chicago. Illinois' total unfunded liability for all its pension funds is pegged at $111 billion. 

Anxious legislators will once again see a deposit from the state of Illinois in their bank accounts. They’re getting paid Tuesday for the first time since July, when their April paychecks came through.

The candidates vying to be Illinois comptroller are at odds over whether the office should even continue to exist.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The Illinois Supreme Court has rejected an attempt to change the way Illinois' legislative districts are drawn.

Amanda Vinicky / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

An overhaul of the retirement benefits Illinois gives state employees, public school teachers and university workers has been the subject of talks between state leaders in recent months. Gov. Bruce Rauner said so Wednesday, but he sounded uncertain as to what will come of it.

Amanda Vinicky

  Jesse White’s days as the Illinois Secretary of State may be coming to a close.

Amanda Vinicky and Brian Mackey
Network Knowledge

Host Amanda Vinicky, Brian Mackey, and Dave Dahl (WTAX) discuss what went on when the legislature returned for the Illinois State Fair.

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

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Michael Sale / Flickr.com/michaelsale (cc-by-nc)

Republicans and Democrats gathered in Springfield this week for party meetings and rallies at the Illinois State Fair. Republicans mostly avoided mentioning presidential nominee Donald Trump, preferring to focus on Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan. Democrats, meanwhile, were happy to embrace Madigan, and tried to tie Republicans into an embrace of Trump, too. Both parties are hoping the other side's top politicians will become an albatross around the necks of down-ballot candidates.

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

Can Democrats convince voters to see Donald Trump as an albatross around the neck of Illinois Republicans?

Amanda Vinicky

Illinois’ and Chicago’ precarious financial situations have some residents relieved the city was not successful in its attempt to host the latest Olympics games.

But not Chicago City Treasurer Kurt Summers.

Seven years ago, he was Chief of Staff for Chicago’s bid. Summers says he grew up, and still lives, on the South Side. He says the Olympics would have been phenomenal and transformative for parts of the city.

Bruce Rauner at Inauguration 2015
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

In just a few years, one man has transformed the Illinois Republican Party from a perennial also-ran into a serious contender. Bruce Rauner been an agenda-setter, a shot-caller, and a rainmaker. And his party’s true believers couldn’t be happier.

Amanda Vinicky

Support for GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump remains tepid among leaders of the Illinois Republican Party.

Amanda Vinicky

A new foundation has been created to raise money for Illinois State Fair infrastructure.  Questions have already been raised about how the private entity will intermingle with government.

State Sen. Matt Murphy
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Even before the November election, the makeup of Illinois legislature is changing.

Rep. Frank Mautino reviews a COGFA report.
WUIS/Illinois Issues

The head of the Democratic Party of Illinois is sticking up for the beleaguered Auditor General.

As supporters of automatic voter registration are set to hold a press conference Monday morning, Gov. Bruce Rauner is defending his veto of a plan that would have made it a reality in Illinois.

Jamey Dunn, Kent Redfield, and Charlie Wheeler
Network Knowledge

Host Jamey Dunn and guests Kent Redfield (UIS) and Charlie Wheeler (UIS) discuss former Gov. Rod Blagojevich losing his bid to have his prison sentence reduced.

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

State Sen. Matt Murphy
WUIS/Illinois Issues

A rising star in the Illinois G-O-P is stepping down to become a lobbyist.

Since he was elected in 2006, Senator Matt Murphy of Palatine has been an articulate, vocal critic of how Democrats run Springfield; he’s one of the Republicans’ top negotiators on the budget and pensions.

Come next month, it’ll be his job to cozy up to his former peers as a contract lobbyist with Mac Strategies Group, a public relations firm based in Chicago. 

While certain state employees can’t leave their government jobs to lobby right away, Illinois has no such restriction for lawmakers.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

This week, convicted former governor Rod Blagojevich's resentencing resulted in the same 14-year prison term.  Also, Michael Madigan's failed primary challenger is suing him for defamation of character.  Illinois Issues' Jamey Dunn, WBEZ's Tony Arnold, and Jason Meisner of the Chicago Tribune join the panel.

Barack Obama
Pool photo by Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune

A would-be state holiday passed last week without notice in Illinois. But supporters are hoping it will be recognized in the future.

Beyonce, George Lucas, and Magic Johnson were among the stars on the guest list for President Barack Obama's White House 55th birthday party (Obama's former chief of staff, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, scored an invite too).

But back in his adopted home state, the day came and went with little recognition, to the disappointment of State representative André Thapedi, a Chicago Democrat. He's proposed making August 4 a state holiday.

ILGA.gov

A veto from Gov. Bruce Rauner means undocumented students attending the University of Illinois are not eligible for certain leadership roles.

Big decisions at the U of I are made by the school's Board of Trustees, most of whom are appointed by the governor.

But students at each of the three campuses -- in Chicago, Springfield, and Urbana -- elect one of their peers to serve as a student trustee (one of these student trustees, chosen on a rotating basis, gets voting rights, equal to the weight of the vote of a regular, appointed member).

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

Could a campaign emphasis on "law and order" derail the emerging bipartisan consensus on crime and punishment?

BrettLevinPhotography / Flickr

Illinois is already well into its medical marijuana pilot program, and the list of conditions it can prescribed for is being debated, as some wish to add ailments like IBS and migraines. Meanwhile, the governor recently signed a measure that decriminalizes the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana or less.

They were the people who were hired to advise the governor and help him push his agenda.  Some were young with promising futures.  But it all came crashing down as the Blagojevich Administration imploded.

A Downers Grove doctor and a pregnancy center in Rockford are suing to overturn Illinois' newly updated right-of-conscience law.

Right of conscience laws come into play at the crossroads of medical providers' obligations and their personal beliefs.

The governor just signed a law updating Illinois' statute.

No doctor is required to perform an abortion, but a doctor -- even one with moral or faith-based opposition to the practice -- is required to refer a patient to a doctor who will.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Donald Trump continues causing headaches for down-ballot Republicans. Meanwhile, state legislators are already airing TV ads, and a conservative group sues to block same-day voter registration.

Statehouse exit sign
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

A number of Illinois politicians continue to push the issue of of term limits.

ilga.gov

Illinois' partial budget is too little and too late to make up for projected investment losses.

nprillinois

While leading Democrats were in Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention last week … Republican Governor Bruce Rauner was holding press conferences exalting term limits.

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