News

flickr/normanack

Safe to say many of you may not know what a seed library is, let alone know about some controversies that have popped up involving them in other states.  

National Park Service

Jerry Brandsford knows a thing or two about Mammoth Cave National Park. You could even say his affinity for the massive cavern in central Kentucky runs deep.

Brandsford is the fifth generation of his family to introduce visitors to Mammoth, 360 miles from Springfield. If you are lucky to land him as your National Park Service tour guide, you will learn about Mat Brandsford, his great-great grandfather, a slave who worked as a cave guide in the 1800s.

The State Legislative Leaders Foundation

Illinois legislators haven’t been paid in months, but that’s about to change.

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

Democrats and Republicans came together to approve a partial state budget. It's enough to sustain some government operations through the end of the year, but it's still a long way away from functional government.

EPA Director Exits Rauner Administration

Jul 1, 2016
Illinois Environmental Protection Agency

  Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Director Lisa Bonnett retired Friday, according to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office.

Bonnett, who could not be reached for comment, was appointed director in 2013 and had worked 20 years at the agency, including as deputy director and chief financial officer. In a June 10 letter announcing her intention to depart Bonnett wrote that under Rauner's leadership that "they worked together to ensure that a healthy environment goes hand in hand with a healthy economy.”

It's not often the worlds of state government and hair-care converge - but one Illinois reporter has changed that.

John Cullerton, Bruce Rauner and Michael Madigan
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois' unprecedented budget impasse has ended … for now, and just in the nick of time. The governor signed, and legislators passed, a partial budget Thursday, on the final day of fiscal year 2016. But it's only a temporary salve.

Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois/Illinois Issues

Gov. Bruce Rauner has always said schools are his top priority. Last year, he vetoed the budget except for schools. In the stopgap plan negotiated by leaders this week, most services get only six months of funding, but pre-kindergarten through high school grades get a full year. That includes an increase of more than $330 million.

c/o Marvin Lindsey

In an open letter dated June 23rd, Marvin Lindsey writes to Governor Bruce Rauner that the budget impasse has, "...crippled Illinois' behavioral healthcare system." Lindsey is CEO of a non-profit called Community Behavioral Healthcare Association of Illinois.

c/o Fill in the Blank

This week on The Scene Rachel and Scott are joined by two members of the band Fill in the Blank - they have a show coming up at the Black Sheep on Saturday and will release a new album there. 

Democratic leaders in the legislature and Gov. Bruce Rauner appear to be close to a deal to approve some funding for social service providers, higher education, capital construction and state operations. The proposal would also fund K-12 schools for all of next fiscal year.

But the plan can’t erase the destruction caused by the state going for a year without a budget.​​

Printed budgets
WNIJ

Illinois lawmakers are on the verge of passing a state budget, though only a partial one. Thursday is the final day of the 2016 fiscal year.

The plan is for lawmakers to vote on an agreement the governor and the General Assembly's leaders apparently worked out in hours of private meetings yesterday. 

This is from the June 28, 2016 Daily Show:

Look for the NPR Illinois appearance at :02:36.

Amanda Vinicky

There's intense pressure on Illinois lawmakers to pass a budget before Friday, when a new fiscal year begins. Gov. Bruce Rauner spent hours meeting with legislative leaders Wednesday morning, and negotiations are expected to continue on and off throughout the day. 

Claudia Quigg headshot
mattpenning.com 2010 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Each year as the fireworks explode on the Fourth of July, I chuckle to recognize the explosive nature of our quest for independence.  Just as those fireworks remind us of our infant nation’s birth of freedom from Mother England, children’s paths to independence are also marked with noisy blasts.

Throughout their lives, children work to wean themselves away from dependence on us.  The process is often messy and uncomfortable for them and for us, but the impetus that drives them begs obedience.

Across the state, thousands of newspaper subscribers were met with a single word as the headline on the front page Wednesday: "Enough." 

Here at NPR Illinois, we've been concerned we might have to drop some programs due to the ongoing budget impasse.  

The State Legislative Leaders Foundation

Illinois lawmakers left Springfield a month ago fractured, indignant and without a budget. They'll return Wednesday for another try at a compromise. With just days left before the new fiscal year starts July 1, there are signs there's reason to be optimistic. 

Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois/Illinois Issues

About a dozen college and university officials gathered at the capitol today to remind lawmakers of the desperate situation schools find themselves in. Most have gone for a year with less than a third of expected state funds. The coalition included presidents of institutions as enormous as the University of Illinois System and as small as the private liberal arts school Illinois College in Jacksonville, whose president warned that state funds need to come quickly.

flickr/ Bill Brooks

 The United Way of Illinois surveyed social services providers in the state and found that during the budget impasse, about  1 million of their clients have lost services due to lack of funding. 

We all learned it as kids: Old MacDonald has a farm and on that farm he has a cow that says “moo.” But why? Why do cows moo?

Whenever I’m out reporting in the field I can tell many ranchers have a powerful connection with their cattle – they can almost understand them. But researchers today are trying to figure out exactly what cows are saying.

I drove out to the beef research farm at the University of Missouri Columbia to meet cattle geneticist Jared Decker and ask him: What’s in a moo?

nprIllinois

Illinois lawmakers are expected to vote on a short-term budget on Wednesday, when they'll be back in Springfield for the first time in a month. There's no budget plan in place for the new fiscal year that starts Friday, which could create even more disarray after a year-long stalemate.

Amanda Vinicky / Larry Morrissey, Rockford, mayor

Though political fighting at the statehouse and the lack of a complete budget meant it was haphazard, municipalities got much of their state funding this year. But Illinois is set to begin a new fiscal year Friday with no spending plan in place. That has local officials worried.

Mahomet Village President Sean Widener says it's a matter of stability.

"We need a state budget, we need road construction projects to continue, we need local governance to continue without further delay. And most importantly we need to restore the confidence for all the citizens in the state."

Dennis Hastert
U.S. House of Representatives

Some Illinois politicians are making a push to eliminate time limits on when people can be prosecuted for certain sex crimes. The move was prompted by the case of former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

This past year has been rough, thanks to not having a state budget. But at least Illinois has funded schools.  For the upcoming fiscal year, that's not guaranteed.

 

You might think all we have to do is turn the money faucet back on. But it’s not that easy.

A friend told me the other night that over the past year he's discovered NPR while driving for Lyft. He said he didn't find it exciting at first but there was nothing better to listen to and now he loves it. Then he began revelling in all the NPR staff names he's learned. This is a similar process I experienced over a decade ago. We're sold quick excitement in media so often over context and community. Great radio is like making a new friend. It takes time to for this new acquaintance to evolve into a good companion. Public radio has the depth to make you want to spend more time with it. I'm glad I did. For my friend, here's a fun post from 2009 to discover your own NPR name. Comment here to share yours. P.S. Commenting for NPR Illinois Mission Control, I'm Srandy Kinsale.

nprillinois

July 1 will mark a shameful anniversary for Illinois -- it will mean the state has completed a full year without a complete budget. How long can this go on?

  Bruce Rauner has been at the state's helm since last January, which means he'll be governor for at least another two and a half years. Democratic State Representative Lou Lang has remarked that it's possible that Illinois could go without a budget the entire length of Rauner's term.

Gov. Bruce Rauner
NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

  Gov. Bruce Rauner says his Republican negotiators and Democrats are getting closer to an agreement on a partial state budget. Meanwhile, bipartisan gun control legislation has surfaced in the wake of the massacre of 49 people in Orlando, Fla.

Dick Van Dyke Returns Home To Danville

Jun 24, 2016
Michael Madigan
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Legislators who've been privately working for the past month to craft a temporary budget have one drafted, but that doesn't make it a done deal.

Pages