Brian Mackey

Statehouse reporter

Brian Mackey covers state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. He was previously A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.

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State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner embarked on a political tour of Illinois — but he says it's not a campaign tour. (In fact, he's already confirmed he will seek re-election next year.)

Reps. Darlene Senger and Elaine Nekritz
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The Illinois criminal justice system has become increasingly reliant on fees. People convicted of crimes have become money makers for state and local government — paying for everything from prosecutors' offices to new police cars.

A report says current court fees inject “unfairness” into the justice system. 

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

As public universities face fiscal emergencies and domestic violence shelters are closing, House Democrats approve what they call "lifeline spending." Republicans object, saying it relieves pressure on legislators to pass a comprehensive state budget.

Meanwhile, billionaire businessman J.B. Pritzker formally declares his candidacy for governor. Will the Democratic primary be a story of David vs. Goliath vs. David vs. Goliath vs. David?

handgun
Wikimedia Commons

The Illinois Senate on Thursday passed stricter gun legislation long sought by the Chicago Police.

Illinois State capitol building in the fog / rain
Amanda Vinicky / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

As Illinois enters its 22nd month without a real budget, the state services most affected by the political fight include those that help victims of domestic violence.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A month after Gov. Bruce Rauner conveyed to Republicans his opposition to the grand bargain, Senate Democrats are rejecting his attempt to break off pieces of the deal. Meanwhile, Democrats are offering a "Comeback Agenda" as an alternative to Rauner's "Turnaround Agenda," and House Speaker Michael Madigan is taking public offense to some of the governor's remarks.

The Illinois General Assembly is considering legislation meant to expand privacy rights on the Internet. Two of the bills cleared procedural hurdles Thursday in the House, but they both have powerful opponents.

If you’ve spent any amount of time online, chances are you’ve been confronted with a long privacy policy. And if you’re like most people, you scroll to the bottom and click “accept” — without reading it.

Sen. Don Harmon and Democrats
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

It’s been two years since Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner unveiled his Republican “Turnaround Agenda.” On Wednesday, a group of rank-and-file Democratic legislators responded with their own “Comeback Agenda.”

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan says Gov. Bruce Rauner is making “false statements” about the speaker’s position on selling a state building in Chicago.

On Tuesday, Rauner repeatedly declined opportunities to refute Madigan’s allegations.

Interstate 55
Marc Buehler / flickr.com/marc_buehler (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Gov. Bruce Rauner was in the Chicago Suburbs Monday pushing to add toll lanes to Interstate 55. He also took the opportunity to attack Illinois Democrats.

State Week: Budget Battles Continue In Courts

Mar 24, 2017
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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

It seems there more budget action in Illinois courts than in the Statehouse. After getting just one paycheck since last summer, state legislators are finally getting paid.

Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday decided not to answer a question about whether non-profit hospitals must pay property taxes. The case began with Carle Hospital in Urbana, but has implications across Illinois.

Grand Bargain GOP
senators via ILGA.gov / Rauner by Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

Ten Republican senators voted for at least one bill in the grand bargain. We asked all of them about Gov. Bruce Rauner's role in stopping them from going further.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Republican senators working with Gov. Bruce Rauner began breaking off pieces of the "grand bargain," which Democrats say undermines efforts to move toward a compromise budget. Meanwhile, what had been a bipartisan selection process for Illinois' U.S. attorneys is changing, with senior Republican Congressman John Shimkus saying he's waiting for the Trump administration to advise him on how to proceed.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner is pushing to break off a couple pieces from the Illinois Senate’s so-called grand bargain. Democrats say that’s a bad omen for the prospects of an overall budget deal.

A pair of Republican state senators want to move ahead with a plan to permanently cut Illinois pension benefits and provide a one-time cash infusion to the Chicago Public Schools. Rauner tweeted his endorsement of the idea.

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has supported a lawsuit to keep state workers getting paid. But he’s refused to extend that support to a similar case brought by human service contractors.

The governor was recently asked to answer this question: Why treat state employees as superior to employees of human service providers?

RAUNER: "Inside government, those folks are working every day, and they should be paid. They should have a continuing appropriation.”

MACKEY: “But human service workers are working every day, too.”

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Chance the Rapper critiques Gov. Bruce Rauner's job performance, the governor alleges a conspiracy among Democrats, and the Appellate Court gives AFSCME a temporary reprieve in its contract fight.

Chicago’s top police officer is acknowledging a connection between violence in the city and Illinois’ failure to pass a budget.

Some Democrats have blamed the rise in shootings on the closure of anti-violence programs, as Illinois has gone more than 20 months without a real state budget.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson says he’s “sure that has some effect."

Chicago’s police superintendent was in Springfield Thursday urging state Senators to toughen penalties for gun possession. But he was met with resistance.

Chicago recorded 762 murders last year. Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told legislators it’s “pivotal” that they target repeat unlawful gun possessors. The proposal would basically double the minimum sentence for the second time someone is caught with an illegal gun – from 3 to 6 years — though judges could give less time if they spell out a reason.

Lisa Madigan at Inauguration 2015
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Attorney General Lisa Madigan is taking her case over state employee pay to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Governor Bruce Rauner is accusing three of Illinois’ top Democrats of “coordinating” to shut down state government. All three deny the charge.

seal of the state of Illinois
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois senators are putting put Governor Bruce Rauner’s agency directors under the magnifying glass.

It’s part of the ongoing fallout from Rauner’s move to block the bipartisan "grand bargain” — meant to end Illinois’ 20-month budget stalemate.

AFSCME picket
Amanda Vinicky / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

A court order revealed late last week makes it much less likely state employees will go on strike anytime soon.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

As Illinois enters its 21st month without a real budget, several questions occupy observers of state government: Is the state Senate's "grand bargain" dead? If so, who killed it? Where do we go from here? And has anyone heard from the Illinois House of Representatives?

John Cullerton
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The Illinois Senate’s so-called grand bargain was put on hold Wednesday. After months of negotiations and a deadline from their own caucus leader, Senate Republicans say they aren't quite ready to vote.

Democrats blame the last-minute withdrawal on interference by Gov. Bruce Rauner. 

WUIS

The Illinois Senate made progress Tuesday on its so-called grand bargain.

Members of the Illinois Senate return to Springfield Tuesday. They’re once again expected to vote on a deal meant to end Illinois’ budget stalemate.

  

The top Republican and Democrat in the Senate have been working on this compromise since December.

It has changes to Illinois law meant to help businesses, higher income taxes meant to begin balancing the state budget, and a property tax freeze.

Christine Radogno
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Members of the Illinois Senate return to Springfield Tuesday. They’re once again expected to vote on a deal meant to end Illinois’ budget stalemate.

The top Republican and Democrat in the Senate have been working on this compromise since December.

It has changes to Illinois law meant to help businesses, higher income taxes meant to begin balancing the state budget, and a property tax freeze.

Senate Republicans have been reluctant to seal the deal — wanting to make sure they were getting enough of their priorities in exchange for their votes on a tax hike.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Members of AFSCME voted overwhelmingly to give the union's bargaining committee the power to strike. The union has been in a contract fight with Gov. Bruce Rauner for more than two years. Rauner has tried to impose his terms, saying they're a fair deal for both workers and taxpayers. Meanwhile, in the week following the governor's budget address, Rauner did little to support or defend his plan.

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