Brian Mackey

Reporter - Statehouse

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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Rauner at gym with students
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is expecting a new addition to his family: he and First Lady Diana Rauner are becoming first-time grandparents.

Rauner, 61, has six children, all grown, so this was bound to happen at some point.

Still, the governor seemed caught off guard when reporters asked about it this week.

“Uhhh, well,” Rauner said before laughing. “Um, OK. I wasn’t going to about that, but I’m happy — you know what, we’re so excited, I’m sort of busting at the buttons.”

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Thousands of Illinoisans joined people across America and around the world in marches showing support for stricter gun laws. A former campaign worker sued House Speaker Michael Madigan over his handling of a harassment complaint against one of his top aides.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx toook moved against Facebook after the privacy lapses ¸brought into public consciousness by the Cambridge Analytica scandal. And can Gov. Bruce Rauner repair his relationship with conservative voters?

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Governor Bruce Rauner’s office has been criticized by a state audit.

Bruce Rauner
Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The final piece of Illinois’ education funding overhaul has been signed into law.

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Friday approved legislation intended to tie up loose ends in original law, which passed last summer.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner won renomination by just three percentage points — a remarkable margin considering he raised more campaign cash than his opponent, Rep. Jeanne Ives, by a factor of 26 to one. Ives says she won't be endorsing the Republican governor for reelection.

Meanwhile, J.B. Pritzker bested each of his two main opponents for the Democratic nomination by 20 percentage points. But state Sen. Daniel Biss and Chris Kennedy both say they'll support Pritzker in his race against Rauner.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois primary voters have spoken. This year’s race for governor will be a battle between two of the wealthiest men in the state.

But this outcome almost didn’t come to pass.

Democrat J.B. Pritzker won easily, but incumbent Republican Governor Bruce Rauner barely escaped a humiliating defeat.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A week before the primary election, Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed the first gun-control legislation sent to him after the mass murder at a school in Parkland, Florida. It would have required gun dealers to obtain state licenses.

Senate Democrats say they'll try to override the governor — eventually. They bought themselves more time by refusing to immediately recognize his veto, breaking with past practice and the Illinois Constitution.

Logan Correctional Center satellite view
Google Maps

A mother is suing Illinois and Sangamon County officials for failing to prevent her daughter's suicide.

School desks
Flickr user: dcJohn www.flickr.com/photos/dcjohn/

Next Wednesday, March 14, is one month since the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, and students across the country are planning another walkout.

On Monday, the ACLU of Illinois encouraged schools to take the opportunity for a "lesson in civics."

Mikaela Lefrak - WAMU

With more student protests expected after the shooting in Parkland, Florida, the ACLU of Illinois is encouraging schools to respect free speech rights.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A series of gun control measures advanced in the Illinois Statehouse this week — requiring state licenses for gun dealers, banning "bump stocks," and raising the purchase age for so-called assault weapons, among other bills.

In Washington, an Illinois case was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. Janus v. AFSCME challenges "fair share" fees for workers who are in collective bargaining units but don't want to join a union, and could have dire financial implications for public employee labor unions across the country.

Democratic candidates for Attorney General. From left to right: Sharon Fairley, state Rep. Scott Drury, state Sen. Kwame Raoul, Aaron Goldstein, Renato Mariotti, former Gov. Pat Quinn, Nancy Rotering and Jessie Ruiz.
Courtesy of Candidates' Campaigns

How would contenders for the state's top legal office have handled the budget stalemate?

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Five of the six Democrats running for governor met in Springfield for a debate. House Speaker Michael Madigan was once again a hot topic, as the speaker had earlier in the week cut ties with a second aide over allegations of harassment.

Meanwhile, Republicans were distancing themselves from their own problem candidate — one who'd used racial and anti-gay language in a conversation with Republican attorney general candidate Erika Harold.

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

An Illinois labor union is suing Gov. Bruce Rauner over an Illinois law. The case — filed Thursday afternoon in federal court — expects bad news for labor in the (potential) landmark Janus v. AFSCME case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Democratic candidates for governor
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Five of the Democrats running for Illinois governor met at a debate Wednesday night in Springfield. Among the prime topics was House Speaker Michael Madigan’s handing of harassment in his political organization.

Flickr.com/morgnar (CC-BY-NC)

A divided Illinois Supreme Court says it was OK for the government to seize a woman’s Harley-Davidson — even though it was her husband who used it to drive drunk.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, Governor Bruce Rauner delivered his annual Budget Address before the General Assembly and House Speaker Michael Madigan fired a long-time campaign worker due to sexual harassment allegations.

Gatehouse Media's Doug Finke joins the panel.

Bruce Rauner
Rich Saal / The State Journal-Register (pool)

When out campaigning, Governor Bruce Rauner has been making big claims about lowering taxes. But there was little follow-through in Wednesday's budget proposal.

Bruce Rauner
Rich Saal / The State Journal-Register (pool)

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has been campaigning relentlessly against last year’s income tax increase.

But in his annual budget address Wednesday, he'll call for spending the extra money that rate hike has generated.

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner is scheduled to unveil his fourth budget proposal Wednesday in a speech to the General Assembly.

Illinois lawmakers have only enacted a budget for one of the three years he’s been in office.

That led to service cuts and some layoffs, but the state didn’t collapse. For most people, life went on as normal.

So we asked Statehouse reporter Brian Mackey: Does it really matter if Illinois has a budget?

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Billionaire hotel heir and Democratic candidate for governor J.B. Pritzker apologizes after another Chicago Tribune story about his 2008 phone conversations with then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Meanwhile, Republican candidate for governor Jeanne Ives, a state representative from Wheaton, is not apologizing for an ad that's been condemned by people across the political spectrum.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Democratic candidates for governor appeared in the first of several televised debates, an unsealed lawsuit reveals Gov. Bruce Rauner has been more involved in his personal finances than he let on, and an audit finds the administration could not properly account for more than $7.11 billion in Medicaid payments to private insurance companies. 

Todd Maisch
Illinois Chamber of Commerce

After one year of Donald Trump’s presidency, the business community is largely pleased with the results: reductions in tax rates and a rollback of Obama-era environmental regulations. But there are concerns about the president's positions on immigration, and the general chaos of the White House.

For more on the business perspective of Trump's first year in office, I spoke with with Todd Maisch, president of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. I began by asking him what, from a business perspective, were the best things to come out of Washington this year.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, Gov. Bruce Rauner dodged a Nerf-ball question about whether former Congressman and Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke was a racist. Meanwhile, Rauner, a Republican, is running an infomercial about Democratic primary candidate J.B. Pritzker. And we hear the latest on the school funding overhaul that just won't end.

Bob Daiber, state Sen. Daniel Biss, J.B. Pritzker, Tio Hardiman, and Chris Kennedy
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Five of the six Democrats running for governor were in Peoria over the Martin Luther King Day weekend. They were making largely similar cases to voters at a forum on criminal and economic justice.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner wrapped up his stay at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy, where 13 people have died from Legionnaires' Disease since 2015. It came a day after a legislative hearing at which members of the Rauner administration defended their response to outbreaks.

Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

The Illinois Supreme Court has heard arguments over a state law that bans child sex offenders from public parks.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner is staying at the Illinois Veteran Home in Quincy, in response to accusations that his administration has not responded well to repeated outbreaks of Legionnaires' Disease at the facility.

Meanwhile on the gubernatorial campaign trail, Chris Kennedy says Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel should be held accountable for driving African American people out of the city while Bob Daiber is getting detailed about a graduated income tax.

Bob Daiber
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Most of the Democrats running for governor of Illinois have long since come out in favor of a graduated income tax, where wealthier people pay a higher rate on income above a certain amount. But it wasn’t until Thursday that one candidate said what that amount ought to be.

John Cullerton and Christine Radogno
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

As we get ready to welcome 2018, we thought we’d take a few minutes to listen back to another wild year in Illinois government and politics.

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