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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A hospital room
Bill McChesney

President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to repeal the federal law known as Obamacare. A group representing Illinois hospitals is warning that doing so without a replacement plan could have dire consequences.

Electoral College
screencapture from pool video

Illinois has officially cast its 20 electoral votes for Hillary Clinton.

The slate of Democratic Party electors met Monday in the state Capitol building in Springfield.

Illinois Supreme Court
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The Illinois Supreme Court has upheld a barrier to suing for "negligent infliction of emotional distress."

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

As Gov. Bruce Rauner continues attacking Democrats, it's looking increasingly likely that Illinois will enter 2017 without a budget. Meanwhile, former Congressman Aaron Schock pleaded not guilty to federal corruption charges.

John Baldwin
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois Department of Corrections on Wednesday announced most of its workers have completed mental-illness training. It's part of the settlement in a long-running legal dispute over how Illinois prisons treat inmates with mental-heath disorders.

State prison director John Baldwin says the training will help make working in prisons a safer job.

"Seventy-eight percent of all assaults on staff across the United States are committed by an offender with an identified behavioral health issue," Baldwin says.

Bruce Rauner
screen capture / Facebook

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner appeared in another Facebook Live video Tuesday. What's behind the Republican's push on social media?

Aaron Schock
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Former Congressman Aaron Schock has pleaded not guilty to federal corruption charges.

It happened Monday afternoon in Springfield’s federal courthouse. That’s just across the street from what had been one of the 35-year-old Republican’s district offices.

Aaron Schock
Aaron Schock / Instagram

Former Congressman Aaron Schock is due to be arraigned in a Springfield courtroom Monday afternoon.

Brian Mackey
Network Knowledge

Brian Mackey joins host Bernie Schoenburg (SJ-R) and guest Jordan Abudayyeh (WICS) to discuss the latest on the Illinois state budget.

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

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

It’s been 1 year, 5 months and 9 days since Illinois government had a full, regular budget. Legislative leaders continue painting their counterparts in the other party as the main obstacle. Meanwhile rank-and-file legislators have gone without pay since June, and now a group of Democrats are suing, saying it’s an attempt to coerce them into going along with Gov. Bruce Rauner’s agenda.

Leslie Munger at Inauguration 2015
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

A group of Democratic Illinois state legislators are suing to get their paychecks more quickly. They've gone without compensation since May 31.

After nearly a year-and-a-half without a full budget, Illinois is taking months and months to pay its bills.

Earlier this year, Comptroller Leslie Munger said she was putting legislator pay at the back of the line with every other state IOU.

Democrats, like Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch, from Hillside, say that's just a way to help push Gov. Bruce Rauner's controversial agenda. And that, he says, is unconstitutional.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Nuclear plant workers in Clinton and Quad Cities — not to mention Exelon and ComEd shareholders — got a helping hand from Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Illinois General Assembly. But there was no such luck for the many social service providers, university students and countless others hoping for Illinois' first full budget in a year-and-a-half.

nuclear cooling tower
Adam Winsor / flickr.com/avius (CC-BY-NC)

The Illinois General Assembly is allowing electric utilities to collect more money from customers. It's part of a deal in which Exelon Corporation has agreed not to close nuclear plants in Clinton and the Quad Cities for at least ten years.

Daniel Schwen / Wikimedia Commons

Exelon says it finally has a deal to subsidize its nuclear energy plants in Clinton and the Quad Cities. The corporation says Governor Bruce Rauner’s support was key.

But some Illinois legislators are nervous the governor might change his mind.

You remember those Charlie Brown specials, where Lucy promises she’ll hold the football?

“You just want me to come running up to kick that ball so you can pull it away and see me lie flat on my back and kill myself," Charlie says.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

With just one month until Illinois government loses spending authority, the state's political leaders remain sharply divided on how to unwind the crisis.

They've been clear about their positions: Republicans say no budget deal without first adopting the governor's agenda, which aims to help businesses, weaken labor unions and sideline long-serving politicians.

Democrats, on the other hand, have said state spending cannot be held hostage to such "non-budget issues."

nuclear cooling tower
Adam Winsor / flickr.com/avius (CC-BY-NC)

Illinois legislators are considering whether to approve an energy deal on behalf of power company Exelon. Without it, the corporation says it will close its nuclear plants in Clinton and the Quad Cities.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Exelon says without a special deal from Illinois lawmakers, the company will close nuclear plants in Clinton and the Quad Cities. And with just one more week of veto session, what are the prospects for a full budget deal before the end of the year — or 2019?

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

Democratic leaders met for the the first time in months. Judging from their diverging responses, you might wonder if they were actually in the same room. Meanwhile AFSCME members rallied after getting bad news from the state labor board.

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

Republicans made gains in the Illinois House and Senate, but Democrats cleaned up in statewide races. Meanwhile, Illinois government is still without a balanced budget — does the election change anything?

Susana Mendoza
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Democrats have won the state office of comptroller away from Republicans.

Susana Mendoza, a Democrat from Chicago, won a special election for a two-year term.

Mendoza defeated incumbent Leslie Munger, who was appointed after Judy Baar Topinka died in office.

The campaign became a proxy battle in the war between Democrats and Republican Governor Bruce Rauner, who personally spent millions on the race.

Kirk and Duckworth arriving at the Illinois State Fair
Amanda Vinicky (Kirk); Brian Mackey (Duckworth) / NPR Illinois

Illinois voters are sending a Democrat to the U.S. Senate. Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth defeated incumbent Republican Sen. Mark Kirk.

Kirk recovered from a debilitating stroke in 2012, but was always going to have a hard time holding onto the seat. He won the seat in the Tea Party wave election of 2010, and Illinois tends to vote more Democratic in presidential election years.

Kirk was magnanimous in defeat, inviting Duckworth to meet at Chicago's Billy Goat Tavern.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

An election season of unprecedented spending on negative advertising is coming to an end. How does it rank? And what does it mean for the future?

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Sen. Mark Kirk and U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth participated in their first televised presidential debate this week. Kirk made a comment about his opponent's ethnic heritage for which he later felt compelled to apologize. We'll ask Charlie Wheeler why voters should care about the special election for Illinois comptroller. And Sen. Dick Durbin might mean it when he says he isn't interested in taking on Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2018.

Kirk and Duckworth arriving at the Illinois State Fair
Amanda Vinicky (Kirk); Brian Mackey (Duckworth) / NPR Illinois

Our two-part series looks at where Sen. Mark Kirk and U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth are on a few key issues, and why the politics of 2016 mean those policy positions may not have much effect on the outcome.

bus stop
flickr.com/stevekeiretsu

Several downstate mass transit districts say they are on the verge of shutdown — or have already shut down.

Thousands of people rely on the services to get to medical appointments, the grocery store, or even work. And in turn the services rely on the state of Illinois for their funding.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Donald Trump's talk of "rigged" elections prompts Illinois and Chicago officials to say widespread voter fraud is a thing of the past. Meanwhile, a Chicago Democratic operative feels the burn of a conservative undercover activist. And could there be unintended consequences for state parks if Illinois voters approve the so-called transportation lockbox?

Starved Rock State Park
courtesy Brian Mackey / all rights reserved

A key source of funding for the Department of Natural Resources could be blocked. Or maybe not.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Republicans continue to struggle with their reactions to Donald Trump's bus video. Congressman Rodney Davis withdrew his endorsement while Gov. Bruce Rauner continues trying to dodge the question.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Tribune editorial board is backing Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth over Republican Sen. Mark Kirk, citing concerns about Krik's ability to do the job following his 2012 stroke. And the advocacy arm of the conservative Illinois Policy Institute has screened its movie attacking House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Carter Staley / NPR Illinois

Last Friday, central Illinois held its final naturalization ceremony before this year’s election.

Fifty-eight men and women entered Springfield's Old State Capitol as citizens of 30 nations. An hour later, they left as citizens of one.

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

The Simon Poll says incumbent Sen. Mark Kirk is 14 points behind Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth. Democrats and Republicans are trying to use the other side's unpopular leaders to sink down-ballot candidates. Plus, Illinois is awash in campaign cash.

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