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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Logan Correctional Center
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Advocates say Illinois’ treatment of prisoners with mental illness is so bad — the prison system is in a “state of emergency.” They’re asking a federal judge to intervene.

Fallout continues from Gov. Bruce Rauner's decision to sign a pro-abortion bill, with some Republicans calling him a liar and others courting primary challengers. How will this affect his bid for reelection?

Ray Moore / (cc-by-nc)

State and federal legislators from Illinois are proposing new laws in response to Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas.

David Harris
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

State Rep. David Harris is the latest in a growing list of Illinois lawmakers who say they’re not running for reelection.

Dick Durbin
United States Senate

Illinois politicians continue reacting to Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas. Their responses are often falling along party lines.

State financial regulators are recommending an increase in the fees that currency exchanges charge for cashing checks. Opponents say it will hurt Illinois' poorest residents.

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich gave his first interviews since reporting to a federal prison more than five years ago. We consider his long silence and ongoing legacy in Illinois government.

Lisa Madigan at Inauguration 2015
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan says she’s not running for re-election.

The surprise announcement comes midway through her fourth term.

He was once a respected school superintendent. Now Larry Wyllie is being indicted for fraud.

power lines
Eric Bueneman / (cc-by-nc)

Environmental groups are criticizing Ameren Illinois for what they describe as backing away from energy efficiency goals.

There has been another high-level departure from Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration.

Gov. Bruce Rauner says his administration will finally go to the bond market to help refinance billions of dollars of unpaid bills. The move is expected to save the state hundreds of millions of dollars a year in interest penalties.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

More than two months after the Illinois General Assembly finally approved a state budget, Gov. Bruce Rauner is moving ahead with a plan to begin cutting into the $15 billion backlog of bills.

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

It’s been two months since Illinois government finally passed a full budget. Legislators hoped that would accelerate the payment of overdue bills, which total more than $15 billion. But the governor’s office is holding that up.

Illinois schools will soon resume receiving state funding, after Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bipartisan compromise that passed the House and Senate earlier in the week.

Kimberly Lightford, Will Davis, and Andy Manar
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The Illinois legislature on Tuesday approved a major, bipartisan overhaul of the way Illinois funds public education.

Illinois' current school funding formula dates back to 1997. And efforts to replace it with something more logical, more fair, and more equitable? To hear lawmakers tell it, those also date back almost 20 years.

I voted sticker
Vox Efx / flickr

Election officials in Chicago say the personal information of 1.8 million voters was found unsecured on the Internet.

Wojcicki Jimenez campaign

Another Illinois legislator will not be seeking re-election.

State Rep. Sara Wojcicki Jimenez is from Leland Grove, near Springfield.

She was among the Republicans who defied Governor Bruce Rauner — helping Democrats pass Illinois' first budget in two years.

Republicans and Democrats gathered in Springfield this week for their annual rallies tied to the Illinois State Fair. Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Republicans outlined a campaign strategy that takes aim at House Speaker Michael Madigan. Democrats, meanwhile, tried to lash Rauner to the fortunes of President Donald Trump.

The Illinois Democrats seeking their party’s nomination for governor are spending more time campaigning against the incumbent than each other. And they’re not pulling any punches.

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Republicans are gearing up for Gov. Bruce Rauner’s re-election fight. At a state fair rally Wednesday, they made clear their campaign will focus on one man.

Swings in school playground
Hal Frain / Flickr (CC X 2.0)

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed legislation that makes it illegal to expel toddlers from preschools.

Backers of the new law point to a study that says toddlers and other Illinois preschoolers are expelled at a rate three times greater than their older, school-age counterparts.

“I just want you to let that sink in.”

State Rep. Juliana Stratton is a Democrat from Chicago.

“When you see expulsion in early years, it leads to higher suspension and expulsion rates in later grades."

The Illinois General Assembly is still weighing what to do in the wake of Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto of the Democrats' new approach  to how the state sends money to schools in  Illinois. Meanwhile, Comptroller Susana Mendoza is urging Rauner to get going on issuing bonds to begin paying down the backlog of bills.

Carter Staley / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

NPR Illinois hosted its fifth Illinois Issues forum August 9 at the Union League Club of Chicago. The listening tour of the state focuses on the financial health of Illinois and the lasting impacts of the two-year-long state budget impasse. 

David Harris
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Another voice is urging Gov. Bruce Rauner to work with the budget that was passed over his objections.

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza is urging Gov. Bruce Rauner to step up the pace in dealing with the state’s debt.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has vetoed parts of the Democratic education funding overhaul known as Senate Bill 1. He used his Constitutional power to make recommendations for changes in the legislation, saying he wanted to stop a "bailout" of Chicago schools. But Democrats accuse him of tacking right and waging an "assault" on public education.

The coliseum at the state fair with flags waving above it.
Katherine Johnson / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

The Illinois State Fair opens in one week. Years of budget cuts and deferred maintenance have led to a series of problems at the fairgrounds. But officials say they’ll be ready.

Pawar, Pritzker and Biss
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

One of the Democrats running for governor of Illinois is proposing a huge expansion in a government healthcare program.

James Kluppelberg
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois is finally making good on some of its most overdue bills — compensating people who were unjustly imprisoned.