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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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.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

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.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

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."

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

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.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

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.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner has demanded Democrats send him school funding legislation, threatening to call a special session if they don't. The governor has sought to pit Downstate school school districts — and local legislators — against Chicago Public Schools.

Meanwhile, Rauner continued replacing top staff with people from a libertarian advocacy organization.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner is replacing several top aides with employees of the Illinois Policy Institute, a libertarian-conservative advocacy organization. It comes days after a bipartisan group of legislators ended Illinois' two-year budget impasse by overriding Rauner's veto. 

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Passing a budget wasn’t the only thing Illinois lawmakers did last week. They also named a major road after former president Barack Obama. 

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

After more than two years, 16 Republicans split from Gov. Bruce Rauner to help Democrats pass a budget for Illinois. It spends less than Illinois has been during the impasse, and raises the individual income tax rate from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent.

What was the breakthrough? Was this really an uprising among rank-and-file legislators? Does Rauner benefit from this outcome? And is the end of Illinois' fiscal problems?

David Harris
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois’ two-year budget impasse is over. The House of Representatives on Thursday overrode the governor's budget veto, giving final approval to a spending plan and tax increase.

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois House will meet Thursday to try to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s budget veto.

Illinois Senate
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A day after Gov. Bruce Rauner of Illinois vetoed the state’s first budget plan in two years, the Democrats who control the legislature are plotting when they'll try to override him.

Michael Madigan
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Two bond rating agencies say Illinois is on the right path with the budget plan passed Sunday in the state House of Representatives.

Michael Madigan
Brian Mackeu / NPR Illinois

The Illinois House has approved a 1.2 percentage-point increase in the state income tax.

Last night, more than a dozen Republicans joined the majority Democrats to pass the legislation, despite the objections of Governor Bruce Rauner.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois is beginning a third straight year without a real budget. Legislators say they're close to a deal and continue to negotiate — but is that for real or just for show?

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont announced she's resigning effective Saturday. She instigated the effort at bipartisan compromise that became known as the "grand bargain." Republicans have already selected Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, to succeed her.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois will enter a third straight year without a budget. But lawmakers say they’re getting closer, and will continue to meet this weekend.

Kwame Raoul and Christine Radogno hug
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

As Illinois’ top political leaders struggle to end a two year budget standoff, one of them has announced she’s resigning.

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