Jamey Dunn

Illinois Issues Editor/ Past Due Blog

Read Jamey's "Past Due" blog.

No other publication explains Illinois as well as Illinois Issues.  No other publication has the audience of Illinois Issues.

Illinois Issues magazine is dedicated to providing fresh, provocative analysis of public policy in Illinois. With a special focus on Illinois government and politics, the magazine pays close attention to current trends and legislative issues, and examines the state's quality of life.

The magazine also engages its readers in dialogue, enhancing the quality of public discourse in Illinois. A not-for-profit monthly magazine published by the University of Illinois at Springfield, Illinois Issues also sponsors and promotes other appropriate public affairs educational activities.

In continuous publication since 1975 by the University of Illinois at Springfield (formerly Sangamon State University), Illinois Issues monthly magazine is known as Illinois' leading public affairs periodical. We accept that honor, and we work hard with each issue to live up to it.

More than 15,000 Illinoisans read the magazine every month. Our readers tell us they rely on Illinois Issues to keep up with Illinois government and politics. Plus, we publish an annual up-to-date directory called the Roster of State Government Officials — a resource our readers find invaluable year-round.

Jamey Dunn headshot
mattpenning.com 2015 / WUIS - Illinois Issues

This year is the 40th anniversary of Illinois Issues’ publication. The magazine has four decades of high-quality journalism to celebrate and an exciting future in multimedia ahead.

NPR Illinois

Bill Wheelhouse talks with Illinois Issues's Jamey Dunn for an explanation of the short term budget fix advancing in the legislature.

 In a recent Illinois Issues article, I looked at the post-recession budget stories of three other populous states: New Jersey, California and Texas. These states have all had ups and downs following the economic collapse in 2008. Some of the details are enviable, like Texas' economic growth and California's ability to balance its budget after grappling with staggering deficits. Other aspects serve as cautionary tales of how not to deal with big budget challenges, like pension funding.

WUIS/Illinois Issues

A version of the story first ran in Illinois Issues magazine in April 2012. It has been updated with new information.

The state’s complicated budget mess is a source of headlines for the media and headaches for those who administer state-funded programs and the politicians whose job it is to solve the problem. But most people — politicians, reporters and Statehouse commentators alike — only focus on four out of hundreds of funds when it comes time to craft the state’s budget each year.

People

Mar 1, 2015

Rauner selects agency, board heads

During his first months in office, Gov. Bruce Rauner named several key members of his administration.

As Baby Boomer residents age, and they and their parents’ generation live longer, Illinois’ infrastructure plans may have to change to accommodate a much larger retired population.

Jamey Dunn headshot
mattpenning.com 2014 / Illinois Issues

When I was a teenager, I came home one day to find monarch butterflies covering a tree in my parents’ backyard. Hundreds of them had swarmed the leaves and branches. And there they sat, opening and closing their brightly painted wings in the sun.

Illinois’ budget is in even worse shape than previously thought. Illinois has the biggest unfunded pension obligation in the nation. Illinois slapped with the lowest credit rating of any state. These are the grim headlines Illinois residents endure on a regular basis. You can’t live in this state and not have at least a vague idea that our budget is in the dumps. 

The need for infrastructure investments across the country is great and has been in the news a lot lately. The American Society for Civil Engineers (ASCE) estimates that the country will need to spend $3.6 trillion by 2020. The same group gave the country's infrastructure a D+ rating for 2013. Illinois got a C-.

House Speaker Michael Madigan
WUIS/Illinois Issues

During his inaugural speech in January, House Speaker Michael Madigan called for the creation of a task force to look into ways to prevent mass shootings, such as the 2013 Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut that took the lives of 20 children and six adults.

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey/WUIS

News Analysis - Gov. Bruce Rauner’s speech did little to convey the gravity of the cuts proposed in his budget plan.

Host Jamey Dunn and guests Kent Redfield (UIS) and Bruce Rushton (IL Times) discuss Gov. Rauner's new executive order, Aaron Schock, and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

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

Bruce Rauner
brucerauner.com

News Analysis  — As the time bombs built into the current fiscal year’s budget begin to go off, Gov. Bruce Rauner wants lawmakers to give him broad powers to move money around.

Jamey Dunn headshot
mattpenning.com 2014 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

You might think it goes without saying, but don’t believe everything you read on the Internet. If you took everything you saw on Facebook as truth, for instance, you might believe that by reposting a long legal disclaimer you could copyright the pictures and personal information you share on the social media platform and keep Facebook from stealing them to use for other purposes, such as marketing. Alas, your Facebook “friends” have steered you wrong. You already own content you post, but you also signed on to Facebook’s legal terms.

An osprey in flight
Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Ospreys, brought to Illinois as part of a project to restore the endangered hawk species, have flown the coop for warmer climates. But those working with the birds hope to see them return to the state in the near future. 

A group of volunteers are working to bring a skill to youth in the juvenile justice system that could give them an edge in the workforce.

Tinkerers and the technologically savvy have been using 3-D printing for years to make models, parts and just about anything. The printers rapidly manufacture items from a set of instructions. They typically render in plastic, but they can make things out of metal and other materials, too.

A recent study sought to gauge corruption at the state level in a novel way, by polling reporters who cover state government. Even by this new measure, Illinois was found to be one of the most corrupt states in the nation.

A team of economists is calling for changes to the way the federal government figures the cost associated with carbon emissions. 

The Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) is what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other federal entities use to estimate the monetary damage caused by carbon dioxide emissions. The current SCC is estimated to be $37 per metric ton of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. The number is used to consider the value of plans to address climate change by cutting emissions.

  More food passes through Illinois annually than any other state in the nation, according to a new report.

Megan Konar, with the University of Illinois’ Institute of Government and Public Affairs, found that of the 400 million tons of food that move around the country annually, more than 70 million tons pass through the state. The volume of food that passes through Illinois would be enough to feed every resident for about five and a half years.

A summer program that provided jobs for youth in Chicago successfully reduced violent crime, according to a recent analysis.

A researcher working with the University of Chicago Crime Lab and the University of Pennsylvania set out to determine if the city’s One Summer Plus program had an impact on crime. The program offers summer jobs and on-the-job mentoring to middle and high school students living in neighborhoods with high rates of violent crime. 

Rauner names novice politician to replace Topinka Leslie Munger stepped into the role of Illinois Comptroller, filling the office that Judy Baar Topinka left vacant when she died in December. 

Bruce Rauner at Inauguration 2015
Brian Mackey/WUIS

 Gov. Bruce Rauner is saving the details for his budget address next month, but he did have a few things to say about the state’s fiscal situation after he was sworn in Monday.

“We must forget the days of feeling good about just making it through another year—by patching over major problems with stitches that are bound to break,” Rauner said during his inaugural speech. “Those stitches are now busting wide open and we must begin by taking immediate, decisive action.”

Host Jamey Dunn and guests Bob Gough (QuincyJournal.com) and Charlie Wheeler (UIS) discuss the special session and special election legislation as well as Rauner's choice for comptroller, this week's inaugurations, and Gov. Pat Quinn's legacy.

Bruce Rauner
brucerauner.com

Gov. -elect Bruce Rauner’s transition team took a pass on making any budget recommendations in a report the group issued today.

The bipartisan group’s report emphasized that the state’s dire fiscal situation is the most pressing challenge the soon-to-be governor will face. The document goes so far as to say that if the new administration cannot stabilize the state’s budget, it will not succeed with other items on its agenda, be they modest or ambitious.

Jamey Dunn headshot
mattpenning.com 2014 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

January marks a new phase in our journalism.  Due to the merger between WUIS and Illinois Issues, we now have a number of journalists that enable reporting on a beat model.  A beat allows a reporter to learn events and people more thoroughly than general assignment reporting.  Each reporter is focusing on key issues in the state.  We're calling it the "Illinois Issues Initiative."  Here are the beats:

ILLINOIS ECONOMY
Bill Wheelhouse

Jamey Dunn headshot
mattpenning.com 2014 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Editor's Note:
January marks a new phase in our journalism.  Due to the merger between WUIS and Illinois Issues, we now have a number of journalists that enable reporting on a beat model.  Beats allow a reporter to learn the events and people more thoroughly than general assignment reporting.  Each reporter is focusing on key issues in the state.  We're calling it the "Illinois Issues Initiative."  Here are the issues:

PAST DUE
Jamey Dunn

Graying Illinois

Jan 1, 2015
Illinois Issues

Listen to Jamey Dunn talk about her piece with Rachel Otwell:

Three years ago, the first members of the Baby Boom generation turned 65. This generation, born between the mid-1940s and mid- 1960s, has had a large influence on American politics and policy, in part by virtue of its sheer size. As the Boomers reach retirement age, they may once again drastically reshape the country.

Illinois Supreme Court
Brian Mackey / WUIS

A version of this story first appeared on the Illinois Issues Blog in July 2014.

After years of trying to find a solution to the tackle the state’s $100 billion unfunded pension liability, lawmakers approved pension changes in December of last year. Illinois was SAVED! Crank up the tunes, call up the bond rating agencies, put Squeezy the Pension Python out to pasture — happy days are here again!

Jamey Dunn
mattpenning.com 2014 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Election season cast a long shadow on 2014. We saw the most expensive and one of the ugliest fights for the governor’s office in the state’s history. Now Illinois has a Republican governor for the first time in more than a decade. Meanwhile in the legislature, House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton were both able to hang on to veto-proof majorities in their respective chambers, despite some aggressive challenges mounted by Republican candidates.

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