Tom Lisi

Public Affairs Reporting Intern - Statehouse

Tom reports on statehouse issues for NPR Illinois.  He's currently a Public Affairs Reporting graduate program student at the University of Illinois Springfield.  He graduated from Macalester College.  Tom is from New York City where he also did stand-up and improv and wrote for the Awl and WNYC public radio.

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U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) made a stop at the Springfield Boys & Girls Club, saying it’s funding is under threat by President Trump’s budget proposal.

A leading Democrat in Congress, Durbin also took the opportunity to attack the Republican healthcare plan. He says given the opposition from medical providers, he doesn’t understand how a Congressman from Illinois could support it.

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The nursing home industry is fighting legislation that would require them to have higher staffing levels — and greater penalties if they don’t meet them.

Illinois’ long-term care ombudsman tracks complaints and looks out for residents of nursing homes.

But the ombudsman has her own complaint. She says state agencies that regulate nursing homes are ignoring her.

Alex Proimos / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

 

The Republican health plan currently in Congress would remove $40 billion from the Illinois’ current Medicaid program over the next 10 years, according to numbers from the Congressional Budget Office. The Illinois Hospital Association says they expect over 400,000 Medicaid recipients to lose coverage.

The largest factor for the state comes from dismantling the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, which Illinois chose to accept. In its first three years of operation, 650,000 new people in the state got coverage under Medicaid.

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s new rules restricting overtime pay for home health aids passed a major test Tuesday. Starting August 1, caretakers will be limited to a 45-hour work-week. If people require more care, they’ll have to find an additional worker.

A screenshot of The Illinois Opportunity Project website.
Credit illinoisopportunityproject.org

Illinois Democrats want to make it harder for outside political groups to confuse voters with absentee ballot schemes.

It’s a reaction to reports of a conservative political group started by radio host and activist Dan Proft. The group is called Illinois Opportunity Project, but during election season last year it sent absentee ballot applications under the name “Rock Island County Vote by Mail Center.”

Before Mary Rabbe died from complications related to Alzheimer’s in 2015, she moved between several different long-term care facilities in the Springfield area — five nursing homes, a 10-day stay at a hospital psychiatric ward, and three visits to the E.R. — all in less than three years.

A green dentist chair
Liz West / CC by 2.0 / Flickr

Dr. Ronald Lynch runs a family dentistry in Jacksonville. He says approximately 20 percent of his patients are state workers. Because Illinois is still running with no budget, the state has not been paying its employees’ health bills on time — and the delays are growing.

Sunset over long canyon
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Yet another proposal aims to get the state out of crisis.

A 1917 report conducted on the Illinois pension system revealed bad news. After a pension-focused trip around the globe, with studies on such nations as Great Britain, New Zealand, and Austro-Hungary, it got to crux of the matter:

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A group of retired military generals is the latest to come out against an element of the Illinois Senate's "grand bargain" legislation. Their focus is a measure that would cut the state’s mandate of daily physical education to just three times a week.

The generals said the proposal would be a threat to national security, as many young Americans are too overweight to enter basic training.

 

 

Donald Trump’s presidency has Illinois lawmakers weighing an issue not usually given as much attention in the General Assembly: abortion.

 

Since the 1970s, Illinois’ abortion laws have stayed mostly the same. Brigid Leahy, legislative director of Planned Parenthood of Illinois, says legal-abortion advocates are now moving to stem the tide they see coming from Washington. “We haven’t done a proactive bill like this in a number of years,” she said.

 

Student rally in Illinois state capitol rotunda.
Tom Lisi / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

College students rallied in the state Capitol rotunda Wednesday. They’re urging lawmakers to restore state funding to universities and community colleges.

Red light camera at intersection
Derek Jensen / Wikimedia Commons

If there’s anything in Illinois with a lower approval rating than state government, one imagines it could be red-light cameras: those big-brother tattle-tales that catch drivers in the act of running a red light at intersections.

NPR Illinois

Members of Springfield’s Muslim community turned out for a demonstration on Monday against President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration.

Rep. Will Guzzardi
Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois

A state representative from Chicago is trying to bring the spirit of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign to Illinois. His idea? Free tuition at Illinois’ public universities.

Jannes Pockele/flickr

Part of a potential compromise at the statehouse would make Illinois the first state with a tax on sugary drinks, like soda. 

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Governor Bruce Rauner said he does not support a repeal of Obamacare without a replacement.

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The Vatican recently announced that Catholics may be cremated, but should not have their ashes scattered at sea or kept in urns at home. The Church has allowed cremation for decades, but these guidelines aim to make the position clearer.