Illinois Issues

Thursdays

Reporting and analysis taking you beyond the daily news and providing a deeper understanding of our state. 

Subscribe for weekly Illinois Issues email alerts

Archive

Illinois Issues: LGBT In The Time Of Trump

16 hours ago
Equality Illinois

As rapid-fire change comes at the federal level, advocates want  to keep Illinois' status as one of the leading states in offering protections.

Alex McCray didn’t want to believe Donald Trump had won the election. In the words of the transgender nursing student from downstate Sherman: “I was hoping it was all just one terrible nightmare. It felt like my rights were being ripped out right from underneath me.”

KevinDooley/flickr

There are plenty of scary climate change predictions about what could be coming our way in the future.  So what is a person to do?  Move to Michigan.  

Brent Levin / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

There are reasons for legalizing industrial hemp.

Might pot and ditch weed help ease the state's financial crisis and boost its farm economy?

Illinois Issues: This State's Abortion Debate

Mar 30, 2017
Brittany Hogan / Flickr

Bill aims to protect abortion rights on the chance Roe v. Wade  is overturned.

With Democrats in firm control of the Illinois General Assembly, abortion rights might seem to be safe in the state. But what would happen if the U.S. Supreme Court overturned its landmark Roe v. Wade decision, which made abortion legal across the country in 1973?

Kendall Coyne

A bill in Springfield seeks to ease the gender pay gap.

Palos Heights native Kendall Coyne, an Olympic silver-medalist in the 2014 Sochi Winter Games and a member of the U.S. Women’s Hockey Team, has joined her fellow skaters in a fight off the ice.

Matt Turner / Flickr

The spring legislative session is in full swing under the shadow of a failed Grand Bargain, which aimed to end a 20-month stretch without a budget. Bills proposed are diverse, including lobbyist ethics, an Obama holiday, wage theft and animal welfare.

Illinois Issues: What The Governor Isn't Saying

Mar 9, 2017
Gov. Bruce Rauner / Facebook

Gov. Bruce Rauner has little to say to journalists, and that's not just a problem for reporters.

Wilhelm Joy Sanderson / CC by 4.0 / Flickr

There are serious consequences under Gov, Bruce Rauner's tax proposal.

Sunset over long canyon
Flickr

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:

Facebook/Clinton Auto Auction

Disparate entities say laws in this area need to change at the state and national levels.

Alfredo Mejia works with speech language pathologist Brandi Sidor.
Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago

Medicaid Managed Care  Is A Mixed Bag For Providers, Patients

Yvonne Hardcastle was at her wit’s end. Her son, Alfredo Mejia, was 7 years old. He was angry all the time and had been diagnosed with behavior problems and ADHD, but that didn’t feel right. She didn’t know what was wrong, but her mother’s intuition kept pushing her to find help for her boy.

padlocked keyboard
BLUECOAT.COM

In 2016, the Illinois Board of Elections and the state Republican Party were victims of cybersecurity breaches. But uncertainty lingers as to what the hackers wanted and whether future attacks can be prevented. 

KENT KRIEGSHAUSER / GALESBURG REGISTER-MAIL

Who has been hurt the most by shifts in the Illinois economy?

Protester wearing oversize Madigan mascot head.
Illinois Policy Institute

Anti-Madigan effort fails to sway House members in speaker election.

Jamey Dunn headshot
mattpenning.com / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

 Jamey Dunn is leaving the position of Illinois Issues editor. In this week’s Illinois Issues report, she reflects on her time working here and covering state government. 

Eastern Illinois University

Campus communities in the state feel the consequences of drastic higher education cuts. 

Illinois Issues: New Laws In 2017

Dec 29, 2016
General Assembly chamber
Matt Turner / flickr

Nearly 200 new laws go into effect in Illinois on January 1.   

The state still doesn’t have a budget. A stopgap spending plan, which was approved over the summer, will end on January 1, leaving social service agencies, institutions of higher education and others in the lurch.

But, in the past year, legislators did approve hundreds of pieces of legislation, which the governor signed. Nearly 200 laws will go into effect at the start of the new year — close to the number that went into effect at the start of each of the past three years.

Trump by Michael Vadon/Flickr / Rauner by Brian Mackey/WUIS

There’s still no budget for Illinois, but some big changes to education policy kicked in this year. As the contentious presidential election played out, several national issues affected the lives of citizens here.

Illinois Issues: Frackonomics

Dec 16, 2016
Richard Sitler / The Southern Illinoisan

A few years ago, Illinois adopted regulations for high-volume horizontal fracking, but it was slow to get the permitting process up and running.

Those in southern Illinois who were hoping for an economic boom have since seen the promise of fracking go bust. 

Illinois Issues: Great American Divide

Dec 8, 2016
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/darronb/23678720834/in/album-72157663272187471/">Darron Birgenheier</a> (<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode">CC BY-SA 2.0</a>) / Michael Davidson - <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/hillaryclinton/albums">Hillary for America</a> (<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/legalcode">CC BY-NC-SA 2.0</a>) (derrivative composite)

The presidential election highlighted a divide that is so deep, citizens in Illinois and across the country can’t even agree on the same set of facts.

flickr/ TaxCredits.net

New projections show nibbling around the edges of the state’s budget problems will get Illinois nowhere. 

Flickr/SEIU1

Editor's note -  More than 40,000 undocumented Illinois residents, who came to the country as children, are protected from deportation and are able to work under an executive order put in place by President Barack Obama. But during his campaign, Donald Trump pledged to “immediately terminate” the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — often referred to as DACA. 

Mendoza campaign

Democrats prevailed in statewide races, but couldn't hold on to seats in southern Illinois. Meanwhile, suburban Republicans may hold less sway in the party's legislative caucus.

Daniel Biss speaking to group
Office of state Sen. Daniel Biss

Recently, several social policy debates have moved  from the legislature to the judicial system.

Illinois Issues: Civics Class In An Uncivil Time

Nov 3, 2016

A new state law requires that high school civics courses cover current and controversial events. The requirement kicked in during an election cycle when adults are struggling to have civil conversations about politics. 

flickr/ DonkeyHotey

The presidential race is capturing most voters' attention. But here in Illinois, there's record-breaking spending going into races for the General Assembly. Hanging in the balance is the state of Illinois, or at least its budget, anyway.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

Because Illinois is a northern state and the former home of Abraham Lincoln, it isn’t typically associated with slavery. But there was slavery in Illinois for more than 100 years.

Even after Illinois entered the Union, loopholes in its laws allowed the practice to continue, making the future Land of Lincoln a quasi-slave state. 

Public Domain

A proposed amendment to the state’s constitution would protect money set aside for transportation projects. Supporters say the change is needed because money that's supposed to be earmarked for building roads has gone to other expenses over the years. But the amendment could allow some of those practices to continue, while endangering other popular programs. 

hourglass with dollar signs instead of sand filtering through
flickr/ Bill Brooks

Before he ran for governor, Bruce Rauner described a plan to use funding for social services as a “wedge” issue to persuade Democrats to support anti-union proposals. The fact that lawmakers did nothing to address the rollback of the temporary income tax increase, which was passed in 2011, set the stage for him to try out his strategy.

flickr/ 401kcalculator.org

The political spotlight has shifted to the election, but the state budget crisis continues to cost the people of Illinois. 

Pages