Illinois Issues

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

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Chicago Police Department

The General Assembly passes legislation aimed at strengthening hate crime laws after a post-presidental-campaign spike in bias incidents.

Justin Wright

Some reformers say Illinois' minimum age for juvenile detention needs to go up.

Credit Carter Staley

NPR Illinois and WDCB hosted an Illinois Issues Forum on the state budget and how it has impacted DuPage County on May 23. 

Illinois Issues: State Marches Toward Clean Energy

May 18, 2017
Dylan Blake

Even as a landmark clean energy plan unravels in D.C., Illinois is on track to meet the coal emissions reduction goals it set.

WATCH-LISTEN: State Budget Forum - Champaign-Urbana

May 17, 2017
Dina Anderson

NPR Illinois hosted a forum on the state budget in Champaign on May 17. 

Community members attended to tell how they have been impacted by the state budget impasse.

Flickr

Commentary: The time has come to stop talking about a  'truly balanced budget'

“Let’s get a truly balanced budget ... ”  Gov. Bruce Rauner and his aides, in various venues on numerous occasions, 2015-present.

Not to downplay the governor’s mantra, but what exactly is a “truly balanced budget?” 

Tom Lisi / NPR Illinois

The spring legislative session has been overshadowed by a 22-month stretch without a budget. Nevertheless, meaty legislation is being weighed. Those issues include abortion, wage theft, animal research and criminal justice.

Teresa Haley comments
Lee Milner / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

NPR Illinois hosted an Illinois Issues Forum on the state budget impasse. Illinois residents who have been directly impacted discussed the burden placed on their community. 

Warehouse Workers for Justice

Legislation aims to improve working conditions for temporary workers as the need for them increases.

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.”

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
U.S. Supreme Court exterior
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. 

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