State Week

Fridays at 12:30-1 PM, 7:30-8 PM, Saturdays 6:30-7 AM

State Week has been produced by NPR Illinois since January 1975, created by original WSSR News Director Rich Bradley when the station went on the air. It is the longest running public affairs program on NPR Illinois and was patterned after the popular PBS show Washington Week in Review.

Sean Crawford moderates the program.  He is joined by a regular panel consisting of Charlie Wheeler, director of the Public Affairs Reporting Program at UIS, and NPR Illinois Statehouse reporter Brian Mackey. This regular panel is joined by one or two guest journalists each week to analyze and comment on the top news stories of the week in Illinois state government and politics.

State Week is made available to all public radio stations in Illinois and is also available as a podcast.

  • Subscribe by clicking on Podcast under Ways to Connect on the right.
  • Listen on-demand below.

— STATE WEEK Q&A —

The State Week panel wants to hear your questions (about state government).

For one of our end-of-year shows, we'd like to do a Q&A segment. If there's anything you've ever wondered about Illinois government and politics — whether a current event or something historical — we want to answer your question on air.

We'd also like you to ask your question on air. There are two ways to get in touch:

  • Leave a voicemail at (217) 206-6412.
  • Record a voice memo on your smart phone and email it to brian.mackey@nprillinois.org. (Here's a helpful guide from NPR. Be sure to begin by saying who you are and where you're from, along the lines of: "Hi, I'm Brian Mackey from Springfield, and I've always wondered ...")

We hope to hear from you soon.

Gov. Bruce Rauner wrapped up his stay at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy, where 13 people have died from Legionnaires' Disease since 2015. It came a day after a legislative hearing at which members of the Rauner administration defended their response to outbreaks.

Gov. Bruce Rauner is staying at the Illinois Veteran Home in Quincy, in response to accusations that his administration has not responded well to repeated outbreaks of Legionnaires' Disease at the facility.

Meanwhile on the gubernatorial campaign trail, Chris Kennedy says Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel should be held accountable for driving African American people out of the city while Bob Daiber is getting detailed about a graduated income tax.

John Cullerton and Christine Radogno
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

As we get ready to welcome 2018, we thought we’d take a few minutes to listen back to another wild year in Illinois government and politics.

Twenty-seventeen was a wild year in Illinois government and politics: it began without a budget and ended with the Republican governor facing a primary challenge.

Along the way there was a tax hike, a once-in-a-generation overhaul of education funding, hot-button bills relating to abortion and immigration, and accusations of a culture of sexual harassment in the Statehouse.

Gov. Bruce Rauner requested a sit-down with the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune, and covered a range of grievances in his hour-long conversation.

He blamed Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel for not supporting the governor's agenda, he said House Republicans were not principled enough, and he seemed disappointed that Illinois no longer had a crisis he could leverage to pass his business-friendly, union-weakening agenda.

Over the last few years, 13 residents of the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy have died from Legionnaires’ disease. Public radio station WBEZ this week published an investigation into problems at the home. The political reaction was swift, with calls for investigations that could last well into next year.

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday declared he's "not in charge" of Illinois government. Rather, he says, House Speaker Michael Madigan is really running the show.

That same day, Rep. Jeannie Ives filed to challenge Rauner in the Republican primary, saying the governor has "betrayed" their party.

The conservative magazine National Review has called Gov. Bruce Rauner "the worst Republican governor in America." We'll discuss the claim, and how it might affect next year's elections.

Meanwhile, a group of Republican lawmakers and anti-abortion groups have sued over a new law that extends abortion coverage to women enrolled in state health insurance programs.

Rep. Jeanne Ives continues her campaign to deny Gov. Bruce Rauner renomination as the Republican candidate for governor — a race in which Congressman John Shimkus, the Illinois delegation's senior Republican, is declining to endorse.

Then, do voters care whether candidates release detailed tax returns — or any tax returns — and should they?

Finally, a name from Illinois politics past surfaces as a potential challenger for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

Gov. Bruce Rauner and Republican challenger Rep. Jeanne Ives hit the road this week. On the Democratic side, J.B. Pritzker sets a deadline for releasing his tax returns, after Sen. Daniel Biss compared him to President Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, Rauner signs ethics legislation that will allow the new legislative inspector general to investigate a backlog of complaints dating back nearly three years.

The Illinois General Assembly's fall veto session is over, lawmakers have been though sexual harassment awareness training, and Comptroller Susana Mendoza is beginning to pay down the backlog of bills.

More allegations of sexual harassment in state government — and this time someone is naming names. But with a watchdog position vacant for years, who's holding lawmakers accountable?

Rauner loses a string of veto overrides in the Illinois House, but avoids disaster on a few key bills. Meanwhile, allegations of widespread sexual misconduct prompt a quick legislative response in the Statehouse.

Chicago and Illinois submit their joint bid for Amazon's "HQ2" — a second headquarters for the web retailer. We'll talk about the incentives arms race, Illinois' strengths and weaknesses, and the secret bid.

The field of Democrats running for governor has gotten smaller as Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar ends his campaign. Meanwhile, the AFSCME union says the Illinois Department of Corrections isn't doing enough to keep correctional officers safe.

Fallout continues from Gov. Bruce Rauner's decision to sign a pro-abortion bill, with some Republicans calling him a liar and others courting primary challengers. How will this affect his bid for reelection?

This week, Governor Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 40, allowing for the expansion of public funding for abortions.  Also, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to revisit Rauner's challenge to public sector union "fair share" fees.  UIS Professor Emeritus Kent Redfield and WTTW's Amanda Vinicky join the panel, which includes Sean Crawford and Daisy Contreras.

With Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's announcement last week that she won't be running for re-election, hopefuls are lining up to run.  Opposition is building against Cook County's controversial soda tax.  And Governor Bruce Rauner is promoting Illinois as a great location for Amazon's new headquarters.

Rick Pearson of the Chicago Tribune and the State Journal-Register's Bernie Schoenburg join the panel.

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich gave his first interviews since reporting to a federal prison more than five years ago. We consider his long silence and ongoing legacy in Illinois government.

Gov. Bruce Rauner says his administration will finally go to the bond market to help refinance billions of dollars of unpaid bills. The move is expected to save the state hundreds of millions of dollars a year in interest penalties.

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.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

What we know as of Friday about a tentative compromise among legislative leaders on school funding, along with the continuing controversy over Governor Rauner's response to a political cartoon posted by the Illinois Policy Institute.  WBEZ's Tony Arnold and WTTW's Amanda Vinicky join the panel.

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 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.

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.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Despite Governor Bruce Rauner calling the Democrat-controlled Legislature into special session to resolve the issue of school funding, there is still no agreement on funding for Chicago Public Schools.  Also, the next gubernatorial race is shaping up to be the most expensive in state history; we'll look at the potential money involved.  Joining Sean Crawford in the studio is IPR Education Reporter Dusty Rhodes, UIS Professor Emeritus Kent Redfield, and Law360 Springfield Reporter Hannah Meisel.

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.

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. 

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?

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.

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