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.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

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.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

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.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

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.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

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?

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

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.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

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.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

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.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

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?

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

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.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

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.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

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.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

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.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

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.

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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.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

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.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

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.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

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.

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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.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

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.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

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. 

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

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?

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

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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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois General Assembly returns to Springfield as the clock ticks down to the new fiscal year July 1. Will Illinois begin a third fiscal year without a real budget? Is Gov. Bruce Rauner really interested in "compromise" ? And are Democrats willing to meet his demands?

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner has called 10 special sessions on the budget for the final days of the month. For the first time, he's publicly endorsed a specific set of tax increases to accompany the non-budget demands he's been making since he came into office. Does this represent real movement? Or is it just marketing?

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A federal judge says Illinois has to prioritize payments for Medicaid providers, but the state doesn't have enough revenue to meet its spending obligations. Could Illinois soon run out of money? Does the market really think Illinois could default on its debt?

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois government ended another legislative session without a budget. Because of that, credit rating agencies downgraded the state's debt while public universities announced more layoffs.

Meanwhile, Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker was in the news because of his relationship with imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Senate Democrats go it alone on a tax hike — will their House counterparts follow suit? And what happens if legislators don't pass a budget by the scheduled end of session on May 31?

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Senate Democrats hold another set of votes on what was once referred to as the "grand bargain," but Republicans say the deal isn't there yet. Can anyone in Springfield trust anyone else long enough to make something happen?

Meanwhile, Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker is under attack by Republicans over his property taxes.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Senate Democrats tried — and failed — to force votes on the so-called grand bargain. What are the prospects for a budget deal before the Illinois General Assembly's scheduled end-of-session on May 31?

Meanwhile, Gov. Bruce Rauner was booed when he appeared at the commencement ceremony for Chicago State University — the public university arguably hit hardest by the 22-month stalemate over taxes and spending in Illinois government. 

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Budget talk continues in Springfield — but our panel isn't getting its hopes up yet. And what's really holding up the sale of the Thompson Center? (Spoiler alert: It's complicated.)

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