Illinois Issues

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Last month, the state's voters decided on the Republican and Democratic nominees for governor. But with the primaries behind them, the winners still have to convince those who wanted someone else at the top of the ticket.

Mary Cullen / NPR Illinois

Illinois’ bicentennial commission finds ways to commemorate the state’s 200th with little time and limited budget.

Illinois will celebrate its 200th birthday with statewide events, building projects, specialty Pepsi cans, stamps, rosé, apparel and even an officials brew, "1818 Prairie State Farmhouse Ale."

Illustrator Pat Byrnes​

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, state lawmakers have tried to address sexual harassment in a variety of ways. We explore what's been done and what some say may be ahead.

Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Pickup trucks and construction equipment crowd the lawn of the Illinois Executive Mansion and the block across the street.

Gov. Bruce Rauner and his wife, Diana, have raised the money for the $15 million mansion makeover, which is slated to be complete by the end of the summer. And the governor is eyeing the city-owned block, dubbed the “Y-block” for the YWCA that used to sit there, as an extension of that project.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Commentary: Insights from the 2018 primary election

"Is this embattled Republican governor toast?" -- Natasha Korecki, Politico

"Is Gov. Bruce Rauner a lame duck limping?" -- Chuck Sweeny, Rockford Register Star

The Toys R Us store location in Springfield, Illinois.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

As big box stores continue to close, some worry Illinois isn't ready for the changing economy.

Rick Proctor / Unsplash

Lawmakers see chance for green with recreational marijuana.

Marijuana legalization is getting another look in Illinois, particularly for the money it could bring the state. The state has overdue bills nearing $9 billion after a more than two-year budget stalemate, and some argue a little extra cash could go a long way.

Jason Karsh / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

In 2010, lawmakers changed the rules for how the state picks its second-in-command. No longer would voters separately nominate candidates for lieutenant governor and governor in the primary, and hope for a successful match.

Rich Saal / The State Journal-Register (pool)

Commentary: The governor's plan would rely on some iffy savings from shifting pensions costs to schools and universities and getting state workers to pay more for their health care.

Rachel Otwell / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, as well as the 2016 election, have sparked renewed passion for electing women to office in Illinois.

A Call For Immunization

Feb 8, 2018
Mary Cullen / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

With more cases of vaccine-preventable disease in Illinois, doctors say shots should not be skipped.

Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Part 2: Most of the radium-tainted earth from decades-old manufacturing in Ottawa has been removed, but one major site still needs cleanup.

Mary Cullen / NPR ILLINOIS | 91.9 UIS

Part 1: Radium poisoning took the lives of perhaps thousands of female factory workers, many in Ottawa, Illinois, in the last century.

Katie Buck / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Health centers in Illinois are forming partnerships with local food banks to offer fresh fruits and vegetables to some patients. With an estimated 1.5 million residents in the state classified as food insecure by the U.S. census, could this be a key approach to improving food access?

'Moneyball' : The 2018 Illinois Governor's Race

Jan 11, 2018
PHOTOS BY BRIAN MACKEY AND KEITH COOPER / CC BY 2.0 / A DERIVATIVE OF MONEY / PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY CARTER STALEY / NPR ILLINOIS

This year’s campaign pits a multimillionaire incumbent against a field that includes a multibillionaire in what could be the costliest governor's race in U.S. history.

Richard Sitler / The Southern Illinoisan

The federal government returned the East St. Louis Housing Authority to local control last fall, a sign of confidence in the city's new leadership. But challenges remain, including millions of dollars in repairs and concerns about the conditions at its aging public housing complexes.

New Illinois Laws In 2018

Dec 28, 2017
Meagan Davis / FLICKR

Laws about divorce, pets and traveling elephants will take effect January 1.

With Gov. Bruce Rauner's approval, Illinois legislators designated August 4 as Barack Obama Day in the state. That law along with more than 200 others take effect January 1.

In addition to overhauling the school funding formula and passing a spending plan for the first time in two years, lawmakers approved new consumer protections, rules for electric bikes and animal welfare measures.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois lawmakers ended the state budget impasse and made big changes to how the state pays for public schools. The state also wrestled with the debate over abortion and a nationwide rise in hate incidents.

A derivative of photo by Erik Hersman, licensed under CC BY 2.0 / FLICKR

A recent federal appeals court decision struck down the requirement that minor parties offer a full-slate of candidates for statewide or countywide offices, while another court battle looms.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois 91.9 UIS

Sexual harassment at the Capitol, workers' rights and student loans — a look at recent action in the state legislature.

Alex Proimos
Flickr Creative Commons BY-NC 2.0

During the more than two years that Illinois went without a state spending plan, hospitals, dentists and other health care providers waited months or even years to get paid for services to state employees and Medicaid patients.

Football players on sideline
Jaclyn Driscoll / NPR Illinois 91.9 UIS

A 2015 state law required high schools to develop concussion response procedures to protect student-athletes from further injury, but smaller schools may be at a disadvantage.

TaxCredits.net / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Commentary: Gov. Bruce Rauner recently criticized the Democrats for passing a spending plan that is more than a billion dollars out of balance, according to analysis from his budget office. That same report noted that if one-time revenues are included, the state could see a surplus at the end of the year.

Carter Staley / NPR Illinois

Buying shoes, a new computer or even toilet paper online can be convenient and cheap, but officials in cities across central Illinois say it’s taking a bite out of their budgets.

Carter Staley / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois and New Jersey are in dire financial straits, but experts hope California's fiscal gains can be duplicated in those states now struggling.

Nancy Hudspeth, who lived in Chicago for nearly 30 years, says she feels as if she escaped the state’s current fiscal problems when she left to pursue a teaching job in California two years ago. Before her move, Hudspeth spent six years analyzing Illinois’ finances with the University of Illinois’ Fiscal Futures Project.

Carter Staley / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

NPR Illinois and WVIK hosted the eighth Illinois Issues Forum on the state's financial health and the lasting impacts of the two-year-long state budget impasse on the Quad Cities community. 

DAISY CONTRERAS

Psychologists in Illinois talk of fears they have for young recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Luis Gomez says his anxiety has been exacerbated by the ongoing debate over whether to end DACA.

Last month, the Trump administration announced it was terminating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — also known as DACA. Created by President Barack Obama’s 2012 presidential order, DACA grants undocumented youth who entered the country as children temporary protection against deportation, as well as the right to work.

MOLLY ADAMS / FLICKR

Commentary: Is democracy a root cause of the state's budget woes?

State Sen. Andy Manar shepherds historic school funding reform through the legislature after years of failed attempts.

Keith Freeman / Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

Illinois' child poverty rate is just as high as it was in 2010. Is the state doing enough to bring it down?

Kellia Phillips’ teen-aged daughters Jaleece and Janae run track. They have had to do so in ill-fitting shoes sometimes as old as three years.

Janae, 13, loves to knit and crochet. Her mother, says, “I could only get her yarn like every three months and she was so much into knitting and crocheting. I still can’t do that for her right now because I have no income.’’ 

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