Illinois Issues

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.

The legislature’s majority Democrats projected that revenues would exceed expenses by $360 million when Fiscal Year 2018 ends next June 30, under their spending plan and accompanying tax hikes approved over Gov. Bruce Rauner’s vetoes in early July.

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.

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.’’ 

Illinois Issues: The Rural Exodus

Aug 10, 2017
Chumlee 10 / Flickr

Analysis: What should be done to respond to loss of rural population?

Carter Staley / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

NPR Illinois hosted its fifth Illinois Issues forum August 9 at the Union League Club of Chicago. The listening tour of the state focuses on the financial health of Illinois and the lasting impacts of the two-year-long state budget impasse. 

c/o Eagle Forum (L) & Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth

Illinois remains a battleground over women's rights.

Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of  sex. 
—   The proposed Equal Rights Amendment. It might sound simple. It’s not.

Amanda Vinicky

We talked to leaders at the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability and The Civic Federation to learn about their insights on the state's first spending plan in more than two years.

Cyndy Sims Parr / Flickr

The Land of Lincoln is the country's largest de facto nuclear waste dump.

Carter Staley / NPR Illinois

The issue pits business interests against privacy concerns.

For Carolyn Parrish, a privacy professional based in Evanston, data privacy is just as important in her personal, everyday life, as it is to keeping her business running.

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. 

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. 

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/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. 

Jordan Boner

After hundreds of layoffs at Eastern Illinois University earlier this year, faculty members with annually renewed contracts got word they might be let go this fall semester. One of those 17 faculty members let go, EIU  journalism instructor Dan Hagen, says he was dismissed just two weeks before classes started.  We talked with Hagen about his experience and what he thinks it means for the state of higher education in Illinois.

Teen pregnancy rates are going down in Illinois and across the nation because teens are having less sex, and when they do, they’re using contraception more often. The reasons behind these changes in behavior are harder to pinpoint.  

This week, we’re revisiting an Illinois Issues interview with House Speaker Michael Madigan from 1988. In the interview, Madigan talked about his views on taxation and its relationship to Illinois’ business climate, many of the same topics that are in play today.

The most recent attempt at changing the way legislative districts are drawn might have had a shot — had only the proposal left the auditor general out of the equation. 

A law going into effect next month will ban zero-tolerance policies in schools and turn suspension and expulsion into disciplinary options of last resort. Districts throughout the state are taking different approaches to prepare for the changes.

flickr/ Pal-Kristian Hamre

The governor describes the stopgap budget as a bridge to reform. But it could also be called an excavator — digging the state’s fiscal hole deeper.

Black Lives Matter Champaign-Urbana

Black Lives Matter is one of the largest activist movements since the civil rights era of the 1960s. The organization has garnered more attention in recent weeks due to protests over the fatal police shootings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. Meanwhile, attacks on police and the presidential election have shifted the conversation since Black Lives Matter got its start in 2012 after the death of Trayvon Martin. 

The Phoenix Center

The state has some of the most aggressive protections for transgender people in the country, but the issue still generates controversy here.

Illinois, with its expansive decade-old anti-discrimination law, is one of the most progressive states in the country when it comes to transgender rights, but even in this state there has been a noisy response to rapidly evolving national and local policies on the issue.

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