WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Amanda Vinicky

Illinois Statehouse Bureau Chief

Ways to Connect

Talks between Illinois' leaders have come to a halt, even as an end-of-year budget deadline approaches. Former Governor Jim Edgar says that's a mistake -- Illinois needs a budget.

Edgar says Illinois economy will suffer for years as a direct result of the stalemate.

"The damage is ... the worst damage I've seen. I mean ever the bad years of Blagojevich and the image he gave of Illinois, I don't think has done anything as much damage as we've seen," he said Monday on the Illinois Public Media show "The 21st."

Illinois makes it easier than other states to register to vote, but do residents take advantage of the state's laws?

Illinois residents who don't have much of an excuse for not casting a ballot.

Wallet Hub's Jill Gonzalez looked at whether states offer early voting, no-excuse absentee voting, online voter registration and election-day registration.

"Illinois is 4 for 4 for each of those voter accessibility policies," Gonzalez said. That puts Illinois at the top of states when it comes to voter accessibility.

The top candidates for Illinois comptroller squared off last night in a televised debate and interview on Chicago's WTTW.

Incumbent Republican Leslie Munger was appointed to the post by Governor Bruce Rauner.  Her Democratic opponent, Chicago City Clerk Susanna Mendoza, says Munger is controlled by the wealthy governor. 

Illinois makes it tough for new party and independent candidates to run for office, especially when compared with the petition rules for Democratic and Republican candidates, but even a leading established party politician says the requirements are too tough.

A new poll from Southern Illinois University's Paul Simon Public Policy Institute had surprising results for environmentalists. 

He may be the state's highest-ranking Republican, but Gov. Bruce Rauner Thursday continued to be cagey about where he stands on Donald Trump.

Rauner has been asked about Trump by reporters time and time again. He usually answers something like "I'm not going to talk about politics, per se, or the Presidential election. I've made my statements clear."

But actually not all that clear.

Rauner in May said he would back his party's nominee; at the time Trump hadn't locked up the nomination, but he was close.

Low-income university students had until early March this year to fill out a form that allowed them to take advantage of Illinois' primary financial aid program.

Incoming and continuing college students can't wait that long if they hope to receive a "MAP grant" for the next school year.

That form, known as the FAFSA (short for the Free Application For Federal Student Aid) came out early this year, at the start of October, Which means the deadline has moved up for everyone.

There's another reason to get the forms in quickly.

Rich Egger

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign surged in part because of his tuition-free college platform. Now one of Sanders' backers --- State Representative Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago) -- is bringing that plan to Illinois.

It's a rare occurrence of late: A credit rating agency saying something positive about Illinois' finances. But the comment published Tuesday by Moody's Investor Service was tempered.

Illinois could end up having to put an additional half billion dollars into one of its pension funds next year.

As the name suggests, the Teachers Retirement System is the retirement benefits fund for all Illinois public school teachers outside of Chicago.

The candidates vying to be Illinois comptroller are at odds over whether the office should even continue to exist.

Anxious legislators will once again see a deposit from the state of Illinois in their bank accounts. They’re getting paid Tuesday for the first time since July, when their April paychecks came through.

As supporters of automatic voter registration are set to hold a press conference Monday morning, Gov. Bruce Rauner is defending his veto of a plan that would have made it a reality in Illinois.

A rising star in the Illinois G-O-P is stepping down to become a lobbyist.

Since he was elected in 2006, Senator Matt Murphy of Palatine has been an articulate, vocal critic of how Democrats run Springfield; he’s one of the Republicans’ top negotiators on the budget and pensions.

Come next month, it’ll be his job to cozy up to his former peers as a contract lobbyist with Mac Strategies Group, a public relations firm based in Chicago. 

A would-be state holiday passed last week without notice in Illinois. But supporters are hoping it will be recognized in the future.

Beyonce, George Lucas, and Magic Johnson were among the stars on the guest list for President Barack Obama's White House 55th birthday party (Obama's former chief of staff, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, scored an invite too).

A would-be state holiday passed last week without notice in Illinois. But supporters are hoping it will be recognized in the future.

Beyonce, George Lucas, and Magic Johnson were among the stars on the guest list for President Barack Obama's White House 55th birthday party (Obama's former chief of staff, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, scored an invite too).

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan's failed primary opponent is suing over what he says amounts to defamation.

Leading up to the March primary, Madigan made a campaign issue of Jason Gonzales's past criminal record --- crimes for which Gonzales had been pardoned, by former Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn.

A Downers Grove doctor and a pregnancy center in Rockford are suing to overturn Illinois' newly updated right-of-conscience law.

Right of conscience laws come into play at the crossroads of medical providers' obligations and their personal beliefs.

The governor just signed a law updating Illinois' statute.

No doctor is required to perform an abortion, but a doctor -- even one with moral or faith-based opposition to the practice -- is required to refer a patient to a doctor who will.

Illinois' partial budget is too little and too late to make up for projected investment losses.

Protests by “Bernie or Bust” delegates to the Democratic National Convention last week put a lot of attention on dissension within the party, but a top Illinois Democrat has a different take.

 As Chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois, House Speaker Michael Madigan ran the show for Illinois’ delegation last week at the Democratic National Convention.

Madigan took some time before the convention wrapped up to sit down in Philadelphia with Illinois Public Radio Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky and WBBM radio's Craig Dellimore.

While leading Democrats were in Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention last week … Republican Governor Bruce Rauner was holding press conferences exalting term limits.

Last night Hillary Clinton - a woman born and raised in the Chicago suburbs – accepted Democrats’ nomination for President.

In roughly 100 days, voters will decide whether she or Republican Donald Trump will be the next president. Which means it’s the beginning of the end for President Barack Obama.

Illinois was right up front throughout the convention.

Literally.

Hillary Clinton was born in Chicago in 1947, and raised in the suburbs. Sixty-eight years later, she’s making history as the first woman to be nominated for President by a major party.

Following, a handful ladies in Illinois’ delegation reflect on Clinton’s candidacy and on what it’s like to be a woman in politics.

For the first time … a major party has nominated a woman for President. Hillary Clinton officially became Democrats’ nominee Tuesday night at the party’s national convention in Philadelphia.

State delegations to the convention took turns casting their votes.

When  it wasw Illinois' turn, party chairman Michael Madigan got things started by introducing the with a nod to its Democratic heavyweights, like President Barack Obama. Then Madigan passed off the microphone to Bernie Sanders’ state director Clem Balanoff.

Illinois Democrats joined fellow party members in Philadelphia Monday for the Democratic National Convention. But state politics, not the national scene, was the focus of the delegation’s first official day of business.

The GOP has been talking for years about the need to do more minority outreach: Illinois leaders like former Governor Jim Edgar said at the Republican National Convention in 2008 that it should be a goal,and the Republican National Committee's autopsy of the 2012 election prescribed a dedicated campaign to cultivate black, Hispanics and Asian support. Here's a diversity check, through the prism of Illinois' 2016 delegation to the Republican National Convention, in Cleveland.


Donald Trump is now the Republican nominee for President, after delegates last night in Cleveland awarded him their votes. For some Illinois Republicans, it’s a time for vindication and celebration. But others remain wary.

Illinois Republican leaders are trying to show a united front, and to build a bridge between two islands: that of party mainstays and Donald Trump-invigorated newcomers.

A key player in the attempt to supplant Donald Trump as the Republican nominee for president says the fight is over for good.

Leading up to the Republican National Convention, Pat Brady was actively working to change the party’s rules, so that someone other than Trump could grab the nomination. Just a few years ago, he was chair of the Illinois GOP; he says Trump isn't a Republican when it comes to the party’s core issues, like free trade, national defense and economics.

Monday night's headline speech at the Republican National Convention by Donald Trump’s wife was supposed to exhibit the presumptive Republican nominee’s compassionate, fatherly side. Instead, it’s been a distraction, including for the Illinois delegation.

The political strategist who helped Trump take Illinois’ primary stopped by the morning state delegation breakfast, but reporters didn’t want to talk to him how Trump could win the general election.

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