The underfunding of the state's pensions have grabbed headlines the past several years, and finally reached the political tipping point late last year when legislators passed an overhaul of the systems.
College students are back on campus and classes are underway. Parents at some Illinois schools have extra assurance their kids will be safe when they're at school.
Universities and colleges are often ranked, making "best of" lists for one program or the other.
But only a couple in Illinois have achieved the designation of becoming a "Ready to Respond" campus -- a title given by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency after the school has met criteria, like developing a violence prevention plan and going through training exercises.
They no longer had to do it through campaign commercials. Gov. Pat Quinn and his Republican opponent Bruce Rauner faced one another in a joint interview before the Chicago Tribune's Editorial Board Tuesday.
Even though Illinois' general election is months away, a controversial ballot question could be answered by the end of this week. Friday is the deadline for a term limits initiative to make it on the ballot.
Republican's nominee for governor, Bruce Rauner, has made instituting term limits for legislators a central plank of his campaign.
That would require a constitutional amendment. Rauner funded an effort to collected a half million signatures, so that the question could go before voters this fall.
With summer coming to an end, and the November election getting ever closer, Gov. Pat Quinn and other Illinois Democrats gathered Wednesday in Springfield, for an annual party meeting and rally. But Thursday, Republicans had their day. The GOP hopes it'll be their year.
There's no "normal" way to get to the area on the Illinois State Fairgrounds where Republicans had their gathering.
Even as states like Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin are known as political battlegrounds and bellwethers, Illinois has the reputation for being a solid "blue" state. Illinois sends double as many Democrats to Washington as it does Congressional Republicans. The state legislature tips heavily in favor of Democrats, who hold veto-proof majorities. And it has been more than a decade since a Republican last sat in Illinois' governor's seat.
Amtrak ridership in Illinois has risen in recent years; it's up almost 85 percent from 2006 through last year. That trend developed after the rail service added routes. The train service could grow more in the future.
In 2006, lines branching out from Chicago that went to Carbondale, Quincy and St. Louis added trips.