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.
Illinois students could get a day off of school come election day. Schools are often at the heart of a community, metaphorically, if not literally. That's part of the reason they've long been voting sites.
But with shootings at schools across the country, some lawmakers are concerned the practice is dangerous.
Most of the time visitors need to sign in before entering a school; they say allowing anyone in on election day is asking for trouble.
Illinois gun owners who've been denied a concealed carry permit can appeal. But instead of going through the courts, Illinois' Attorney General wants a state panel to decide those cases.
There are about 200 concealed carry denials before Illinois courts, brought by people who say they shouldn't have been deemed dangerous or a threat to public safety by Illinois' Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board.
Until recently, applicants didn't actually know why they were rejected.
Governor Pat Quinn's troubled anti-violence program will be in the spotlight today (7/16) when a bipartisan legislative commission meets in Chicago.
It's not yet clear how lawmakers will proceed, given that the federal government wants them to put a hold on their investigation until mid-October, just before the November election, when Quinn will face Republican Bruce Rauner.
Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown says that's what Quinn's campaign wants.
Heavy rains have led to flooding all across the Midwest in recent days: in Iowa, Illinois, and in the small town of Clarksville, Missouri, which sits on the Mississippi River. That river is expected to reach its crest there Wednesday, and residents hope the walls they’ve built to keep out the water will hold. Especially because this time, they had to build those walls themselves.
Ask a Clarksville resident how long they’ve lived there, and the answer is usually given in the context of a flood.
Governor Pat Quinn and his Republican challenger, Bruce Rauner, disagree about plenty -- everything from gun rights and restrictions, to what Illinois' income tax should be. But with Friday's ruling by a Cook County judge knocking a term limits initiative off the ballot, the candidates have something in common.
Though there has been a lot of turnover in the General Assembly in recent years, some politicians have been serving in Springfield for decades.
Chief among them House Speaker Michael Madigan, who has been a state representative since 1971.