Hannah Meisel

Hannah covers state government and politics for WUIS and Illinois Public Radio while working toward a master's degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield.

She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she was managing editor for online at The Daily Illini. Hannah has also worked for NPR in Washington, D.C. 

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Eavesdropping Law
7:48 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Lawmakers Work To Replace Illinois' Eavesdropping Law

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 5:10 pm

  Since the Illinois Supreme Court struck down the state's eavesdropping law in March, it's been legal to record audio of someone without asking permission. But legislators are working on a replacement.

The Supreme Court found the old law overly broad. It was a crime even to record in public, where people shouldn't really have an expectation of privacy. Because of that, Illinois' law was considered one of the strictest in the nation.

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Illinois' State Fair
9:13 am
Tue July 1, 2014

State Fair Officials: Can't Follow State Law Due To Budget Cuts

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 11:52 am

  Illinois' two state fairs did not comply with the law last year, according to a recent state audit -- and budget realities mean that'll happen again this summer.

The audit found that both the fairs in Springfield and DuQuoin overcharged entrance fees for horses.

But the Department of Agriculture says it's a consequence of the state contributing 200-thousand dollars $200,000 less toward the purse.

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Illinois Pension Overhaul Lawsuit
6:48 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Pension Decision Will Wait Until At Least December

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 10:41 am

  It could be December before a judge decides on the legality of Illinois' pension overhaul law for at least another five months. Attorneys met Thursday in Sangamon County Court and agreed on a timeline for the case.

Current and retired state employees, teachers and university workers are suing Gov. Pat Quinn over the pension overhaul passed by the General Assembly late last year.

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Pensions
6:43 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Teacher Pension Fund Lowers Expected Investment Return; State's Obligation To Grow

Originally published on Wed June 25, 2014 11:03 am

  The Illinois Teachers' Retirement System says it expects a lower return on its pension investments in the next year. That means the state will have to cover more of the cost of teacher pensions.

TRS says it's still a good assumed rate of investment return at 7.5 percent. That falls in line with similar pension systems nationwide. But it's not as profitable as 8-percent, which TRS had been using for the previous few years.

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Illinois Legislature
7:12 am
Mon June 2, 2014

Interfund Borrowing No One's First Choice For Budgeting

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 10:48 am

  The budget passed by the Illinois General Assembly does not rely on extending the 2011 income tax hike, as originally planned by Democratic leadership. Instead, it's based on state government borrowing from itself.

Instead of making the five percent income tax rate permanent or chopping away at government programs, lawmakers opted to fill a massive hole in state revenues by doing something called "interfund borrowing."

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Illinois Legislature
7:28 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Cullerton, Madigan Come To Budget Agreement, Will Revisit Revenue After Election

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 7:43 pm

  Illinois Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) says he's come to an agreement on state spending with the speaker of the Illinois House. But Cullerton is leaving the door open for an income tax hike after the November election.

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Education
6:41 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Senate Approves School Funding Overhaul

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 12:33 am

  The Illinois Senate has passed a plan to overhaul the way schools are funded. But the proposal has a long way to go before becoming law.

After months of negotiations and with just four days left on the General Assembly's spring calendar, the measure was deemed "ready for primetime." The plan would direct state funding to more impoverished schools and divert funding from schools in wealthier areas.

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Illinois Legislature
10:08 am
Tue May 27, 2014

Bipartisan Support For Earned Income Tax Credit, But Budget Stands In Way

Originally published on Mon May 26, 2014 4:55 pm

  With less than a week remaining in the Illinois General Assembly's spring session, advocates are still working to double the state's tax credit for the working poor.

Advocates say the Earned Income Tax Credit is more effective at lifting people out of poverty than welfare or raising the minimum wage.

More than 900,000 Illinois workers receive the state's version of the EITC, which is currently worth 10 percent of the federal version of the credit.

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Illinois Legislature
2:42 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Rauner Files Term Limit Petition

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner presents his term limit petition in Springfield on Wednesday.

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 5:47 pm

Gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner is in Springfield today, filing his term limit initiative after months of collecting signatures. But the plan still has to survive an expected court challenge.

Weighing 1,000 lbs, the nearly-70,000 pages of term limit petitions had to be wheeled onto a semi trailer to be driven to the State Board of Elections.

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