Bruce Rauner

Brian Mackey / WUIS

As we get ready to welcome 2016, we thought we’d take a few minutes to listen back to what’s been a difficult year in Illinois government and politics. There was an epic fight between Democrats and Republicans in Springfield, disgrace for two Illinois Congressmen, and a reckoning over violence in Chicago.

Money is still being raised to help run the Illinois State Museum in Springfield - even though its doors have been closed to the public for three months. A not-for-profit that deals with grants and private donations continues to solicit, sending out pleas for donations in the mail.

  Even with all of its fiscal troubles Illinois will have to put nearly $8 billion into its retirement systems next year -- that's a quarter of the state's expected revenue. Legislative leaders and the governor may finally be poised to begin talking about how they may be able to reduce costs.

Rich Egger

Money can now be released in Illinois to local governments and community organizations that have been waiting for state funding since July. The Senate was in Springfield briefly Monday to approve the funding; within hours the governor had signed the plan into law.

Gov. Bruce Rauner spoke in public Wednesday for the first time since Tuesday's big summit with legislative leaders.

With Illinois in its sixth month without a budget, the state's top political leaders met Tuesday in Springfield. It was the first time they'd all gotten together in months. We asked Brian Mackey to tell us whether anything was accomplished.

Illinois is in uncharted territory. It'll soon hit its sixth month without a budget. 

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democrats who dominate the legislature continue to spar about what Illinois' future should look like. Rauner wants to rein in unions; Democrats say that's akin to bolstering business tycoons at the expense of the middle class.

How long can it go on?

The number of Illinois inmates released on parole has increased as lawmakers look to reduce the prison population.

But funding to help parolees stay out of trouble has dropped dramatically because of the state budget crisis.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports the number of parolees has grown 14 percent in the past four years, to more than 28,000.

Another set of unions have reached contract deals with Gov. Bruce Rauner. Amanda Vinicky looks at whether it's really a sign the Republican isn't quite as anti-union as his critics allege.

A press release from Rauner's office proclaims he's agreed to terms on new collective bargaining agreements with electrical workers, boilermakers, bricklayers and painters, covering some 500 employees.

Thousands of Illinois families who lost access to state-subsidized child care this summer are once again eligible.

Governor Bruce Rauner rolled back the program drastically in July, which helps low-income working parents afford daycare. Lawmakers were set to reverse the cuts last week, but Rauner agreed to a deal instead.

Senator Toi Hutchinson helped to negotiate with the governor.

Illinois is one of 24 states closing its borders to Syrian refugees in wake of the terrorist attacks in France last Friday. It's unclear whether this move is legal under federal law.

In a statement, Gov. Bruce Rauner announced the state will "temporarily suspend" accepting Syrian refugees, citing safety and security concerns after the Islamic State group killed and injured hundreds of people in the Paris attacks.

Governor Bruce Rauner has named a longtime Republican state representative -- Raymond Poe of Springfield -- to head the state's agriculture department. 


Illinois' Governor and the four legislative leaders won't meet in Springfield this week after all; the gathering has been postponed until next month.

Illinois has gone four and a half months without a budget. It's gone even longer -- five and a half months -- since the governor and leaders of the legislature have all gotten together to talk about it; the last time that happened was at the end of May. They're scheduled to finally come together next week, on Wed., Nov. 18 But the meeting's particulars have themselves become a subject of controversy.

A month and a half after the Illinois State Museum shut its doors to visitors, lawmakers Tuesday passed a measure that could lead to its reopening.

The Illinois State Museum and its affiliated sites shut their doors to visitors at the end of September. Advocates have mourned the loss of the Springfield-based museum, which also hosts researchers and preserves millions of artifacts, from mastodon skeletons to Native American relics.

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