Bruce Rauner

Rich Egger

A coalition of education, labor, and non-profit organizations is urging the governor and legislative leaders to cut the cost of higher education for students by providing more funding for its colleges and universities.

Brian Mackey

Some 36,000 state employees in Illinois are represented by AFSCME, which is the state's largest public employee union. The organization has been negotiating a new contract with the state, but the union said Friday that Governor Bruce Rauner has walked away from contract talks.

A total of 23 Illinois counties are under state disaster status due to flooding. Gov. Bruce Rauner added 11 to that list Tuesday.

WUIS

The chances of Illinois state leaders approving a budget are now better thanks to a quirk in state law.

Come Friday,  when the New Year begins, 237 new laws will be in effect in Illinois – about half of those that passed during Gov. Bruce Rauner’s first term. But the state is still without a budget as Rauner and lawmakers fight over a handful more.

Black legislators say Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner hasn’t done enough in the wake of the release of police shootings of LaQuan McDonald and other African Americans.

When asked by reporters, Gov. Rauner said he cried after watching the 2014 video of black Chicago teenager LaQuan McDonald getting shot 16 times by a city cop.

“That video — shocking, terrifying. I cried for the young man who was brutally shot," he said.

In recent days officers responding to a call killed two other black Chicagoans.

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.

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