Illinois House

T.J. Carson

One of western Illinois’ state lawmakers said this year's budget stalemate in Springfield is one of the longest and most frustrating budget battles he’s seen.

The Illinois House has voted to undo a series of cuts in the state's program of health care for the poor. Backers of the change say the cuts have come with a significant cost.

 Two years ago, Democrats and Republicans agreed to massive reductions in the Medicaid program, with savings estimated at greater than $2 billion. Now Democrats say some of those cuts are costing more than they're worth.

Illinois General Assembly website

Illinois lawmakers continue to wrestle with the state's soaring pension costs. 

The General Assembly is set to adjourn May 31, yet at this time it's still unclear which -- if any -- of the various proposals to reduce pension costs will pass. 

Unions are fighting efforts that would reduce benefits for state workers, university employees, and public school teachers.

But many lawmakers, including House Speaker Michael Madigan, say an overhaul is necessary.  They point to Illinois' $83 billion unfunded pension liability that continues to grow. 

An Illinois Senate panel is supporting legislation (HB 3810) that would end a perk that lets legislators hand out free tuition at state universities.

The House has voted to get rid of the scandal-plagued program three years running. But previous attempts have been blocked by Senate Democrats -- until now.

Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno said problems with the scholarships are well-documented.

An Illinois House education panel okayed a plan that would change math standards for middle and high school students.

The measure was developed by Democratic Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon. It would require the State Board of Education to develop a curriculum that includes an extra year of math in high schools. Currently only three years are required by the state, though many schools already require four years.

Simon has visited each of the state's 48 community colleges and said she repeatedly heard students lacked math skills.