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Illinois Legislature

Rich Egger

State Representative Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) gathered supporters outside the McDonough County Courthouse on a gray and chilly November morning.  Macomb Mayor Mike Inman stood alongside local Republican leaders including County Board Chair Scott Schwerer and Sheriff Rick VanBrooker. The crowd applauded as Hammond delivered the news they came to hear.

The Illinois House dealt a series of rebukes to Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday, as Republicans joined Democrats to override nearly a dozen of the governor’s vetoes.

The Illinois House is advancing legislation to ban “bump stocks.” The devices gained national prominence this month, when they were reportedly used by the Las Vegas shooter.

Illinois’ new school funding plan — approved in August and hailed as a historic change — relies on the legislature to give every school the same state aid it got last year, plus push another $350 million through a new formula. That $350 million is crucial because it’s the part designed to address the inequity that has plagued Illinois schools for decades.

 

State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, a Democrat from Shorewood, wants to make sure lawmakers don't skip that step.

After the first day of a special session on education, Democratic lawmakers and the Republican Governor Bruce Rauner appear no closer to resolving the dispute that could hold up money for school districts. Rauner continues to demand Democrats send him the funding plan so he can change it and remove additional money for Chicago teacher pensions.

Springfield’s top political leaders are continuing to meet in private as the clock runs down on Illinois’ budget year.

The Illinois General Assembly was back in Springfield Wednesday for the first of 10 special sessions on the budget and other priorities of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Brian Mackey (file photo)

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner called lawmakers back to Springfield for the rest of the month for special sessions focused on the state budget.  The sessions begin Wednesday, and the Republican governor delivered a brief address on the eve of the legislature's return:

The Illinois General Assembly ended its annual legislative session Wednesday night without agreeing on a state budget.

Top Democrats and Republicans blamed each other, reflecting the main political divide in Springfield that has played out over the two yearlong budget impasse. But this spring's budget failure exposed an additional set of fault lines -- among Democrats.

Rich Egger

State Senator John Sullivan (D-Rushville) smiled broadly as he strode into the Tri States Public Radio studios for an interview on Friday, January 6. He's clearly at ease with his decision to step down from the Legislature after 14 years.

Anxious legislators will once again see a deposit from the state of Illinois in their bank accounts. They’re getting paid Tuesday for the first time since July, when their April paychecks came through.

Rich Egger

Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas said the state's stop-gap spending measure helped the university for the fall semester, but he cautioned it's not designed to get any of the state's public universities through the entire fiscal year. 

A would-be state holiday passed last week without notice in Illinois. But supporters are hoping it will be recognized in the future.

Beyonce, George Lucas, and Magic Johnson were among the stars on the guest list for President Barack Obama's White House 55th birthday party (Obama's former chief of staff, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, scored an invite too).

A number of Illinois politicians continue to push the issue of of term limits.

 As Chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois, House Speaker Michael Madigan ran the show for Illinois’ delegation last week at the Democratic National Convention.

Madigan took some time before the convention wrapped up to sit down in Philadelphia with Illinois Public Radio Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky and WBBM radio's Craig Dellimore.

A referendum that would have asked voters to change Illinois' redistricting process was rejected by an Illinois court Wednesday. However, members of the group Independent Maps said they will appeal to the state supreme court.

Illinois legislators haven’t been paid in months, but that’s about to change.

Illinois lawmakers are on the verge of passing a state budget, though only a partial one. Thursday is the final day of the 2016 fiscal year.

The plan is for lawmakers to vote on an agreement the governor and the General Assembly's leaders apparently worked out in hours of private meetings yesterday. 

Illinois lawmakers are expected to vote on a short-term budget on Wednesday, when they'll be back in Springfield for the first time in a month. There's no budget plan in place for the new fiscal year that starts Friday, which could create even more disarray after a year-long stalemate.

Though political fighting at the statehouse and the lack of a complete budget meant it was haphazard, municipalities got much of their state funding this year. But Illinois is set to begin a new fiscal year Friday with no spending plan in place. That has local officials worried.

Mahomet Village President Sean Widener says it's a matter of stability.

New Illinois Legislation Meant to Help Sexual Assault Victims

Jun 27, 2016

Senate Bill 3096 was recently sent to Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner for his signature. This bill is meant to improve the response to sexual assault crimes and encourage more victims of sexual assault to come forward. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan supports this legislation.

Gov. Bruce Rauner marked the end of the legislative session with a blistering attack on Democratic legislators. He then embarked on an eight-city tour — mostly downstate — where he continued his critique.

One of Rauner’s main messages is that Democrats are holding the state budget “hostage” in order to get their way. I thought that accusation of political ill-will had a familiar ring, so I decided to take a closer look at the governor’s communication strategy.

The Illinois legislature adjourned last night with no budget for education -- at any level.

Illinois' budget crisis will continue, unabated. The regular, spring session came to an end Tuesday night, without any resolution to the stalemate that has the state entering its twelfth month without a complete spending plan. There's no plan for next year, either.

Illinois could be heading into a second year without a budget. Lawmakers are beginning their final day of the regularly-scheduled spring session without a deal.

Fantasy Sports Proposal Appears To Have Stalled

May 30, 2016

A measure that would legalize fantasy sports in Illinois is dead for the remainder of the spring legislative session. 

Plan Would Give More Freedom To Student Journalists

Apr 12, 2016

Illinois representatives are debating how much freedom high school journalists should have to criticize their school district's administration.  But state educators and local school districts say they worry about being held responsible for what their schools publish.

Illinois lawmakers are moving to make it easier for transgender individuals to change the gender marker on a fundamental document: their birth certificates. Democrats on a House committee approved the legislation Tuesday on a partisan vote of 8 to 6.

Alexandria Dinardo, who was born and raised in Springfield, was born male; that's what Dinardo's birth certificate still says.

By the end of next week, Illinois will have gone a full nine months without a budget. And yet, the state's top politicians still aren't talking. The governor and the four legislative leaders went all of June through November without meeting, before finally getting together a couple of times just before the end of 2015. They didn't continue into the new year.


Gardeners would lose a weapon against insects under a measure recently introduced in the Illinois legislature.

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