Illinois Legislature

Illinois' budget, and Gov. Bruce Rauner's influence on it, will be examined by a special legislative committee. The powerful House Speaker announced its creation today.

It's either a sign of a contentious budget battle, or an early attempt at reaching a compromise.

Thousands of state employees are a step closer to receiving money they've been waiting on since 2011.

The Illinois House approved spending the approximately $63 million it'll take to pay workers raises they were guaranteed in their contracts, but which the state refused to hand over.

Republican Bruce Rauner has signed a temporary budget fix -- his first law since becoming governor earlier this year. 

Illinois' budget has a $1.6 billion dollar gap --- the result of a spending plan Democrats passed in the spring; some had hoped then for a post-election tax increase that never came to fruition.

Democratic Senator Heather Steans of Chicago says this will fill that gap.

The Illinois House on Tuesday voted to patch a 1.6-billion-dollar hole in the current state budget.

  The budget was supposed to get Illinois through June, but already the state's running out of money for things like court reporters and prison guards. That’s in part because Democrats passed an incomplete budget last year — not wanting to raise taxes or cut spending.

Now Democrats and Republicans — including Gov. Bruce Rauner — say they’ve found a solution. But it continues to mostly avoid that difficult choice.

State lawmakers approved a budget that relies on a higher income tax rate.

But Governor Bruce Rauner won the office on a platform of lower taxes.

Now - Illinois faces an immediate $1.6 billion dollar budget hole.

Rauner says lawmakers are talking about sweeping funds from some programs into more “essential” ones.

"But they’re arguing among themselves what’s non-essential."

Rauner has said for weeks that he’s close to resolving the issue with legislative leaders.

The Illinois Supreme Court has opened its doors for a special evening session tonight. The justices want Gov. Bruce Rauner and other legislators to meet and watch as they hear a case. 

Chief Justice Rita Garman says in a news release that she wants to give lawmakers a window into the system's essential checks and balances. 

Rauner's office announced that he will attend the session, beginning at 6:20 p.m.

College Presidents Fight Possible Funding Cuts

Mar 13, 2015
Mark and Allegra Jaroski-Biava
Flickr Creative Commons

Presidents of three public universities appeared before lawmakers to make their case on why their schools shouldn’t have to endure a 31% state funding cut, as Republican Governor Bruce Rauner has proposed.

The many years legislators spent crafting a measure to rein in the state's pension costs came to a head yesterday in 52-and-a-half minute hearing before the Illinois Supreme Court. It's now up to the seven justices whether a law that reduces employees' and retirees' benefits is constitutional.

Even before then-Gov. Pat Quinn signed the pension overhaul into law just over a year ago, everyone knew it would come to this.

T.J. Carson

The Illinois House recently approved a resolution that would require rest area vending machines to provide at least three healthy food options for every ten offered. It defined healthy option as snacks that are 220 calories or less.

The resolution also calls for two of the healthy options to come from Illinois.

A legal battle over union fees is brewing, between Illinois Republican governor and Democratic Attorney General.

Illinois' Attorney General says Gov. Bruce Rauner had no authority to bring a fight over union dues to federal court. She's trying to dismiss the case.

Republican Gov. Rauner is trying to get rid of so-called "fair share" dues on two fronts: he's ordered state agencies to stop collecting them, and he's suing in federal court to toss out the underlying state law that requires them.

A lawmaker says children of public university employees should not receive a tuition break.

Currently, students can get half of their tuition paid for by the state if one of their parents works at a public university. Rep. Jack Franks, a Democrat from Marengo, says he wants to make college more affordable for everyone, but higher education budget cuts make the tuition waivers impossible to maintain.

The Budget Address from Bruce Rauner

Feb 18, 2015
Brian Mackey

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner delivered a half-hour budget address to state lawmakers Wednesday.

The State of the State Speech from Bruce Rauner

Feb 4, 2015

Here is the text of Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s State of the State speech, delivered during the noon hour Wednesday in Springfield:

Today marks a new beginning for Illinois. 

And a new partnership between the General Assembly and the governor. 

Last November, voters made it clear they want bipartisan government. They want a government where people come together to solve problems and get things done. 

They don’t want partisan bickering, political infighting or personal conflict to get in the way of serving the needs of the families of Illinois. 

Illinois General Assembly

Counseling that tries to change a person's sexual orientation can cause depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior, according to reports from psychologists.

(Scott Stantis)

This week's inauguration of Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner marks a change in leadership for lawmakers and employees at state agencies. But it's also a big transition for people who will deal with the new governor in a very different capacity over the next four years: political cartoonists.

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