Statehouse

Barack Obama outside the Old State Capitol
Pool photo by Justin L. Fowler / The State Journal-Register

On a freezing February day in 2007, President Barack Obama announced his bid for the nation's highest office in front of the Old State Capitol in downtown Springfield -- the place where Abraham Lincoln gave his historic "House Divided" speech. At the time, Obama called for hope and change.

Nine years later -- to the very day -- Obama came back to Springfield. In his last year as president, he says he believes in the "politics of hope."

The themes of Obama's speech yesterday echoed what he'd said nine years ago, back when his hair hadn't yet gone gray.

Air Force One
Pool photo by Justin L. Fowler / The State Journal-Register

Click the image to launch a slideshow of White House pool photographs by Justin L. Fowler of The State Journal-Register and Terrence Antonio James of the Chicago Tribune.

Barack Obama
Pool photo by Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune

President Barack Obama addressed a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly Wednesday. As expected, he talked about improving American politics. What follows is Illinois Public Radio's broadcast of the full speech, hosted by Niala Boodhoo with reporting and analysis from IPR's Amanda Vinicky and Brian Mackeyand former state Sen. Rick Winkel, who's with the University of Illinois' Institute of Government and Public Affairs. There's also video of the speech and a transcript provided by the White House press office.

Barack Obama
Pool photo by Justin L. Fowler / The State Journal-Register

President Barack Obama returned to the Illinois State Capitol Wednesday. In the building where his political career began, he spoke to lawmakers about reaching across the bitter divide in American politics.

npr.org

Nine years after he came to Springfield to announce he was running for President, Barack Obama will return to the state capitol Wednesday. He'll address Illinois representatives and senators at the statehouse.

Obama will be only the fourth sitting president to speak before a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly. President William Howard Taft did it in 1911, Herbert Hoover in 1933, then Jimmy Carter in 1978.

Obama campaign announcement
courtesy Brian Mackey

President Barack Obama is set to address the Illinois General Assembly in Springfield Wednesday. Statehouse reporter Brian Mackey filed this preview of what the president is expected to say — and what he probably won’t say.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources said it has reached an agreement with the governor's office to reopen the state museum by charging admission and closing three branches to save money. 

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner wants to reduce the state's prison population by twenty-five percent in the next 10 years. But the state's budget impasse is putting ex-offenders at greater risk of returning to prison.

Lawmakers Consider Giving Obama A State Holiday

Feb 8, 2016
President Barack Obama
The White House

As the president prepares to visit the state capitol and speak to lawmakers, some in Illinois are wanting to designate a holiday in his honor.

Governor Bruce Rauner issued an amendatory veto Friday on legislation that would reopen the Illinois State Museum- if it gets private funding.

With the state budget impasse ongoing, lack of money continues to affect Illinois colleges and universities as well as Chicago Public Schools.  Chris Mooney, director of the University of Illinois' Institute of Government and Public Affairs, joins the panel.

WVIK

Money keeps state government going.  From services to employee paychecks.  So, how does the State of Illinois function when it's piling up more bills than it can cover?   

WUIS

The fate of the Illinois State Museum could be decided in the next couple of days. The museum closed to the public last October as a cost-saving measure as the budget stalemate dragged on.

New Illinois Law On Human Trafficking Takes Effect

Feb 4, 2016

Human trafficking knows no boundaries. It can include people from foreign countries as well as U.S. citizens.

flickr/ rabiem22

Commentary — Might we be seeing light at the end of the tunnel? Or is it the headlamps of the ongoing train wreck that is Illinois, picking up speed? Such questions came to mind listening to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s State of the State address last week.

WUIS

Governor Bruce Rauner says action he has taken without the General Assembly will help the state attract businesses and jobs. 

WIU students demonstrating.
Rich Egger / Tri States Public Radio

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner said the state can fund higher education if it changes how it buys products and services. He said changes could save Ilinois taxpayers around a half a billion dollars a year, but procurement reform wouldn't cover all of the state's higher education spending.

Amanda Vinicky

The Illinois State Board of Elections decided Monday in favor of three presidential candidates, but the decision could be appealed to a circuit court.

Electronic cigarettes don't contain tobacco, but the vaporized solution users inhale does contain nicotine.

Sen. Julie Morrison, a Democrat from Deerfield, says she doesn't consider them safe.

Morrison says she'd kept stories about young people "openly and blatantly using these products publicly, because there was no reason they shouldn't. There was nothing in law that prevented them from doing that.”

Morrison is sponsor of a new law, signed Friday, that she says closes a loophole.

WIU students demonstrating.
Rich Egger / Tri States Public Radio

The Illinois Senate President is encouraging Governor Bruce Rauner to rethink his priorities on student aid legislation, but the governor was quick to repeat his promise of a veto.

Senate President John Cullerton says he'll hold onto legislation for a couple of weeks, to give the governor time to "cool off," then he'll send it to Rauner for action.

In a statement, Cullerton urges Rauner to "not act rashly, but in the best interest of students, their futures, and the future of Illinois."

Congressman Rodney Davis (Facebook page)

Military police from Illinois' National Guard will soon be in Afghanistan; they'll do security there for much of this year.

Per tradition, Lt. Col. Michael Hough reads the mobilization order: 233rd Military Police Company, ordered to Active Duty in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel, Afghanistan," sending some 30 soldiers on a mission, first to Texas for training, then to Afghanistan.

"We all enlisted at a time of war; this is what we enlisted to do," said one of them, Sgt. Michael Johnson, the team medic, is Sgt. Michael Johnson.

Illinois Issues

Illinois’ longest-serving state Senate president died Friday. He was 78.

Philip Rock, a Democrat from Oak Park who had once given serious consideration to running for governor against Jim Thompson, took his seat in the Senate in 1971 and was elected to lead it in 1979. 

Illinois Issues/WUIS

Next month, President Barack Obama will return to the place where his political career began -- Springfield, Illinois -- to address state legislators.


Governor Bruce Rauner gave his second annual State of the State address before a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly this week.  Doug Finke of the State Journal-Register joins the panel.

College of DuPage

College campuses (and the politics behind them) are taking center stage in Springfield's festering stalemate.

After seven months without funding, the Illinois legislature Thursday passed a bill to pay for tuition waivers for low-income college students. It would also send money to community colleges, but it's doubtful the political wrangling over this issue is finished. Illinois has gone nearly eight months without a budget.

Gov. Bruce Rauner says he wants to get the state out of legal agreements called consent decrees. The deals are a big part of the reason the government is still operating without a budget; they also impact the lives of thousands of Illinois residents. But unless you are affected by one, you've probably never heard of them. 

Amanda Vinicky

Roughly one year ago, Gov. Bruce Rauner stood before lawmakers and unveiled his so-called "turnaround agenda." He didn't use that phrase this time around. But Wednesday, the governor used his state-of-the-state address to continue fighting for his stalled vision. Rauner has spent months berating Democrats for failing to get on board. Not this time. He gave a more conciliatory message, and talked about "mutual respect." That wasn't enough for some of his critics, who don't trust the governor, or his change in tone.


ilga.gov

House Speaker Michael Madigan says he's open to considering a new pension overhaul and is ``anxious'' to see legislation. 

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