Statehouse

LinkedIn

Illinois appears to be headed toward a second year without a budget plan in place after clashes at the capitol Friday. Many legislators are returning to their districts for a short break, but they'll be back Sunday afternoon.

Republican legislators made a commotion about the need to stay in Springfield all weekend long ahead of Tuesday's deadline to get a budget passed.

And in fact, top-ranking lawmakers from both parties will keep meeting at the capitol.

Governor Bruce Rauner's budget director Tim Nuding says a deal is close.

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / N

Illinois' top lawmakers say budget talks are on the verge of collapse with the deadline for next year's budget just four days away.

With just days remaining before the scheduled end of the spring legislative session, Democrats and Republicans appear far apart on a state budget and the governor's agenda. Will Illinois enter a second year without a spending plan?

On Wednesday, tempers at the capitol flared; but Thursday the legislature's top Republicans shifted toward an optimistic stance on the budget situation.

Dusty Rhodes / WUIS

The Illinois House passed a measure Thursday to removes sales tax on feminine hygiene products sold in the state.

Sarah Mueller WUIS

A measure legalizing fantasy sports in Illinois has stalled in committee. A House representative says she saw an email suggesting donations for votes.

afscme31.org

Members of Illinois' largest public employee union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said they're disappointed legislators Wednesday failed to override Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto of legislation that could have had big consequences for their next contract.

flickr: Matt Turner

A potential new state budget barely passed the Illinois House last night,  but Governor Bruce Rauner is already signaling a veto.

Ounce of Prevention

  The number of social service groups suing Illinois is growing. Eighteen agencies are joining a lawsuit against the state to get paid -- since they haven't received $130 million due to the budget impasse. One of the latest groups to sue is notable because of who's in charge.

flickr/dnak

Soon after taking office, Gov. Bruce Rauner set a goal of  cutting Illinois' prison population by a quarter over the next decade. But the current budget crisis has cut off funding for programs that could be key to meeting his target.  

Statehouse exit sign
Brian Mackey/WUIS

Sean Crawford talks to Tim Landis of The State Journal-Register about the latest census numbers, and Brian Mackey interviews economist Natalie Davila and tax policy consultant Mike Klemens about their unique analysis of migration in and out of Illinois.

Amanda Vinicky / Michael Madigan

An attempt to reach a deal on Governor Bruce Rauner's pro-business, anti-labor demands isn't working out for House Democrats, who are set to go it alone on a new state budget. That's the takeaway from a meeting between Rauner and the legislative leaders Wednesday morning.

Republicans -- led by Rauner -- say they won't increase taxes to balance the budget until they get fundamental economic changes.

To that end, bipartisan groups of legislators have been meeting in private on the governor's agenda.

Amanda Vinicky

Unionized state employees worried about stalled contract talks could learn Wedneday whether there's hope for a work-around.

Last week, thousands of union members rallied in Springfield. They asked legislators to override Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto of a bill that would change how the state negotiates with labor. Wednesday they may see if it worked.

Democratic Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch says he plans to call the measure for a vote.

WUIS

The end of the month -- and a major deadline for getting a state budget passed -- is getting ever closer.

Gov. Bruce Rauner is standing firm. He says he'll agree to raising taxes, if Democrats agree with his pro-business, union-weakening agenda.

Lawmakers continue to negotiate those items in private.

Representative Dan Brady, a Republican from Bloomington, is part of the talks.

He says the issues are "tender."

Just who can use what bathroom has garnered headlines across the country. Illinois senators are calling for a ban on unnecessary government travel to two states with bathroom laws targeting transgender individuals.

Sarah Mueller WUIS

The group that wants Illinois to change the way it draws legislative boundaries has met another milestone to get the issue on the November ballot.

pumpkin pie
Jeff Hawkins / Flickr.com/hawkinsmultimedia

Gov. Bruce Rauner has lately been critical of efforts to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, saying it’s not “what matters” in Illinois government. Our reporter has been closely following the governor’s overall efforts to improve Illinois’ criminal justice system, and was struck by Rauner’s comments on pot. So he decided to talk to someone who can explain how decriminalization fits into that broader effort.

Legislative Checklist

May 23, 2016
Chamber
Flickr user: Matt Turner

As the regular spring legislative session nears an end, lawmakers will be pushing to get their bills to the governor’s desk. You can keep track of proposals of note with the Legislative Checklist. 

capitol
Hannah Meisel/WUIS

Illinois' top political leaders remain divided. There are only eight days left for them to reach a budget deal.

It's crunch time for the General Assembly.

Amanda Vinicky

It's been a year since the state Supreme Court found Illinois' big pension law unconstitutional, and an attempt to get a new law passed is stalled.

Lawmakers' goal is to reduce the state's expenses for its vastly underfunded pensions.

The court says it's illegal to do it by reducing an employees' retirement benefits.

Senate President John Cullerton and Governor Bruce Rauner think they have a way around that.

ilga.gov

A Springfield State Representative says he's not overly optimistic a full budget deal can be agreed to before the scheduled end of the legislature's spring session May 31.

Republican Tim Butler says 11 months into the budget impasse, some of the same obstacles remain.

flickr/dborman

There's no reason for the governor to further hold up partial funding for social services. That's the message from the Speaker of the Illinois House.

Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice / Kewanee

Even as Illinois loses a youth prison, it's gaining an adult correctional facility.

Illinois' Department of Juvenile Justice is going forward with plans to close the Illinois Youth Center at Kewanee.

Director Candice Jones said recruiting staff was difficult and national practices favor smaller regional facilities.  Plus, she'd said, most of the juvenile offenders sent there were from Cook County; it's better to house them nearer family.  

Kewanee's closer to Iowa than to Chicago.

Most adult prisoners come from Cook County and the surrounding area too.

npr.org

Illinois workers get an added bonus once they retire: They don't have to pay taxes on pension or Social Security checks. It's one possible change the state could look to as it hunts for more money.

Illinois is a rare state that taxes income on a regular paycheck, but not on retirement.

Fiscal experts like the non-partisan Civic Federation say as Illinois' population ages, and there are more seniors, the government will increasingly lose out on a source of revenue.

Thousands of union members rallied against Gov. Bruce Rauner's pro-business, anti-union agenda, and the legislative leaders met with the governor. But is Illinois any closer to ending the historic budget standoff? (Spoiler alert: No.)

Wikimedia Commons/user: Bogdan

Republican Governor Bruce Rauner is open to decriminalizing marijuana.

Rauner has a goal of reforming the criminal justice system. One way to do that, advocates say: issuing civil penalties for low-level drug charges.

ILGA.gov

Auditor General Frank Mautino is under federal investigation, according to a statement from his spokesman.

The spokesman says Mautino is cooperating with the U.S. Attorney's office. He says because it's ongoing, he cannot comment further.

It comes in response to a report in the Illinois Times that Mautino's former campaign workers have been subpoenaed.

Subpoenas don't always lead to charges.

Sarah Mueller WUIS

Illinois is banking more than $600 million in debt through a little known program that helps state vendors get paid faster. Most of that is health insurance costs, but some is for information technology upgrades. But, while some businesses are benefiting from this program, others are not.

Logan Correctional Center
Google Maps

  A federal judge has approved the settlement in a lawsuit over the treatment of Illinois’ mentally ill prisoners.

Without admitting wrongdoing, Department of Corrections Director John Baldwin says his agency is building four new mental health units, hiring more staff, and changing its policies on solitary confinement.

Amanda Vinicky

Unions members flooded streets in front of the Illinois Statehouse to protest Governor Bruce Rauner's agenda, and what they say are his anti-labor policies.

Union workers marched to the capitol for a rally, where they were briefly joined by a pair of prominent Democrats: House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton.

There was a time (in recent memory) that the labor movement wasn't all too fond of Madigan. Though he's a Democrat, he helped pass bills cutting government worker pension benefits, and he's backed corporate tax breaks.

Pages