Wikimedia Commons

Families with babies, from birth until they're three years old, are eligible for state assistance to help their children learn and grow. It's called early intervention. But without a budget, Illinois stopped paying the therapists who provide these services. Now, the comptroller and the governor's administration says they've come up with a way to pay again, even though Illinois still has no budget in place.

When Tamiko Schaefer's baby Daniel was about six months old, she started noticing something.

Tom Davidson / Creative Commons via

The Donald's stance on immigration has kept him atop the polls, but it presents dangers for Republicans in a state with a growing Latino electorate.

Judge Orders State To Pay For Seniors' Home Care

Sep 16, 2015

A federal judge has ordered the State of Illinois to fund Medicaid services for seniors living at home rather than at a nursing facility during the budget impasse.

Cindy Cunningham is with two providers who asked the court to force payments.

She says Wednesday's order will help caretakers who have taken out personal loans to keep their companies afloat.

"We’ve been without payments since July. Our houses are on the line. Our businesses are on the line," she said.

  Suspended payments for early intervention services will resume, even though Illinois still has no budget. 

Early intervention is just that -- therapists intervening in disabled children's lives when they're infants or toddlers.

Chicagoan Naomi Shapiro's 8-month old has a genetic disorder.

"He received physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, hearing therapy and soon he'll start developmental therapy," she says.

Therapy she says has little Leor Braun smiling, and responding to his own name.


Public employee and retiree health care benefits may be the next casualty of the state budget impasse.

Amanda Vinicky

Illinois' junior, Republican Senator Mark Kirk -- opposes the nuclear deal with Iran. But the state's senior U.S. Senator Democrat Dick Durbin, has been key in sheparding it through Congress. That's provided grist for the D.C. rumor mill.

  A survey of homeless shelters shows 90 percent of them are denying services because they're getting no state funding during a political feud.  

Policy director for Housing Action Illinois Bob Palmer says most agencies are spending down reserves, borrowing money and using furloughs in hopes the gridlock will break soon; in other cases, such as a shelter in Olney, they've closed down completely.

Amanda Vinicky

It's been years since the last long-term federal transportation program. But with Congress back in session Tuesday, Illinois' senior U-S Senator is making a push for it to get done by the end of the month.

Federal transportation projects have been stuck in stop and go traffic.

Lawmakers pass a temporary authorization, allowing construction to move ahead until the red-light of a deadline; then another temporary measure, another stop … and go ... and stop ... and go.

Illinois repealed capital punishment in 2011. Four years and scores of horrific crimes later, a state legislator wants to bring it back. 

Sen. Bill Haine. D-Alton, was against Illinois' abolishing capital punishment a few years ago, in 2011; after all, he's a former Madison County prosecutor. Haine says since then, times have changed that have only buttressed his position. 

This week, House Speaker Michael Madigan chastised two of his Democratic members after a failed attempt to override Governor Bruce Rauner's veto of a union bill.  Mike Riopell of the (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald joins the panel this week.

Chelsea Laliberte
Brian Mackey / WUIS

Illinois now has a law meant to address what's been called an epidemic of heroin abuse in the state. But it did not come easily.

Lawmakers spent more than a year holding hearings and negotiating over how best to address the state's heroin problem.

construction zone
dmitri_66 /

Illinois residents may be aware of the state’s budget deficit and the severe underfunding of its public pension systems. But a new report from the University of Illinois’ Institute of Government and Public Affairs identifies the state’s future infrastructure funding needs as a so-called third deficient.

Illinois Issues: Urban Flooding

Sep 10, 2015
Center for Neighborhood Technology

Heavier rainfalls and sprawling development have left outdated sewers struggling to keep water out of streets, businesses and homes. 

Illinois Lottery

With Illinois Lottery suing the state over unpaid prizes, Democrats in the Illinois Senate have a plan to address the problem. 

Amanda Vinicky

The U.S. Supreme Court will not get the last word on Illinois’ attempts to cut government pension costs; a 2013 pension law is dead, for good. There'd been a slim possibility the law would have another big day in court.

Brian Mackey/WUIS

Comptroller Leslie Munger says Illinois' unpaid bills backlog could potentially jump past $8 billion by next year without a state budget. 


Illinois’ lack of budget is threatening rape crisis services,  program that helps women get screened for cervical cancer and the public health network. Senators meeting at the capitol Wednesday heard details of these and other woes. 

There's been a mumps outbreak at the University of Illinois, and measles are back, too.

“The reemergence of STDs – HIV.  The globalization of travel certainly puts these once-thought eradicated diseases back on our doorstep," says administrator of McLean County’s health department Walter Howe. 


Illinois' transportation chief has delivered a tough review of the state's capacity to solve problems, saying it's planning ``for yesterday's transportation system.''  

Randy Blankenhorn has served as the secretary of the Illinois Department of Transportation for seven months.  

He gave a speech in Chicago Wednesday that cited traffic congestion and sluggish movement of freight as examples of Illinois being too focused on the condition of state roads and bridges. He said the state is failing to look at the bigger picture.  

Despite House Speaker Michael Madigan's confidence that Democrats had enough votes to override Governor Bruce Rauner's veto of union contract arbitration legislation, he was one vote short.  The Governor and legislative leaders apparently haven't met in weeks and Illinois is no closer to any kind of agreement on a budget.  Meanwhile, in Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is talking about raising property taxes.  Crain's Chicago Business' Greg Hinz joins the panel.

Michael Madigan
Brian Mackey / WUIS

You might think that with the state of Illinois’ finances in flames, the top legislative leaders would be in constant meetings with the governor. You might think they were working around the clock to hammer out a compromise. You might think that, but you would be wrong.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has appointed a new commander of the Illinois Air National Guard.  

Brig. Gen. Ronald E. Paul of Springfield will serve as assistant adjutant general upon the retirement of Maj. Gen. William Cobetto of Hillsboro.

The post commands about 3,000 members of the Air National Guard under Illinois National Guard Adjutant General Richard Hayes.  

Rauner says Paul has led airmen for 27 years in operations around the world. He says he has shown leadership ability and skill in building partnerships.  

Photograph by Yoshiko Dart / Access Living

Twenty-five years after the landmark federal law, people with disabilities in Illinois still have trouble getting hired.

Access Living

In July, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill calling for language that would create respectful references to people with disabilities throughout state law.

Illinois House floor
Brian Mackey / WUIS

Gov.Bruce Rauner declared victory Wednesday in a key battle against government labor unions and the Democratic Party.

AFSCME and other state employee unions have had a rough time in contract negotiations with the Rauner administration. So they backed legislation that would let an arbitrator decide the contract if the union and governor couldn't come to an agreement.

The governor vetoed that legislation, and Democrats in the House tried — and failed — to override him.

Rep. Lou Lang
Brian Mackey / WUIS

The Illinois House has overruled Governor Bruce Rauner over how to address heroin addiction in the state.

Lawmakers spent more than a year working on a big anti-heroin initiative. It passed with both Democratic and Republican support, but Rauner vetoed a provision to expand treatment for low-income addicts.

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin was among the bipartisan group of lawmakers who voted to overrule the governor's changes.

Dru! /

Former Illinois Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon has written a paper on what's often regarded as one of the least important offices in Illinois politics. "A Warm Bucket of What? Assessing the Role of Lieutenant Governor in Illinois" was published by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS

A government labor union says it's “positive” the Illinois House will side with it over Gov. Bruce Rauner. A key vote on on whether to override Rauner's veto of a union-backed bill is expected Wednesday.

Pat Quinn and Bruce Rauner
Illinois Public Broadcasting

The Governor filed  a police report on his predecessor over a military sketch display.    The bad blood between Bruce Rauner and Pat Quinn continued past the election.  Bill Wheelhouse talks with Kerry Lester of the Daily Herald about a state police investigation into a missing tribute to vets.

Amanda Vinicky / WUIS / Illinois Issues

A credit analyst with Moody's says Illinois' bond rating will remain unchanged, despite the state entering its third month without a budget. But the chances of a downgrade increase the longer gridlock continues.

Illinois has the nations' lowest credit rating -- a grade that symbolizes its fiscal troubles, and adds to them; a lower score makes it costlier to borrow.

But the rating won't drop any further just yet.

Lisa Ryan

If you've been meaning to visit the Illinois State Museum in Springfield, the Dickson Mounds archeological site, or museum shops in Lockport and Chicago, you have one month left to do it.