This week, same-sex marriage legislation signed into law, the prospects for resolving the state pension crisis in a December special session, and gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner's success in raising campaign funds.
Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner continues to rake in major contributions since he lifted Illinois' new campaign finance cap last week. While Rauner's opponents are freed from caps as well, he's the been the only one to get such major, and immediate, benefit.
State filings from yesterday (11/21) afternoon show Illinois' richest man, Ken Griffin, pitching in $250,000 to Rauner's campaign.
It's the second time this week Rauner received a donation worth a quarter of a million dollars.
Illinois unions are planning an intensive lobbying push in opposition to a developing plan to deal with the state's $100 billion pension crisis.
The ``We are One Coalition'' represents the state's major employee unions. The group sent an email to members about ``emergency call-in days'' next week and Dec. 2-3.
Members are being asked to call and visit lawmakers' offices and urge them to vote against pension bills that don't have union support. Legislative leaders are meeting Thursday to firm up a plan that could save close to $150 million over 30 years.
Minutes after Gov. Pat Quinn made gay marriage legal in Illinois, the Roman Catholic bishop of Springfield began a prayer service in response. Tuesday's service was formally called a prayer of “exorcism.” But the ceremony was more subdued than that dramatic word might suggest.
Illinois is now the 16th state to allow same-sex marriage. Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill into law Wednesday in Chicago that makes the state the largest in the Midwest to legalize gay weddings. The law takes effect in June when county clerks can begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Illinois allowed civil unions in 2011, but it was a bumpy road to same-sex marriage in President Barack Obama's home state.
The bank JPMorgan Chase will pay Illinois' pension funds $100 million under a national settlement announced Tuesday. The payment is a result of the bank's misconduct leading up to the Great Recession.
Like a lot of investors in the last decade, Illinois' pension funds had a good chunk of change in mortgage-backed securities. Once the housing market collapsed and homeowners began defaulting, the value of those securities collapsed, too.
(AP) A fire chief says a blaze in a building that houses an Illinois state lawmaker's southwestern Illinois office is considered suspicious.
Edwardsville Fire Chief Rick Welle says no injuries resulted from Monday night's fire that damaged Rep. Dwight Kay's office.
The building also included an insurance site, consulting agencies and counseling services. Welle said it's unclear if any of the offices was specifically targeted, but that investigators haven't ruled out arson.
Illinois State Police and the state fire marshal's office are investigating.
State officials say victims of yesterday's (Nov. 17) storms should take extra care in documenting their material losses. Illinois learned the hard way why that can be important.
About two years ago, seven people died in the tornadoes that rocked Harrisburg, in deep southern Illinois. And yet the state was denied a request for federal assistance. That meant home and business owners could not get federal loans, grants and other aide.
Illinois took another step Friday toward allowing hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The state has published draft rules on the controversial oil and gas extraction process, and it's looking for comments from the public.
Back in the spring, lawmakers touted Illinois' fracking law as the toughest in the country. It was the product of long negotiations between environmentalists and business groups.
The director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is to resign after a cancer diagnosis. Gov. Pat Quinn announced Friday afternoon that Richard Calica would leave the post. Calica's chief of staff
Denise Gonzales is to serve as the agency's acting director.
Calica has held the post since December 2011. He said in a statement that working for the agency has been ``the most exciting and rewarding time of my career in child welfare.''
The Roman Catholic Bishop of Springfield plans a special prayer service the day same-sex marriage is to be signed into law. He says it's "scandalous" that so many Catholic politicians supported the legislation.
Gov. Pat Quinn is planning a big public ceremony to sign the same-sex marriage bill next Wednesday (Nov. 20) in Chicago.
Although same-sex marriage will soon be law in Illinois, the issue could remain a factor in the 2014 elections.
For most Democrats — especially those in and around Chicago — same-sex marriage is a winning political issue with core voters.
It's a lot tricker for Republicans. A majority of conservatives are opposed to legal same-sex marriage, but in a Democratic-leaning state like Illinois, Republicans need to win votes from independents, too.
A Republican candidate for governor is once again calling for Illinois to change the way it manages major facilities, like prisons and developmental centers. That includes how the state closes such facilities.
State Treasurer Dan Rutherford says past attempts to close prisons and other big state institutions have been haphazard. He says this has been going on for years, back at least to the administrations of former governors Ryan and Blagojevich. But it's still happening, as with this year's closure of the women's prison in Dwight.
Sheila Simon will wrap up her term as Lieutenant Governor in just over a year. The Democrat and daughter of late U.S. Senator Paul Simon is taking on another challenge. She's running for Illinois Comptroller. That means Simon faces incumbent Republican Judy Baar Topinka. The attacks are already underway.
Topinka questions Simon's interest in the job, saying she only chose to run for this office after earlier plans to try for Attorney General were scuttled when Lisa Madigan chose to stay put.
Former Chicago schools CEO Paul Vallas says he'll have no trouble playing ``second fiddle'' to Gov. Pat Quinn as his 2014 running mate.
Vallas and Quinn appeared together Tuesday for the first time since the governor announced last week that Vallas was his pick for lieutenant governor. Vallas sought the 2002 Democratic nomination for Illinois governor but lost to now-imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
(AP)-Republican Sen. Mark Kirk says he won't endorse any candidate in Illinois' GOP gubernatorial primary. However, Kirk gave some advice. He contends the only way Republicans will take control of the governor's mansion is to be moderate on social issues.
Kirk said that includes accepting same-sex marriage is legal in Illinois. Kirk said he backs same-sex marriage and applauds the General Assembly for making it legal last week. Kirk made the assertion Monday, following a Veterans Day ceremony at Buffalo Grove High School outside Chicago.
House Speaker Michael Madigan talks with reporters about pension prospects in May, at the end of the spring legislative session -- as the year nears an end, the General Assembly has yet to pass an overhaul of the state's retirement systems. A recent measure approved to cut a local pension system's costs could be a legal test case, though. It could also be a framework for Chicago's other underfunded retirement funds.
Another legislative session has gone by without a solution in place to bring down the amount Illinois owes the state's retirement systems. Given the clamoring from the governor, business leaders and credit rating agencies for lawmakers to do something about it, legislators mentioned relatively little about pensions before adjourning from their fall veto session last week ... which may well be a sign that something is afoot; there's talk of legislators returning before the year's end to deal with pensions.
An Illinois appellate court has ruled for county sheriffs who seek to restore salary cuts imposed by state lawmakers.
The Quad City Times reports (http://bit.ly/1eFaJcq) the 5th District Appellate Court overturned a Franklin County judge's dismissal of a complaint that Gov. Pat Quinn and the General Assembly failed to budget the full amount of a state stipend.
Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno, of Lemont, says the General Assembly's two top Democrats and Republicans are meeting on pensions; she says it's easier to reach a consensus with fewer people at the table.
Overhauling Illinois' pension systems is no longer in the hands of the special committee of legislators that met all summer. How to reduce the state’s $100 billion of long-term pension debt is now in the hands of the General Assembly's four leaders.
All summer long, state employees and retirees concerned about their retirement benefits had their eyes on a bipartisan conference committee, but insiders say even the key panel members are no longer part of discussions.
Governor Pat Quinn has finally named his running mate. It's a once-notable Illinois politician who's been out-of-state for the past decade.
It was widely assumed that Quinn, like his Republican opponents, would choose a woman, a minority, or someone from downstate - to be his candidate for lieutenant governor. Conventional, political wisdom says that would have been his ticket to winning over a new voting bloc.