All four of the Republican candidates for governor have said they will make education funding a priority if elected, but they face an uphill battle finding the money to send to schools. Each of the contenders has an unique solution for fixing education funding in Illinois.
First, some background: Illinois is ranked last in the nation when it comes to how much the state kicks in to public education.
When state treasurer Dan Rutherford announced a run for governor, the Republican left his seat wide open. Two GOP candidates are vying for that party’s nomination on Tuesday.
Former House minority leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) left his position in the fall to run for treasurer. He's promising to use a new tool to force a balanced budget: The threat of suing the General Assembly and the governor.
Cross says having that card in his back pocket will make sure the state doesn’t spend more than it takes in, like the state's constitution mandates.
The name “lawmaker” implies someone who helps pass laws. But some who serve in the role are critical of that part of the job description. Lee Strubinger looks at why they say there are too many laws on the books.
Every year when the Illinois General Assembly goes in to session, a regular drumbeat of new proposals are debated. They deal with topics from crime, to regulation and even seemingly innocuous measures to honor someone or something.
More than 600 new laws were signed in the last year alone.
The Republican contenders for governor are facing questions about their roles in a five-year-old admissions scandal at the University of Illinois.
The scandal involved some politicians using clout to get students enrolled. State Treasurer Dan Rutherford and state Sen. Kirk Dillard have acknowledged their names are on the list the University of Illinois maintained of lawmakers who called to check on applications. They were asked about it at a televised debate last week.
Illinois had long been the holdout: a state without any limits on campaign contributions. Prosecutors say former Governor Rod Blagojevich took full advantage of that freedom, as he solicited donations in exchange for favors and state jobs. His arrest spurred lawmakers into action.
An appellate court in Chicago says transcripts of FBI wiretaps not played at Rod Blagojevich's corruption trials will remain sealed.
The 7th U.S. Court of Appeals is still mulling its decision on the imprisoned former Illinois governor's request to toss his convictions.
Appellate courts typically unseal documents submitted as part of an appeal. But prosecutors later asked that the transcripts submitted to the appeals court not entered into evidence at the trials remain under seal. Blagojevich's attorneys wanted them opened.
A plan that could lead to Illinois changing its student loan repayment programs is moving through the General Assembly. The new method would let students pay back loans based on their income, instead of a set schedule.
The model is a European one, often used in the U.K. and Australia, says sponsor Jack Franks (D-Marengo). Franks says he wants to prevent college grads from being shackled to large debt payments.
Currently, students have to begin making steady payment shortly after they graduate, whether or not they've found a job, and regardless of how much that job pays.
As Illinois gun owners increasingly are allowed to carry their firearms as they go about their daily lives -- a new poll shows half of Illinois voters feel less safe. Qualifying gun-owners began receiving their licenses to carry loaded firearms earlier this month.
Calls to institute term limits in Illinois have gained traction in the race for governor, helped along by a well-funded campaign that seeks to limit how long politicians can serve in the state legislature. A freshman Congressman says he supports the effort ... but only to a degree.
Congressman Rodney Davis (IL-13) says he has not yet signed the petition that calls for limiting members of the Illinois General Assembly to eight year terms. But he says that he would.
Davis, a Republican from Taylorville, says he also backs term limits for Congress, at least in concept.
Illinois' economy has been topic A among the men seeking the Republican nomination for governor. Getting far less attention are social issues like abortion and same-sex marriage. For a party whose rough primaries have often been compared to “circular firing squads,” the lack of focus on the topic is unusual. Brian Mackey looks at what’s behind the social silence.
State Sen. Kirk Dillard, from Hinsdale, can tell you exactly how close he came to winning the Republican gubernatorial primary four years ago.
A scathing audit of an anti-violence program launched by Gov. Pat Quinn in 2010 has been sent to law enforcement authorities.
Republican lawmakers released a letter Friday from Auditor General William Holland. It indicated the audit of Quinn's $55 million ``Neighborhood Recovery Initiative'' went to James Lewis, U.S. attorney for the central district of Illinois, and Ricardo Meza, the state's executive inspector general. The legislators had asked Holland to forward his findings.
The Republican race is heating up as the March 18 election nears, but Gov. Pat Quinn faces only nominal primary opposition. He's likely safe for now, but a new poll shows Quinn could have trouble holding onto his seat come the general election.
"The Walking Dread." That's the headline "We Ask America" used on its website to announce the results of its latest Illinois poll, a brief survey of just over 1,100 likely Democratic voters. As in, probable members of Quinn's own party.
A fifth lawsuit has been filed by state employees challenging Illinois' new pension law. The lawsuit from current and former employees at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and Parkland Community College was filed in Champaign County Circuit Court Thursday.
It says the legislation passed by the General Assembly in December violates several provisions of the state constitution, which says retirement benefits should not be diminished or impaired and private property should not be ``taken or damaged for public use.''
With less than two weeks until the primary election, Bruce Rauner will no longer be the only candidate airing self-promotional T-V ads in Illinois. Senator Kirk Dillard is airing campaign commercials of his own.
The commercials Bruce Rauner has been airing for months, thanks mostly to the more than $6 million dollars he's put into his campaign, have helped him surge ahead in polls for the GOP race for governor.
Republican candidate for governor Kirk Dillard has picked up the endorsement of the the state's largest government-employee union. But with less than two weeks until the election, Brian Mackey asks if it's too little, too late.
Dillard's endorsement from AFSCME comes after front runner Bruce Rauner has been blanketing the state with television ads for months.
Rauner has been pounding a message that he'll fight so-called "government union bosses." He says state employees bargaining for salaries and benefits is "corrupt" and "immoral," and one of Illinois' biggest problems.
Low-income children in Illinois are getting better healthcare coverage. But a new study says racial and socioeconomic disparities still exist. Voices for Illinois Children, the advocacy group behind the research, says its number one obstacle is state funding.
The group cites the expansion of Medicaid — the state's health program for low-income individuals — as having the single biggest impact on the well-being of kids in poverty.
Republicans (and some Democrats) in the General Assembly say Medicaid spending is unsustainable, and needs to be rolled back.
The Republican candidates for Illinois governor are arguing about pension reform and the state's finances in the second-to-last debate ahead of the March 18 primary.
State Sens. Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard, businessman Bruce Rauner and Treasurer Dan Rutherford attended the debate Wednesday hosted by WGN-TV and the Chicago Tribune.
Brady is the only one who supported a recent pension overhaul that cuts benefits for state workers and retirees. Dillard voted against it, which has been the reason that several unions have endorsed him.
Gun rights activists from across Illinois were in Springfield Wednesday, asking lawmakers to ease restrictions on where they're allowed to carry concealed weapons.
"Gun-free zones are killing zones," the crowd chanted in the Capitol rotunda. Hundreds of advocates marched to the Statehouse to rally for their Second Amendment rights. Among them was Sharon Mausey of Crab Orchard, in far southern Illinois. She says receiving her concealed carry license on Tuesday was a long-awaited dream come true.
Illinois' primary election is less than two weeks away. The four men seeking the Republican nomination for governor agree on a lot of topics. But there is an issue in which one of the candidates has distinguished himself: government-employee unions. Brian Mackey takes us inside the debate over whether government workers ought to be able to negotiate over their jobs.
You don’t have to spend a lot of time listening to investor Bruce Rauner to know where he stands on public-sector unions. The disdain drips from a three word phrase he uses again and again and again:
The Democratic and Republican leaders of the Illinois House are taking opposing views on whether Illinois should promise taxpayer money to try and lure President Barack Obama's library and museum to Chicago.
The head of Illinois' Democratic Party, Michael Madigan, wants Illinois to spend $100 million dollars on a Presidential Library and Museum for Barack Obama.
It's up to Obama to choose where it'll be located.
Moving to a new state is never easy, especially when you’re a school-aged kid. But for military families who move more frequently than most, laws in Illinois create a unique challenge — and, in some cases, a barrier to entry.
Think back to the last time you were ‘the new kid.’ Maybe it was freshman year of college, or when you started a new job or even joined a book club.
Now multiply that ‘new kid’ experience by three and factor in how awkward grade school is … and you might be a little closer to knowing what it’s like to be a military kid.
There are 90 aging coal-ash pits in Illinois — piles of slag left behind when coal is burned for energy. Now coal-ash residue is starting to show up in the water supply. Environmental groups are asking for tougher state regulations.
The Sierra Club of Illinois and the Prairie Rivers Network are among a number of environmental groups lobbying the state to hold energy suppliers accountable for coal-ash pollution.
As more baby-boomers retire, Illinois is increasingly missing out on a revenue source. Of the 41 states with an income tax, Illinois is one of only three that exempt all pension income.
A new report from the Chicago-based Civic Federation says Illinois needs to take a longer-term approach to budgeting; one that is rooted less in politics, and more in reality. Most notably. the group recommends Illinois extend its current income tax rate for a year before gradually rolling it back.
The Illinois Supreme Court has ordered that four lawsuits challenging Illinois' new pension reform law be consolidated.
The March 3 order transfers the case filed by a group of retired teachers in Cook County Circuit Court to Sangamon County Circuit Court, where the three other cases were filed.
The court says all of the cases will be heard together in Springfield. Each of the groups' lawsuits share the common claim that the new pension reform plan violates the state constitution, which says benefits may not be diminished or impaired.