Statehouse

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  Even with all of its fiscal troubles Illinois will have to put nearly $8 billion into its retirement systems next year -- that's a quarter of the state's expected revenue. Legislative leaders and the governor may finally be poised to begin talking about how they may be able to reduce costs.

During a speech in Chicago this week, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan was asked about the prospects for new taxes, while Governor Bruce Rauner said that he expects the budget stalemate to continue into the spring.   Despite the budget impasse, an agreement was made to send some money owed to Illinois municipalities, as well as to the lottery and Secretary of State.  Matt Dietrich of RebootIllinois.com joins the panel.

Will Clayton

The Illinois Constitution turns 45 on December 15. As the document reaches its birthday, Charlie Wheeler looks at the ways it modernized government. 

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Years of mismanagement led to the state’s current fiscal crisis. A recent report from the University of Illinois’ Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA) suggests changes to the budgeting process that could help prevent future disasters. 

AFSCME Council 31

The state's largest public employee union remains at odds with Governor Rauner's administration on a new contract.  

A year ago, Illinois' income tax rate fell by 25-percent. The top Democrat in the Illinois House is suggesting it go back up.

Voice of America News: Henry Ridgwell from the Turkish border by Aleppo

Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, is denouncing recent anti-Muslim statements from his party's front-runner for president, but he's sticking to his position on Syrian refugees, and he's even taking it a step further.

Rauner described Donald Trump's call for a ban on Muslims entering the U.S. as "an extreme action."

"What he's proposing is just fundamentally counter to American values," Rauner said Tuesday in response to reporters' questions. "I strongly, strongly disagree with candidate Trump."

police cars
flickr.com/appleswitch (Creative Commons)

  So far, it seems no police officers have been disciplined for helping conceal the circumstances under which Chicago teenager Laquan McDonald was killed. Because of that, a group of black lawmakers say Illinois should consider licensing police.

Illinois Lottery

The Illinois Lottery will resume paying out big prizes, thanks to a partial budget just signed into law. But that won't be enough to end a class-action lawsuit.

The jackpot's been out of reach, even for Lottery players lucky enough to win $600 or more. Illinois suspended paying larger prizes; without a budget, it didn't have the legal authority.

When you get your drivers' license renewed, chances are you're going to a building that the state doesn't own; it leases. Due to the budget impasse, Illinois hasn't paid its rent checks, electric or water bills since July.

Dave Druker, with the Secretary of State, says while most have been patient, one landlord was close to kicking the state out, and a utility sent a shutoff notice.

"You know these are folks that are in business. And they've honorably entered into contracts with us -- leases, and we hope that they can be paid as soon as possible," Druker said.

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Money can now be released to local governments and community organizations that have been waiting for state funding since July. The Senate was in Springfield briefly Monday to approve the funding; within hours the governor had signed the plan into law.

An ideological, political feud between the governor and the Democrats who control Illinois' legislature has left the state without a budget.

But they've reach a minor agreement. Republicans had previously been against piecemeal budgets, but Governor Bruce Rauner says he was concerned about public safety.

Illinois Municipal League

Illinois Senators are poised to approve sending some $2 billion to local governments, money that thus far has been caught in the political fight between Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and legislative Democrats.

The funding will send 911 fees to the call centers, give municipalities their share of proceeds from video gaming and allow localities to pay for road salt.

WUIS

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says a budget deal could take a while longer. 

Rodger Heaton
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

On episode 16 of the State of the State podcast, a commission working on an overhaul of Illinois’ criminal justice system has approved its first set of recommendations.

ilga.gov

The new Republican state representative for the Springfield area says she won't always agree with the governor.  

After more than six months, Illinois' governor met with the four top legislative leaders to discuss the state's budget impasse. No progress was made, but all agreed to meet again someday soon. Mark Brown of the Chicago Sun-Times joins the panel.

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner spoke in public Wednesday for the first time since Tuesday's big summit with legislative leaders.

Courtesy of ILGA.gov

Illinois still has no full budget, but local governments, 911 call centers and the state lottery could soon get money.

Some legislators may have done it begrudgingly, but Democrats and Republicans alike voted for a measure that spends $3 billion.

It'll also pay for road salt, send money to domestic violence shelters, and cover police training. It seems to be a U-turn for Republicans, who've previously opposed such "piecemeal" budgeting.

Il House Republicans

Illinois' newest state legislator has been sworn in.

Michael Madigan
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

With Illinois in its sixth month without a budget, the state's top political leaders met Tuesday in Springfield. It was the first time they'd all gotten together in months. We asked Brian Mackey to tell us whether anything was accomplished.

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Even with Illinois' ongoing budget stalemate, it wasn't until a coalition of good government groups called for a meeting between Gov. Bruce Rauner and all four legislative leaders that they agreed to get together.

Susan Garrett chairs one of those groups, the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.

She says she's pleased with the result of Tuesday's summit.

Voice of America News: Henry Ridgwell from the Turkish border by Aleppo

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is rebuffing a bid by the White House to assuage concerns over Syrian refugees.

Rauner's one of some 30 governors nationwide who've said no to taking in people fleeing war-ravaged Syria. Rauner, a Republican, cited security concerns following the terror attacks in Paris. "What matters is a coordinated, cooperative, highly communicative effort at a national scale to protect the people of America against terrorists," he said in November.

WUIS

Gov. Bruce Rauner closed the public portion of Tuesday's budget summit with a forceful plea to take on what he says are the root causes of Illinois' financial woes. 

The State Legislative Leaders Foundation

A group of human service providers is calling on lawmakers and Gov. Bruce Rauner to not only pass a budget for the current fiscal year, but also approve a plan for next fiscal year. 

The release of a police video documenting the fatal shooting of a black teen by a white Chicago police officer – more than a year after the incident – has led to murder charges, protests, accusations of a cover-up, and questions about political interference with the original investigation.  Also, Monday marks the candidate petition filing deadline for the March primary elections.  WBEZ's Tony Arnold joins the panel this week.

Rep. Lou Lang
Brian Mackey / WUIS

A federal lawsuit is seeking to overturn Illinois’ ban on campaign contributions from medical marijuana companies.

  The case was brought last week by two Libertarian Party political candidates: Claire Ball of Addison, who says she's running for comptroller, and Scott Schluter of Marion, who says he's running for state representative. They say they favor legalization of drugs, and that companies that agree with them should be able to support their campaigns.

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Illinois could see its already worst-in-the-nation credit rating sink further -- all the way down to "junk" status. Moody's Vice President Ted Hampton says investors have asked the ratings agency if that's even possible.

Lilong Dolrani

When the state finally has a budget, who will be left out?

ILGA.gov

The race for Illinois comptroller has narrowed: There will no longer be a Democratic primary. State Sen.Daniel Biss, D-Evanston, has confirmed he will not run.

You could say the Democratic primary race for comptroller is over before it ever began; only today can candidates begin filing paperwork to run.

Christmas lights are up at the Illinois capitol, despite a brief period where it had appeared the state budget impasse would keep the dome dark. That interlude led to another outcome, appropriate during the season for giving.

The lights are on, thanks to a trio of unions that have offered to pay the state's Christmas lights electric bill.

But before that'd been finalized, Kristina Rasmussen had tried another method.

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