Statehouse

Election 2014
4:08 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

Quinn Concedes Governor's Race To Rauner

Gov. Pat Quinn is seen in this file photo from 2013.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

Governor Pat Quinn is giving up on his bid for re-election. On Wednesday afternoon, he conceded to Republican Bruce Rauner.

  Most media outlets called the election on Tuesday night. Rauner was up by five percentage points, and declared victory.

Quinn, however, told supporters he wasn’t ready to concede. Some Chicagoans waited into the early morning hours to vote.

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
8:55 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Dems Keep Super-Majority, As Madigan Machine Works Its Magic

House Speaker Michael Madigan speaks on the Illinois House floor in the final days of the end of the spring session, that ended in May.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

With Bruce Rauner's win, Illinois Republicans have something to celebrate. But they failed to make gains in the General Assembly, which could have big repercussions for Rauner down the line.

Two years ago, Illinois Democrats gained historic super-majorities in both chambers of the legislature.

There were more than enough Democrats in the Senate, and just enough (71) Democratic members of the House, to override a governor's veto.

Then, the governor was also a Democrat -- Pat Quinn.

Next year, Illinois Democrats will once again hold veto-proof majorities.

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Election 2014
4:38 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Rauner Declares Victory, But Quinn Won't Concede

Bruce Rauner speaks to a gathering of Republicans at the Illinois State Fair in this August 2013 file photo.
Credit Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

Republican investor Bruce Rauner will be the next governor of Illinois — probably. He declared victory over incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn and is up by five percentage points, but the Democrat is refusing to concede.

Rauner made hundreds of millions of dollars as a private equity investor. Lately, though, he’s been investing in himself — spending $27 million of his vast fortune on a quest to become governor of Illinois.

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Election 2014
3:06 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

Yes, You Can Still Register To Vote Today

Credit wikimedia

If you're still looking to get in on today's election day action, but aren't registered to vote, you're in luck. For the first time, Illinois is making "grace period" registration available today, on election day.

But the Illinois State Board of Election's Jim Tenuto warns that you can't just show up at any precinct's polling place.

Tenuto advises voters to call first to find out where they can still register, and what identification they need to bring.

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Election 2014
6:34 am
Tue November 4, 2014

Election 2014: What's At Stake

Credit wttw Chicago Tonight

Illinois voters have until seven tonight, when the polls close, to help decide the state's future.

Let's begin with the top of the ballot, with two proposed constitutional amendments. One would create protections for voters against discrimination; the other would give crime victims more rights, like a guarantee they be notified when a perpetrator is released.

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Election 2014
6:12 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

Election Eve: Sounds From The Campaign Trail

If you believe the polls, the race for Illinois governor continues to be a virtual tie. The candidates spent the last day before the election trying to build momentum, and to gain any last minute support.

Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican nominee Bruce Rauner both began their mornings in Chicago before heading downstate. "Illinois jobs are up an unemployment's down. If you're breathing, we want you working in Illinois," Quinn told supporters, repeating one of his catchphrases, at a campaign office on the city's South Side.

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Election 2014
5:50 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

Tally's In: Early Voting Up Thirty Percent

Candidates get-out-the-vote efforts appear to have worked. Elections officials are reporting an increase in early voting numbers.

Even before Election Day, more than a half million people will have cast their ballots.

That's according to a final tally of early votes gathered by the state elections board. It's a jump of 118,000 from the last midterm election and governor's race, four years ago.

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Election 2014
2:06 am
Mon November 3, 2014

Answers About The Questions At The Top Of The Ballot

Illinois' statewide ballot asks voters to answer five questions: a pair of constitutional amendments, and then a trio of non-binding referendums.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

Illinois voters on Tuesday won't just have the chance to decide on who'll be their next governor or state representative. They'll be asked if Illinois should change its constitution. And to weigh in on a trio of non-binding questions legislators could use to guide decisions down the line.

It's one thing to pass a law. Politicians do that all the time; Illinois passed 500 last year alone.

But constitutional amendments are different. They're relatively rare, and harder to get through (and once changes are made, they're difficult to undo).

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Election 2014
9:01 am
Sat November 1, 2014

Jesse White Runs For Re-election For The Last Time (Really, This Time)

Sec. of State Jesse White
Credit Secretary of State's Office / Secretary of State

Four years ago, Jesse White promised it was going to be his last run for Secretary of State.

But he's back on the ballot, seeking re-election.

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Illinois Issues - State of the State
1:00 am
Sat November 1, 2014

Criminal Sentencing - A State Legislative Panel Looks At Whether There’s A Better Way To Punish

Not long ago, attempts to raise criminal penalties in Illinois were met with a standing joke. All such legislation had to make it through the Senate Judiciary Committee, where by informal agreement, it could only advance if it satisfied the sole criterion of the Cullerton Rule. On April 20, 2005, Sen. Edward Maloney, a Democrat from Chicago, presented House Bill 2699, a bipartisan measure that sought to raise the penalties for identity theft.

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Illinois Issues - State of the State
1:00 am
Sat November 1, 2014

Anchoring, The $5 Ask And Other Fundraising Mind Games

News Analysis — One of the best-known sayings about politics is missing something. In a 1985 speech at Yale University, former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo said, “We campaign in poetry, but when we’re elected, we’re forced to govern in prose.”

But that formulation omits one of the dominant aspects of modern politics: fundraising. Intermingled with campaigning in poetry and governing in prose, one might charitably say candidates raise money in the language of sales and marketing. Less charitably, one might say they fundraise in psychological manipulation.

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Illinois Issues - Ends and Means
1:00 am
Sat November 1, 2014

Ugly Election Brings Home Need For Campaign Finance Reform

Charles N. Wheeler III
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

That mighty “whoosh!” you’ll be hearing in a few days will be a collective sigh of relief from Illinoisans as one of the nastiest election seasons in recent memory blessedly draws to a close.

In the marquee event, of course, voters will decide the state’s next governor, choosing between Freddy Krueger or Jason Voorhees — oops, I mean Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn or Republican challenger Bruce Rauner, must have seen one too many campaign hit pieces — or opting for Libertarian Chad Grimm, standing in for “neither of the above.”

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
7:30 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Ballot Preview - CapitolView

Host Amanda Vinicky and guests Bruce Rushton (IL Times) and Andy Maloney (Chicago Daily Law Bulletin) give a recap of what's on the ballot and how the campaign has gone.

CapitolView is a production of WSEC-TV/PBS Springfield, Network Knowledge.

Election 2014
5:37 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Dodging DUIs: Secretary of State Candidates Faceoff

Polls put Republican Sec. of State candidate Mike Webster, making a speech at GOP Day at the Illinois State Fair this summer, way behind incumbent Jesse White.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

How to keep drunk drivers off the roads has become an issue in the race for Secretary of State.

Illinois has strict DUI laws ... if you're convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Therein lies the problem, says Republican's nominee for Secretary of State Mike Webster: once someone has been arrested, the legal system takes over.

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State Week
1:42 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Listen to State Week - October 31, 2014

Gov. Pat Quinn and Bruce Rauner make a final pitch to voters in the closing ads of the their campaigns.
Credit screenshots from candidate TV ads

After months of campaigning and seemingly endless TV ads, the election is nigh. Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican challenger Bruce Rauner are fighting for every vote, and shattering the state spending record to do it.

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Criminal Justice
3:17 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

Prisoner Freed After Recanting Testimony "Angry"

Alstory Simon
Credit IDOC

A man released from a west central Illinois prison after recanting a confession to a 1982 double murder says he's angry with those he alleges coerced his admission of guilt.  

A judge ordered Alstory Simon's release Thursday after Cook County prosecutors re-examined the case.  
Simon's initial confession led to the release in 1999 of another man who was on death row for the killings.  

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Election 2014
2:49 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

The Choice Of Choice: Gov. Candidates On Abortion

Credit WUIS

Gov. Pat Quinn used the issue of abortion to win votes from suburban women in his election four years ago. This time, his Republican opponent says he's pro-choice. But it's not that cut-and-dry.

Republican nominee Bruce Rauner, like Quinn, classifies himself as pro-choice. He's also said he doesn't have a “social agenda."

That hasn't satisfied Terry Cosgrove, of Personal PAC, which has endorsed Quinn.

"While Bruce Rauner may say he doesn't have a social agenda, that is not true when you look at his actions," Cosgrove said.

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12:58 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

How Political Donors Are Changing Statehouse News Reporting

Governing magazine looks at advocacy and journalism with a focus on Illinois (includes a picture of Amanda Vinicky at work in the WUIS/Illinois Issues statehouse bureau).
The talk radio segment started with the opening guitar riffs of Guns N' Roses' "Paradise City." Then, over the first drumbeats of the 1987 rock anthem, came the deep, resonant voice of a male announcer, "Holding government accountable for how they spend our money, it's Illinois Watchdog Radio: Watching the statehouse and cities across the state."
Statehouse
4:16 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

A Look At Amazon's Move To Illinois

Jamey Dunn
Credit Matthew Penning

Amazon has announced it will open facilities in Illinois, saying it will bring 1,000 jobs to the state. That announcement was made Tuesday. But what does it really mean for the state when it comes to jobs, as well as taxes for consumers? Illinois Issues' Jamey Dunn has been following the online retailer and its relationship with the state for years now (read a past report here). She joins us for this interview:

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Statehouse
6:17 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Durbin & Oberweis Debate Tonight

Credit Oberweis for US Senate

The Illinois candidates for U.S. Senate are set for their final televised debate ahead of next week's election. 

Chicago's WTTW-TV will host the Wednesday forum for Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and Republican challenger state Sen. Jim Oberweis. WTTW officials say they'll also take questions from Twitter users during the 60-minute event.

Durbin is the second-ranking Democrat in the U.S. Senate and is seeking a fourth term. Oberweis is a dairy magnate from Sugar Grove who was elected to the state Senate in 2012. 

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Election 2014
6:20 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

The Lone Justice Fighting For Retention

Justice Lloyd Karmeier, who was elected a decade ago, is now up for retention; an organization calling itself "Campaign 2016" is trying to unseat him.
Credit Illinois Supreme Court

There's a last-minute push to unseat one of Illinois' Supreme Court justices. That's difficult to do -- a sitting judge doesn't have to win a race. He just has to get 60-percent of voters' to agree to his retention.

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Election 2014
1:36 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Why Is Illinois So Hard To Poll?

Gov. Pat Quinn, seen at the Illinois State Fair, beat the polls in his 2010 campaign for governor.
Credit Hannah Meisel/WUIS

This story first ran in the October 2014 edition of Illinois Issues magazine.

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Election 2014
12:58 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Madigan Vs. The Marine

Attorney General Lisa Madigan is escorted by American Legion members at a 2014 convention in Springfield; she's seeking a fourth term.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

Lisa Madigan was the first woman elected to be Illinois' Attorney General, in 2003. After flirting with a run for governor, Madigan, the daughter of House Speaker Michael Madigan -- is instead seeking a fourth term as the state's top lawyer. Amanda Vinicky starts off this extended interview asking Madigan what she has accomplished that makes her deserving of another four years.

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Election 2014
5:44 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Ebola Strikes Race For Governor

Credit Brett Levin / Flickr at https://www.flickr.com/photos/scubabrett22/6044203012/in/photolist-nRM8aA-nRM9cA-6W3y3x-iSCMSX-ad77YL-ombQ4H-3cF2NM-8hAiN6-6W7Bsm-csFVES-grKEtn-9ZSWDs-fArP8e-niwAQi-89m25F-9ZT3kf-9ZQc52-n8xZJj-9ZT3Q3-9ZSikY-9ZPp8z-9ZSj83-csFRxN-ff

Illinois'  O'Hare Airport is one of five in the nation where travelers from West Africa must undergo extra screening for Ebola. But now the state has additional guidelines to prevent the virus' potential spread. What to do is the latest disagreement in an already adversarial race for governor.

Even as New Jersey releases a nurse forced into quarantine upon her return from Sierra Leone, Gov. Pat Quinn is standing by a similar policy for Illinois.

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Election 2014
5:28 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Businesses Weigh In On What Illinois Government Should Do

Credit flickr/locosteve

The future of Illinois’ business climate is one of the hottest topics in the governor’s race.

Democratic Governor Pat Quinn and Republican Bruce Rauner toss it around like a hot potato - claiming credit for themselves while lobbing blame at the other guy.

But that hot potato represents real people - and real businesses. Plenty of examples can be found in what once was the fastest-growing county in the whole country.

You don’t have to spend much time in Kendall County before you find places still haunted by the economic downturn.

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Sec. of State
5:19 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Immigrant Rights Groups: Demand Oustrips Slots For Driver's Licenses

Illinois offers a "TVDL," or temporary visitor driver's license, to undocumented immigrants and non-visa seeking residents who have lived in the state at least one year, but advocates say the wait for an appointment is often too long.
Credit Secretary of State's Office

Immigrant rights groups say Illinois needs to improve its program for issuing drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants. The program started last December.

When Illinois created a special drivers license for people without permission to be in the country, supporters said it would make the roads safer. In order to get one, an applicant has to have auto insurance and pass a driving test.

As of the end of September, more than 64,600 people had succeeded. But activists like Martin Torres, with the Latino Policy Forum, say others are being held up.

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State Week
5:19 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Listen to State Week - October 24, 2014

Republican nominee Bruce Rauner, left, and Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn this week met in the third and final gubernatorial debate of 2014.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican challenger Bruce Rauner met for their third and final debate this week. As in previous debates, both candidates spent much of their time attacking each other and dodging questions they didn't want to answer.

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Election 2014
11:50 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Oberweis Would Back Federal Same Sex Marriage Law

Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, State Sen. Jim Oberweis of Sugar Grove
Credit Oberweis for US Senate

The Republican nominee for U.S. Senate has switched his stance on same-sex marriage.

Only a few Republican members of the General Assembly voted for Illinois' law that has, since June, allowed two men or two women to marry one another.

State Sen. Jim Oberweis wasn't one of them. He voted no.

But the Sugar Grove Republican, now a candidate for the U.S. Senate, says he would go along with a federal law permitting same sex marriage.

Here's how he answered a question about it Wednesday's debate.

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Statehouse
10:41 am
Wed October 22, 2014

Judge Orders Court Appointed Monitor For IDOT Hiring

Credit IDOT

A federal judge has ordered a court-appointed monitor to investigate hiring at Gov. Pat Quinn's Department of Transportation.  

Magistrate Judge Sidney Schenkier told attorneys Wednesday that the monitor would help compliance of a decades-old political hiring ban.  

The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed by an anti-patronage attorney in April alleging improper hiring practices.  

Attorneys for Quinn's administration had said a separate monitor wasn't necessary and a state inspector general had completed a detailed probe and changes were made.  

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Statehouse
6:24 am
Wed October 22, 2014

Attorneys Due In Court For Quinn Hiring Lawsuit

Credit IDOT

Attorneys are returning to court in a federal lawsuit over hiring in Gov. Pat Quinn's Department of Transportation.
 
 Anti-patronage attorney Michael Shakman has asked for a court-appointed monitor
of hiring as part of a lawsuit filed in April. He's said it would ensure the
administration complies with bans on political hiring for nonpolitical jobs.
 
 Quinn's attorneys have argued a monitor isn't necessary. They've said Quinn's
response to allegations of political hiring in the Department of Transportation

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