Statehouse

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Next week, Gov. Bruce Rauner will unveil his spending proposal. The non-partisan Civic Federation has some suggestions.

The Civic Federation’s Director, Laurence Msall, says Illinois’ budget isn’t just in bad shape; its condition is terrible ... and climbing out of it won’t be easy.

“These are not politically attractive answers. There are financial, reality-based suggestions on how the state can stabilize its finances,” he says.

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey/WUIS

Gov. Bruce Rauner visited a state prison Wednesday. It’s the first time a sitting governor has done that in years.

Rauner says an overhaul of Illinois’ criminal justice system a priority for his administration.

"The Department of Corrections is operating at more than 150 percent of its design capacity," Rauner says. "That is unsafe to both inmates and staff."

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner announced Wednesday he would convene a commission to look at criminal justice policy.

State prisons in Illinois are at 150 percent of the capacity they were built to house. They also cost taxpayers $1.3 billion a year. And many inmates, once released, go on to commit more crimes. Rauner says that’s unacceptable.

"It is a vicious and costly cycle," Rauner says. "We need to make sure we are rehabilitating inmates, so they don’t commit crimes over and over again."

Department of Homeland Security

Immigrants in the country illegally will soon be able to file requests to stay in the U.S. without fear of being deported.

President Barack Obama announced an executive order helping immigrants in the country illegally gain lawful employment and defer deportation. Opponents say this could hurt the economy and take jobs away from U.S. citizens.

Cecilia Muñoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, says the opposite is true.

www.ilga.gov

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton says his legal staff is reviewing an executive order issued by Gov. Bruce Rauner that eliminates dues paid by workers who aren't public union members.  
 
 Rauner says 6,500 state employees are forced to pay ``fair share'' fees at an
average of $577 a year for each worker.
 
 Cullerton is a Chicago Democrat. He and others are skeptical about whether the
Winnetka Republican has the legal ability to challenge the fee. Unions have
fired back at the governor, saying they intend to work to have the order

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is taking another shot at government employee unions. The Republican has signed an executive order prohibiting so-called "fair share" dues paid by workers who would rather not join a union. He says the alliance between unions and politicians has been a “corrupt bargain."

“There’s also a fundamental American principle of freedom of choice," Rauner says. "America is about freedom of choice and empowering individuals to control their own lives and their own future. This is allowing the employees of state government the right to decide."

Lisa Ryan

Gov. Bruce Rauner is ratcheting up his battle with organized labor. In a surprise move, today he issued an executive order that allows government workers to stop paying union dues.

Since taking office, Rauner talked a lot about his belief that unions’ contributions to political campaigns are a “corrupt bargain.”

The Republican governor says forcing state employees to pay union dues is a “critical cog” in that bargain, and it’s crushing taxpayers.

Wikimedia/Teemu08

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) Documents show that about $3 million in repairs were made to the Illinois Governor's Mansion last summer.  The State Journal-Register reports that documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show the repairs included patching roof leaks that damaged walls and contributed to black mold. An emergency generator was replaced and a valve was installed to prevent recurring flooding. About another $2.8 million of repairs are pending at the Capital Development Board.

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey/WUIS

Nearly three-dozen non-profit organizations — mostly in the Chicago area — were told Jan. 29 that money they were expected to get as part of an $8 million Youth Development grant had been blocked by Gov. Bruce Rauner. The new Republican governor has made a point of undoing as many of former Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn’s lame-duck actions as possible, withdrawing promised funding, blocking contracts and rescinding executive orders.

Reboot Illinois

Funding for everything from state-subsidized daycare to court reporters' salaries is running out in Illinois. At the same time, Republican Governor Bruce Rauner has signed on a top aide for a contract worth $30,000 a month.

Donna Arduin may not be a household name in Illinois yet, but as Rauner's Chief Financial Officer, she may become on.

Arduin has been contracted to "provide advice to the governor" on how to deal with Illinois' pending fiscal challenges.

healthcaregov.net

The deadline is approaching to sign up for health care under the Affordable Care Act. In-person counselors help walk people through the process.

Loren Greer is a 63-year-old truck driver who was taken off his company's health coverage when he was forced into early retirement. He sought help from an in-person counselor so he can avoid paying a fee after the February 15 deadline. If it weren't for the threat of a 325 dollar fee, Greer might not enroll.

Host Bernie Schoenburg (SJ-R) and guests Brian Mackey, Hannah Meisel (WILL/Illinois Public Media) and Charlie Wheeler (UIS) discuss Bruce Rauner's State of the State address.

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

State Week logo
Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

This week, discussion of Governor Bruce Rauner's first State of the State address.

A day after Gov. Bruce Rauner proposed a seven year time frame to bring Illinois' minimum wage to $10 an hour. The Illinois Senate approved a plan that would make that happen by 2017.  

The Senate, or its Democrats, anyway, passed a minimum wage hike late last year. It died after stalling in the House.

Senators wasted no time in taking another swing now that a new legislative session has begun. Sen. Chris Nybo, a Republican from Elmhurst, tried to persuade the measure's sponsor, Democratic Sen. Kim Lightford, to wait.

childcarecenter.us

Illinois' program that provides subsidized daycare for low-income families is out of cash. A Senate committee attempted to address the issue on Thursday.

Chandra Ankoor is a 24-year-old single mother from Springfield. While she is working, she sends her three daughters to child care that is partially paid for with the help of the state.

If it weren't for this assistance, she says it would cost her every dollar she makes, and then some, to afford the cost of child care.

Bill Wheelhouse/WUIS

Illinois' top two Republicans say they're disappointed the Federal government has halted funding for the future gen project in the region.

Governor Bruce Rauner and U.S. Senator Mark Kirk released a statement on the public-private coal project at Meredosia. 

They say the Fed's decision will block advancements in  so called "clean coal" efforts and bringing jobs to the region.   The two say they won't give up on the technology and bringing new jobs to the state.

Amanda Vinicky

For the past couple of weeks, Illinois' new governor, Bruce Rauner, traveled the state, giving speeches that mostly told audiences what's wrong with Illinois. Tuesday, he used his state of the state address to begin to describe what he wants to do about it.

Rauner didn't just deliver a big speech yesterday. He produced a full manifesto, complete with calls for an upheaval of Illinois' labor laws, changes to the constitution, a property tax freeze, and the hiring of more prison guards. The speech started off on a conciliatory note. Or maybe it was an invitation.

Brian Mackey/WUIS

The Governor spoke to a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly on February 4, 2015. 

Jak Tichenor hosts the broadcast, with analysis from Rich Miller of Capitol Fax and WUIS' Amanda Vinicky.

Reaction from Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan and Republican Leaders Rep. Jim Durkin and Sen. Christine Radogno.

As Prepared for Delivery

 

Good Afternoon.

President Cullerton

Speaker Madigan

Leader Radogno

Leader Durkin

Lieutenant Governor Sanguinetti

ilga.gov

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is likely to have disagreements with the new Governor Bruce Rauner.  Madigan is a Democrat and Rauner a Republican.

But following the Governor's State of the State Address, the Speaker says he and Rauner are on the same page when it comes to limits on spending:

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner laid out an ambitious, pro-business agenda Wednesday during his first State of the State address. The Republican was speaking to a legislature that’s still dominated by Democrats, and reaction was mixed.

Rauner's agenda reads like a businessman's dream: restricting lawsuits and workers' compensation, and reducing the power of labor unions. But he also called for changes to the criminal justice system, acknowledging conditions in state prisons are "unacceptable."

As Prepared for Delivery

Also included: Policy Agenda and Conflict of Interest Timeline

 

Good Afternoon.

President Cullerton

Speaker Madigan

Leader Radogno

Leader Durkin

Lieutenant Governor Sanguinetti

Attorney General Madigan

Secretary White

Comptroller Munger

Treasurer Frerichs,

Members of the General Assembly,

Thank you for your service.

To our distinguished guests and to the media, thank you for attending today.

Illinois' first Republican Governor in twelve years delivered his first annual State of the State speech to a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly on Wednesday, February 4. In this special edition of Illinois Lawmakers, Governor Bruce Rauner called on legislators to work with him to pass economic policies aimed at improving the state's business climate.

Bruce Rauner
brucerauner.com

State employees can rest assured-- Gov. Bruce Rauner does not want to cut their salaries. But a memo sent to state legislators Monday warns of other changes the governor would like to see.

Shortly after becoming governor, Rauner tried to spread goodwill, reaching out to workers with visits to state offices.

"I want to make Illinois a wonderful place to work for everyone here. I want good, fair compensation."

Then came a series of speeches, previewing his State of the State address on Wednesday, in which he says Illinois' payroll is bloated.

WBEZ

  Gov. Bruce Rauner has announced a list of the companies that'll be able to grow and sell medical marijuana in Illinois.

Illinois law spelled out what was supposed to be a blind process to select who'd get the potentially-lucrative pot licenses. Though it appears as if former Gov. Pat Quinn's administration had selected winners, he finished his term last month without awarding any.

Illinois Department of Transportation

Illinois law is pretty straightforward: one child, per seat, each with his or her own seat belt. Rep. Mary Flowers, a Democrat from Chicago, wants to change the law for drivers who don't have enough room in their car for each kid. She proposes allowing two children, if they're between the ages of 8 and 15, to buckle into a single seat belt.

"It's a financial burden on a poor family. If they're trying to comply with the law, they should not be penalized because they don't have a bigger vehicle," Flowers said.

@GovRauner

If Illinois had political gravity, it could be said that all things orbit around Chicago. Gov. Bruce Rauner and his wife Diana vow to change all that by living in the mansion and running state government from Springfield.

  Some might find it surprising that a governor would need to make such a statement. The historic mansion, 150 years old and just a few blocks from the statehouse, is considered the official residence of the governor, but not all have made it their home.

childcarecenter.us

Gov. Bruce Rauner has consistently said he's waiting to give details on his plans for Illinois' finances until his budget address, on February 18th. But decisions by previous lawmakers may force him to make closely-watched decisions sooner.

Illinois has a program that helps low-income parents pay for day-care. But -- because the previous General Assembly cut funding for it by millions from the current state budget - state money for has run out.

That's alarming for advocates like Emily Miller, who is with Voices for Illinois Children.

Bruce Rauner at Inauguration 2015
Brian Mackey/WUIS

News Analysis — Modern American audiences read George Orwell’s 1984 with a sense of relief. The fascist and communist mind control Orwell knew and feared is all but dead, clinging to life in a dwindling number of totalitarian tide pools around the globe. But the production of political propaganda, on the other hand, remains a growth sector.

Jason Barickman on the statehouse floor
Senate Republicans

An Edgar protégé moves from business into a front-and-center role in politics.

As a freshman member of the Senate, Jason Barickman had little say in his appointment to serve on the Legislative Audit Commission. But the dull-sounding assignment soon landed him in the middle of one of the biggest controversies of the 2014 race for governor.

Lloyd Karmeier
Brian Mackey / WUIS

A version of this story appears in the February 2015 edition of Illinois Issues magazine.

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