Statehouse

Good news on the state budget: It seems the governor will finally meet with all four legislative leaders to discuss their differences. Bad news on the state budget: Gov. Bruce Rauner says he doesn't expect much to come of it. And yet: "I wouldn't give up hope so soon," House Speaker Michael Madigan said of the governor's remarks.

Illinois Supreme Court Building
Illinois Supreme Court

Judicial races are getting increasingly politicized, according to a study published Thursday surveying 2013-2014 state Supreme Court races called "Bankrolling the Bench."

Image Credt: www.planetofsuccess.com/blog

The constitutional requirement for a balanced budget is not as strict as you might think.

Days after an Illinois high school student died from football injuries, a Cook County judge has dismissed a lawsuit alleging the sports' governing body didn't do enough to protect athletes.

Bruce Rauner
WUIS

Did the voters know what they were getting?

Illinois has hit a cash flow problem and will not be ably to make its monthly pension payment in November and possibly December. The state's inability to cover its expenses has some asking the question: will Illinois run out of money?

SEIU TV ad
SEIU Healthcare Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner recently reached an agreement with a trio of unions -- representing some 300 plumbers, machinists and engineers and operators. But he's still at odds with unions representing the bulk of state employees: the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and the Service Employees International Union.

SEIU represents home care workers -- people who help the disabled and elderly care for themselves. Denise Gaines, legislative director of SEIU Healthcare Illinois and Indiana, says now, these workers get paid to take important training.

Brass rail outside the Governor's office
Amanda Vinicky / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Mark your calendars. A date has been set. Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has called a meeting with the legislature's leaders to talk about the budget impasse for Nov. 18.

Illinois still has no budget plan and no progress on an agreement is in sight.  The state is spending far more than it's taking in, higher education and social services have largely been left out to dry, and Illinois' credit rating continues to be downgraded.  Meanwhile, Governor Rauner is beginning to face criticism from within his own party.  Kurt Erickson of Lee Enterprises joins the panel discussion this week.

WUIS

Illinois has twice seen its credit rating take a hit this week.

Hannah Meisel/WUIS

 On the state's 113th day without a budget, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner Thursday sloughed off critical comments made by his a pair of his predecessors.

Former Gov. Jim Edgar's still a popular figure within the Illinois GOP, which is why the harsh nature of his recent remarks garnered a lot of attention. Edgar scolded Rauner for putting his pro-business agenda ahead of the budget.

Then another Republican Governor from the past - James Thompson -- also said that Illinois' is in the worst position it's ever been.

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS

News Analysis — On September 18, 2012, the year before Bruce Rauner declared his candidacy for governor, he shared his vision for a crisis that could help reshape state government.

WUIS

Illinois lawmakers' one-day session Tuesday yielded no budget breakthroughs. The state's been without a spending plan for what'll soon reach five months.

ILGA.gov

Illinois lawmakers have been unable to come together on a state budget, but they did reach a significant bipartisan agreement Tuesday.

Wikimedia commons

Members of the Illinois House and Senate will be in Springfield again Tuesday, but there's still no budget deal for them to vote on.

Illinois' public university presidents had warned in a letter of the "irreparable damage" being caused by having to wait three months, and counting, for state money to come their way. Now, they're taking their case to the capitol. University leaders could have audiences with the governor, and legislative leaders. Senate President John Cullerton's spokeswoman, Rikeesha Phelon, Cullerton will set aside time to meet with them.

It's fast approaching the time that the governor and Illinois lawmakers would typically begin planning for next year's budget, even though they've yet to settle on one for this year. Two-year budgets are standard practice for some states.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has released parts of his 2014 state and federal tax returns that show he and his wife, Diana, made $58.3 million last year.

Illinois’ comptroller says the state doesn't have the cash to pay into the public pension systems next month, the governor suggests selling the aging Thompson Center in Chicago, and the former head of Chicago’s public schools pleads guilty to charges of corruption.  WBEZ's Becky Vevea and Lauren Chooljian joins the panel.
 

Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois' lack of a budget means public pension systems won't get their state contribution next month. That won't stop retirees from getting their checks. However, there could still be an impact.

Illinois Lottery

More Illinois Lottery prizewinners won't be able to reap their rewards immediately. The Lottery says claims will be paid only once a budget is passed.

The Illinois Lottery website has a press release, dated Aug. 13, 2015. It quotes Homer Glen resident Rhonda Rasche, who'd won $50,000 on a Crossword ticket, exclaiming "This is amazing! I can't believe it's happening to me!"

She's still waiting on the cash, and is suing the state to get it.

Leslie Munger at Inauguration 2015
Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois won't make its next pension payment; Comptroller Leslie Munger Wednesday announced she can't, because the state doesn't have the cash.

Trevon Yates interrogation
MacArthur Justice Center

How do you get a 17-year-old to confess to a crime he didn’t commit? Turns out it’s not that hard.

Gov. Rauner Calls For Selling The Thompson Center In Chicago

Oct 13, 2015
flickr/vincentdesjardis

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner wants to sell the state's office space in the heart of downtown Chicago. That could mean the demise of the iconic, 1985 structure known as the Thompson Center.

ILGA.gov

Illinois lawmakers are increasingly trying to make it easier for residents to be involved in politics -- there'll be a hearing Tuesday in Chicago on automatic voter registration. A separate proposal that goes in the opposite direction. But its sponsor says it's for good reason.

Illinois' next election isn't until March, but you can go ahead right now and register to vote in it. More the procrastinating type? A new state law says you can now also register right up until, and on, the day of the election, at any precinct.

Trade Mission: Cuba

Oct 12, 2015
Rich Berning

A steady stream of American elected officials have traveled to Cuba since the two countries restored diplomatic ties over the summer.

As the budget gridlock continues, downstate Republicans are finding themselves having to balance support for the Governor with constituent concerns.

One of those lawmakers is C-D Davidsmeyer.

Amanda Vinicky

Another lawsuit over a pension law was filed this week in Illinois, this time seeking to strike a law that reduced Chicago Park District pensions. That could be significant for other local governments, and future negotiations.

When it first passed, the park district pension law was seen as a possible model for future ones, in part because it had been drafted in cooperation with SEIU, the union representing park district workers.

Rauner Names Major GOP Contributor, Others To Historic Preservation Board

Oct 9, 2015
flickr/Katherine Johnson

Gov. Bruce Rauner has appointed a long-time businessman and major Republican contributor to chair of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency Board of Trustees.

Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan is calling for legislation that would keep convicts from being labeled as felons for the remainder of their lives.

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