Statehouse

Election 2014
7:54 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Small Campaign Contributions Amount To Chump Change

Credit flickr/borman18

  The race for Illinois governor is one of the most expensive match-ups in the nation. A new report shows that most of that comes from relatively few donors.

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Budget FY15
4:30 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Civic Fed: Lawmakers Once Again Taking Illinois Down Bad Budget Path

Credit wnij

Illinois is about a quarter of the way into its fiscal year and building up debt along the way. A new report from the Civic Federation says it's a return to detrimental policies that landed Illinois in an unstable financial position in the first place.

There was one, glaring question for lawmakers last spring: what were they going to do about the temporary income tax?

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Statehouse
6:43 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Notes On The Final Governor Debate

Credit wttw Chicago Tonight

The debate portion of the Illinois governor’s race is over. Monday night's debate may have given voters a little clarity.

Now - that doesn’t mean there wasn’t any mud-slinging or repetitive campaign refrains. There was a lot of that. But we did get some answers on issues that have popped up in all three debates. Like what Governor Pat Quinn would do when the 5 percent income tax rate ends in 2015.

QUINN: We need to maintain the income tax, at the same time give annual, direct, property tax relief - a 500 dollar refund - to every single homeowner in this state.

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Statehouse
7:17 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Third & Final Governor Debate Tonight

Credit brucerauner.com, quinnforillinois.com

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican challenger Bruce Rauner are getting ready for their third and likely final televised debate.  

Monday night's debate comes as the two candidates are locked in a neck-and-neck contest for governor.  
 It's being hosted by the League of Women Voters of Illinois and broadcast by WLS-TV in Chicago.  

Quinn and Rauner have gotten personal and at times nasty in other candidate forums as they duel over economic plans and dispute school funding plans.  

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Election 2014
3:25 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Earlier Than Ever

Pres. Barack Obama visited Chicago Sunday, to encourage Illinois residents to vote, and to do it early. Early voting begins today, and runs until just before election day. That could change campaigns' strategies, or expand the electorate.

It used to be that campaigns geared up for one day: Election Day. Starting in 2006, Illinois residents were given the option of casting an early, in-person ballot. That used to last for a two-week span. Not this election. Voters have from today until Nov. 2 to vote early.

Look for people to take advantage of it.

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State Week
1:20 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Listen to State Week - October 17, 2014

Credit Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

Education funding was among the disagreements between gubernatorial candidates Pat Quinn and Bruce Rauner in a debate this week in Chicago.  Meanwhile, spending on political ads continues to increase.

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Statehouse
7:27 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Delay In Fracking Regulations Spurs Lawsuit

Credit WSIU

Landowners in southern Illinois' Wayne County are suing the state, saying its lengthy process before issuing permits for high-volume oil and gas extraction is costing them money.  

The lawsuit filed Wednesday on behalf of seven households names Gov. Pat Quinn and Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Marc Miller.  

A state legislative panel is trying to sort out rules for how developers would deploy hydraulic fracturing, or ``fracking,'' under an Illinois law approved last year.  

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Statehouse
5:20 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Privacy Issues Complicate Body Cams For Illinois Police

Ferguson demonstrators stand in front of a Quik Trip in this Aug. 12, 2014 file photo.
Credit Chris McDaniel/St. Louis Public Radio

The idea of requiring police to wear body cameras has been a hot topic after the protests in Ferguson, Missouri. On Friday, a group of Illinois lawmakers will take up the issue.

Advocates of body cameras say they can clear up the muddle of facts that often accompany police shootings, like the one in Ferguson. They also say police will be on better behavior if they know they're being watched.

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Statehouse
7:14 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Shaking "out" Illinois Today at 10:16 a.m.

More than 570,000 Illinois residents have registered to participate in an international earthquake drill on what Gov. Pat Quinn has proclaimed Great Shakeout Day.
 
 The Great Shakeout Earthquake Drill will take place around the world on
Thursday morning.
 
 The Illinois Emergency Management Agency is asking residents in homes, schools
and other places to take a minute to drop, cover and hold on. It is an action
they are advised to take during an actual earthquake.
 

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Election 2014
10:04 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

After 22 Years, Crime Victims Back On Ballot

Attorney General Lisa Madigan, facing away, confers with supporters of Marsy's Law before a news conference Wednesday at the AG's Springfield office.
Credit Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

This story first appeared as Illinois Issues' State of the State column in the October 2014 edition of the magazine.

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Statehouse
8:27 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Jacksonville Feels The Cut From State Government

Jacksonville Developmental Center
Credit http://jacksonvilleinstitutions.wordpress.com/

No surprise: Illinois’ finances are in trouble.  And the fix will likely involve some painful cuts.

While we told you about the fight to save one southern Illinois institution, in this segment we look at what happened when the knife came down on another Illinois town, Jacksonville. 

For almost 50 years Jacksonville, Illinois was home to a Capitol Records plant. It was built in 1965 - at the height of Beatlemania.  At its peak Capitol employed more than 1 thousand people.

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Statehouse
6:19 am
Tue October 14, 2014

When Local Needs Clash With Broader Goals Of State Government

Credit WSIU

There’s a tug-o-war going on in Southern Illinois over how the state cares for its neediest citizens.  It’s playing out along a ribbon of small towns. But the outcome will determine  the future for many Illinois citizens with disabilities.

State Representative Charlie Meier is a farmer by birth - he tends 14 hundred acres with just one hired hand.

MEIER: We’re in Okawville, Illinois in my family kitchen.

MEIER: Built in 1907. My grandma drug all the logs home with a pack of mules for the house and the barn and then they were cut up here.

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Election 2014
5:10 am
Tue October 14, 2014

Illinois' Medical Marijuana Program At Odds With Federal Policy

Judge Ann Callis, who is Democrats' nominee for the the 13th Congressional district, and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, hold a press conference in Springfield Monday.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

As Illinois begins to allow people with certain diseases to use cannabis as medicine, the state will be running afoul of federal law.

It may be spring before patients will be able to buy medical marijuana (the application process is going on now). Whenever it happens, the state will be in tricky territory: the federal government classifies marijuana as an illegal drug.

That raises challenges, like: can an business in the cannabis industry deposit money in federally-regulated banks?

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Election 2014
12:52 am
Tue October 14, 2014

Politicians On Parade

Bruce Rauner gives a thumbs up to a child at Pilsen's Mexican Independence Day parade.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

Children across Illinois had the day off from school Monday in honor of Columbus Day. Despite soggy weather, both Governor Pat Quinn and his Republican rival Bruce Rauner celebrated by walking down State St., for Chicago's Columbus Day parade. In an age when campaigns are increasingly high-tech, Amanda Vinicky took to the streets to find out why so many politicians spend so much time pounding the pavement.

Candidates have less than a month left to complete their missions. Grasping for your attention, and convincing you to vote for them on election day.

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Election 2014
8:19 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Quinn, Rauner Agree: No To Education Funding Plan

Both of the major party candidates for governor say Illinois should put more money into education. But neither are ready to embrace a controversial plan that would change how state money is distributed to schools.

There's been an uproar in some Chicago suburbs lately, over a proposal that's already passed the Illinois Senate. Under it, many districts there would see cuts in state funding, because they're in wealthier areas.

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Election 2014
5:07 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Removing The Pension Protection Clause

Credit Hannah Meisel

Illinois' ability to change retirement benefits of government workers is limited because of a provision in the state Constitution. But what about trying to make that a non-issue, by doing away with that clause?

Article XIII, Sect. 5 of the Illinois Constitution is direct: pension benefits, it says, "shall not be diminished or impaired."

Nevertheless, a law passed last year cuts benefits for current workers and retirees. Whether that squares with the Constitution is currently the subject of a lawsuit.

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Statehouse
3:57 pm
Sun October 12, 2014

Kent Redfield: Curing Political Corruption One Candidate At A Time

The following is an op-ed written by University of Illinois Springfield Professor Kent Redfield for the U of I's Institute of Government and Public Affairs:

A former governor was convicted of public corruption a few weeks ago. What many Illinoisans probably found surprising wasn’t the verdict, but the fact that the governor was from Virginia. One wag tweeted, “That’s so Illinois!” When it comes to public corruption, Illinois is the punchline of every joke, even when the corruption is not our own. 

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Illinois Leadership
8:31 am
Sat October 11, 2014

Behind the Scenes of the First 2014 Gubernatorial Debate

Watch this behind the scenes footage of the Illinois Public Broadcasters/League of Women Voters debate in Peoria on October 9, 2014. 

Election 2014
4:30 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Rauner Runs Up Endorsements; Quinn Says No Surprise

Gov. Pat Quinn (left) and Bruce Rauner shake hands before their Oct. 9 debate in Peoria.
Credit Hannah Meisel

Although he's dipping in polls, Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner is picking up newspaper endorsements.

The Daily Herald was first out of the gate with an endorsement for Rauner; saying that "installing a Republican governor while both houses of the General Assembly and the state Supreme Court remain solidly Democratic" will at least give Illinois "a fighting chance" for change.

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State Week
2:23 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Listen to State Week - October 10, 2014

Credit Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

This week, Illinois' two gubernatorial candidates met in Peoria for a public debate.  Also, in Chicago, lawmakers began hearings looking into problems with the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative.

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Election 2014
4:37 am
Fri October 10, 2014

Familiar Jabs, Talking Points In First Quinn/Rauner Debate

Gov. Pat Quinn, left, and Bruce Rauner at Thursday's gubernatorial debate in Peoria.
Credit Illinois Public Broadcasting

The two leading candidates for Illinois governor met Thursday night in Peoria for the first debate of the election season. Both men stuck closely to the ideas they’ve been honing for months on the campaign trail.

Democratic Governor Pat Quinn and his Republican challenger, Bruce Rauner, are running carefully scripted campaigns.

Quinn has a populist message: That he’s a friend of the working man, always looking out for the little guy.

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
7:00 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

First Quinn/Rauner Gubernatorial Debate

Gov. Pat Quinn, left, and Bruce Rauner met Wednesday in Peoria for the first debate of the fall election season.
Credit Illinois Public Broadcasting

Incumbent Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican nominee Bruce Rauner met for the first formal debate of the general election season Thursday in Peoria. The panel included Illinois Public Radio/WUIS Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky and Illinois Issues Executive Editor Jamey Dunn.

Watch or listen to the full debate:

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Statehouse
5:43 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Civic Federation Says Illinois Finances Headed In The Wrong Direction

Illinois is about a quarter of the way into its fiscal year and building up debt along the way.

A new report says it's a return to detrimental policies that landed Illinois in an unstable financial position in the first place.
                     
There was one, glaring question for lawmakers last spring: what were they going to do about the temporary income tax?

Illinois hiked rates in 2011, but only until midway through this fiscal year.  The 5% rate rolls back to 3.75%  in January.

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Statehouse
7:25 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Business Group Asking "What If?" Should Court Reject Pension Law

The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club is launching an initiative Wednesday that aims to spark a discussion about consequences if the Illinois Supreme Court strikes down pension overhaul legislation.

The nonpartisan organization of executives is calling the outreach effort to lawmakers, schools and social services the ``What If'' initiative. Committee President Ty Fahner calls it ``imperative'' to understand what could result if pension reform is overturned.  

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Statehouse
6:19 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Hearings Over Quinn Anti-Violence Program Begin Today in Chicago

Lawmakers are set to start a two-day hearing probing Gov. Pat Quinn's troubled anti-violence program.  

The Legislative Audit Commission subpoenaed seven former Quinn administration officials connected to the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative. They're due to start appearing before the bipartisan committee that oversees state audits Wednesday. Organizers say testimony could take all day.  

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Election 2014
3:25 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Toxic Ads Scorch, Spur Defamation Suit

A screenshot of the "Daisy" ad that aired in September, 1964. It's widely believed to be the first attack ad, and a political game-changer.
Credit Daisy Ad screenshot

It was 50 years ago last month that a new type of campaign commercial aired -- one devised to make President Lyndon Johnson's opponent look bad, rather than to extol his own virtues. "Daisy" only aired once, it was so controversial: the scene of a girl pulling petals off a flower crossed into one of an exploding bomb.  That commercial changed the political landscape. Any inhibitions campaigns may have had in 1964 have long since vanished. Now, negative ads are the norm. It's gotten to the point that a candidate for State Representative this week filed a lawsuit over it.

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Election 2014
12:37 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

A Look At Tight IL Legislative Races

Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

As election day nears, legislative races are hotly contested in some parts of the state. We preview those and look at the odds of a Republican take-over in the Illinois House or Senate. We spoke with the Daily Herald's Mike Riopell for this interview:

To read Riopell's story about legislative races, CLICK HERE.

 

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Statehouse
8:23 am
Tue October 7, 2014

Attorney: Illinois Needs Monitor To Oversee Hires

Inspector General report on IDOT
Credit Amanda Vinicky

A Chicago attorney and anti-corruption campaigner is stressing that a court-appointed monitor is needed to ensure the state's Department of Transportation is in compliance with political hiring bans.  

Michael Shakman's filing Monday in federal court comes in response to a motion by Gov. Pat Quinn's attorneys that the governor's administration's response to allegations of political hiring in the department had been both ``prompt'' and ``appropriate.''  

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Election 2014
4:40 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

Latino Voter Drive; Time Left For Procrastinators

Martin Torres has lead the Latino Policy Forum's voter registration drive this fall.
Credit Latino Policy Forum website

As candidates hustle for voters' support, interest groups are working to drum up numbers of their own, with voter registration drives. The deadline is tomorrow.

Martin Torres has been all over Chicago lately, holding voter registration events. It's the Latino Policy Forum's goal to sign up 5,000 voters.

He says Latinos make up 16-percent of the state's population, but the community's political influence hasn't kept up.

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Illinois Leadership
11:35 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Listen to Quinn/Rauner Debate Thursday, Oct. 9, 8PM

(L-R) Bruce Rauner (R), Pat Quinn (D)
Credit brucerauner.com, quinnforillinois.com

Tune into WUIS 91.9 FM in central Illinois this Thursday, October 9 at 8 p.m. for a live debate between Governor Pat Quinn (D) and challenger Bruce Rauner (R) in this close Illinois gubernatorial campaign (this will also stream at WUIS.org and broadcast on WIPA 89.3 in west-central Illinois and other Illinois public radio and television stations).  The debate originates in Peoria.

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