A Democratic challenger to incumbent Governor Pat Quinn says he received the "best news in the world" Thursday morning, he gets to remain on the ballot. Not anyone can run for office in Illinois. Getting on the ballot requires turning in paperwork, including signatures of registered voters. Tio Hardiman, the former director of the anti-violence group Ceasefire, says he did that.
"We put a lot of work into this campaign. We've traveled the entire state, it's not like we just jumped up overnight and said let's run for governor," Hardiman said.
A major organized labor coalition says it plans to ``do everything possible'' to oppose Republican Bruce Rauner's bid for Illinois governor. The Illinois AFL-CIO announced Thursday that its board approved a resolution to engage union members to defeat the Winnetka businessman.
A state legislative committee has rejected rules aimed at tightening who sells contracts for video gambling terminals and who can do business with Illinois.
But Illinois Gaming Board chairman Aaron Jaffe says he'll try again. He said Wednesday that he'll bring the issue back to the panel or to the General Assembly this year.
The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules voted unanimously Tuesday to deny rules that would also create a list of businesses and individuals Illinois won't work with. It's similar to what the state does with casinos.
State election regulators say more than a dozen Illinois counties have purged their voter registration rolls to remove the names of people who've died or moved away.
The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises Newspapers reports (http://bit.ly/19rHR6b ) 17 counties and the city of East St. Louis fixed problems on their lists of registered voters. County clerks are required to purge voter rolls every two years. But some counties say there isn't enough money in the budget to cover the sometimes costly review.
Raising Illinois' minimum wage has emerged as the first significant campaign issue for candidates hoping to become Illinois' next governor. And it could take center stage throughout the year. Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn says he wants to raise the $8.25 hourly rate to at least $10 by year's end. But a coalition of business groups that worry raising the rate would kill jobs say they'll try to stop the efforts.
Next month there'll be an Illinois Manufacturer's Association forum where organizers say minimum wage will be a main topic.
This week's topics include how the debate over the state's minimum wage may affect the Republican candidates for Governor, and calls for a change of leadership at the state's Department of Corrections.
Republicans, including (from left) Tres. Dan Rutherford's running mate Steve Kim, Sen. Kirk Dillard and Sen. Bill Brady - both of whom are running for governor - stood in line to file their elections paperwork late last year.
An expert on campaign finance says his studies show that government funding of state level races is better for voters and candidates. Michael Miller of the University of Illinois Springfield makes the case in his new book "Subsidizing Democracy: How Public Funding Changes Elections And How It Can Work In The Future". He spoke with Bill Wheelhouse:
A state report shows the amount of money taxpayers owe five state pension plans hit $100.5 billion on June 30.
But that's $3 billion less when not using a counting method adopted five years ago that made the pension picture brighter.
Auditor General William Holland released a report Wednesday that estimates the total retirement-fund debt based on a process called ``smoothing'' _ considering gains and losses during the past five years.
Without smoothing and instead considering current market value of assets, the total unfunded liability is $97 billion.
Gov. Pat Quinn is supporting his prisons director after a Republican challenger called for the director to be fired. Sen. Kirk Dillard is a GOP candidate for governor. He said Wednesday that Democrat Quinn should fire S.A. ``Tony'' Godinez for hiring a man with arrests and apparent one-time gang ties.
Dillard says it's ``outrageous'' that ex-gang members are ``running the prisons.'' Xadrian McCraven was an $111,000-a-year senior policy adviser to the Department of Corrections' parole chief before he was fired Friday.
Gov. Pat Quinn's running mate will continue working in Connecticut until March 1, just before Illinois' primary election. The Chicago Sun-Times reports (http://bit.ly/19SJTfX ) Paul Vallas will keep working as superintendent of Bridgeport public schools.
Vallas submitted his resignation to Bridgeport officials on Dec. 31 and is required to give a 60-day notice. Illinois' primary election will be held March 18.
Gov. Pat Quinn has signed a pension-reform measure for the Chicago Park District.
The legislation Quinn signed Tuesday is designed to deal with a $971 million deficit in the district's pension program. When lawmakers approved it in November, experts hailed it as example of compromise for what was then an elusive solution to the five state pension systems' $100 billion hole.
With the new year comes the annual process of crafting a new state budget. Money will be tight, despite a pension law that's supposed to save $160 billion dollars over the next 30 years.
Legislators who voted to cut state employees' and teachers' retirement benefits say they had no choice. Nearly a fifth of the state budget was going into Illinois' pension systems. Meaning there was less money to spend elsewhere. The pension law is supposed to ease that so-called "squeeze."
The online application system to apply for permits was officially launched in Illinois on Sunday. On Monday, Illinois State Police said they had received 4,525 applications for concealed carry permits were received within 24 hours. The other 6,500 applications came from firearms instructors who the state let apply early for permits to help test the functionality of the online application system.
This week's topics include the state's system for accepting Concealed-Carry applications, the many lawsuits filed against the recent law changing the state's pension system, and a look back at some top stories from 2013.
A state law taking effect yesterday limits the use of free on-street parking by the disabled. Now, only motorists whose impairments prevent them from being able to pay a meter can park for free in those spots.
Before, anyone with a disability parking placard could do so. Now, motorists will have to get statements from doctors affirming they cannot feed parking meters, for example, because they use wheelchairs or cannot walk more than 20 feet.
A published report says groups with ties to the pension-reform law adopted last month have contributed close to $3 million to Illinois Supreme Court justices who might decide its fate.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports (http://bit.ly/1aqJQ5n ) that six of seven justices have taken money in the past 13 years from labor unions, business groups and a political committee controlled by Chicago Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan. Retired teachers have sued to stop the pension-reform plan that cuts retiree benefits to reduce a $100 billion debt.
An Illinois Independent Tax Tribunal years in the making is up-and-running today. It gives businesses and individuals who have problems with their tax bills a new avenue to get them overturned. Still there are early concerns over who Gov. Pat Quinn has nominated to serve as the tribunal's Chief Administrative Law Judge.
Say a business doesn't agree with how much the state Department of Revenue says it owes in sales taxes. Before, it had two options: fight the tax bill in court (though that costs time and money) or plead the case to the Department of Revenue.
The amount Illinois must pay to keep pace with its pension systems should grow less than 2 percent next year but still total nearly $7 billion.
A state actuary's report that Auditor General William Holland released Tuesday says taxpayers must pay $6.86 billion in the fiscal year that begins July 1. That's up about $100 million from this fiscal year. Lawmakers adopted a reform plan in early December for the five pension systems to cut a $100 billion debt. But it doesn't take effect until June 1 and has been challenged in court.
As we get ready to welcome 2014, we thought we’d take a few minutes to reflect on some of the voices in the news this past year in Illinois state politics and government. People in the Capitol were busy with same-sex marriage, medical marijuana, and dozens of other issues. What follows are a few of the more memorable moments.
Gov. Pat Quinn: “This is no small issue. This is a choice about whether we will make the tough decisions necessary to balance our budget by reforming our public pension systems."
Jan. 1 brings a new Illinois law that limits talking on the phone while driving. It's often been referred to as "cell phone ban." But it's actually a bit more nuanced.
The law starts out by saying you cannot drive while using an electronic device such as a phone or laptop. But it's not that cut-and-dry. For example, you can place a call if it only requires pressing one button.
SIRI: *ding* MACKEY: Siri, can you make a call for me? SIRI: "With whom would you like to speak?" MACKEY: How about Illinois State Police spokeswoman Monique Bond?
Beginning Jan. 1, the maximum speed limit in Illinois will increase to 70 miles an hour. But you might want to hold off on the throttle for at least a few weeks.
While the new 70 mph law technically goes into effect at midnight on New Year's Day, it's going to take the Illinois Department of Transportation a little while to get all the new speed limit signs put up. Until then, IDOT spokeswoman Paris Earvin says, "We really encourage motorists to obey the posted speed limits."
State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka says Illinois residents will get a breakdown of state spending in income tax returns received in 2014.
Topinka announced the initiative on Monday. She says her office will also make the information available online. In a statement, Topinka says there shouldn't be a mystery when it comes to public dollars in the state.
Gov. Pat Quinn is a longtime advocate for term limits, but has yet to commit to one himself. The Chicago Democrat tells The Associated Press in a year-end interview that he won't presume a win in his 2014 re-election bid and is taking it one term at a time.
Thirty-eight people have been granted clemency by Gov. Pat Quinn for crimes that date back decades. The Democratic governor announced yesterday that he also denied another 129 petitions for clemency. Crimes committed by those who were pardoned include theft, possession of a controlled substance, burglary and forgery, and solicitation of prostitutes.