Statehouse

Illinois
2:40 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

How Illinois Might Have Looked

Credit Graphic courtesy of Kenneth Olson, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Illinois became a state in 1818, but figuring out its shape was not a simple process. While most people hear Illinois and think Chicago - it could have been without the city, if not for advocacy and politics. An article in the current edition of Illinois Issues magazine (and below) explores the issue. Rachel Otwell sat down to talk with the author, Eliot Clay, about it:

 

'How Illinois might have looked' by Eliot Clay

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Computer Glitch Fixed
9:11 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Drivers' License Facilities Back, Open For Business

Credit Creative Commons: Chris He, 2009

  Drivers' license facilities across Illinois are up and running again this morning, following a computer glitch that disrupted services much of Wednesday.

Driver's license facilities operated old-school yesterday, using paper forms whenever possible, because their computers were down.

Turns out the problem was like so many others in life: miscommunication.

The mainframe computer in Springfield "wasn't properly communicating with and recording data entered from the computer terminals at the facilities," said Sec. of State spokesman Henry Haupt.

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Illinois Government
12:47 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

State Police Repairing Leaky Roof

Credit flickr/Robert Kuykendall

Illinois State Police are fixing a leaky roof over an evidence room in a building near their downtown Springfield headquarters.  

The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers reports (http://bit.ly/14dewuJ ) that if the roof isn't fixed, evidence collected in criminal investigations may be damaged. The state police have signed off on a contract worth about $250,000 to fix the roof. Bidding documents state that it's ``an emergency purchase.''  

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Opposition Softens Some
5:04 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Most Illinois Residents Oppose Tax Hike

Credit flickr/jmorgan

A hike in Illinois’ income tax rate will begin rolling back at the end of this year, and a majority of Illinois voters are alright with that.

A new poll shows 56-percent of voters oppose making the increase permanent.

Respondents to the survey, which was done before the election by the Paul Simon Institute at Southern Illinois University, were asked that question fairly directly.

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
6:11 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Lukewarm Ideas On Property Tax Freeze

Bruce Rauner, in his first appearance since being elected, held to his pledge to freeze property taxes, but he says he'll form a task force to figure out how.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

When he was a candidate, Bruce Rauner promised that if elected, he would freeze property taxes. Now that he's won the race for governor, he's holding off on details about how.

It was a campaign promise that struck a chord.

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
7:18 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

Madigan Wants To Split Lincoln Library, But Why The Rush?

A wax model of Pres. Abraham Lincoln and his family greet visitors to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.
Credit ill.gov

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is reviving his end-of-session effort to make the Springfield-based Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum its own state agency. As first reported by the website Capitol Fax, the Speaker filed new legislation Thursday.

The last minute move by House Speaker Madigan in late May to separate the Library from the Historic Preservation Agency y seemingly came out of nowhere, and pretty much went nowhere. The plan passed the House, but went no further before the General Assembly adjourned.

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State Week
1:52 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

Listen to State Week - November 7, 2014

Credit Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

This week, a recap of the results of the Mid-Term Elections.

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Minimum Wage
5:54 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Rauner Wants Lame Ducks To Lay Off

Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner stands before his newly-announced transition team; days after the election he said lawmakers should hold off making major decisions until he takes over.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

Even though the race for Illinois governor is over, Gov. Pat Quinn and Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner continue to be at odds, this time over the minimum wage.

When he made his brief concession speech, Quinn said there was one goal he'd like to accomplish before leaving office: increasing the minimum wage.

But Rauner (who says he has not spoken with Quinn since the election) says lawmakers should hold off making any major policy changes until he takes over early next year.

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Statehouse
3:50 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Rauner Transition Team Includes Bill Daley

Bill Daley
Credit WUIS

Governor-elect Bruce Rauner is naming a transition team of advisers that includes former White House chief of staff Bill Daley, a Democrat.  
It also includes former Gov. Jim Edgar, Republican Congressman Aaron Schock and former Southern Illinois University President Glenn Poshard, another Democrat.  

The Republican venture capitalist ousted Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn in a close contest this week.  

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Statehouse
7:42 am
Thu November 6, 2014

Did Rauner Actually Call Madigan and Cullerton?

Credit brucerauner.com

In his victory speech Tuesday night, Bruce Rauner indicated he had called House Speaker Michael Madigan and Democratic Senate President John Cullerton.

However, a couple of reports indicated that neither Madigan nor Cullerton spoke with the Governor-Elect.   Reports in the State Journal Register and Chicago Sun Times say Speaker Michael Madigan's spokesman has no record of any calls from Rauner

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Statehouse
6:25 am
Thu November 6, 2014

Supreme Court Justice Narrowly Avoids Getting Thrown Out of Office

Credit Illinois Supreme court

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier appears to have survived an attempt to unseat him by a group of attorneys and law firms. 

Karmeier finished less than 1 percentage point above the 60 percent he needed for retention with more than 99 percent of Tuesday's votes counted. Several counties still were counting absentee and provisional ballots.  

Karmeier campaign chief Ron Deedrick says in a statement that Karmeier believes he has won. He says the campaign is ``cautiously optimistic that the numbers may continue to edge up'' in Karmeier's favor.  

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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

Brian Mackey
Credit mattpenning.com 2011 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

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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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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