Statehouse

Lisa Ryan/WUIS

Illinois leaders have another month to settle on a new budget plan, but given their failure to reach a deal by Sunday's initial deadline, Gov. Bruce Rauner says he must take immediate steps to manage state spending.

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Illinois law gives political candidates five days to report campaign contributions of $1,000 or more, but it's been weeks since Gov. Bruce Rauner gave Republican lawmakers four times that, and some still haven't told the state. But they aren't breaking the law.

It was May 11 when Rauner's campaign spread $400,000 among Republican senators and representatives, but you wouldn't know that from looking at state election records. Many legislators still haven't disclosed the money.

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Your favorite TV show might be interrupted with a pointed message purchased by Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, though  the governor is refusing to say whether he's going to buy TV time to promote his agenda as he battles with the legislature's Democratic leaders.

WGN broadcasting live from the WUIS/IPR Illinois State Capitol bureau for the scheduled adjournment day of the state legislature. Rick Pearson invited Amanda Vinicky to co-host .

State Capitol 100 years ago.
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library

ILLINOIS ISSUES - Gov. Bruce Rauner took office deriding state government’s overspending and promising to change things. One hundred years ago, a former Illinois legislator did just that — and he did it outside of government, as a citizen.

The finished product uses shades of green, blue, rose and peach that match the marble throughout the Capitol.
Bethany Carson / WUIS/Illinois Issues

 Illinois lawmakers have given final approval to legislation that would set statewide rules for the use of police body cameras.

 Gov. Bruce Rauner will now decide whether to separate the capital city's Lincoln showplace from its parent agency.

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Illinois' legislative session was supposed to be over by now. The schedule published months ago marked Sunday, May 31st as the adjournment date. Legislators typically don't return to Springfield until the fall. Instead, members of the General Assembly will be back beginning Thursday for a "continuous" summer session.

The Capitol
Brian Mackey/WUIS

Legislators in the Illinois House and Senate approved hundreds of bills this spring. Product bans remain popular, as with powdered alcohol and caffeine, and bumper pads for use in baby cribs. But lawmakers also voted to allow several things that had previously been illegal, such as raw milk and using crossbows to shoot coyotes.

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Hunting for bobcats could soon be legal in Illinois, but the measure barely passed the legislature.

When the proposal was first introduced, its sponsor, Democratic Rep. Patrick Verschoore, had to postpone the vote because it didn't have enough support.

But the second time around, it passed with the minimum number of required votes.

Verschoore says it is an important bill to manage the bobcat population.

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

The Illinois General Assembly ended its regularly scheduled spring session Sunday, without passing a single piece of Governor Bruce Rauner's so-called Turnaround Agenda.

Back in February, in his State of the State address, Rauner gave little indication he was willing to compromise on his pro-business platform: "We should consider it as a whole, not as a list of individual initiatives."

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Gov. Bruce Rauner says he and Democratic legislators have until midnight Sunday to reach a deal on both the state budget and his pro-business agenda. That's when the General Assembly is scheduled to leave town for the summer.

The current situation at the Illinois Statehouse as lawmakers and the Governor enter the scheduled closing weekend of the legislative session.  Rick Pearson of The Chicago Tribune joins the panel this week.

Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

As the Illinois General Assembly’s spring legislative session comes to a close, Gov. Bruce Rauner has failed win passage of his "Turnaround Agenda." Brian Mackey has this assessment of three of the most common theories as to why.

Parts of Illinois Democrats' $36 billion budget have now been approved by the General Assembly. But that doesn't mean they're going to the governor - at least not yet.

Think back civics class. You know the drill: in order for a bill to become a law, it has to first pass the legislature, and then be signed by the executive branch.

The first part is getting done - by Democrats, who control Illinois' General Assembly.

A new plan to expand gambling in Illinois is emerging, but it could get caught up in a larger battle. Details are expected to surface on Thursday.

Illinois would get five new casinos under Sen. Terry Link's latest proposal. They'd go to Chicago, Danville, Rockford, Lake County and the south suburbs. It could also add so-called "satellite" casinos in places like Decatur.

As with previous proposals, horse race tracks would be able to get slot machines.

Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's office appears to be preparing in case there's a strike. The state's contract with its largest public employees' union, AFSCME, expires on June 30, when the state's fiscal year ends.

ALPLM
ALPLM

The Illinois House has approved a proposal to revamp the management of the state-run Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

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An Illinois proposal would provide funding for police body cameras.

The measure creates procedures for arrests and traffic stops, including pedestrian searches. Incidents like officer-involved shootings and arrests would have a standard protocol across Illinois, and the proposal would require more police training.

Funding would come from an increase in fines for traffic tickets.

Democratic Rep. Elgie Sims says when police officers wear body cameras, both the community and police benefit.

Amanda Vinicky

The Illinois House overwhelmingly approved a plan that seeks to curb the abuse of heroin and painkilling drugs.

State Sen. Kwame Raoul
WUIS/Illinois Issues

The Illinois Senate on Wednesday began taking up parts of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s pro-business agenda. They’re just as quickly taking them out.

Helping Kids In Foster Care Track Their History

May 27, 2015

Lacy is eight years old, though that’s not her real name. Lacy’s adoptive mom, Rebecca McClintock, asked us to disguise her daughter’s identity because we’re going to be talking about her past, and a lot of it is painful.

Brett Levin/Flickr

Plans to build a medical marijuana facility in the south-central Illinois city of Litchfield have run into obstacles.
 
 Department of Agriculture officials say the permit in that district is now under review. Department spokeswoman Kristi Jones declined to provide details.
 
 In February, Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration named Compass Ventures as the  winner of the lone permit to grow marijuana in the four-county district.

Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

Heavyweights from each of Illinois' public universities gathered for a rare meeting at the state Capitol yesterday.

It's thought to be the first time leaders from all nine state schools have collectively met with the governor's office and the leaders in the General Assembly.

House floor
Brian Mackey/WUIS

Democrats are moving forward with a new state budget. The House passed a huge chunk of it on Tuesday.

The Democrats' budget includes funding many programs the governor planned to cut, even though Illinois is short about $3 billion to pay for all of that spending.

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Higher education will see a funding cut next year, but Democrats want to lessen the impact compared to what the Republican governor called for.

Gov. Bruce Rauner suggested a more than 30 percent reduction. Democrats are proposing a 6.5 percent cut to universities.

Republicans voted against the Democrats' measure in committee. GOP Rep. Mark Batinick from Plainfield says the cost of doing business in Illinois is too high. That includes the business of higher education.

Dry casks containing radioactive waste
WUIS/Illinois Issues

With the legislative session nearing a close, the plug has been pulled on efforts to prop up renewable, coal and nuclear power.

A lot of, well, energy was put into energy policies this legislative session.

2014 General Election Total Votes
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Despite overwhelming support from voters at last fall’s general election, an increase in the minimum wage appears to be dead in the spring session of the Illinois General Assembly.

Illinois Democrats have begun to unveil their new state spending plan, which looks a lot like the current one. That's despite Illinois having billions of dollars less, thanks to a rollback of the income tax rate in January. Even before the details were made public, Gov. Bruce Rauner's office was out with a statement tearing into the proposal, and its architect, House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

Democrats are moving forward with a new state budget-- one that closely mirrors the current one. However, it does make cuts nearly across the board, save for education through high school. The Republican governor is already expressing his frustration.

The issue is, Illinois' income tax rate has dropped, so the state's missing out on billions of dollars. Gov. Bruce Rauner had proposed massive cuts to make up for it.

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