Statehouse

Gov. Pat Quinn
Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois' Auditor General Frank Mautino said millions of dollars meant for state anti-violence programs are unaccounted for. Gov. Bruce Rauner 's administration said the problem happened under former Gov. Pat Quinn and the state plans to recover the money.

Illinois colleges and universities have gone without state money since last summer.

House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Chicago Democrat, spoke about Medicaid on public television’s Illinois Lawmakers: “Boiling it down in more simple terms … who are the people that are eligible? How much of it will they get? How often will they get it?
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan wants to change the state constitution so it requires the state to foot the bill for the majority of school funding. House Republicans pushed back some at a Monday hearing over the potential cost.

Rachel Otwell

It's now close to a year since Illinois had a budget in place. The impasse has led to increased attention for what many consider a financial crisis. On Sunday, comptroller Leslie Munger announced pay for the legislature and its constitutional officers will be delayed, as have many payments for vendors and service-providers . The amount of unpaid bills is nearing $8 billion. Meanwhile, some members of the legislature are trying to pass a measure that would cease their pay as well - and make it contingent on passing a "balanced budget."

Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois legislators should expect a delay in their paychecks.

Comptroller Leslie Munger announced Sunday that elected officials' pay will wait in line, just like other bills.

Vendors and agencies that perform work for the state are waiting months to be paid. Until now, officials' paychecks were essentially given preferential treatment.

With a handful of Constitutional officers and 177 state legislators, the paychecks collectively total $1.3 million a month, or $15.6 for the year.

Illinois legislators should expect a delay in their paychecks.

Comptroller Leslie Munger announced yesterday  that elected officials' pay will wait in line, just like other bills. Vendors and agencies that perform work for the state are waiting months to be paid.

With a handful of Constitutional officers and 177 state legislators ... the paychecks total one point three million dollars a month.

flickr/jmorgan

All Illinois residents -- no matter how rich, no matter how poor -- pay the same income tax rate. Now a plan is afoot to change that, with a constitutional amendment, and to have the wealthy pay more.

Sarah Mueller WUIS

An Illinois lawmaker want teenagers accused of murder to have a lawyer present when questioned by law enforcement. 

After months without meeting, the governor and legislative leaders gathered behind closed doors this week, with apparently no progress toward a budget agreement. Speculation continues the Attorney General might go to court to stop state workers from being paid without an appropriation. Some believe such a move could force the governor and leaders to reach a deal. Others aren't so sure.  The State Journal-Register's Doug Finke joins the panel.

Matt Turner/flickr

An Illinois House committee has approved a call for moving state government jobs to the Springfield area.  But its only a resolution and doesn't force that action.    

The sponsor, Republican Representative Sara Wojcicki Jimenez of Leland Grove,  says moving the jobs to the area would cut costs for the state and lead to more efficiency while also boosting the local economy.  

Rachel Otwell

A student at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana was charged with murder this week, after she turned herself in and showed authorities the body of a newborn in her back-pack. Authorities say Lindsay Johnson - 20 years old from Monee - suffocated her son last month after giving birth to him in a dorm bathroom.

Michael Madigan
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The speaker of the Illinois House made a rare policy speech during a debate Tuesday afternoon. It was intended to put in context legislative Democrats’ long-running dispute with the Republican governor over state spending.

TRANSCRIPT: On Tuesday afternoon, Statehouse reporters got an email from the spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan. “Let me suggest listening to the speaker’s comments … on the floor,” the message read.

Evalyn Sanguinetti at Inauguration 2015
Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois lawmakers have taken the first step toward eliminating the office of Lieutenant Governor. Estimates show the proposed constitutional amendment could save $1.6 million dollars a year.

The lieutenant governor doesn't actually have to do much: The Constitution vaguely says whoever holds the office "shall perform the duties ... delegated to him by the Governor."

This year, the Lt. Gov is actually a “her," Evelyn Sanguinetti. She led a local government consolidation task force.

Statehouse exit sign
Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois' top legislators and the governor met yesterday for the first time this year. There's no indication it led to any resolution of the state's prolonged budget stalemate.

The private meeting lasted roughly an hour.

Neither Gov. Bruce Rauner nor any of the four legislative leaders had any direct comment on how it went (they slipped of the governor's capitol office through back doors that enabled them to avoid media waiting outside) but Speaker Michael Madigan made clear where he stands shortly after in a rare, ten minute speech on the House floor.

Amanda Vinicky

Illinois' information technology is getting an update --- one the State's CIO has said is necessary. He's said it's like state government's stuck in 1986 rather than 2016.

One IT overhaul took effect in late February. The state shifted from an old-school system of renewing professional licenses --- be it for roof contractors, nail technicians, or dentists -- to an online renewal system.

Rank-and-file Illinois lawmakers frustrated by the 10-month state budget impasse are meeting on their own in bipartisan groups to discuss potential solutions. 

flickr/Roger Goun

Illinois representatives are debating how much freedom high school journalists should have to criticize their school district's administration.  But state educators and local school districts say they worry about being held responsible for what their schools publish.

This week, Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno declared, "We need change!"  However, there is still no agreement among state lawmakers and Governor Bruce Rauner on what form that change should take as Illinois continues to go without a spending plan.  Illinois Issues' Jamey Dunn and The State Journal-Register's Bernie Schoenburg join the panel.

Amanda Vinicky / NPR | Illinois Public Radio

Republicans are making an offer to get money to social services agencies that have gone three-quarters of the year without any state funding.

Illinois' political stalemate has caused crises all over the state, says Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno.

Illinois Department of Natural Resources

The Illinois legislature is regional mélange, comprised of legislators from the nation's third largest city, as well as lawmakers who represent rural areas that are geographically closer to Mississippi than they are to Chicago. That diversity was on display Thursday when the House took up legislation to regulate fishing.

Illinois senators Thursday passed legislation out of committee to ban trapping bobcats and selling their pelts. The state recently allowed for the hunting of bobcats.

The Illinois House passed a measure Thursday that decriminalizes selling loose cigarettes to adults aged 18 and older. The legislation's sponsor said the change was inspired by the arrest and subsequent death of Eric Garner in New York.

A section of Illinois Route 8 in East Peoria may be dedicated to a fallen Illinois soldier. State representatives Thursday moved to designate a roadway as the "Staff Sergeant Paul Smith Memorial Highway."

A House committee Wednesday gave the nod to a measure that could lighten the sentence of a mentally ill criminal.

A judge can take a lot 16 different factors into consideration when meting out a sentence.

The legislation proposed by Chicago Democratic Rep. Pamela Reeves-Harris adds another one.

"The court may consider, in mitigation, information that at the time of the offense the defendant was suffering from a serious mental illness," she said.

http://www.adamsguns.com

 Access to guns could be restricted from someone going through a personal crisis. It comes after a series of mass shootings where advocates say warning signs were missed. State representatives advanced the legislation Wednesday.

It's not a lifetime ban. Rather, Rep. Kathleen Willis, a Democrat from Addison, stresses she wants to temporarily keep guns away from someone suffering a mental breakdown, contemplating suicide, or otherwise going through a rough patch.

A concerned close friend or relative could ask a circuit court to prevent them from buying, or possessing a gun.

Stateville Correctional Center
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Last December, the state of Illinois tentatively agreed to settle a class action lawsuit over the treatment of prisoners with mental illness. But changes to mental health at the Department of Corrections have been slow in coming, in part because Illinois has gone more than 9 months without a budget.

Homeless Youth Protest Lack Of State Funds

Apr 5, 2016
Sarah Mueller / NPR | Illinois Public Radio

About 50 Illinois homeless youth and service providers essentially ambushed Gov. Bruce Rauner Tuesday. Their goal was to bring attention to a lack of state funding for job training, counseling and affordable housing.

Brian Mackey/WUIS

Gov. Bruce Rauner has created a task force charged with finding fraud in taxpayer-funded health care programs.

The Republican Tuesday used his executive authority to form the group. It'll seek ways to prevent waste in state- and federally funded Medicaid , the state employee's health insurance and even costs of caring for inmates in Illinois prisons. Rauner says the cost of state-run health care programs increases when no one watches to stop abuse and fraud.

Illinois lawmakers are moving to make it easier for transgender individuals to change the gender marker on a fundamental document: their birth certificates. Democrats on a House committee approved the legislation Tuesday on a partisan vote of 8 to 6.

Alexandria Dinardo, who was born and raised in Springfield, was born male; that's what Dinardo's birth certificate still says.

flickr/ wonderferret

Two central Illinois dentist offices have recently closed, citing the lack of payments from the state for dental care given to public employees. 

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