Statehouse

Statehouse
12:41 pm
Fri February 20, 2015

Caterpillar Announces It Will Stay In Peoria

The Caterpillar Administration Building
Credit Flickr/File Upload Bot (Magnus Manske)

Caterpillar says it’s staying in Peoria. The world’s largest heavy equipment maker announced plans to expand its world headquarters in downtown Peoria after a two-and-a-half-year building study. Governor Bruce Rauner says many other states and countries tried to lure Cat away from Peoria, “I personally know what they did, who they called, how often they came, what they offered, and they offered all kinds of benefits. Caterpillar said, ‘No. I’m going to be loyal to the state of Illinois where we were built and where we will build our long-term future.’”

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Statehouse
12:22 pm
Fri February 20, 2015

Time Running Out For Families, Day Care Providers

State Sen. Kimberly Lightford is a Democrat from Maywood.

Child care providers who accept a state subsidy are “trying to hold on,” as one provider says. Funding for the Child Care Assistance Program dried up last month. Many of them converged on the state Capitol building Thursday to urge legislators and the governor to fund the program through June, the end of the state’s fiscal year.

The rally comes a day after Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner gave his first budget address, acknowledging the costs of having the program run out of money. “Families are worried about how to care for their children,” Rauner said.

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Statehouse
4:09 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

Clean Energy Could Bring Job Growth

Turbines at the Twin Groves Wind Farm near Bloomington
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

Legislation introduced in Springfield calls for stricter statewide energy efficiency and renewable energy standards.

Advocates for clean energy say that increasing the amount of energy generated by renewable resources, such as wind and solar power, will bring jobs to Illinois. A large group of bipartisan lawmakers have signed on to a proposal to increase energy efficiency standards to 20 percent by 2025, then 35 percent by 2030.

Nick Magrisso of the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition says Illinois exports some of that energy to other states, which helps create jobs.

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Statehouse
3:51 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

Lawmaker Unsatisfied With Little League Decision

The Jackie Robinson West Little League team poses with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

After a summer of cheering on Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West team as it advanced through the Little League national series, critics are now clamoring. 

Earlier this month the team was stripped of its championship title.  

Little League officials say the Chicago team broke the rules, by recruiting players outside its boundaries.

It’s a decision that Representative Monique Davis, a Chicago Democrat, says is unfair.

 

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Illinois Issues - Economy
2:42 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

Small-Business Owners Have Varied Ideas On Senate's Minimum Wage Plan

Small-business owners are giving mixed reviews regarding the latest Senate proposal designed to slowly raise the minimum wage and cushion payroll costs. The legislation, which passed the Senate earlier this month and now pending in the House, would immediately bring the minimum wage from $8.25 to $9 an hour and then increase it by 50 cents per year until it reached $11  in 2019. The climb in wages would happen more gradually than called for under previous bills from sponsor Sen. Kimberly Lightford, a Maywood Democrat. 

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Pensions
1:03 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

Supreme Court Schedules Pension Arguments For March 11

The Illinois Supreme Court has announced it will hear oral arguments in the state's landmark pension-overhaul case on March 11.

Arguments will begin at 2:30 p.m. in the high court chamber in downtown Springfield.  

The Illinois General Assembly and former Gov. Pat Quinn adopted a plan in late 2013 designed to cut into the $111 billion deficit in four state pension programs built by years of underfunding.  

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Budget FY16
12:49 am
Thu February 19, 2015

Rauner's Budget: Honest, Or Slash And Burn?

Gov. Bruce Rauner spent his birthday Wednesday presenting his first budget to the General Assembly; it includes deep cuts which he says are needed after years of reckless spending.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

Thirty-eight days into his term as Illinois' governor, Bruce Rauner yesterday delivered his much-anticipated budget address. Amanda Vinicky recaps the financial reckoning.

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Illinois Issues - Past Due
8:50 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Budget Address Short On Dreary Details

Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

News Analysis - Gov. Bruce Rauner’s speech did little to convey the gravity of the cuts proposed in his budget plan.

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Statehouse
6:33 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Dem Sees 'Fuzzy Pension Math' In Rauner Budget

Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks with reporters in the Illinois Capitol Building. He was governor-elect in this November 2014 file photo.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

Gov. Bruce Rauner is calling for big cuts in state spending. But some of his projected savings could be a long way off.

A huge chunk of Rauner’s budget savings comes from freezing state pensions and moving workers into more modest plans.

“We cannot continue to raise taxes on all Illinoisans in order to fund the retirement benefits of a small fraction of our residents," Rauner said.

What’s unusual about Rauner’s approach is that he’s booking the $2.2 billion in savings right away, even though it likely would be challenged in court.

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Statehouse
3:48 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Rauner Proposes Deep Spending Cuts

Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks at his inauguration ceremony in this January 2015 file photo.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

  Gov. Bruce Rauner is proposing deep spending cuts across state government. The Republican presented his first budget proposal to lawmakers Wednesday.

  Illinois’ finances are ailing. That’s been a story for years, but the situation got a lot worse at the beginning of the year when a tax cut took effect.

Rauner is proposing significant cuts to everything from healthcare for the poor to universities.

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Statehouse
12:03 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Gov. Rauner's Budget Address And Legislative Leaders Reaction

Good Afternoon.

President Cullerton

Speaker Madigan

Leader Radogno

Leader Durkin

Lieutenant Governor Sanguinetti

Attorney General Madigan

Secretary White

Comptroller Munger

Treasurer Frerichs

Members of the General Assembly,

Thank you for attending today. Thank you for your service to the people of

Over the past week, we’ve commemorated the life of Illinois’ greatest leader, Abraham Lincoln.

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
12:00 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Rauner's First Budget Address - Illinois Lawmakers

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner budget address begins to end months of speculation about his specific plans to address the state budget deficit.

Illinois Lawmakers is produced in partnership by WSIU-TV Carbondale, WTVP-TV Peoria, and Illinois Public Media, Urbana.

Statehouse
5:55 am
Wed February 18, 2015

Things To Watch In Rauner's Budget Address

Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

Since the night he was elected, Gov. Bruce Rauner has
repeatedly said he wants Illinois to be the most competitive yet compassionate
state in the nation.
 
 He's also quick to add one caveat: ``We don't have the money to be able to be
compassionate.''     
 
 As the Republican prepares to propose his first budget Wednesday for a state
that's billions of dollars in the red, many lawmakers and advocates for
low-income, elderly and disabled people are bracing for major cuts to areas such
as Medicaid and mental health care.   
 
 

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Statehouse
5:11 am
Wed February 18, 2015

Kids Left Behind Bars

Credit WBEZ

There’s a kid locked up in the Cook County juvenile jail right now who isn’t supposed to be there.

It happens all the time.  Even after a judge has ordered their release…lots of kids wait weeks, even months to be picked up.   Before you get angry about deadbeat parents out there ….

The kids we’re talking about here are wards of the state of Illinois…and their guardian…the one leaving them in jail…is the Department of Children and Family Services or DCFS.

In just the past few years this has happened to hundreds of kids:

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Illinois Issues - Past Due
8:06 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

Explaining Youth Program Funding Freeze

Listen to reporter Rhonda Gillespie talk to Jamey Dunn about her story on funding for youth programs. 

Nearly three-dozen non-profit organizations — mostly in the Chicago area — were told Jan. 29 that money they were expected to get as part of an $8 million Youth Development grant had been blocked by Gov. Bruce Rauner. The new Republican governor has made a point of undoing as many of former Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn’s lame-duck actions as possible, withdrawing promised funding, blocking contracts and rescinding executive orders.

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On The Rail
5:11 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

Rauner Meets With Legislative Leaders About Budget

Gov. Bruce Rauner will give his budget address on Wednesday, Feb. 18.

Just how Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner plans to deal with Illinois' budget and its deficit largely remains a mystery. Rauner is set to finally unveil his ideas Wednesday, when he gives his budget address. However, the legislature's leaders got a preview the day before.

House Speaker Michael Madigan walked out the large, glass doors of the governor's antechamber, with this to say about his meeting with Rauner:

"The governor simply said that he's got some tough medicine to deliver."

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Statehouse
4:24 pm
Mon February 16, 2015

Proposal Would Exempt Some High School Students From Gym

Credit Peoria Public Radio

Illinois requires high school students take four years of gym class, but a proposal in the Illinois Senate could allow some students to opt out.

Senate Bill 114 would allow local school boards to excuse students from physical education if they are taking two or more Advanced Placement, or AP, classes.

Senator Pamela Althoff says she's talked with parents who are concerned about getting their children into competitive colleges.

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Statehouse
3:53 pm
Mon February 16, 2015

Newest Technology for Hunting and Fishing May Not Make It To Illinois

Proponents of hunting and fishing with drones say the technology can be used for surveillance.
Credit http://www.infouas.com/la-policia-de-california-dispuesta-a-emplear-drones/

A handful of states have already passed measures that would ban the use of drones to hunt or fish, and Illinois could be next.

Senator Julie Morrison sees her bill as a precautionary measure. She says hunting and fishing with drones hasn't yet become a problem in Illinois, but the Democrat from Deerfield wants to make sure it never is.

"Drones are a piece of technology that we are not completely prepared to deal with yet, but this will be one step forward," she said.

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
7:30 pm
Fri February 13, 2015

Rauner's Executive Order - CapitolView

Host Jamey Dunn and guests Kent Redfield (UIS) and Bruce Rushton (IL Times) discuss Gov. Rauner's new executive order, Aaron Schock, and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

CapitolView is a production of WSEC-TV/PBS Springfield, Network Knowledge.

Statehouse
5:41 pm
Fri February 13, 2015

Rauner Appoints Aide's Wife To Commerce Job

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has appointed the wife of a
top aide to a $121,000 post at the Department of Commerce and Economic
Opportunity.
 
Rauner's office Friday said Andria Winters of Chicago would be replacing Dan
Seals as the department's assistant director.
 
Winters' husband, Aaron, is Rauner's deputy chief of staff for policy.
 
Andria Winters previously worked at Motorola Mobility. Like her husband, she is
a former aide to U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk and served on Rauner's transition team.
 

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Statehouse
2:39 pm
Fri February 13, 2015

County Fairs Hit Hard By Budget Cuts

Credit Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs

The possibility of budget cuts makes the future of agricultural fairs in Illinois unknown. A study released by the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs focused on the importance of county fairs to the state's economy.

Agricultural fairs rarely make a profit, and most are slowly using up their savings, if they had any. Bill Jennings, president of the Richland County Fair, says they are lucky to have a financial reserve for maintenance of the fairgrounds.

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Statehouse
2:36 pm
Fri February 13, 2015

Rauner Taps Florida Democrat To Head DCFS

George Sheldon
Credit wikipedia

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has selected a Florida Democrat to lead Illinois' troubled Department of Children and Family Services.
 
George Sheldon ran Florida's Department of Children and Families from 2008 to 2011. He's credited with expanding adoption opportunities for gays and lesbians, reducing the number of children in state custody and making state records more
easily accessible.
 
Sheldon also served as an assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under President Barack Obama.
 

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State Week
1:29 pm
Fri February 13, 2015

Listen to State Week - February 13, 2015

Credit Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

This week, Governor Rauner's efforts toward allowing government workers to stop paying union dues and toward revising the state's criminal justice policies.

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Statehouse
6:27 am
Fri February 13, 2015

IDOT Nominee Has A DUI On His Record

Credit Illinois Department of Transportation

Gov. Bruce Rauner's nominee to head the Illinois Department of Transportation was arrested for drunken driving in 2004.  

The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers  reports Randy Blankenhorn failed a blood alcohol content test during a traffic stop in Sangamon County.  

According to court records, Blankenhorn pleaded guilty to DUI and received a year of supervision and a $795 fine.  

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
1:25 pm
Thu February 12, 2015

Civic Federation Advocates Taxing Retirement Income, Raising Income Tax

Credit wnij

Next week, Gov. Bruce Rauner will unveil his spending proposal. The non-partisan Civic Federation has some suggestions.

The Civic Federation’s Director, Laurence Msall, says Illinois’ budget isn’t just in bad shape; its condition is terrible ... and climbing out of it won’t be easy.

“These are not politically attractive answers. There are financial, reality-based suggestions on how the state can stabilize its finances,” he says.

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
4:48 pm
Wed February 11, 2015

Governor Visits State Prison — First Time In Years

Gov. Bruce Rauner is seen at his inauguration in this January 2015 file photo.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

Gov. Bruce Rauner visited a state prison Wednesday. It’s the first time a sitting governor has done that in years.

Rauner says an overhaul of Illinois’ criminal justice system a priority for his administration.

"The Department of Corrections is operating at more than 150 percent of its design capacity," Rauner says. "That is unsafe to both inmates and staff."

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Statehouse
11:53 am
Wed February 11, 2015

Rauner Convenes (Another) Task Force On Sentencing

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday signed an executive order creating a commission to look at sentencing policy in Illinois. He was flanked by officials from the criminal justice system at a news conference in the Sangamon County Building in Springfield.
Credit Brian Mackey / WUIS

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner announced Wednesday he would convene a commission to look at criminal justice policy.

State prisons in Illinois are at 150 percent of the capacity they were built to house. They also cost taxpayers $1.3 billion a year. And many inmates, once released, go on to commit more crimes. Rauner says that’s unacceptable.

"It is a vicious and costly cycle," Rauner says. "We need to make sure we are rehabilitating inmates, so they don’t commit crimes over and over again."

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Illinois Issues - Economy
3:40 pm
Tue February 10, 2015

White House Immigration Policy Could Affect Illinois Economy

Credit Department of Homeland Security

Immigrants in the country illegally will soon be able to file requests to stay in the U.S. without fear of being deported.

President Barack Obama announced an executive order helping immigrants in the country illegally gain lawful employment and defer deportation. Opponents say this could hurt the economy and take jobs away from U.S. citizens.

Cecilia Muñoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, says the opposite is true.

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Statehouse
6:54 am
Tue February 10, 2015

Democrats Skeptical Over Rauner 'Fair Share' Dues Order

Credit www.ilga.gov

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton says his legal staff is reviewing an executive order issued by Gov. Bruce Rauner that eliminates dues paid by workers who aren't public union members.  
 
 Rauner says 6,500 state employees are forced to pay ``fair share'' fees at an
average of $577 a year for each worker.
 
 Cullerton is a Chicago Democrat. He and others are skeptical about whether the
Winnetka Republican has the legal ability to challenge the fee. Unions have
fired back at the governor, saying they intend to work to have the order

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
10:02 pm
Mon February 9, 2015

Explaining Rauner's Latest Union Moves

Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks with Statehouse reporters in this November 2014 file photo.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is taking another shot at government employee unions. The Republican has signed an executive order prohibiting so-called "fair share" dues paid by workers who would rather not join a union. He says the alliance between unions and politicians has been a “corrupt bargain."

“There’s also a fundamental American principle of freedom of choice," Rauner says. "America is about freedom of choice and empowering individuals to control their own lives and their own future. This is allowing the employees of state government the right to decide."

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