Statehouse

Statehouse
3:57 pm
Sun October 12, 2014

Kent Redfield: Curing Political Corruption One Candidate At A Time

The following is an op-ed written by University of Illinois Springfield Professor Kent Redfield for the U of I's Institute of Government and Public Affairs:

A former governor was convicted of public corruption a few weeks ago. What many Illinoisans probably found surprising wasn’t the verdict, but the fact that the governor was from Virginia. One wag tweeted, “That’s so Illinois!” When it comes to public corruption, Illinois is the punchline of every joke, even when the corruption is not our own. 

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Illinois Leadership
8:31 am
Sat October 11, 2014

Behind the Scenes of the First 2014 Gubernatorial Debate

Watch this behind the scenes footage of the Illinois Public Broadcasters/League of Women Voters debate in Peoria on October 9, 2014. 

Election 2014
4:30 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Rauner Runs Up Endorsements; Quinn Says No Surprise

Gov. Pat Quinn (left) and Bruce Rauner shake hands before their Oct. 9 debate in Peoria.
Credit Hannah Meisel

Although he's dipping in polls, Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner is picking up newspaper endorsements.

The Daily Herald was first out of the gate with an endorsement for Rauner; saying that "installing a Republican governor while both houses of the General Assembly and the state Supreme Court remain solidly Democratic" will at least give Illinois "a fighting chance" for change.

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State Week
2:23 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Listen to State Week - October 10, 2014

Credit Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

This week, Illinois' two gubernatorial candidates met in Peoria for a public debate.  Also, in Chicago, lawmakers began hearings looking into problems with the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative.

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Election 2014
4:37 am
Fri October 10, 2014

Familiar Jabs, Talking Points In First Quinn/Rauner Debate

Gov. Pat Quinn, left, and Bruce Rauner at Thursday's gubernatorial debate in Peoria.
Credit Illinois Public Broadcasting

The two leading candidates for Illinois governor met Thursday night in Peoria for the first debate of the election season. Both men stuck closely to the ideas they’ve been honing for months on the campaign trail.

Democratic Governor Pat Quinn and his Republican challenger, Bruce Rauner, are running carefully scripted campaigns.

Quinn has a populist message: That he’s a friend of the working man, always looking out for the little guy.

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Election 2014
9:40 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Raw Tape: Watch First Quinn/Rauner Debate

Gov. Pat Quinn, left, and Bruce Rauner met Wednesday in Peoria for the first debate of the fall election season.
Credit Illinois Public Broadcasting

Incumbent Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican nominee Bruce Rauner met for the first formal debate of the general election season Thursday in Peoria. The panel included Illinois Public Radio/WUIS Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky and Illinois Issues Executive Editor Jamey Dunn.

Watch or listen to the full debate:

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Statehouse
5:43 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Civic Federation Says Illinois Finances Headed In The Wrong Direction

Illinois is about a quarter of the way into its fiscal year and building up debt along the way.

A new report says it's a return to detrimental policies that landed Illinois in an unstable financial position in the first place.
                     
There was one, glaring question for lawmakers last spring: what were they going to do about the temporary income tax?

Illinois hiked rates in 2011, but only until midway through this fiscal year.  The 5% rate rolls back to 3.75%  in January.

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Statehouse
7:25 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Business Group Asking "What If?" Should Court Reject Pension Law

The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club is launching an initiative Wednesday that aims to spark a discussion about consequences if the Illinois Supreme Court strikes down pension overhaul legislation.

The nonpartisan organization of executives is calling the outreach effort to lawmakers, schools and social services the ``What If'' initiative. Committee President Ty Fahner calls it ``imperative'' to understand what could result if pension reform is overturned.  

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Statehouse
6:19 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Hearings Over Quinn Anti-Violence Program Begin Today in Chicago

Lawmakers are set to start a two-day hearing probing Gov. Pat Quinn's troubled anti-violence program.  

The Legislative Audit Commission subpoenaed seven former Quinn administration officials connected to the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative. They're due to start appearing before the bipartisan committee that oversees state audits Wednesday. Organizers say testimony could take all day.  

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Election 2014
3:25 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Toxic Ads Scorch, Spur Defamation Suit

A screenshot of the "Daisy" ad that aired in September, 1964. It's widely believed to be the first attack ad, and a political game-changer.
Credit Daisy Ad screenshot

It was 50 years ago last month that a new type of campaign commercial aired -- one devised to make President Lyndon Johnson's opponent look bad, rather than to extol his own virtues. "Daisy" only aired once, it was so controversial: the scene of a girl pulling petals off a flower crossed into one of an exploding bomb.  That commercial changed the political landscape. Any inhibitions campaigns may have had in 1964 have long since vanished. Now, negative ads are the norm. It's gotten to the point that a candidate for State Representative this week filed a lawsuit over it.

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Election 2014
12:37 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

A Look At Tight IL Legislative Races

Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

As election day nears, legislative races are hotly contested in some parts of the state. We preview those and look at the odds of a Republican take-over in the Illinois House or Senate. We spoke with the Daily Herald's Mike Riopell for this interview:

To read Riopell's story about legislative races, CLICK HERE.

 

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Statehouse
8:23 am
Tue October 7, 2014

Attorney: Illinois Needs Monitor To Oversee Hires

Inspector General report on IDOT
Credit Amanda Vinicky

A Chicago attorney and anti-corruption campaigner is stressing that a court-appointed monitor is needed to ensure the state's Department of Transportation is in compliance with political hiring bans.  

Michael Shakman's filing Monday in federal court comes in response to a motion by Gov. Pat Quinn's attorneys that the governor's administration's response to allegations of political hiring in the department had been both ``prompt'' and ``appropriate.''  

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Election 2014
4:40 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

Latino Voter Drive; Time Left For Procrastinators

Martin Torres has lead the Latino Policy Forum's voter registration drive this fall.
Credit Latino Policy Forum website

As candidates hustle for voters' support, interest groups are working to drum up numbers of their own, with voter registration drives. The deadline is tomorrow.

Martin Torres has been all over Chicago lately, holding voter registration events. It's the Latino Policy Forum's goal to sign up 5,000 voters.

He says Latinos make up 16-percent of the state's population, but the community's political influence hasn't kept up.

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Illinois Leadership
11:35 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Listen to Quinn/Rauner Debate Thursday, Oct. 9, 8PM

(L-R) Bruce Rauner (R), Pat Quinn (D)
Credit brucerauner.com, quinnforillinois.com

Tune into WUIS 91.9 FM in central Illinois this Thursday, October 9 at 8 p.m. for a live debate between Governor Pat Quinn (D) and challenger Bruce Rauner (R) in this close Illinois gubernatorial campaign (this will also stream at WUIS.org and broadcast on WIPA 89.3 in west-central Illinois and other Illinois public radio and television stations).  The debate originates in Peoria.

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Statehouse
8:24 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Expert: Why We Need Redistricting Reform

Credit WSIU

Brian Gaines has watched Illinois politics for 20 years.  The political scientist is with the University of Illinois's Institute for Government and Public Affairs. He says the current system of drawing legislative and congressional maps is bad and he hopes reformers can do something before the next re-map in 2020.

Gaines says there is too little transparency and too few people are involved.  The current map for Illinois' congressional district he says was created to help Democrats.   He says the public is not well served by maps that engineer outcomes. 

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Statehouse
6:28 am
Mon October 6, 2014

State Buys Lands Adjacent To State Parks

Credit Starved Rock State Park

The state of Illinois has acquired 51 acres of land adjacent to Starved Rock State Park in Oglesby to provide more space for wildlife.  

In a news release, Gov. Pat Quinn's office announced that wildlife habitat land had also been acquired in Edgar, Woodford and Jackson counties.  

In the release, Quinn's office says the state bought the land next to Starved Rock with Open Land Trust funds from a private estate for the appraised value of $900,000.  

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Statehouse
6:18 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Illinois Voter Registration Ends Tuesday

Credit Macon County

Election officials say there are two days left for regular voter registration ahead of Nov. 4.  

Illinois residents who have a driver's license or state ID can register online through the State Board of Elections website through Tuesday.  

Starting Wednesday, voters have a chance to participate in ``grace period'' registration until Nov. 3.

The process will be a little different for those registering late. Residents must present two forms of identification to election officials in person. One of these forms must include a current address.  

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Election 2014
1:27 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Gov. Quinn: No Regional Minimum Wage

"West Wing" actor Martin Sheen, left, wades into real-life politics, as he stumps for Gov. Pat Quinn a month before the election.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

First, the President held a $50,000 a head fundraiser for Pat Quinn.  This week, First Lady Michelle Obama and Gloria Steinem are scheduled to be in Illinois to stump for him.  Over the weekend, it was actor Martin Sheen's turn to campaign alongside the Democratic governor.

According to the trade magazine "Variety," Martin Sheen made as much as $300,000 an episode for his role as Democratic Pres. Jeb Bartlet in the show "West Wing."

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State Week
2:31 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

Listen to State Week - October 3, 2014

Credit Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

President Barack Obama was in Chicago this week backing Governor Pat Quinn's re-election bid, while questions about Quinn's Neighborhood Recovery Initiative continue.

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Statehouse
6:42 am
Fri October 3, 2014

GOP Eyes Voter Rolls Amid Close Illinois Campaign

Credit wttw Chicago Tonight

 Illinois Republicans are mounting what they say is an unprecedented and costly campaign to purge ineligible people from voter lists and recruit their own election judges before November. 

It's a sign of how close the contest is expected to be for control of President Barack Obama's home state.  
Republicans have allocated $1 million in Cook County alone to examine voter rolls and recruit 5,000 GOP election judges to watch over polling places in Democrat-heavy Chicago. Efforts to go through voter rolls are underway in two counties east of St. Louis.  

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Dept. of Corrections
9:56 am
Thu October 2, 2014

After A Prisoner Escapes

Marcus Battice, the 21-year-old man who escaped from Vandalia Correctional Center on Sept. 23.
Credit Illinois Department of Corrections

The state agency that oversees prisons does not expect to make significant changes to its operations, following the escape of an inmate last week from a minimum security prison located about an hour east of St. Louis.

Officials issued an alert when 21-year-old Marcus Battice escaped from Vandalia Correctional Center, where he was serving time for stealing a car. Battice turned up the next morning, about three-and-a-half miles away.

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Statehouse
6:46 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Donations Drying Up For Lincoln Library Foundation

Credit ill.gov

The chairman of the foundation behind the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum says fundraising is drying up because of tensions between the library's executive director and the director of the state agency that oversees it.  

Wayne Whalen told a legislative panel Wednesday that the foundation has heard from numerous donors who don't plan on contributing money until problems are resolved. The foundation raised $4.7 million last year and has raised about $3.2 million so far this year.  

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150% of capacity
11:38 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Clock Ticking On Illinois Prison Crowding

Credit flickr/dnak

A watchdog group says whoever wins the race for governor is going to face difficult choices about Illinois’ prisons. The group on Wednesday is laying out what it’s calling a “roadmap” for overhauling crime and punishment — and wants to know where the candidates stand.

The non-partisan John Howard Association says decades of “tough on crime” policies have led Illinois to lock up 49,000 people in a system designed to hold 32,000.

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Election 2014
2:23 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Bruce Rauner, Before He Was A Candidate (Author Interview)

Credit Chicago Magazine

Though Gov. Pat Quinn remains largely private about his personal life, he has been in the public eye for decades -- there were unsuccessful bids for treasurer, Secretary of State and the U.S. Senate, as well as successful ones for Illinois Treasurer, Lieutenant Governor and, most recently, for Governor.

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Carbon Emissions Cuts
1:06 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Clearing The Air On Clean Air Plan

Environmental advocates met at the state capitol to thank Gov. Quinn for his support of the federal proposal requiring states to curb carbon emissions from coal power plants, and asked that he put an emphasis on renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

Illinois regulators are continuing to develop a plan to reduce the state's output of greenhouse gasses. Environmentalists say they have the Pat Quinn to thank. Or do they?

Illinois has had clean energy targets for years, but this latest effort isn't part of that. Rather, the state's Environmental Protection Agency and commerce commission are preparing for a proposed federal rule. It would reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emitted from coal-fired power plants.

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Ad Wars: Illinois' Gubernatorial Candidates in Campaign Waged Primarily Through Advertising

An ad seeks to tie Quinn to patronage allegations at the Illinois Department of Transportation.
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues
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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Legislative Races: GOP Aims to Eat Into Democratic Majorities in the General Assembly

State representative candidate Mel Thillens
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

 Republican Mel Thillens is a first-time candidate for the Illinois House, but his name has been carried across the state on the sides of large trucks for years.

The third-generation owner of the armored truck company that bears his name, Thillens is one of dozens of GOP candidates trying to reverse the damage his party suffered two years ago.

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Polling Pains: Polling Blunders Happening Nationwide

Pollsters this spring predicted Bruce Rauner would have a 17-point lead over then-state Sen. Kirk Dillard, but Rauner’s victory was by less than three percentage points. Pictured above, from top to bottom, are GOP primary candidates: state Sen. Bill Brady, Dillard, Rauner and state Treasurer Dan Rutherford.
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

 In the final month of the 2010 campaign, the political career of Gov. Pat Quinn appeared to be nearing its end. Poll after poll showed him down by four, six or even eight percentage points. The mathematical models of stat-geek superstar Nate Silver — fresh off correctly predicting the outcome in 49 of 50 states in the 2008 presidential election — gave Quinn just an 18 percent chance of winning. You know how that turned out.

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Wed October 1, 2014

State of the State: Tinkering with the Constitution Demands Careful Consideration

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

   Twenty-fourteen was going to be a banner year for direct democracy in Illinois. At one point, it was possible voters would be asked to weigh in on as many as seven different ballot questions, including four constitutional amendments. But as the election draws near, two of those ideas are off the table: Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner’s push to impose legislative term limits failed to meet the requirements of the Constitution, and a separate attempt to change the way House and Senate districts are drawn failed to gather enough valid signatures.

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Wed October 1, 2014

End And Means: Term Limits Wouldn't Shake Up Springfield

Charles N. Wheeler III
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

 

To hear the bluster of Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner and his lackeys among the state’s editorial writers and punditry class, the court decisions tossing his proposed initiative to impose term limits on lawmakers was a shocking slap in the face of Illinois citizens and a huge victory for the Dark Lord of Illinois politics, House Speaker Michael J. Madigan.

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