Statehouse

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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Election 2014
6:20 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

The Lone Justice Fighting For Retention

Justice Lloyd Karmeier, who was elected a decade ago, is now up for retention; an organization calling itself "Campaign 2016" is trying to unseat him.
Credit Illinois Supreme Court

There's a last-minute push to unseat one of Illinois' Supreme Court justices. That's difficult to do -- a sitting judge doesn't have to win a race. He just has to get 60-percent of voters' to agree to his retention.

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Election 2014
1:36 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Why Is Illinois So Hard To Poll?

Gov. Pat Quinn, seen at the Illinois State Fair, beat the polls in his 2010 campaign for governor.
Credit Hannah Meisel/WUIS

This story first ran in the October 2014 edition of Illinois Issues magazine.

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Election 2014
12:58 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Madigan Vs. The Marine

Attorney General Lisa Madigan is escorted by American Legion members at a 2014 convention in Springfield; she's seeking a fourth term.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

Lisa Madigan was the first woman elected to be Illinois' Attorney General, in 2003. After flirting with a run for governor, Madigan, the daughter of House Speaker Michael Madigan -- is instead seeking a fourth term as the state's top lawyer. Amanda Vinicky starts off this extended interview asking Madigan what she has accomplished that makes her deserving of another four years.

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Election 2014
5:44 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Ebola Strikes Race For Governor

Credit Brett Levin / Flickr at https://www.flickr.com/photos/scubabrett22/6044203012/in/photolist-nRM8aA-nRM9cA-6W3y3x-iSCMSX-ad77YL-ombQ4H-3cF2NM-8hAiN6-6W7Bsm-csFVES-grKEtn-9ZSWDs-fArP8e-niwAQi-89m25F-9ZT3kf-9ZQc52-n8xZJj-9ZT3Q3-9ZSikY-9ZPp8z-9ZSj83-csFRxN-ff

Illinois'  O'Hare Airport is one of five in the nation where travelers from West Africa must undergo extra screening for Ebola. But now the state has additional guidelines to prevent the virus' potential spread. What to do is the latest disagreement in an already adversarial race for governor.

Even as New Jersey releases a nurse forced into quarantine upon her return from Sierra Leone, Gov. Pat Quinn is standing by a similar policy for Illinois.

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Election 2014
5:28 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Businesses Weigh In On What Illinois Government Should Do

Credit flickr/locosteve

The future of Illinois’ business climate is one of the hottest topics in the governor’s race.

Democratic Governor Pat Quinn and Republican Bruce Rauner toss it around like a hot potato - claiming credit for themselves while lobbing blame at the other guy.

But that hot potato represents real people - and real businesses. Plenty of examples can be found in what once was the fastest-growing county in the whole country.

You don’t have to spend much time in Kendall County before you find places still haunted by the economic downturn.

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Sec. of State
5:19 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Immigrant Rights Groups: Demand Oustrips Slots For Driver's Licenses

Illinois offers a "TVDL," or temporary visitor driver's license, to undocumented immigrants and non-visa seeking residents who have lived in the state at least one year, but advocates say the wait for an appointment is often too long.
Credit Secretary of State's Office

Immigrant rights groups say Illinois needs to improve its program for issuing drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants. The program started last December.

When Illinois created a special drivers license for people without permission to be in the country, supporters said it would make the roads safer. In order to get one, an applicant has to have auto insurance and pass a driving test.

As of the end of September, more than 64,600 people had succeeded. But activists like Martin Torres, with the Latino Policy Forum, say others are being held up.

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State Week
5:19 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Listen to State Week - October 24, 2014

Republican nominee Bruce Rauner, left, and Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn this week met in the third and final gubernatorial debate of 2014.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican challenger Bruce Rauner met for their third and final debate this week. As in previous debates, both candidates spent much of their time attacking each other and dodging questions they didn't want to answer.

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Election 2014
11:50 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Oberweis Would Back Federal Same Sex Marriage Law

Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, State Sen. Jim Oberweis of Sugar Grove
Credit Oberweis for US Senate

The Republican nominee for U.S. Senate has switched his stance on same-sex marriage.

Only a few Republican members of the General Assembly voted for Illinois' law that has, since June, allowed two men or two women to marry one another.

State Sen. Jim Oberweis wasn't one of them. He voted no.

But the Sugar Grove Republican, now a candidate for the U.S. Senate, says he would go along with a federal law permitting same sex marriage.

Here's how he answered a question about it Wednesday's debate.

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Statehouse
10:41 am
Wed October 22, 2014

Judge Orders Court Appointed Monitor For IDOT Hiring

Credit IDOT

A federal judge has ordered a court-appointed monitor to investigate hiring at Gov. Pat Quinn's Department of Transportation.  

Magistrate Judge Sidney Schenkier told attorneys Wednesday that the monitor would help compliance of a decades-old political hiring ban.  

The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed by an anti-patronage attorney in April alleging improper hiring practices.  

Attorneys for Quinn's administration had said a separate monitor wasn't necessary and a state inspector general had completed a detailed probe and changes were made.  

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Statehouse
6:24 am
Wed October 22, 2014

Attorneys Due In Court For Quinn Hiring Lawsuit

Credit IDOT

Attorneys are returning to court in a federal lawsuit over hiring in Gov. Pat Quinn's Department of Transportation.
 
 Anti-patronage attorney Michael Shakman has asked for a court-appointed monitor
of hiring as part of a lawsuit filed in April. He's said it would ensure the
administration complies with bans on political hiring for nonpolitical jobs.
 
 Quinn's attorneys have argued a monitor isn't necessary. They've said Quinn's
response to allegations of political hiring in the Department of Transportation

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Election 2014
7:54 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Small Campaign Contributions Amount To Chump Change

Credit flickr/borman18

  The race for Illinois governor is one of the most expensive match-ups in the nation. A new report shows that most of that comes from relatively few donors.

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Budget FY15
4:30 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Civic Fed: Lawmakers Once Again Taking Illinois Down Bad Budget Path

Credit wnij

Illinois is about a quarter of the way into its fiscal year and building up debt along the way. A new report from the Civic Federation 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?

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Statehouse
6:43 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Notes On The Final Governor Debate

Credit wttw Chicago Tonight

The debate portion of the Illinois governor’s race is over. Monday night's debate may have given voters a little clarity.

Now - that doesn’t mean there wasn’t any mud-slinging or repetitive campaign refrains. There was a lot of that. But we did get some answers on issues that have popped up in all three debates. Like what Governor Pat Quinn would do when the 5 percent income tax rate ends in 2015.

QUINN: We need to maintain the income tax, at the same time give annual, direct, property tax relief - a 500 dollar refund - to every single homeowner in this state.

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Statehouse
7:17 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Third & Final Governor Debate Tonight

Credit brucerauner.com, quinnforillinois.com

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican challenger Bruce Rauner are getting ready for their third and likely final televised debate.  

Monday night's debate comes as the two candidates are locked in a neck-and-neck contest for governor.  
 It's being hosted by the League of Women Voters of Illinois and broadcast by WLS-TV in Chicago.  

Quinn and Rauner have gotten personal and at times nasty in other candidate forums as they duel over economic plans and dispute school funding plans.  

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Election 2014
3:25 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Earlier Than Ever

Pres. Barack Obama visited Chicago Sunday, to encourage Illinois residents to vote, and to do it early. Early voting begins today, and runs until just before election day. That could change campaigns' strategies, or expand the electorate.

It used to be that campaigns geared up for one day: Election Day. Starting in 2006, Illinois residents were given the option of casting an early, in-person ballot. That used to last for a two-week span. Not this election. Voters have from today until Nov. 2 to vote early.

Look for people to take advantage of it.

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State Week
1:20 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Listen to State Week - October 17, 2014

Credit Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

Education funding was among the disagreements between gubernatorial candidates Pat Quinn and Bruce Rauner in a debate this week in Chicago.  Meanwhile, spending on political ads continues to increase.

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Statehouse
7:27 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Delay In Fracking Regulations Spurs Lawsuit

Credit WSIU

Landowners in southern Illinois' Wayne County are suing the state, saying its lengthy process before issuing permits for high-volume oil and gas extraction is costing them money.  

The lawsuit filed Wednesday on behalf of seven households names Gov. Pat Quinn and Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Marc Miller.  

A state legislative panel is trying to sort out rules for how developers would deploy hydraulic fracturing, or ``fracking,'' under an Illinois law approved last year.  

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Statehouse
5:20 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Privacy Issues Complicate Body Cams For Illinois Police

Ferguson demonstrators stand in front of a Quik Trip in this Aug. 12, 2014 file photo.
Credit Chris McDaniel/St. Louis Public Radio

The idea of requiring police to wear body cameras has been a hot topic after the protests in Ferguson, Missouri. On Friday, a group of Illinois lawmakers will take up the issue.

Advocates of body cameras say they can clear up the muddle of facts that often accompany police shootings, like the one in Ferguson. They also say police will be on better behavior if they know they're being watched.

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Statehouse
7:14 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Shaking "out" Illinois Today at 10:16 a.m.

More than 570,000 Illinois residents have registered to participate in an international earthquake drill on what Gov. Pat Quinn has proclaimed Great Shakeout Day.
 
 The Great Shakeout Earthquake Drill will take place around the world on
Thursday morning.
 
 The Illinois Emergency Management Agency is asking residents in homes, schools
and other places to take a minute to drop, cover and hold on. It is an action
they are advised to take during an actual earthquake.
 

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