Statehouse

Lisa Ryan/WUIS

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is set to close state museums and a sport-shooting complex to the public because of the budget crisis, even though most staff will still report to work. 

Amanda Vinicky

Illinois' racing board is taking a gamble in an attempt to save the beleaguered industry. Two historic Illinois tracks will hold no races next year, a decision that could lead to their permanent closure.

Paul Kehrer via Flickr

The owners of Illinois' horse race tracks say the industry is struggling to survive, but key players diverge on how to salvage the industry. Decisions by a state board Tuesday afternoon could determine tracks' fate. The Illinois Racing Board is set to decide during a meeting in Chicago which Illinois tracks can hold horse meets, and when --- a decision that's key to the tracks' profitability.

"We look at this meeting today as probably one of the most important ones that we have ever been to," said Dick Duchoissois, chairman and owner of the Arlington Park track.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White says his office will suspend mailing reminder notices on renewing motor vehicle registrations because there's still no state budget. 

Amanda Vinicky

Critics say Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is too liberal, but he's gaining in polls against presumed Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. On Monday, he took his campaign to Illinois.

In 1964, Sanders graduated from the University of Chicago in a ceremony at the on-campus Rockefeller chapel. Now as a U.S. Senator from Vermont, Sanders returned to students packing the pews to hear him speak.

Illinois is about to enter its fourth month without a budget. One of the state's top Democrats says the problem could be resolved within days, if the governor moved off his insistence that other laws pass first.

Illinois' budget situation remains much the same as it has been for months - no agreement between Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and Democratic legislative leaders, court orders maintain much of state spending, many social services are going belly-up, and the future is uncertain.  In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is still pushing for a property tax increase in Cook County to help solve the city's own budget woes.  WBEZ's Tony Arnold joins the panel.

Illinois continues to meander through a partial government shutdown. Even so, legislators are taking a break from Springfield.

A former Illinois state representative sentenced to five months in prison for pocketing a $7,000 bribe is asking for a delay in his surrender to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.  

Derrick Smith, a 51-year-old Chicago Democrat, was sentenced in April after jurors convicted him last year of bribery and attempted extortion for accepting a bribe for supporting a day care center's application for a $50,000 state grant. The facility was fictitious and part of an FBI sting.  

Credit Flickr/aka_kath

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has accepted the resignation of the state's Agriculture Department director and the director of the state fair.  

The resignations of Phil Nelson and Patrick Buchen were announced late Thursday. The reasons for their resignations were not given. 

Amanda Vinicky

A recent agreement means that despite the budget impasse, Illinois will fund services for disabled babies. But therapists and children who rallied at the Statehouse Thursday say their worries aren't over.

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS

There was a bit of commotion in the Illinois Capitol Thursday when an activist hijacked a committee hearing to call for the impeachment of Gov. Bruce Rauner.

IPR

There is a lot of repetition going on at the state capitol these days.  And it has a political purpose.

Brian Mackey/WUIS

By now, most people probably have a sense that things at the Illinois Statehouse have gotten downright nasty, even if it’s not completely clear what all the fighting is about—or, how it’s playing out behind the scenes.

To reveal the parts of the fighting that the public doesn’t get to see—the squabbling and cynical gamesmanship—we wanted to pull back the curtain.

Income tax space on a Monopoly game board
StockMonkeys.com

Commentary — Let’s be blunt: Illinois needs higher taxes.

That statement might come as a shock to citizens under the illusion that all would be well, if state leaders would just cut all the wasteful spending out of the state budget. 

Luis Arroyo
Brian Mackey/WUIS

For the first time in three weeks, state representatives will convene in Springfield Thursday.

Not much has changed in those three weeks. There's still no agreement between Democratic legislators and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on a state budget.

But representatives are back anyway, and they do have some budget measures on the table.

For one, they're set to discuss Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's proposal to exempt some middle-class homeowners from paying higher property taxes.

labor event
Brian Mackey / WUIS

Labor unions are going on the road to make their case against Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s pro-business agenda. The latest in a series of events took place Wednesday morning in Springfield.

As the third month Illinois has gone without a state budget nears its end, some programs have recently gotten funding. Many other are still waiting and starting to feel the pinch. 

State Museum Workers Get Reprieve, At Least For Now

Sep 22, 2015
WUIS

Unionized workers in several state agencies were set to lose their jobs in a week.  But they'll keep them, at least for awhile longer.

http://cropsci.illinois.edu

The University of Illinois plans to reduce off-campus crop research and may shut down several agricultural centers as part of a cost-cutting move tied to flagging state support.
 
The budget cuts will affect the Brownstown Agronomy Research Center near Vandalia; the Dixon Springs Agricultural Center in southern Illinois; the St. Charles Horticulture Research Center west of Chicago; and the Northern Illinois Agronomy Research Center near DeKalb.
 

igpa.gov

A sitting state legislator has died. Seventy-one-year old Rep. Esther Golar represented the southwest side of Chicago since 2006.

EliChristman/flickr

Data from the Illinois Secretary of State's office show that more than 5,000 Illinoisans who were convicted of drunken driving four times and had their licenses revoked could legally drive again under a new state law.
 
 Gov. Bruce Rauner last month signed the measure, which would provide restricted permits if drivers prove they are drug and alcohol free for at least three
years.
 
     More than half of the 5,085 eligible drivers live in the Chicago area.
 
 The Chicago Sun-Times reports (http://bit.ly/1FaDWuu ) the Illinois Secretary

Illinois Issues

A state board that's charged with protecting rare flora and fauna has fallen victim to the state's budget woes. Gov. Bruce Rauner 's administration says funding for staff has been eliminated.

Illinois' governor and legislative leaders haven't talked to each other in months, and the state continues to spend money without a budget.  Just how long can this continue?  Lee Enterprises' Springfield Bureau Chief Kurt Erickson joins the panel.

Three years ago, the first video gaming machines popped up in Illinois bars, restaurants, and truck stops. 

Crayons and children's books
Donnie Nunnley

Limits on who is eligible for this Welfare-to-Work program sparked intense debate in Springfield.  But the fight isn’t over. 

Wikimedia Commons

Families with babies, from birth until they're three years old, are eligible for state assistance to help their children learn and grow. It's called early intervention. But without a budget, Illinois stopped paying the therapists who provide these services. Now, the comptroller and the governor's administration says they've come up with a way to pay again, even though Illinois still has no budget in place.

When Tamiko Schaefer's baby Daniel was about six months old, she started noticing something.

Tom Davidson / Creative Commons via flickr.com/88100135@N02

The Donald's stance on immigration has kept him atop the polls, but it presents dangers for Republicans in a state with a growing Latino electorate.

Judge Orders State To Pay For Seniors' Home Care

Sep 16, 2015

A federal judge has ordered the State of Illinois to fund Medicaid services for seniors living at home rather than at a nursing facility during the budget impasse.

Cindy Cunningham is with two providers who asked the court to force payments.

She says Wednesday's order will help caretakers who have taken out personal loans to keep their companies afloat.

"We’ve been without payments since July. Our houses are on the line. Our businesses are on the line," she said.

  Suspended payments for early intervention services will resume, even though Illinois still has no budget. 

Early intervention is just that -- therapists intervening in disabled children's lives when they're infants or toddlers.

Chicagoan Naomi Shapiro's 8-month old has a genetic disorder.

"He received physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, hearing therapy and soon he'll start developmental therapy," she says.

Therapy she says has little Leor Braun smiling, and responding to his own name.

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