Statehouse

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 Issues

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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Illinois Issues - Leadership
5:08 pm
Mon February 9, 2015

Rauner Ratchets Up Union Battle, Order Says Workers Don't Have To Pay Dues

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday afternoon issued an executive order that he says will allow 6,500 state employees who don't want to pay union dues to be free not to.
Credit Lisa Ryan

Gov. Bruce Rauner is ratcheting up his battle with organized labor. In a surprise move, today he issued an executive order that allows government workers to stop paying union dues.

Since taking office, Rauner talked a lot about his belief that unions’ contributions to political campaigns are a “corrupt bargain.”

The Republican governor says forcing state employees to pay union dues is a “critical cog” in that bargain, and it’s crushing taxpayers.

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Statehouse
1:22 pm
Mon February 9, 2015

$3M In Illinois Governor's Mansion Repairs Made

Credit Wikimedia/Teemu08

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) Documents show that about $3 million in repairs were made to the Illinois Governor's Mansion last summer.  The State Journal-Register reports that documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show the repairs included patching roof leaks that damaged walls and contributed to black mold. An emergency generator was replaced and a valve was installed to prevent recurring flooding. About another $2.8 million of repairs are pending at the Capital Development Board.

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
12:56 pm
Mon February 9, 2015

Youth organizations among first to feel Rauner’s austerity plan

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has made a point of undoing as many of Quinn’s lame-duck actions as possible.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

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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Leadership Blog
5:07 am
Mon February 9, 2015

Rauner Defends Paying CFO $120,000 For Four Months' Work

Donna Arduin, Rauner's CFO, will be paid $120,000 for a contract that runs from February through April.
Credit Reboot Illinois

Funding for everything from state-subsidized daycare to court reporters' salaries is running out in Illinois. At the same time, Republican Governor Bruce Rauner has signed on a top aide for a contract worth $30,000 a month.

Donna Arduin may not be a household name in Illinois yet, but as Rauner's Chief Financial Officer, she may become on.

Arduin has been contracted to "provide advice to the governor" on how to deal with Illinois' pending fiscal challenges.

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Statehouse
5:00 am
Mon February 9, 2015

Deadline for Insurance Enrollment Approaching

The health care marketplace will be open until midnight on Sunday, February 15 at www.getcoveredillinois.gov
Credit healthcaregov.net

The deadline is approaching to sign up for health care under the Affordable Care Act. In-person counselors help walk people through the process.

Loren Greer is a 63-year-old truck driver who was taken off his company's health coverage when he was forced into early retirement. He sought help from an in-person counselor so he can avoid paying a fee after the February 15 deadline. If it weren't for the threat of a 325 dollar fee, Greer might not enroll.

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Illinois Issues - State of the State
7:30 pm
Fri February 6, 2015

State of the State Breakdown - CapitolView

Host Bernie Schoenburg (SJ-R) and guests Brian Mackey, Hannah Meisel (WILL/Illinois Public Media) and Charlie Wheeler (UIS) discuss Bruce Rauner's State of the State address.

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

State Week
1:48 pm
Fri February 6, 2015

Listen to State Week - February 6, 2015

Credit Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

This week, discussion of Governor Bruce Rauner's first State of the State address.

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Statehouse
2:14 pm
Thu February 5, 2015

Minimum Wage Debate Continues

Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) wants to increase the minimum wage to $11 by 2019.

A day after Gov. Bruce Rauner proposed a seven year time frame to bring Illinois' minimum wage to $10 an hour. The Illinois Senate approved a plan that would make that happen by 2017.  

The Senate, or its Democrats, anyway, passed a minimum wage hike late last year. It died after stalling in the House.

Senators wasted no time in taking another swing now that a new legislative session has begun. Sen. Chris Nybo, a Republican from Elmhurst, tried to persuade the measure's sponsor, Democratic Sen. Kim Lightford, to wait.

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Statehouse
2:01 pm
Thu February 5, 2015

Deficit Causes Daycare Drama

If the state doesn't find the $300 million to cover the budget deficit, smaller daycare facilities of 60-80 kids could close.
Credit childcarecenter.us

Illinois' program that provides subsidized daycare for low-income families is out of cash. A Senate committee attempted to address the issue on Thursday.

Chandra Ankoor is a 24-year-old single mother from Springfield. While she is working, she sends her three daughters to child care that is partially paid for with the help of the state.

If it weren't for this assistance, she says it would cost her every dollar she makes, and then some, to afford the cost of child care.

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Statehouse
6:39 am
Thu February 5, 2015

Illinois' Top Republicans Dissapointed In End of Future Gen

Proposed Future Gen Plant in Meredosia. It is a former Ameren-CIPS Power Plant.
Credit Bill Wheelhouse/WUIS

Illinois' top two Republicans say they're disappointed the Federal government has halted funding for the future gen project in the region.

Governor Bruce Rauner and U.S. Senator Mark Kirk released a statement on the public-private coal project at Meredosia. 

They say the Fed's decision will block advancements in  so called "clean coal" efforts and bringing jobs to the region.   The two say they won't give up on the technology and bringing new jobs to the state.

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