Statehouse

Statehouse
12:13 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

Text Of Gov. Bruce Rauner's State Of The State Address

As Prepared for Delivery

Also included: Policy Agenda and Conflict of Interest Timeline

 

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 your service.

To our distinguished guests and to the media, thank you for attending today.

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
12:00 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

Rauner's First State of the State Address - Illinois Lawmakers

Illinois' first Republican Governor in twelve years delivered his first annual State of the State speech to a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly on Wednesday, February 4. In this special edition of Illinois Lawmakers, Governor Bruce Rauner called on legislators to work with him to pass economic policies aimed at improving the state's business climate.

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Statehouse
7:31 pm
Mon February 2, 2015

Rauner Hints State Workers Paid Too Much, Shouldn't Be Able To Strike

Credit brucerauner.com

State employees can rest assured-- Gov. Bruce Rauner does not want to cut their salaries. But a memo sent to state legislators Monday warns of other changes the governor would like to see.

Shortly after becoming governor, Rauner tried to spread goodwill, reaching out to workers with visits to state offices.

"I want to make Illinois a wonderful place to work for everyone here. I want good, fair compensation."

Then came a series of speeches, previewing his State of the State address on Wednesday, in which he says Illinois' payroll is bloated.

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Statehouse
6:40 pm
Mon February 2, 2015

Medical Marijuana Program Continues To Next Step

Credit WBEZ

  Gov. Bruce Rauner has announced a list of the companies that'll be able to grow and sell medical marijuana in Illinois.

Illinois law spelled out what was supposed to be a blind process to select who'd get the potentially-lucrative pot licenses. Though it appears as if former Gov. Pat Quinn's administration had selected winners, he finished his term last month without awarding any.

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Statehouse
3:23 pm
Mon February 2, 2015

Lawmaker Wants To Allow Two Children Per Seatbelt

The current fine for passengers over 8 years old not wearing a seat belt is $25, plus court costs.
Credit Illinois Department of Transportation

Illinois law is pretty straightforward: one child, per seat, each with his or her own seat belt. Rep. Mary Flowers, a Democrat from Chicago, wants to change the law for drivers who don't have enough room in their car for each kid. She proposes allowing two children, if they're between the ages of 8 and 15, to buckle into a single seat belt.

"It's a financial burden on a poor family. If they're trying to comply with the law, they should not be penalized because they don't have a bigger vehicle," Flowers said.

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Statehouse
5:00 am
Mon February 2, 2015

Rauner May Bring More Than Just Dogs, Van To Springfield

Gov. Bruce Rauner poses for a picture with his dogs and his van after moving into the executive mansion on January 24, 2015.
Credit @GovRauner

If Illinois had political gravity, it could be said that all things orbit around Chicago. Gov. Bruce Rauner and his wife Diana vow to change all that by living in the mansion and running state government from Springfield.

  Some might find it surprising that a governor would need to make such a statement. The historic mansion, 150 years old and just a few blocks from the statehouse, is considered the official residence of the governor, but not all have made it their home.

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Budget FY15
12:30 am
Mon February 2, 2015

Eyes On Rauner As Popular Daycare Program's Out Of Cash

Credit childcarecenter.us

Gov. Bruce Rauner has consistently said he's waiting to give details on his plans for Illinois' finances until his budget address, on February 18th. But decisions by previous lawmakers may force him to make closely-watched decisions sooner.

Illinois has a program that helps low-income parents pay for day-care. But -- because the previous General Assembly cut funding for it by millions from the current state budget - state money for has run out.

That's alarming for advocates like Emily Miller, who is with Voices for Illinois Children.

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Illinois Issues - State of the State
12:00 am
Sun February 1, 2015

A New Governor Brings A New Rauner

No Illinois politician has so skillfully used the techniques of branding and marketing as Gov. Bruce Rauner.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

News Analysis — Modern American audiences read George Orwell’s 1984 with a sense of relief. The fascist and communist mind control Orwell knew and feared is all but dead, clinging to life in a dwindling number of totalitarian tide pools around the globe. But the production of political propaganda, on the other hand, remains a growth sector.

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
12:00 am
Sun February 1, 2015

Bloomington's Jason Barickman - Edgar Protégé Moves Front-And-Center

Jason Barickman
Credit Senate Republicans

An Edgar protégé moves from business into a front-and-center role in politics.

As a freshman member of the Senate, Jason Barickman had little say in his appointment to serve on the Legislative Audit Commission. But the dull-sounding assignment soon landed him in the middle of one of the biggest controversies of the 2014 race for governor.

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Illinois Issues - State Of The State
12:00 am
Sun February 1, 2015

Supreme Tort: The Campaign To Fire Justice Lloyd Karmeier

Justice Lloyd Karmeier was targeted for defeat by just seven lawyers and law firms.
Credit Brian Mackey / WUIS

A version of this story appears in the February 2015 edition of Illinois Issues magazine.

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
12:00 am
Sun February 1, 2015

People - Transitions In Illinois Goverment

Leslie Munger

Rauner names novice politician to replace Topinka Leslie Munger stepped into the role of Illinois Comptroller, filling the office that Judy Baar Topinka left vacant when she died in December. 

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Illinois Issues - Ends And Means
12:00 am
Sun February 1, 2015

Gov. Rauner Faces Bleak Budget Numbers In The Multibillions

Charles N. Wheeler III

The day of fiscal reckoning is drawing near for Gov. Bruce Rauner. After almost two years of vague generalizations and vacuous campaign slogans, the state’s brand-new Republican chief executive finally will have to deliver the budgetary goods, a proposed spending plan for the fiscal year starting July 1. On February 18, Rauner will have to lay out in excruciating detail his Fiscal Year 2016 budget, one rooted in the fiscal realities of a multibillion-dollar drop in revenue and hundreds of millions of dollars in new spending.

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Statehouse
5:28 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

Springfield Attorney Picked To Chair Illinois Gaming Board

Gov. Bruce Rauner has selected 54 year old Don Tracy, a Springfield attorney and businessman, to become Chair of the state's Gaming Board.   He would replace Aaron Jaffe.

A statement from the administration says Tracy has the background and experience to lead the board "dealing with an important industry in Illinois."

Tracy is a partner in the firm Brown, Hay and Stephens LLP.  He is also general outside counsel and part owner along with his siblings of DOT Foods, the nation's largest food re-distributor.

State Week
1:39 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

Listen to State Week - January 30, 2015

Credit Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

Discussion of the new Bruce Rauner administration's latest actions - just a few days before Governor Rauner's first State of the State Address.

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Statehouse
6:28 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Rauner Defends Higher Staff Salaries

Credit WUIS

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is defending paying his staff members significantly more than his predecessor, saying he'll pay what he has to for top
talent.
 
The Republican told reporters Friday that some of his administration hires from the private sector were taking pay cuts to work in state government.
 
 The Associated Press found annual salaries of ten top staffers in Rauner's administration outpace those of comparable aides to former Gov. Pat Quinn by
roughly $380,000 _ or 36 percent.
 

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
7:30 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Rauner's First Moves - CapitolView

Host Amanda Vinicky and guests Charlie Wheeler (UIS) and Patrick Yeagle (Illinois Times) discuss Bruce Rauner's actions so far as governor of Illinois. This week he will give the State of the State, his first speech as governor.

Statehouse
5:53 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Rauner Tells U Of I To Cut Bureaucracy

Bruce Rauner speaks at the Illinois State Fair in 2014
Credit WUIS

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner continues to hammer away at the unions and government bureaucracies he believes are behind many of state's problems.
 
During a speech Thursday at the University of Illinois he said he'd like to put more money into the university. But he said first the university must make cuts in its own bureaucracy.
 
And Rauner said public-employee unions should be barred from making contributions to politicians they negotiate contracts with.
 

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Statehouse
4:50 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Group Says Railroad Threatens To Isolate East Side

The Rail Improvements Project includes plans to construct underpasses for traffic and eliminate train horns between Stanford and Sangamon avenues.

Springfield's plan to move rail traffic from Third Street to Tenth Street will displace an estimated 150 properties. Residents affected by the relocation agreed to the construction as long as the government provides job training for minorities and help for those losing their homes or businesses.

Sen. Andy Manar says the state should have oversight of that agreement.

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Leadership Blog
7:55 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Rauner High On List of "Sugar Daddies Of State Politics"

Bruce Rauner spent record amounts of money for an Illinois statewide race to win the governor's office in November.
Credit Alex Keefe / WBEZ

The millions of dollars Republican Governor Bruce Rauner poured into his campaign landed him near the top of a national list of last year's biggest campaign contributors to state races.

The Center for Public Integrity gathered data on political giving to state races. It then used that information to crown "sugar daddies of state politics."

Gov. Rauner and his wife, Diana, came in seventh.

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Statehouse
5:52 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

House Rules Break Bipartisanship

House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago, sponsored House Resolution 63, which created the rules for the 99th General Assembly.
Credit Courtesy of ILGA.gov

Even though lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have said they're going to work together this year, a simple vote on the rules the House has to follow when it conducts business was divided along party lines.

Republicans objected to the rules, saying they lack transparency and give too much power to lame-duck legislators. Representative Ed Sullivan, a Republican from Mundelein, wants to extend the time period that information is posted online before legislators can debate a bill. The rules require only a one-hour notice before a hearing.

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
4:56 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Rauner Raises Unions' Ire With Right-To-Work Plan

Gov. Bruce Rauner says there's a "corrupt bargain" between unions and politicians; he singles out Gov. Pat Quinn for getting campaign contributions from labor, then working out deals that Rauner says advantaged unions. One labor leader called the "corrupt bargain" notion illegal, and questioned if Rauner's beholden to the businessmen who've put millions of dollars into his campaign fund.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

Gov. Bruce Rauner amped up his anti-union rhetoric Tuesday at a speech in Decatur, a city with deep labor roots.  The Republican bemoaned prevailing wage  requirements on public projects for costing the state extra, said Project Labor Agreements are synonymous with "uncompetitive bidding" and introduced a plan to create local right-to-work zones.  

Unions are on edge about what Rauner has in store for them. He has railed against “government union bosses,” and names Indiana's former Gov. Mitch Daniels as a political role model. It's Daniels who made Indiana a right-to-work state.

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Statehouse
1:14 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Pumpkin Pie Could Be Official State Pie

Credit United States Department of Agriculture

There are many ways to add pumpkin to recipes, but one lawmaker wants to make it a permanent ingredient on the list of state symbols.

You can find pumpkin pie, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin ice cream, and even pumpkin chili at the pumpkin festival in Morton. Representative Keith Sommer, a Republican who's from Morton, wants to bring even more attention to the state's star squash.

Sommer is a sponsor of legislation to make pumpkin pie the official state pie of Illinois. He says it is a way to recognize something good from Illinois.

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
7:14 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Political Football With Sports Facilities Agency

Gov. Bruce Rauner has picked a campaign supporter, attorney Sanchez, as chairman of the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority.
Credit Sanchez Daniels & Hoffman LLP

An ally of Republican Governor Bruce Rauner will chair the state agency that owns the Chicago White Sox stadium and oversaw the renovations of Soldier Field, but one of former Governor Pat Quinn's closest confidants will still retain his high-paying post.

The Illinois Sports Facilities Authority has been home base for all sorts of political wins and losses over the years. And there's a whole roster of players.

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
4:20 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Ousted State Public Health Director Off To Washington

Former Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health LaMar Hasbrouck has a new job, upon his being replaced by new Gov. Bruce Rauner.
Credit WUIS

Illinois' director of public health under former Governor Pat Quinn has found a new job.  

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
4:14 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Could Rauner's Spending Hold Derail New Train Routes?

Credit Amanda Vinicky

Rail advocates are concerned Governor Bruce Rauner's executive order that puts a hold on non-essential state spending could be the end of the line for two projects that have been chugging along.

After long negotiations, Illinois has agreements to extend two passenger rail routes. One would to go Rockford, the other to the Quad Cities.

Little to no construction has been done on either so far, but head of the Midwest High Speed Rail Association Rick Harnish says 2015 was supposed to be the year.

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Illinois Issues - Code Switch
9:36 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Proposal Would Ban Conversion Therapy For Minors

Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) wants to ban sexual orientation conversion therapy for minors.
Credit Illinois General Assembly

Counseling that tries to change a person's sexual orientation can cause depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior, according to reports from psychologists.

A proposal to make the therapy off limits for minors failed last year in the Illinois House. The CEO of the gay rights group Equality Illinois, Bernard Cherkasov, is hopeful it will pass this time.

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State Week
5:55 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Listen to State Week - January 23, 2015

This week, Governor Bruce Rauner gave a glimpse of what he may say during his State of the State Address.  Also, questions about Rauner's claims that he's putting his personal investments in a "blind Trust".

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
4:11 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Speaker Madigan: How Can Illinois Prevent A Sandy Hook?

It has been two years or so since 26 people -- most of them young children -- died in a massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. The shooter was 20-year-old Adam Lanza.

A report studying him was released late last year by Connecticut's child advocate office; it shows problems identifying and treating his mental illness.

"There were several missed opportunities to help Lanza," said longtime Speaker of the Illinois House Michael Madigan on the opening day of the new General Assembly.

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
2:57 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Court Rejects Request To Delay Pension Case

It took legislators - here, meeting in a conference committee - years to reach a compromise on a pension overhaul; the law they finally passed is facing a constitutional challenge.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

The fate of Illinois' pension law will stay on the fast track. Illinois' Supreme Court justices today rejected a request for a delay.

It can take a long time for a case to wend its way through the courts. But after a Sangamon County judge in November ruled Illinois' overhaul of public worker pensions unconstitutional, the state Supreme Court agreed to take up the case on an expedited basis.

On Tuesday, lawyers contesting the law tried to slow it down by a month.

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Illinois Issues - Education Desk
6:08 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

State Board Of Education Asks For More Money

State Superintendent Christopher Koch
Credit isbe.state.il.us

  Even as Illinois runs ever shorter on cash, the board of education is asking for $730 million increase in state funding.

Illinois' superintendent of schools is well aware of the state's financial strain. Christopher Koch has been in charge as over the past several years, the state has failed to come through with all the money it's supposed to give to meet local district's basic needs.

But, Koch says, "education is the smartest investment we can make in the economic future of our state."

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