Statehouse

T-shirts are sold on the first day of the September 2012 teachers’ strike.
Chicago Teachers Union

Despite unions winning a small victory Tuesday in the Illinois House, state workers' future salaries, benefits and even a potential strike remain in limbo.

A day ahead of Governor Bruce Rauner's budget address, a number of community organizations and labor unions are proposing a "People's Agenda." It's meant to be an alternative to the governor's "Turnaround Agenda."

The People's Agenda calls for higher tax rates on the wealthy and a new tax on stock trades. It would spend the money on programs like universal pre-K, ending homelessness and violence prevention.

Guadalupe Hernandez is with the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council. Speaking through a translator, she says the governor is too focused on a business agenda.

Dick Durbin
Brian Mackey / WUIS

Republicans in the U.S. Senate have vowed to block any nominee the president might submit to succeed the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. But Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois says there’s more than enough time to consider who should fill the vacancy.

higher ed funding news conference
Brian Mackey / WUIS

Gov. Bruce Rauner is scheduled to deliver his budget message to the Illinois General Assembly this Wednesday. In advance of that, interest groups are lining up to plead their case for state funding. On Monday, representatives of the state’s colleges and universities made one such pitch.

Amanda Vinicky / NPR | Illinois Public Radio

A just-issued court order does away with a law that third-party candidates say makes it difficult to run for certain offices in Illinois.

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

On Friday, Bernice King spoke to a group in Springfield representing the Abraham Lincoln Association - which regularly honors the president's birthday with scholarly symposiums. King was there to accept the "Spirit of Lincoln" award on behalf of her parents - Coretta Scott King and Martin Luther King Jr. 

A tight contest for the Presidential nomination and competitive races for seats in the General Assembly could make for a gripping primary in Illinois next month. Deadlines loom if you plan to be a part of it.

Barack Obama
Pool photo by Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune

On Feb. 12 -- Abraham Lincoln's birthday -- officials released plans to salute another President with state ties.

Just days ago, on Wed., Feb. 10, President Barack Obama gave a major speech in Springfield, at the capitol, where he'd once served in the state Senate.

"Thank you for such a warm welcome as I come back home," he said to legislators' applause and hoots.

Dick Durbin, Barack Obama, Bruce Rauner, Jim Langfelder
Pool photo by Justin L. Fowler / The State Journal-Register

President Barack Obama returned to Springfield to address the Illinois General Assembly this week. He's renewing the central argument of his first campaign for president: that most Americans want a less bitter, less divisive form of politics. Did his message resonate with Illinois lawmakers?

Barack Obama outside the Old State Capitol
Pool photo by Justin L. Fowler / The State Journal-Register

On a freezing February day in 2007, President Barack Obama announced his bid for the nation's highest office in front of the Old State Capitol in downtown Springfield -- the place where Abraham Lincoln gave his historic "House Divided" speech. At the time, Obama called for hope and change.

Nine years later -- to the very day -- Obama came back to Springfield. In his last year as president, he says he believes in the "politics of hope."

The themes of Obama's speech yesterday echoed what he'd said nine years ago, back when his hair hadn't yet gone gray.

Air Force One
Pool photo by Justin L. Fowler / The State Journal-Register

Click the image to launch a slideshow of White House pool photographs by Justin L. Fowler of The State Journal-Register and Terrence Antonio James of the Chicago Tribune.

Barack Obama
Pool photo by Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune

President Barack Obama addressed a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly Wednesday. As expected, he talked about improving American politics. What follows is Illinois Public Radio's broadcast of the full speech, hosted by Niala Boodhoo with reporting and analysis from IPR's Amanda Vinicky and Brian Mackeyand former state Sen. Rick Winkel, who's with the University of Illinois' Institute of Government and Public Affairs. There's also video of the speech and a transcript provided by the White House press office.

Barack Obama
Pool photo by Justin L. Fowler / The State Journal-Register

President Barack Obama returned to the Illinois State Capitol Wednesday. In the building where his political career began, he spoke to lawmakers about reaching across the bitter divide in American politics.

npr.org

Nine years after he came to Springfield to announce he was running for President, Barack Obama will return to the state capitol Wednesday. He'll address Illinois representatives and senators at the statehouse.

Obama will be only the fourth sitting president to speak before a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly. President William Howard Taft did it in 1911, Herbert Hoover in 1933, then Jimmy Carter in 1978.

Obama campaign announcement
courtesy Brian Mackey

President Barack Obama is set to address the Illinois General Assembly in Springfield Wednesday. Statehouse reporter Brian Mackey filed this preview of what the president is expected to say — and what he probably won’t say.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources said it has reached an agreement with the governor's office to reopen the state museum by charging admission and closing three branches to save money. 

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner wants to reduce the state's prison population by twenty-five percent in the next 10 years. But the state's budget impasse is putting ex-offenders at greater risk of returning to prison.

Lawmakers Consider Giving Obama A State Holiday

Feb 8, 2016
President Barack Obama
The White House

As the president prepares to visit the state capitol and speak to lawmakers, some in Illinois are wanting to designate a holiday in his honor.

Governor Bruce Rauner issued an amendatory veto Friday on legislation that would reopen the Illinois State Museum- if it gets private funding.

With the state budget impasse ongoing, lack of money continues to affect Illinois colleges and universities as well as Chicago Public Schools.  Chris Mooney, director of the University of Illinois' Institute of Government and Public Affairs, joins the panel.

WVIK

Money keeps state government going.  From services to employee paychecks.  So, how does the State of Illinois function when it's piling up more bills than it can cover?   

WUIS

The fate of the Illinois State Museum could be decided in the next couple of days. The museum closed to the public last October as a cost-saving measure as the budget stalemate dragged on.

New Illinois Law On Human Trafficking Takes Effect

Feb 4, 2016

Human trafficking knows no boundaries. It can include people from foreign countries as well as U.S. citizens.

flickr/ rabiem22

Commentary — Might we be seeing light at the end of the tunnel? Or is it the headlamps of the ongoing train wreck that is Illinois, picking up speed? Such questions came to mind listening to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s State of the State address last week.

WUIS

Governor Bruce Rauner says action he has taken without the General Assembly will help the state attract businesses and jobs. 

WIU students demonstrating.
Rich Egger / Tri States Public Radio

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner said the state can fund higher education if it changes how it buys products and services. He said changes could save Ilinois taxpayers around a half a billion dollars a year, but procurement reform wouldn't cover all of the state's higher education spending.

Amanda Vinicky

The Illinois State Board of Elections decided Monday in favor of three presidential candidates, but the decision could be appealed to a circuit court.

Electronic cigarettes don't contain tobacco, but the vaporized solution users inhale does contain nicotine.

Sen. Julie Morrison, a Democrat from Deerfield, says she doesn't consider them safe.

Morrison says she'd kept stories about young people "openly and blatantly using these products publicly, because there was no reason they shouldn't. There was nothing in law that prevented them from doing that.”

Morrison is sponsor of a new law, signed Friday, that she says closes a loophole.

WIU students demonstrating.
Rich Egger / Tri States Public Radio

The Illinois Senate President is encouraging Governor Bruce Rauner to rethink his priorities on student aid legislation, but the governor was quick to repeat his promise of a veto.

Senate President John Cullerton says he'll hold onto legislation for a couple of weeks, to give the governor time to "cool off," then he'll send it to Rauner for action.

In a statement, Cullerton urges Rauner to "not act rashly, but in the best interest of students, their futures, and the future of Illinois."

Congressman Rodney Davis (Facebook page)

Military police from Illinois' National Guard will soon be in Afghanistan; they'll do security there for much of this year.

Per tradition, Lt. Col. Michael Hough reads the mobilization order: 233rd Military Police Company, ordered to Active Duty in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel, Afghanistan," sending some 30 soldiers on a mission, first to Texas for training, then to Afghanistan.

"We all enlisted at a time of war; this is what we enlisted to do," said one of them, Sgt. Michael Johnson, the team medic, is Sgt. Michael Johnson.

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