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Not so long ago, prior to 1999, Illinois considered bobcats a threatened species. Come winter, hunters will be able to harvest the cats.

Gov. Bruce Rauner is an avid hunter -- of birds. No word on if that hobby contributed to his decision to sign a new law, authorizing bobcat hunting.

His office sent word of his signature without comment.

Illinois State Museum in Springfield
Lisa Ryan / WUIS - Illinois Issues

Supporters of the Illinois State Museum told state legislators Monday a slew of reasons why it should remain open, but it doesn't appear like anyone who will make the decision on its future was there to hear much of it.

Amanda Vinicky

Illinois' high court has been asked to decide once and for all whether Illinois can pay government workers when there's no state budget.

Illinois Comptroller website

Despite uncertainty bred from dueling court rulings ... Illinois' Comptroller is issuing paychecks to state employees.  It's a continued issue, as Illinois has been without a spending plan since the start of the month.

Box truck with petitions from front to back
Amanda Vinicky / WUIS - Illinois Issues

Even as Gov. Bruce Rauner pushes for legislators to authorize a new way of drawing the state’s political map, a citizen-driven initiative is underway

Illinois Comptroller website

Illinois officials say they have begun processing paychecks for state workers even though there's no budget for the fiscal year.  

Bradley Hahn is chief of staff to Comptroller Leslie Munger. He told The Associated Press on Friday the office is writing checks and they should be delivered Wednesday to 6,800 workers.  

The fiscal year began July 1 and there's no budget agreement between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democrats who control the Legislature.  

State records show 64,460 workers are paid through the comptroller's office.  

The stalemate on a state budget agreement continues.  The Associated Press' John O'Connor joins the panel this week.

As the fight over Illinois’ budget drags on, an addiction treatment program for juveniles and an anti-violence program, which both saw their state funding cut off earlier this year, still wait for a lifeline.

Amanda Vinicky

There's no clear path forward on a long-term budget solution for Illinois, and temporary solutions are murky too. As the stalemate in Springfield persists, Democrats are moving forward with an emergency spending plan, that would cover "essential" services through July. It would also keep state workers' paychecks coming for the next month.

Illinois Issues: The Governor's Money

Jul 9, 2015
Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Technically, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s election victory on November 4, 2014, marked the end of his first political campaign. But in some ways that campaign has never stopped.

Garrett Brnger / Illinois Issues

Sometimes, police don't put up much of a fight when it comes to limiting their use of technology. That's what happened when Illinois regulated drones. But if they've already invested in the tools, passing legislation to rein it in becomes a lot harder.

Amanda Vinicky / WUIS - Illinois Issues

In the midst of a budget stalemate, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner says he's re-introducing his five-point agenda, with some changes. The Republican is also putting out a new pension plan.

A Cook County judge's ruling Tuesday that state employees won't receive their salaries during a budget impasse adds a new wrinkle as the Republican Governor and Democratic-led legislature struggle to reach an agreement.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan heatshot

A Cook County judge has ruled Illinois may not continue to pay
state workers in full during an ongoing budget impasse.
 Judge Diane Joan Larsen ruled Tuesday that Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger
may pay only some workers who are covered under a federal law. Those workers
would receive federal minimum wage plus overtime.
 But attorneys for Munger say it would take the state as long as a year to
determine which employees would be paid under federal law and how much.

Amanda Vinicky

Voters throughout central Illinois on Tuesday will winnow down the options for who will replace Aaron Schock in Congress. Schock, a Republican, left his seat in March following a swirl of controversy, and weighty ethical questions.

Shock's resignation forced Illinois to schedule a special election. After a brief campaign, it's time for the primary. Head of the Democratic Party of Illinois, House Speaker Michael Madigan, says Democrats will be "competitive."

Peter Gray / WUIS - Illinois Issues

A week into its new fiscal year, Illinois has no new spending plan in place. And it could be awhile before there is one. Illinois isn't alone.

Across the border in Wisconsin, lawmakers can't reach a spending deal. Over on the east coast, North Carolina is in budgetary flux. Pennsylvania's negotiations are dragging on.

Fiscal year 2016 is upon us and Illinois still doesn’t have a budget.  Will Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner ever reach an agreement with legislative Democrats?  How quickly will state government grind to a halt?  And who will take the blame?  

Lisa Madigan at Inauguration 2015
Brian Mackey/WUIS

 A stalemate that's left Illinois without a budget has taken a new political turn. It comes as the Attorney General is asking a court to determine what bills Illinois can pay when the state has no spending authority.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has been feuding with Democrats, especially Speaker of the Illinois House Michael Madigan. Now Rauner's taking aim at the Speaker's daughter, Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

Brian Mackey/WUIS

A temporary budget to keep Illinois government operating in a new fiscal year has failed in the House, but one is still alive because the Senate OK'd an identical measure.  

Democrats battling with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner put up a $2.3 billion, one-month spending plan Wednesday for the state to limp along during the impasse. It fell four votes short of the 71 needed for approval. 

Illinois Issues: The Next Pension Time Bomb

Jul 2, 2015

Illinois has more than $100 billion in pension debt. So far, attempts to fix it have been mostly illegal.


Doctors who care for patients on Medicaid, drug treatment counselors, and probation officers could all go without pay because Illinois is without a new budget. But elected officials will keep getting their paychecks.

Without a budget, Illinois loses its spending authority -- much of it anyway. Some spending is built in by law, automatic: like paying off debt, sending municipalities their cut of the income tax, and lawmakers' pay.

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's budget director says a one-month spending plan proposed by Democrats is ``unconstitutional'' because it would lead to an unbalanced budget. 

Brian Mackey/WUIS

Even if Illinois lawmakers and the governor can't reach a budget deal by Wednesday, state employees have another two weeks before they really need to worry about being paid. That's when their first paychecks of the new fiscal year are set to be issued.  But there's confusion over whether they'll get money after that point, or not.

An email sent by Gov. Rauner takes a reassuring tone.

"State employees will be paid for their work --- and I will do everything within my power to ensure you don’t miss a single payroll," he writes.

But will the money come through?

It's the budget deadline day in Illinois. If a meeting yesterday between Governor Bruce Rauner and legislative leaders is any indication, they're not going to make it.

It's seemingly been weeks since Rauner, a Republican, meet with all four of the legislative leaders. Since what's believed to have been the last time they were all together, the governor began airing ads that attack Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan. The state has also gotten a lot closer to a partial shutdown since then. They all got together yesterday.

Illinois State Capitol Dome in clouds
Brian Mackey / WUIS - Illinois Issues

Illinois legislators will return to Springfield Tuesday, leaving them one last day to get a budget deal in order. This year's spending plan expires at midnight on June 30. Not only is there no long-term agreement, there's no sign of a provisional one either.

Bruce Rauner at Inauguration 2015
Brian Mackey/WUIS

A number of recall petitions from people dissatisfied with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner are circulating on social media platforms, but these efforts do not meet the legal requirements for recall in the state.

SEIU Healthcare Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s political ads have had the airwaves to themselves for two weeks. But as of Monday they’re getting some competition.

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS

Illinois begins the fiscal year without a new budget. Governor Bruce Rauner revised his plan. He's now offering Chicago and other municipalities some pension relief.

State Week: Countdown To (Fiscal) New Year

Jun 26, 2015

The week began with a complete budget proposal — albeit billions out of balance — awaiting action by the governor. It ended with a near-total veto. Only money for pre-school, elementary and secondary education was spared the knife. But could that actually worsen the state bidget standoff?

WUIS/Lisa Ryan

Tuesday is "deadline day" for state government.  But one deadline is being given a month-long extension.

June 30th is the final day of the fiscal year; after which, the current budget expires. It's also the final day of the state's contract with its largest public employees union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.