Rep. Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) bested Rep. Raymond Poe (R-Springfield) as Illinois House Republicans’ new leader. Despite a “scuffle” over the leadership post in past days, Durkin and Poe presented a united front after the closed-door caucus meeting at the Statehouse Inn in Springfield Thursday.
In a rare turn of events, Illinois' General Assembly will have a leadership change mid-way through the two-year legislative session. It's set in motion by House Republican Leader Tom Cross's decision to step down, he's expected to soon announce a run for state treasurer. Republican members of the House met Thursday in Springfield to choose his replacement. Longtime Rep. Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) claimed the title.
State Sen. Kwame Raoul says he's not jumping into the 2014 race for Illinois governor.
The Chicago Democrat has been weighing a run for months and had boosted his fundraising. But he said in a statement Thursday he must focus on his role as chairman of a legislative conference committee that's working on Illinois' pension crisis. He says he made his decision after talking with his family and evaluating his resources. He also says he didn't want to ``create unnecessary divisions.''
The Illinois Supreme Court will meet in Chicago for at least the next year while the court's usual home in Springfield is undergoing a major renovation.
The $12.6 million project began this summer. Workers are completely redoing the century-old building's ventilation system, as well as restoring the historic murals that line the walls of the courtroom.
Spokesman Joe Tybor says the move to Chicago is a big change for the justices.
Republican members of the Illinois House have a new leader: longtime Rep. Jim Durkin of suburban Western Springs. Lawmakers met in Springfield today to choose a replacement for outgoing House Minority Leader Tom Cross.
Republicans aren't just the minority party in the Illinois House. They're in the super-minority, with 47 members to Democrats' 71. Durkin says he'll work to slim those margins.
Though he hasn't decided who to support in the Republican primary race for governor, Niles Township committeeman Joe Hendrick is happy to pose with one of the candidates, Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) at GOP Day at the state fair. Four years ago when he was Republicans' nominee for governor, Brady didn't have any say in who his running mate would be; for the first time this election gubernatorial candidates get to choose a lieutenant governor, before the primary.
For the first time, candidates for governor in Illinois will choose their second in command. They used to get stuck with whomever primary voters choose for lieutenant governor -- whether the two got along or not. It's an opportunity for candidates to find a running mate they work well with, or perhaps someone to balance out the ticket. Still, the new selection process might have unintended consequences.
The American Civil Liberties Union has hired a consulting firm started by the Illinois Republican Party's former chairman to help with efforts to legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois.
Pat Brady left his GOP post earlier this year after he said he supported gay marriage. He later started what he describes as a government affairs firm with Matt Strawn, the former chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa.
Republicans in the Illinois House will meet Thursday afternoon in Springfield to select a new leader. A letter obtained by WUIS says finding a replacement for outgoing Minority Leader Tom Cross is "of the utmost urgency."
It was less than a week ago that Minority Leader Tom Cross announced he was stepping down — he's expected to instead run for state treasurer.
Seventeen House Republicans signed a letter officially scheduling the meeting Thursday. They say there's no time to waste in electing Cross' successor.
In Springfield, the west wing of Illinois' Capitol building is nearing the end of a two-year, $50 million renovation.
Workers are putting on the finishing touches. Everywhere you look, you see a balance between modern building requirements and historical details.
The door handles are flipper style — that's easier to use for people with disabilities — but they're cast with the state seal. There are lighted emergency exit signs, of course, but they're in an old-timey font.
A federal appeals court will hear arguments Oct. 3 over a push by gun rights advocates to let Illinois residents immediately tote firearms in public under the state's fledgling concealed-carry law. Mary Shepard and the Illinois State Rifle Association want the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to intervene after failing to sway a federal judge in East St. Louis to allow immediate concealed carry. The Illinois Legislature passed the last-in-the-nation concealed-carry law July 9 against Gov.
A new law in Illinois gives pet owners a remedy if they buy a sick dog from a pet store. But the so-called puppy lemon law got us thinking: what happens to those sick puppies after they're returned to the store?
We spoke to Vicki Deisner, Midwest legislative director for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. She also talked about several other new animal-welfare laws in Illinois this year.
The ASPCA supported four such pieces of legislation that were signed into law this year:
The topics on this edition of State Week in Review include Republican Tom Cross' announcement that he is stepping down from the position of House Minority Leader and raising the speed limit for Illinois interstate highways.
This week's panel consists of Sean Crawford, Charlie Wheeler, Amanda Vinicky, and Brian Mackey.
With national unemployment at its lowest level since the start of the Great Recession, the numbers keep going the wrong way in several parts of Illinois.
Peoria, Danville, and Decatur all saw unemployment increase by more than a percentage point.
Still, Gov. Pat Quinn defends his administration's efforts at building the economy. Thursday, he announced that a German manufacturer will move its U-S headquarters to Schaumburg, a Chicago suburb, a move Quinn says could create 40 jobs.
Thursday's unemployment numbers show Decatur is once again lagging the rest of Illinois. That long-term trend is partly responsible for a new law aimed at changing the way Illinois handles economic development.
In Decatur, 13.2 percent of job-seekers can't find work. State Sen. Andy Manar — a Democrat whose district includes Decatur — says that's part of the reason he thought it was time to blow up the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and start over.
Illinois' largest public pension fund hit a major low in 2012, its rate of return was less than one percent. But an early analysis shows the last fiscal year was better than expected. The success isn’t expected to make much of a dent in Illinois’ nearly $100 billion dollar pension liability, however, which lawmakers thus far have failed to tackle.
A panel of ten Illinois lawmakers has been working this summer to find a solution to Illinois' pension problem. With an unfunded liability of about 100-billion dollars, payments to the public pension systems are taking up a larger chunk of overall state government spending.
WUIS' Sean Crawford spoke with Representative Elaine Nekritz, a Northbrook Democrat and one of the leaders in the push to change how retirement systems are funded.
Nafia Khan (in duck suit) and DCCC organizer Lauren North were on the Illinois State Fairgrounds for Republican Day. They accuse Congressman Rodney Davis of "ducking" constituents, something his spokesman dismisses as "political funny season."
Political campaigns are gearing up for next year's elections. So, too, are political pranksters.
Congressman Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, has lately found himself being shadowed by a giant duck.
Technically it's a woman in a duck suit: "Uh, yes, it is very warm in the duck costume."
This is Nafia Khan. She and a handful of other activists are on the Illinois State Fairgrounds, holding signs that accuse Congressman Davis of "ducking" constituents. They say he's not holding any town hall meetings.
Illinois Republicans are at a crossroads. The party has a historically small number of people in the Illinois Senate, and a small minority in the House, too. But Republicans are also hopeful about 2014, when they have the chance to win back the Illinois governor's office, ending 12 years of Democratic rule.
Party leaders and candidates rallied in Springfield Thursday at the Illinois State Fair, where the men competing for the top of the ticket each said they're uniquely qualified to revive the Illinois Republican Party.
A year-and-a-half after his stroke, U.S. Senator Mark Kirk returned to central Illinois for the first time this week. Members of his party gave him a warm welcome at a Republican rally Thursday at the Illinois State Fair.
Senator Kirk made his way slowly across the stage, aided by a cane. It has been a long, slow, partial recovery since his stroke last January.