Statehouse

Illinois Issues - Leadership
6:02 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Cullerton: I Don't Know What "Non-Essential" Means, Bet Rauner Doesn't Either

Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

In one of his first acts as Illinois' new governor, Republican Bruce Rauner Monday said he'll issue an executive order requiring all state agencies to stop spending money they don't have to.

The main theme of Rauner's campaign was that Illinois' finances are a mess, need fixing, and that he's the man to do it. He continued that message during his inaugural address, saying "we have an opportunity to accomplish something historic; to fix years of busted budgets and broken government."

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Illinois Issues - Past Due
3:07 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Rauner: Stable Budget Will Require Sacrifice

Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

 Gov. Bruce Rauner is saving the details for his budget address next month, but he did have a few things to say about the state’s fiscal situation after he was sworn in Monday.

“We must forget the days of feeling good about just making it through another year—by patching over major problems with stitches that are bound to break,” Rauner said during his inaugural speech. “Those stitches are now busting wide open and we must begin by taking immediate, decisive action.”

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Statehouse
2:24 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Hear The Full WUIS 2015 Inauguration Broadcast

Federal District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman, left, administers the oath of office to Gov. Bruce Rauner at the Illinois Inaugural Ceremony on Monday, Jan. 12, 2015 in Springfield. First Lady Diana Rauner holds the Bible.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

  WUIS' Amanda Vinicky and Bill Wheelhouse hosted the broadcast from the Prairie Capital Convention Center Monday. 

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Statehouse
12:30 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Text Of Bruce Rauner's Inaugural Speech

Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks at the Illinois Inaugural Ceremony on Monday, Jan. 12, 2015 in Springfield.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

Bruce Rauner has been sworn in as Illinois' 42nd governor.
 
 The Republican businessman took the oath of office Monday during an inaugural
ceremony in Springfield. He is the first Republican to lead the state in more
than a decade.
 
 Rauner defeated Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn in November with promises to ``shake
up'' state government. He faces an immediate challenge in working with a
Democratic-controlled Legislature to eliminate a multibillion-dollar budget
hole.
 

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Statehouse
7:37 am
Mon January 12, 2015

Quinn Says No To Bobcat Hunting In Illinois

Credit flickr/stevendepolo

Gov. Pat Quinn has vetoed a bill that would have allowed bobcat
hunting in Illinois for the first time in more than 40 years.
 
 Quinn says allowing hunting would violate a responsibility to maintain Illinois
wildlife, noting that the population only recently rebounded enough to be
removed from the threatened species list.
 
 He says bobcats are ``a valuable part of Illinois' ecosystem and continue to
need protection.''

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Statehouse
7:24 am
Mon January 12, 2015

Vinicky Discusses Quinn's Last and Rauner's First

Governor Pat Quinn will spend his final hours in office in Chicago while Bruce Rauner is inaugurated as the State's 42nd Governor in Springfield.

Bill Wheelhouse and Amanda Vinicky discuss final actions by the outgoing Governor and the first likely actions by the incoming Governor.

WUIS will have live coverage of the inaugural at 11:50 a.m.

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
7:30 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

Quinn's Legacy - CapitolView

Host Jamey Dunn and guests Bob Gough (QuincyJournal.com) and Charlie Wheeler (UIS) discuss the special session and special election legislation as well as Rauner's choice for comptroller, this week's inaugurations, and Gov. Pat Quinn's legacy.

Statehouse
5:55 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

Quinn Pardons Man Wrongfully Convicted Of ISU Student's Murder

Gov. Pat Quinn has pardoned a man who spent more than a decade in prison before DNA evidence cleared him in the 1993 murder of his girlfriend.  

Quinn's 232 granted clemency petitions announced Friday included one for Alan Beaman. It's Quinn's first innocence-based pardon.  

Beaman was convicted in the strangulation death of Illinois State University student Jennifer Lockmiller and spent 13 years in prison. He was serving a 50-year sentence when the Illinois Supreme Court reversed his conviction in 2008, and DNA testing pointed to two previously unknown suspects.  

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State Week
4:27 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

Listen to State Week - January 9, 2015

Credit Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

This week, discussion of the special session of the General Assembly, Bruce Rauner's preparations to assume the Governor's office and Pat Quinn's thoughts on the end of his own administration, and more news about the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
3:38 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

Electric Rate Hike Extension Bill Likely To Be Left In Rauner's Lap

Sen. President John Cullerton has kept a "motion to reconsider" on a measure that extends an electric rate formula since it passed the General Assembly in December.
Credit www.ilga.gov

The president of the Illinois Senate is continuing to withhold a piece of legislation from Gov. Pat Quinn.

At the tail end of its session, members of the General Assembly rushed to pass a measure that makes it easier for Illinois' big utilities, Ameren and Commonwealth Edison, to charge more for delivering power.

The companies say it's necessary so they can continue to improve the electric grid. But legislators' quick action came to an abrupt halt when Senate President John Cullerton used a parliamentary maneuver to keep the measure from going to Gov. Quinn.

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Illinois Issues - Past Due
1:26 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

Rauner transition team avoids budget specifics

Credit brucerauner.com

Gov. -elect Bruce Rauner’s transition team took a pass on making any budget recommendations in a report the group issued today.

The bipartisan group’s report emphasized that the state’s dire fiscal situation is the most pressing challenge the soon-to-be governor will face. The document goes so far as to say that if the new administration cannot stabilize the state’s budget, it will not succeed with other items on its agenda, be they modest or ambitious.

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
9:27 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

What Rauner's Been Telling Rank And File Legislators

During his first capitol press conference, Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner vowed to get to know every legislator; he's making progress.

If you listened to Bruce Rauner on the campaign trail, you'd think that he would want to steer clear of Illinois' lawmakers. He reviled them. Especially those who had long careers in Springfield. Rauner, remember, ran on a platform advocating for term limits. But that was before he won election. Now, as he prepares to be Illinois' next governor, Rauner has spent a time reaching out to the politicians he'd once vilified. Amanda Vinicky checked in with some of them about how it went.

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Statehouse
6:40 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

Rauner Calls Special Election Bill "Constitutionally Dubious"

A vacancy was created in the comptroller's office following the death of Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, 70, from complications of a stroke.
Credit Comptroller website

A special election next year for the office of Illinois comptroller is almost surely on the horizon. Democratic members of the Illinois General Assembly hurried Thurs., Jan 8 to pass a measure setting it up.

It goes back to last month, when Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka suddenly died. She was about to begin a new, four-year term.

Topinka, it's worth noting, was a Republican. As is Illinois' next governor, Bruce Rauner, who is to be sworn in Monday.

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
1:59 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

Special Elections Bill Passes Senate, On To House

Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, a Chicago Democrat, argues that it's constitutional, and within the General Assembly's rules, to pass a law creating a special election for comptroller in 2016.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

  Legislators are back at the capitol, where they have begun debating the prospect of a special election for comptroller in 2016. The Illinois Senate passed the measure this afternoon, Thurs. Jan 8, on a partisan vote, and now it's on to the House.

It became an issue after Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka suddenly died, ahead of beginning a new four-year term.

House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie say voters should have the opportunity to choose someone, rather than letting an appointee hold the post for such a long time.

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Statehouse
7:34 am
Thu January 8, 2015

Reports: Illinois Could Help Boost Struggling Nuke Plants.

Clinton Nuclear Plant

New reports from several Illinois agencies propose ways lawmakers could help keep the state's nuclear plants open.  

The reports issued Wednesday suggest the state could favor Chicago-based Exelon Corp. because its six nuclear plants generate electricity without emitting greenhouse gases.  

The Chicago Tribune reports) such a policy would punish providers, such as coal-burning power plants, that emit carbon dioxide.  

Exelon has been lobbying for such policies, saying it otherwise might have to close at least three of its financially struggling Illinois plants.  

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Statehouse
3:53 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

2016 Special Election Chances Rise With Speaker's Support

Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner's choice for comptroller, Leslie Munger, would have a two-year appointment, should legislation pass to set a special election in 2016.
Credit Munger '14 Campaign Website http://votemunger.com/about-leslie/

Chances the state will hold a special election for comptroller in 20-16 have improved, now that the Illinois House Speaker has signaled his support. Lawmakers will be back in Springfield for special session Thurs., Jan 8 to vote on it.

Speaker Michael Madigan's spokesman, Steve Brown, says Madigan will support giving voters a say, instead of allowing an appointee to take over long-term. Brown had previously only said that Madigan believed the future of the comptroller's office was a matter to be settled by the executive branch.

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Illinois Issues - The Scene
3:39 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Lincoln Museum & IHPA Should Stick Together Study Says

Inside the ALPLM
Credit Rachel Otwell/WUIS

A panel that considered whether to separate Springfield's Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum from the state's historic preservation agency released its findings on Wednesday. Convened at the request of both entities, the study recommends keeping the same oversight. Legislation has been proposed to split them apart. The report also suggests a reorganization of the state agency to improve what it calls the cultures of "politics" and "research."

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
6:33 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Vacancy Election Plan Goes Beyond Comptroller Post

State Comptroller Judy Barr Topinka's sudden passing has set in motion possible changes for filling vacancies in statewide office.
Credit Comptroller website

 A measure has been filed that would prompt a special election in 2016 for Illinois Comptroller. The vacancy created in the office following the death of Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka in December exposed what some say is a weak spot in Illinois Constitution, as Topinka was set to begin a new, four-year term. The legislation would put in place a new method that would limit the length of gubernatorial appointments to fill such openings.

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Frerichs: Eliminate Comptroller
3:52 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Options Beyond A 2016 Special Election

Rather than combine the comptroller and treasurer's offices, Tres.-elect Mike Frerichs, a Democrat, proposes eliminating the comptroller's position; that would allow him to stay on as Illinois' sole fiscal officer for the next two years.
Credit ilga.gov

Legislators will be back in Springfield Thursday for a special session. They're set to debate holding a special election for the office of Comptroller. But other ideas are on the table too.

The stir over what to do about the Comptroller's office began when, just before she was to be sworn in for a second term, Judy Baar Topinka suddenly passed away.

Next week, Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner will appoint Leslie Munger, a businesswoman and failed candidate for state representative, to fill Topinka's spot for the next four years.

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Illinois Issues - Code Switch
8:00 am
Tue January 6, 2015

Interview: Prostitution & More At State-Run Teen Centers

Chicago Tribune investigative reporter, David Jackson
Credit courtesy of David Jackson

The Chicago Tribune has been taking a look at the rampant problems that appear to be taking place at residential treatment centers for teens run by the state. David Jackson has been one of the reporters who has been looking at the issue over a long period of time.

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
11:51 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

State Police Forbidden From Making Arrests Based On Immigration Status

Lawrence Benito, the CEO of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, says he didn't know in advance Gov. Pat Quinn was going to issue the executive orders, but he applauds the action.
Credit Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, http://icirr.org/content/lawrence-benito

Immigration status alone will no longer be a valid reason for the Illinois State Police to detain someone, under an order issued Mon., Jan. 5 by Gov. Pat Quinn.

In the executive order, Gov. Quinn says that "community policing efforts are hindered" when immigrants who are victims of, or witness to, crimes are wary of cooperating for fear they'll be deported.

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Comptroller Appointment
3:51 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Rauner Chooses Topinka Successor

Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner's choice as successor to the late Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, Leslie Munger of Lincolnshire.
Credit Munger '14 Campaign Website http://votemunger.com/about-leslie/

  Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner has announced his choice for Illinois' next comptroller -- someone who, like himself, is a relative newcomer to state politics.

Residents of Illinois' 59th House district are probably familiar with the name Leslie Munger: their mailboxes, no doubt, were flooded all fall with campaign brochures featuring her name.

Her failed, but tight, race against incumbent Democratic state Rep. Carol Sente of Carol Stream was chalked up to be one of the slimiest of the season.

Despite that loss, Munger will be coming to Springfield.

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Statehouse
6:14 am
Mon January 5, 2015

Quinn's Final Week. What Is Coming Up.

Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

Gov. Pat Quinn enters his final week in office with a speech and special session on the agenda, but it's unclear how hard lawmakers and leaders will work with the Democrat on a possible special election or other issues.  

Quinn has called legislators to Springfield Thursday. He wants legislation for a special election to replace late Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka. Senate President John Cullerton supports the idea, but House Speaker Michael Madigan says it's an executive branch issue.  

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State Week
5:02 pm
Fri January 2, 2015

Listen to State Week - Jan. 2, 2015: The State Year In Review Edition

Clockwise from top left: the late Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, the Illinois Capitol, Gov. Pat Quinn, Treasurer Dan Rutherford, Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner, and state Sens. Kirk Dillard and Bill Brady.
Credit WUIS

This week, Daily Herald political editor Mike Riopell joins the regular panel to look back at some of the top stories in state government and political for 2014, and what's ahead in the new year.

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Statehouse
4:30 pm
Fri January 2, 2015

Hamos To Resign Next Week

Julie Hamos
Credit ilga.gov

The director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services says she'll resign Jan. 9 as Republican Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner prepares to take office.  

Julie Hamos is a former Democratic state representative who oversees the state's $18 billion Medicaid program. She released a statement Friday about her resignation. She says leading the department has been ``one of the most fulfilling jobs'' she's ever had _ ``as well as the hardest.''  

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
12:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

No. 42 - What Will Bruce Rauner Do?

Bruce Rauner
Credit Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

“I just wanna save our state,” Bruce Rauner says in a matter-of-face tone, his wife Diana’s hand resting on his khaki-clad knee. He shakes his head side-to-side, at once casual but firm: “I’m not runnin’ ’cause I want a political career.”

This is the Bruce Rauner you likely have “met” on your television screen. He’s friendly. Pragmatic. Warm. A family man.

Normal. Just like you. Except that this guy, uninterested in a political career, was in the midst of spending more than $27 million to launch one.

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Illinois Issues - Economy
12:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

The Fifth Inning - Illinois' Economic Recovery Is Just Warming Up

Mark Selvaggio, President of Selvaggio Steel in Springfield says workers compensation cost and unpredictable tax environment are slowing manufacturing.
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

For fans of baseball, the midwinter tradition is underway — counting down the days until the pitchers and catchers report for spring training.

When evaluating Illinois’ recovery from the recession, James Glassman uses a baseball analogy. The head economist for commercial banking with JP Morgan Chase says Illinois has only reached the fifth inning in the recovery.

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Illinois Issues - State Of The State
12:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

Adult Redeploy: Paying To Keep People Out Of Prison

Credit flickr/dnak

Illinois has a clear ambition for what it would like to do with members of its criminal class, and it’s right there in the name of the state agency set up to deal with them: the Department of Corrections. But there is a wide gap between ambition and practice. This is not to blame the department: politicians enacted the policies that have swelled the prison population, and politicians are largely responsible for the dire financial condition of the state that has squeezed agencies like the DOC.

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Illinois Issues - Past Due
12:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

Graying Illinois

Credit Illinois Issues

Listen to Jamey Dunn talk about her piece with Rachel Otwell:

Three years ago, the first members of the Baby Boom generation turned 65. This generation, born between the mid-1940s and mid- 1960s, has had a large influence on American politics and policy, in part by virtue of its sheer size. As the Boomers reach retirement age, they may once again drastically reshape the country.

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Illinois Issues - State Of The State
12:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

Direct Democracy Yields Minimum Results

News Analysis — We’ve all had this experience: you’re asked a question, give your opinion, then watch your interlocutor ignore the answer.

If you didn’t care what I thought, why’d you ask?

That would be a fair question among the 2,339,173 Illinois voters who cast a ballot in favor of a higher minimum wage in November.

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