Statehouse

This Old House
8:56 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

To Restore Executive Mansion, Rauner Plans Private Funds

Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner took questions from reporters Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in his first Statehouse news conference.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner visited the Executive Mansion during his trip to Springfield Thursday.

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Statehouse
5:42 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Cullerton: State Income Tax Hike Won't Be Extended Before New Governor Takes Over

Sen. President John Cullerton
Credit Illinois Senate

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton says lawmakers are heeding Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner's  advice and won't extend the state's temporary income tax increase.
 
Rauner advised lawmakers not to take up any substantive issues before he's
sworn in.
 
Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat, says the Republican Rauner has ``a little honeymoon period'' during his first weeks in office and the Legislature is ``giving him his first victory.''
 

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Breaking
5:24 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Judge Finds Reductions In Pension Benefits Unconstitutional

Several legal challenges to the pension law were consolidated in Sangamon County. The county's courthouse is in downtown Springfield.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

An Illinois judge has ruled that a law intended to fix the nation's worst-funded state employee pensions violates the state Constitution. Sangamon County Circuit Judge John Belz ruled Friday in favor of state employees and retirees who sued to block the state's landmark pension overhaul.

At issue was whether lawmakers defied the Illinois Constitution by passing a law that reduces state workers', public school teachers' and university employees' retirement benefits.

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In With The New
12:48 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

RAW TAPE: Bruce Rauner's First Statehouse News Conference

Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner speaks with reporters in the Statehouse on Nov. 20, 2014.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner visited Springfield on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014. He met with legislative leaders and other elected officials, and held his first Statehouse news conference. Listen to the full audio:

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
12:38 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Rauner To Quinn: Freeze Hiring. Now.

Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner holds his first press conference at the state capitol; it was right outside the Comptroller's office ... and the offices of Gov. Pat Quinn's senior staff.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois' incoming governor has asked the outgoing one to put state hiring on hold for the remainder of his term.

Even as he was being impeached, former Gov. Rod Blagojevich kept making key appointments. A new Dept. of Natural Resources chief; Barack Obama's open U.S. Senate seat.

Gov. Pat Quinn is by no means under that sort of dark cloud.

And Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner says he has no reason to believe Quinn's doing anything inappropriate.

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Minimum Wage
2:43 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Latest Minimum Wage Hike Goes To Eleven

Gloria Davis says she won't give the temp agency she works for the satisfaction of publicly stating its name. She says her $8.25 wage isn't enough for her to afford housing in Chicago. She's calling for legislators to raise Illinois' minimum wage.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

The sponsor of a minimum wage hike says she'll push to get it passed during the legislature's veto session, which began today, Tues. Nov. 19.

Sen. Kim Lightford, a Democrat from Maywood, pointed to the results of a non-binding referendum. Sixty-seven percent of Illinois voters said “yes," Illinois should raise its minimum wage to $10 an hour by Jan. 1, 2015. The current rate is $8.25.

Results showed support for an increase in much of the state, including traditionally Republican areas, like the Chicago suburbs and downstate.

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Statehouse
8:14 am
Wed November 19, 2014

U of I Selects New President

UIS Chancellor Susan J. Koch welcomed new University of Illinois President-designate Timothy L. Killeen to campus this afternoon by presenting him with a UIS tie.
Credit UIS.edu

The University of Illinois system has hired State University of New York Vice Chancellor for Research Timothy L. Killeen as its next president.  

The university announced Wednesday that the 62-year-old Killeen will become president when current President Robert Easter retires in June.  

The 67-year-old Easter became president in 2012 during a period of turmoil.  
 Both of his predecessors, Michael Hogan and B. Joseph White, resigned under pressure. Easter is credited by many with overseeing a relatively calm period.  

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Illinois Issues - Past Due
6:00 am
Wed November 19, 2014

Editor's Note: Tax And Pension Fix Won’t End Illinois’ Budget Crisis

Jamey Dunn
Credit mattpenning.com 2014 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Listen to Dunn's interview about her column with Rachel Otwell: 

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State Week
5:24 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Listen to State Week - November 14, 2014

Credit Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

A look ahead at the upcoming Veto Session, the aftermath of the results in the Governor's race, and the race for Treasurer is still too close to call.

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Statehouse
1:23 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Former Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne Dies

Credit Alan Light/Flickr

CHICAGO (AP) -  Jane Byrne, Chicago's first and only female mayor, has died at the age of 80. Byrne's daughter, Kathy, says her mother died Thursday at a hospice in Chicago. With Byrne's election in 1979, she became part of Chicago history. And she was part of the city's lore because of a big reason why she was elected: Voters blamed the sitting mayor, Michael Bilandic, for what they saw as the city's slow reaction to a blizzard.   

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Statehouse
9:16 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Race Affects Opinion Of Police In Illinois

Credit flickr/Matty Ring

A newly released survey shows a majority of Illinois residents are satisfied with the performance of their local police department.  But the numbers also show differences of opinion along racial lines. 

The statewide survey shows overall, 7 of 10 people in Illinois give police good marks.  But African Americans are more split, with only about half giving a commendable rating.

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Illinois
2:40 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

How Illinois Might Have Looked

Credit Graphic courtesy of Kenneth Olson, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Illinois became a state in 1818, but figuring out its shape was not a simple process. While most people hear Illinois and think Chicago - it could have been without the city, if not for advocacy and politics. An article in the current edition of Illinois Issues magazine (and below) explores the issue. Rachel Otwell sat down to talk with the author, Eliot Clay, about it:

 

'How Illinois might have looked' by Eliot Clay

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Computer Glitch Fixed
9:11 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Drivers' License Facilities Back, Open For Business

Credit Creative Commons: Chris He, 2009

  Drivers' license facilities across Illinois are up and running again this morning, following a computer glitch that disrupted services much of Wednesday.

Driver's license facilities operated old-school yesterday, using paper forms whenever possible, because their computers were down.

Turns out the problem was like so many others in life: miscommunication.

The mainframe computer in Springfield "wasn't properly communicating with and recording data entered from the computer terminals at the facilities," said Sec. of State spokesman Henry Haupt.

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Illinois Government
12:47 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

State Police Repairing Leaky Roof

Credit flickr/Robert Kuykendall

Illinois State Police are fixing a leaky roof over an evidence room in a building near their downtown Springfield headquarters.  

The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers reports (http://bit.ly/14dewuJ ) that if the roof isn't fixed, evidence collected in criminal investigations may be damaged. The state police have signed off on a contract worth about $250,000 to fix the roof. Bidding documents state that it's ``an emergency purchase.''  

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Opposition Softens Some
5:04 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Most Illinois Residents Oppose Tax Hike

Credit flickr/jmorgan

A hike in Illinois’ income tax rate will begin rolling back at the end of this year, and a majority of Illinois voters are alright with that.

A new poll shows 56-percent of voters oppose making the increase permanent.

Respondents to the survey, which was done before the election by the Paul Simon Institute at Southern Illinois University, were asked that question fairly directly.

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
6:11 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Lukewarm Ideas On Property Tax Freeze

Bruce Rauner, in his first appearance since being elected, held to his pledge to freeze property taxes, but he says he'll form a task force to figure out how.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

When he was a candidate, Bruce Rauner promised that if elected, he would freeze property taxes. Now that he's won the race for governor, he's holding off on details about how.

It was a campaign promise that struck a chord.

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
7:18 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

Madigan Wants To Split Lincoln Library, But Why The Rush?

A wax model of Pres. Abraham Lincoln and his family greet visitors to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.
Credit ill.gov

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is reviving his end-of-session effort to make the Springfield-based Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum its own state agency. As first reported by the website Capitol Fax, the Speaker filed new legislation Thursday.

The last minute move by House Speaker Madigan in late May to separate the Library from the Historic Preservation Agency y seemingly came out of nowhere, and pretty much went nowhere. The plan passed the House, but went no further before the General Assembly adjourned.

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State Week
1:52 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

Listen to State Week - November 7, 2014

Credit Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

This week, a recap of the results of the Mid-Term Elections.

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Minimum Wage
5:54 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Rauner Wants Lame Ducks To Lay Off

Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner stands before his newly-announced transition team; days after the election he said lawmakers should hold off making major decisions until he takes over.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

Even though the race for Illinois governor is over, Gov. Pat Quinn and Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner continue to be at odds, this time over the minimum wage.

When he made his brief concession speech, Quinn said there was one goal he'd like to accomplish before leaving office: increasing the minimum wage.

But Rauner (who says he has not spoken with Quinn since the election) says lawmakers should hold off making any major policy changes until he takes over early next year.

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Statehouse
3:50 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Rauner Transition Team Includes Bill Daley

Bill Daley
Credit WUIS

Governor-elect Bruce Rauner is naming a transition team of advisers that includes former White House chief of staff Bill Daley, a Democrat.  
It also includes former Gov. Jim Edgar, Republican Congressman Aaron Schock and former Southern Illinois University President Glenn Poshard, another Democrat.  

The Republican venture capitalist ousted Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn in a close contest this week.  

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Statehouse
7:42 am
Thu November 6, 2014

Did Rauner Actually Call Madigan and Cullerton?

Credit brucerauner.com

In his victory speech Tuesday night, Bruce Rauner indicated he had called House Speaker Michael Madigan and Democratic Senate President John Cullerton.

However, a couple of reports indicated that neither Madigan nor Cullerton spoke with the Governor-Elect.   Reports in the State Journal Register and Chicago Sun Times say Speaker Michael Madigan's spokesman has no record of any calls from Rauner

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Statehouse
6:25 am
Thu November 6, 2014

Supreme Court Justice Narrowly Avoids Getting Thrown Out of Office

Credit Illinois Supreme court

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier appears to have survived an attempt to unseat him by a group of attorneys and law firms. 

Karmeier finished less than 1 percentage point above the 60 percent he needed for retention with more than 99 percent of Tuesday's votes counted. Several counties still were counting absentee and provisional ballots.  

Karmeier campaign chief Ron Deedrick says in a statement that Karmeier believes he has won. He says the campaign is ``cautiously optimistic that the numbers may continue to edge up'' in Karmeier's favor.  

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Election 2014
4:08 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

Quinn Concedes Governor's Race To Rauner

Gov. Pat Quinn is seen in this file photo from 2013.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

Governor Pat Quinn is giving up on his bid for re-election. On Wednesday afternoon, he conceded to Republican Bruce Rauner.

  Most media outlets called the election on Tuesday night. Rauner was up by five percentage points, and declared victory.

Quinn, however, told supporters he wasn’t ready to concede. Some Chicagoans waited into the early morning hours to vote.

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Illinois Issues - Leadership
8:55 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Dems Keep Super-Majority, As Madigan Machine Works Its Magic

House Speaker Michael Madigan speaks on the Illinois House floor in the final days of the end of the spring session, that ended in May.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

With Bruce Rauner's win, Illinois Republicans have something to celebrate. But they failed to make gains in the General Assembly, which could have big repercussions for Rauner down the line.

Two years ago, Illinois Democrats gained historic super-majorities in both chambers of the legislature.

There were more than enough Democrats in the Senate, and just enough (71) Democratic members of the House, to override a governor's veto.

Then, the governor was also a Democrat -- Pat Quinn.

Next year, Illinois Democrats will once again hold veto-proof majorities.

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Election 2014
4:38 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Rauner Declares Victory, But Quinn Won't Concede

Bruce Rauner speaks to a gathering of Republicans at the Illinois State Fair in this August 2013 file photo.
Credit Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

Republican investor Bruce Rauner will be the next governor of Illinois — probably. He declared victory over incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn and is up by five percentage points, but the Democrat is refusing to concede.

Rauner made hundreds of millions of dollars as a private equity investor. Lately, though, he’s been investing in himself — spending $27 million of his vast fortune on a quest to become governor of Illinois.

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Election 2014
3:06 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

Yes, You Can Still Register To Vote Today

Credit wikimedia

If you're still looking to get in on today's election day action, but aren't registered to vote, you're in luck. For the first time, Illinois is making "grace period" registration available today, on election day.

But the Illinois State Board of Election's Jim Tenuto warns that you can't just show up at any precinct's polling place.

Tenuto advises voters to call first to find out where they can still register, and what identification they need to bring.

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Election 2014
6:34 am
Tue November 4, 2014

Election 2014: What's At Stake

Credit wttw Chicago Tonight

Illinois voters have until seven tonight, when the polls close, to help decide the state's future.

Let's begin with the top of the ballot, with two proposed constitutional amendments. One would create protections for voters against discrimination; the other would give crime victims more rights, like a guarantee they be notified when a perpetrator is released.

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Election 2014
6:12 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

Election Eve: Sounds From The Campaign Trail

If you believe the polls, the race for Illinois governor continues to be a virtual tie. The candidates spent the last day before the election trying to build momentum, and to gain any last minute support.

Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican nominee Bruce Rauner both began their mornings in Chicago before heading downstate. "Illinois jobs are up an unemployment's down. If you're breathing, we want you working in Illinois," Quinn told supporters, repeating one of his catchphrases, at a campaign office on the city's South Side.

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Election 2014
5:50 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

Tally's In: Early Voting Up Thirty Percent

Candidates get-out-the-vote efforts appear to have worked. Elections officials are reporting an increase in early voting numbers.

Even before Election Day, more than a half million people will have cast their ballots.

That's according to a final tally of early votes gathered by the state elections board. It's a jump of 118,000 from the last midterm election and governor's race, four years ago.

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Election 2014
2:06 am
Mon November 3, 2014

Answers About The Questions At The Top Of The Ballot

Illinois' statewide ballot asks voters to answer five questions: a pair of constitutional amendments, and then a trio of non-binding referendums.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

Illinois voters on Tuesday won't just have the chance to decide on who'll be their next governor or state representative. They'll be asked if Illinois should change its constitution. And to weigh in on a trio of non-binding questions legislators could use to guide decisions down the line.

It's one thing to pass a law. Politicians do that all the time; Illinois passed 500 last year alone.

But constitutional amendments are different. They're relatively rare, and harder to get through (and once changes are made, they're difficult to undo).

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