Statehouse http://wuis.org en Illinois Finally Gets 'No Child Left Behind' Waiver http://wuis.org/post/illinois-finally-gets-no-child-left-behind-waiver <p>After more than two years of trying, Illinois has finally won a waiver from the federal education law known as No Child Left Behind. Brian Mackey reports on what this means for schools in Illinois.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>The short answer is not much.</p><p>Illinois has already been moving beyond the No Child Left Behind law for some time, even as it waited for permission from the federal government.</p><p>Matt Vanover, a spokesman for the Illinois State Board of Education, says there were problems with No Child Left Behind.</p> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 22:06:08 +0000 Brian Mackey 23320 at http://wuis.org Illinois Finally Gets 'No Child Left Behind' Waiver U Of I: Illinois Pension Overhaul Had Costly Mistake http://wuis.org/post/u-i-illinois-pension-overhaul-had-costly-mistake <p>University of Illinois officials have worried for months that state pension reforms will push employees to retire early. But they say language inadvertently placed in pension law may provide even stronger<br />incentive.<br />&nbsp;<br />Avijit Ghosh is a senior adviser to university President Robert Easter. He said at a trustees' meeting Friday that the pension law passed last year would effectively take away a year of pension benefits from about 4,000 University of Illinois employees if they don't retire before July 1. Those pensions would be reduced by up to 35 percent.<br />&nbsp; Fri, 18 Apr 2014 20:38:47 +0000 Associated Press 23306 at http://wuis.org U Of I: Illinois Pension Overhaul Had Costly Mistake Listen To State Week - April 18, 2014 http://wuis.org/post/listen-state-week-april-18-2014 <p></p><p>This week, the legislature works to bring the proposed Barack Obama presidential library and museum to Chicago, more information on corruption charges leveled against lawmaker Derrick Smith, and the debate over charter schools currently taking place at the Statehouse.</p><p></p> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 19:30:05 +0000 Bob Meyer 23287 at http://wuis.org Listen To State Week - April 18, 2014 Employment Improves, But Illinois Still Lags U.S. http://wuis.org/post/employment-improves-illinois-still-lags-us <p>The latest state job numbers are out and the news for Illinois is mixed. The unemployment rate is down. But fewer people were hired than expected, and Illinois still lags the nation.</p><p>Illinois' March unemployment rate is 8.4 percent. That's the best it's been in more than five years, but it's still among the worst rates in the country.</p><p>On top of that, officials blame the unseasonably cold weather for the fact that fewer jobs were added in March than in the previous month.</p> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 11:00:50 +0000 Brian Mackey 23245 at http://wuis.org Employment Improves, But Illinois Still Lags U.S. Murray Center Advocates Win Appeals Decision http://wuis.org/post/murray-center-advocates-win-appeals-decision <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>Residents fighting to stay in Centralia's Murray Developmental Center can remain where they are ... for now. An appellate court decision blocks the state from moving people out without the permission of a court-appointed guardian.</p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The ruling gives Murray Center families reason to hope for a favorable outcome in another case — one trying to block </span>Gov<span style="line-height: 1.5;">. Pat Quinn's efforts to close the institution.</span></p> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 23:19:32 +0000 Hannah Meisel 23270 at http://wuis.org Murray Center Advocates Win Appeals Decision State Legislation Hints At Marijuana Legalization http://wuis.org/post/state-legislation-hints-marijuana-legalization <p>Last year, Illinois approved medical use of marijuana after years of debating the issue.&nbsp;&nbsp; But could Illinois be closer to following the lead of some other states that have given the o-k to recreational use?&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 11:00:00 +0000 Lee Strubinger 23009 at http://wuis.org State Legislation Hints At Marijuana Legalization Plan Threatens Proposed Downstate Casinos http://wuis.org/post/plan-threatens-proposed-downstate-casinos <p>A group of Illinois lawmakers considered two different plans to expand gambling Wednesday. One tracks other recent proposals to add five casinos across Illinois; the other focuses on Chicago.</p><p>Every expansion of gambling in Illinois has required a delicate balance of competing geographic and businesses interests.</p><p>That's why plans in recent years have called for slot machines at horse racetracks, and five new casinos: in Chicago, the south suburbs, Lake County, Rockford, and Danville.</p> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 10:00:50 +0000 Brian Mackey 23169 at http://wuis.org Plan Threatens Proposed Downstate Casinos Study: Pre-K Education Provides For Economic Growth http://wuis.org/post/study-pre-k-education-provides-economic-growth <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>As Illinois navigated the economic downturn, lawmakers made lots of cuts -- including to early childhood education.</p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Advocates say over the years, that cut off 25,000 kids from access to preschool.</span></p><p>Business leaders say it's time to restore the funding, in the name of economic efficacy later on.</p> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 19:22:36 +0000 Hannah Meisel 23132 at http://wuis.org Study: Pre-K Education Provides For Economic Growth The Vanishing Millionaire Tax http://wuis.org/post/vanishing-millionaire-tax <p>House Speaker Michael Madigan pulled his plan for a so-called "millionaire tax" last week.&nbsp;&nbsp; The plan would have raised taxes on those earning $1 million or more a year, with the proceeds going to schools.&nbsp; It would have required a constitutional change.&nbsp;</p><p>Professor Brian Gaines has studied the idea.&nbsp; He's with the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois.&nbsp; He called Madigan's change of heart a bit surprising:</p><p><strong>Brian Gaines' essay on the "millionaire tax"</strong> -</p> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 14:04:43 +0000 Sean Crawford 23116 at http://wuis.org The Vanishing Millionaire Tax Rutherford: Dismiss Sexual Harassment Lawsuit http://wuis.org/post/rutherford-dismiss-sexual-harassment-lawsuit <p>Lawyers for Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford are asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit by an ex-employee alleging sexual harassment and forced political work on state time. &nbsp;</p><p>The motion in U.S. District Court in Chicago seeks to end the lawsuit by Edmund Michalowski.<br />Michalowski worked for the former Republican candidate for governor for three years before leaving in January and filing the lawsuit. &nbsp;</p><p>The document contends Michalowski's claims that he was disciplined for not doing campaign work on state time are not plausible. &nbsp;</p> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 21:37:45 +0000 Associated Press 23088 at http://wuis.org Rutherford: Dismiss Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Gas Station Owners Warn Against Fuel Tax Increase http://wuis.org/post/gas-station-owners-warn-against-fuel-tax-increase <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>A coalition of Illinois gas station owners say they're wary of a plan to increase motor fuel taxes. Opponents say it would cause too much pain at the pump.</p><p></p><p>Engineers, the state Chamber of Commerce, and local mass transit agencies have a strategy to shore up the state's deteriorating highway network and other infrastructure needs: a strategy that includes raising Illinois' tax on gas, which hasn't seen an increase in 24 years.</p><p>For now, it's just a plan; no state lawmaker has committed to supporting that proposal.</p> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 15:49:27 +0000 Hannah Meisel 23057 at http://wuis.org Gas Station Owners Warn Against Fuel Tax Increase Quinn, Rauner At IEA Conference - Full Audio http://wuis.org/post/quinn-rauner-iea-conference-full-audio <p>Republican Bruce Rauner and Democratic Governor Pat Quinn made their first joint appearance of the campaign when they took the stage Friday at an Illinois Education Association meeting in Chicago. More than 1,000 people were in attendance.&nbsp;</p><p>The two answered questions and also took political jabs at one another.&nbsp;IEA President Cinda Klickna moderated the question and answer session.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p></p><p></p><p></p> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 13:08:41 +0000 Sean Crawford 23044 at http://wuis.org Quinn, Rauner At IEA Conference - Full Audio Illinois Senate Joins Push For U.S. Constitutional Convention http://wuis.org/post/illinois-senate-joins-push-us-constitutional-convention <p>The Illinois Senate has joined a push for a national constitutional convention. <a href="http://www.wolf-pac.com/">Organizers</a> want to change the way political campaigns are financed.</p><p>The last time there was a Constitutional Convention, it was presided over by George Washington.</p> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 11:00:00 +0000 Brian Mackey 23158 at http://wuis.org Illinois Senate Joins Push For U.S. Constitutional Convention Quinn, Rauner Make First Joint Appearance http://wuis.org/post/quinn-rauner-make-first-joint-appearance <p>Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican Bruce Rauner have attacked one another for their record and positions on education.&nbsp;&nbsp; Quinn and Rauner met for the first time Friday in the 2014 campaign for<br />Illinois governor. They discussing education policy before members of the<br />Illinois Education Association in Chicago.<br />&nbsp;<br />Quinn is a Chicago Democrat seeking his second full term as governor. He says<br />Rauner is ``the biggest threat to public education in the state of Illinois.''<br />&nbsp; Fri, 11 Apr 2014 21:16:59 +0000 Associated Press 22858 at http://wuis.org Quinn, Rauner Make First Joint Appearance Listen To State Week - April 11, 2014 http://wuis.org/post/listen-state-week-april-11-2014 <p></p><p>This week, a discussion of a pair of constitutional amendments on the ballot this fall, the city of Chicago gets a pension overhaul, and Gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner deals with an unwelcome endorsement.</p><p></p> Fri, 11 Apr 2014 19:47:57 +0000 Bob Meyer 22836 at http://wuis.org Listen To State Week - April 11, 2014 Manar's School Funding Change Moving Forward http://wuis.org/post/manars-school-funding-change-moving-forward <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>A proposal to overhaul the way Illinois schools get state funding is advancing in the state Senate. But Republicans are worried that under a new formula, Chicago schools will get an even bigger share of the money than they do now.</p><p></p><p>Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) has made it his mission to change the way schools are funded in Illinois. The freshman senator says it's long overdue; there's been no change in 17 years.</p> Fri, 11 Apr 2014 16:33:45 +0000 Hannah Meisel 22810 at http://wuis.org Manar's School Funding Change Moving Forward Chapa LaVia's Perceived Slight Overshadows Charter Debate http://wuis.org/post/chapa-lavias-perceived-slight-overshadows-charter-debate <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>An Illinois lawmaker is apologizing for a racially charged remark she made Wednesday during a debate on charter schools.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Rep. Linda </span>Chapa<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> </span>LaVia<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> (D-Aurora) was closing a long debate over charter schools. But just as she argued minority students sometimes get blocked from charters, she seemed to get frustrated with the noise in the chamber, and turned to address her fellow Democrats.</span></p> Thu, 10 Apr 2014 20:08:15 +0000 Hannah Meisel 22686 at http://wuis.org Chapa LaVia's Perceived Slight Overshadows Charter Debate The Stain Of Corruption: Candidate Endorsements http://wuis.org/post/stain-corruption-candidate-endorsements <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>Gov. Pat Quinn's campaign is blasting his Republican opponent, Bruce Rauner for getting endorsed by Springfield insider William Cellini. But Quinn has his own checkered endorsement history.</p><p></p><p>Cellini, a lifelong Republican, went to prison for his role in a campaign contribution shakedown scheme tied to the administration of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.</p> Wed, 09 Apr 2014 22:48:22 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 22683 at http://wuis.org The Stain Of Corruption: Candidate Endorsements Raising Gax Tax "Unwise," Says Quinn, But Offers No Other Ideas http://wuis.org/post/raising-gax-tax-unwise-says-quinn-offers-no-other-ideas <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>Illinois will invest another eight point six billion dollars into roads, bridges and other projects. It's the latest installment of a major infrastructure plan lawmakers passed in 2010. Now, Governor Pat Quinn is calling for a new one. But he's not saying where the money should come from.</p><p>The 2010 infrastructure program - known as Illinois Jobs Now! - has funded thousands of miles of road repairs so far -- paid for by higher taxes on alcohol, candy and soft drinks; a higher license plate fee; and revenue from video poker.</p> Wed, 09 Apr 2014 21:38:33 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 22673 at http://wuis.org Raising Gax Tax "Unwise," Says Quinn, But Offers No Other Ideas S&P: Next Two Months 'Critical' For Illinois Finances http://wuis.org/post/sp-next-two-months-critical-illinois-finances <p>A major credit rating agency says the next two months will be "critical" for the future of Illinois' finances. The key question is whether to make a temporary tax hike permanent.</p><p>Like most of the big credit rating agencies, Standard &amp; Poor's has been bearish on Illinois finances — lowering the state's credit rating four times in recent years.</p> Wed, 09 Apr 2014 21:37:01 +0000 Brian Mackey 22672 at http://wuis.org S&P: Next Two Months 'Critical' For Illinois Finances Madigan on Voting Rights: 'We Don't Know What The Future Holds' http://wuis.org/post/madigan-voting-rights-we-dont-know-what-future-holds <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The Illinois House has approved a proposal to add protections for voting rights to the Illinois Constitution.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The measure is sponsored by House Speaker Michael Madigan himself.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In explaining why he thinks it's necessary, he recalled the federal Voting Rights Act, and the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision to "modify" parts of that law.</span></p> Wed, 09 Apr 2014 14:10:53 +0000 Brian Mackey 22627 at http://wuis.org Madigan on Voting Rights: 'We Don't Know What The Future Holds' Rauner: "I'm Not Anti Union At All" http://wuis.org/post/rauner-im-not-anti-union-all <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner says common perceptions about him have it all wrong: he's not against unions and he doesn't want to take away public workers' pensions. Rauner was in Springfield Tuesday for a Sangamon County Republican Foundation fundraiser.</p><p></p><p>Unions worked hard to prevent Rauner from getting the GOP nomination --- and why not. He constantly talked during the primary about how "government union bosses" were to blame for much of Illinois' ills.</p> Wed, 09 Apr 2014 11:31:00 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 22599 at http://wuis.org Rauner: "I'm Not Anti Union At All" Cellini Back On The Political Scene, Backs Rauner http://wuis.org/post/cellini-back-political-scene-backs-rauner <p>Springfield powerbroker William Cellini is back on the political scene, following his release from prison late last year. He was found guilty of participating in an extortion scheme when Rod Blagojevich was governor.</p><p>Cellini attended a Sangamon County Republican Foundation event Tuesday night, which featured Bruce Rauner, the party's nominee for governor.</p><p>Cellini says he backed State Senator Kirk Dillard in the Republican primary race. But now he's behind Rauner.</p><p>"Well I've been a Republican all my life and he's the Republican candidate," Cellini said.</p> Wed, 09 Apr 2014 05:14:13 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 22601 at http://wuis.org Cellini Back On The Political Scene, Backs Rauner Lawmaker Wants Closer Oversight Of IHSA http://wuis.org/post/lawmaker-wants-closer-oversight-ihsa <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>Illinois lawmakers want to take a closer look at the Illinois High School Association ... the organization that sanctions spots and extracurricular competitions statewide. Critics fear it will end in a takeover.</p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Football, chess and water polo matches — not to mention band, drama and scholastic bowl competitions — are all governed by the </span>IHSA<span style="line-height: 1.5;">. It's a non-profit-group, based in Bloomington.</span></p> Tue, 08 Apr 2014 17:18:51 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 22548 at http://wuis.org Lawmaker Wants Closer Oversight Of IHSA Tax Watchdog Group: Income Tax Doesn't Hurt Businesses, Property Tax Does http://wuis.org/post/tax-watchdog-group-income-tax-doesnt-hurt-businesses-property-tax-does <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>Opponents of Governor Pat Quinn's proposed income tax increase say it will chase jobs out of Illinois. A new report that challenges that assumption.</p><p></p><p>What to do about Illinois' expiring income tax hike has been the star of the debate this spring. The governor threatens cuts unless its extended, while Republican leaders say keeping the higher tax rate is a bigger threat to the economy.</p> Tue, 08 Apr 2014 05:34:29 +0000 Hannah Meisel 22687 at http://wuis.org Tax Watchdog Group: Income Tax Doesn't Hurt Businesses, Property Tax Does Is Cap And Trade A Financial And Environmental Solution For Illinois? http://wuis.org/post/cap-and-trade-financial-and-environmental-solution-illinois <p>An Illinois professor says state government could improve it's financial predicament and lower greenhouse gas emissions at the same time.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Don Fullerton is proposing what's known as a "cap and trade" program where a limit is placed on emissions.&nbsp;</p><p>Going above the level would cost money for operations like coal fired power plants.&nbsp; But even he admits it's unlikely to happen anytime soon.&nbsp;</p><p>Read Fullerton's proposal in the article below:</p><p><strong>Taxing Waste, not Work: Cap-and-Trade as a Revenue Source</strong></p><p>By Don Fullerton</p> Mon, 07 Apr 2014 13:41:00 +0000 Sean Crawford 22324 at http://wuis.org Is Cap And Trade A Financial And Environmental Solution For Illinois? Legislators Vote Against Capping Their Careers http://wuis.org/post/legislators-vote-against-capping-their-careers <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>Voters may still get the chance to decide if they want to limit how long legislators can serve ... but no thanks to legislators themselves.</p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Although elections have been compared to popularity contests, as a whole, "politicians" aren't all that popular.</span></p><p>Which may be way polls show voters find the idea of term limits so appealing.</p><p>Unless, of course, you're a legislator.</p><p>Senator Darin LaHood, a Republican from Peoria, nonetheless introduced a term limits plan.</p> Mon, 07 Apr 2014 11:35:00 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 22446 at http://wuis.org Legislators Vote Against Capping Their Careers Listen To State Week - April 4, 2014 http://wuis.org/post/listen-state-week-april-4-2014 <p>This week, a proposal for a state constitutional amendment on voting rights, a proposal for a graduated tax rate, and suggestions for a pension change for the city of Chicago.</p><p></p><p></p> Fri, 04 Apr 2014 20:03:28 +0000 Bob Meyer 22340 at http://wuis.org Listen To State Week - April 4, 2014 State Manager Fined; Had Employees Do His Homework http://wuis.org/post/state-manager-fined-had-employees-do-his-homework <p>A former Illinois Department of Employment Security manager has been fined for directing his co-workers to do his college homework on taxpayer time. &nbsp;</p><p>An April 3 report by Executive Inspector General Ricardo Meza&nbsp; says 63-year-old Clyde Redfield was fined $2,500. He resigned from his $71,000 job in 2012 after the allegations surfaced. &nbsp;</p> Fri, 04 Apr 2014 19:55:03 +0000 Associated Press 22334 at http://wuis.org State Manager Fined; Had Employees Do His Homework Graduated Income Tax Moves Forward After Stumble http://wuis.org/post/graduated-income-tax-moves-forward-after-stumble <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>An effort to change Illinois' income tax from a flat to a graduated structure is making headway in the General Assembly. The plan, where the more you earn the more you pay, has been revived after a setback last week.</p><p></p><p>When another proposal for a graduated income tax was up for debate last week, it was shot down before even getting to the floor. But Representative Christian Mitchell, a Democrat from Chicago, says his proposal is different: Its income-based tax brackets are lower than the previous version.</p> Fri, 04 Apr 2014 14:47:08 +0000 Hannah Meisel 22306 at http://wuis.org Graduated Income Tax Moves Forward After Stumble