House Speaker Michael Madigan talks with reporters about pension prospects in May, at the end of the spring legislative session -- as the year nears an end, the General Assembly has yet to pass an overhaul of the state's retirement systems. A recent measure approved to cut a local pension system's costs could be a legal test case, though. It could also be a framework for Chicago's other underfunded retirement funds.
Another legislative session has gone by without a solution in place to bring down the amount Illinois owes the state's retirement systems. Given the clamoring from the governor, business leaders and credit rating agencies for lawmakers to do something about it, legislators mentioned relatively little about pensions before adjourning from their fall veto session last week ... which may well be a sign that something is afoot; there's talk of legislators returning before the year's end to deal with pensions.
An Illinois appellate court has ruled for county sheriffs who seek to restore salary cuts imposed by state lawmakers.
The Quad City Times reports (http://bit.ly/1eFaJcq) the 5th District Appellate Court overturned a Franklin County judge's dismissal of a complaint that Gov. Pat Quinn and the General Assembly failed to budget the full amount of a state stipend.
Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno, of Lemont, says the General Assembly's two top Democrats and Republicans are meeting on pensions; she says it's easier to reach a consensus with fewer people at the table.
Overhauling Illinois' pension systems is no longer in the hands of the special committee of legislators that met all summer. How to reduce the state’s $100 billion of long-term pension debt is now in the hands of the General Assembly's four leaders.
All summer long, state employees and retirees concerned about their retirement benefits had their eyes on a bipartisan conference committee, but insiders say even the key panel members are no longer part of discussions.
The General Assembly's four leaders (who are really always in charge) are taking the reins.
Episode #1440 American Icons: The Vietnam Veterans Memorial This is the monument that changed how America remembers war. " This enormous veteran practically verbally pinned me at the apex and was just yelling at the top of his lungs ... and all I could think of is, it was working.
Governor Pat Quinn has finally named his running mate. It's a once-notable Illinois politician who's been out-of-state for the past decade.
It was widely assumed that Quinn, like his Republican opponents, would choose a woman, a minority, or someone from downstate - to be his candidate for lieutenant governor. Conventional, political wisdom says that would have been his ticket to winning over a new voting bloc.
I come to Harvest Public Media as a reporter standing at the intersection of rural and urban life. It is a fascinating place to be in the young 21st century.
Growing up in Oswego, Ill., I watched my backyard turn from cornfield to the carefully trimmed suburban lawns of Chicagoland’s residential expansion. The land my Norwegian immigrant great-grandparents tilled in the 1900s is likely a restaurant, big box retail store or strip mall today.
Given the rise of music streaming websites like Spotify and Rhapsody, the assumption is listeners gravitate toward music they've already heard. One website headquartered in Rock Island is looking to change that. Daytrotter brings Indie bands from across the United States and the U.K. to their downtown studio for recordings, typically around five songs.
The city of Chicago had a setback in Springfield Thursday.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been pushing to increase prison sentences for people convicted of gun crimes. But on the last day of the Illinois legislature's fall veto session, a group of African-American legislators used a parliamentary maneuver to block him.
Such tactics are not uncommon in politics — but this was a rare example of Illinois Democrats pulling a fast one on members of their own party.
The problem of violence that plagues parts of Chicago is national news.
Abraham Lincoln's final resting place will be off limits to visitors for a few months as repairs are made. The Lincoln Tomb at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield houses the former President, his wife and three of their four children.
The state is investing more than 600 thousand dollars to restore interior finishes that have deteriorated over the years. That includes plaster molding, paint, wall panels and plaques.
The project will begin December first and won't be complete until early March. The tomb will be closed to the public during that time.
Though he was originally in Springfield to give the General Assembly's customary daily prayer, Rev. Jesse Jackson became part of an effort by African American legislators to denounce legislation that would require a mandatory minimum prison sentence for certain gun crimes.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson says he has not visited since his son reported to federal prison late last month.
Former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. is serving two-and-a-half years in a North Carolina penitentiary. He was convicted of corruption for spending $750,000 of his campaign fund on personal spoils.
"Well his health has been recovering and that has been, as father, the most important thing to me. He has been diligent in doing his work. And I have nothing further to say about that," Rev. Jackson said at the Capitol Thursday (11/7).
Gov. Pat Quinn says he's planning to sign same-sex marriage legislation on Nov. 20 in Chicago. The governor announced Thursday that he will sign the bill at the University of Illinois at Chicago in a 3:30 p.m. ceremony. The Legislature passed the measure Tuesday.
Illinois legislators wrapped up their two-week veto session this afternoon (Nov. 7), though they may be back in Springfield before the year's end.
The General Assembly knocked one, big item off its to-do list: same-sex marriage. After intense lobbying on both sides, lawmakers on Tuesday sent the governor a measure that will allow gays and lesbians to marry.
The rest of the major issues on the General Assembly's agenda remain:
-a tax package crafted to ensure Archer Daniels Midland keeps its headquarters in Illinois is on hold
An Urbana lawmaker says her late son would be proud that she returned to the Capitol to vote for same-sex marriage in his last hours. Garret Jakobsson, the 46-year-old son of Democratic state Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, died Tuesday evening after suffering from Pick's Disease. He had been in hospice care.
Jakobsson rushed back to Springfield Tuesday afternoon to vote for the same-sex marriage bill, which she had co-sponsored. It ultimately passed the House with one vote to spare.
Benjamin Gardner has a fitting last name. The Illinois native, Iowa art professor, and abstract artist is also an urban gardener who draws inspiration for his work from the natural world. On Friday, The DEMO Project gallery in Springfield (1732 N. 4th St.) will welcome Gardner for an opening and reception of his installation, Evensong 15 (caudex). Gardner recently joined us to talk about his work and inspirations:
A Senate panel has approved legislation that would give tax incentives to two of Illinois biggest corporations — Office Depot and Archer Daniels Midland.
ADM says it's moving its head office from Decatur to a larger city.
Chicago is thought to top the list of alternatives, but the company has also checked out Minneapolis and Atlanta. That said, ADM executive Gregory Webb told senators the company would prefer to stay in Illinois.
"We have 17,000 North American employees, and 4,500 of them are in Decatur. So Illinois is a preference," Webb said.
Sponsors of the same-sex marriage bill - Rep. Sam Yingling (D-Grayslake), Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago), Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) and Rep. Kelly Cassidy ( (D-Chicago) - approved by the General Assembly on Tuesday hand-deliver it to Gov. Pat Quinn (far left) in his ceremonial office at the Capitol Wednesday afternoon.
Gay and lesbian couples may not have to wait until June to marry in Illinois. A lawmaker is moving to accelerate when same-sex marriage becomes legal.
Already, same-sex couples are hurrying to take advantage of the marriage legislation approved on Tuesday. That very night, Rep. Sam Yingling, a Lake County Democrat who's openly gay, got engaged. "Well, we don't have a date yet, but I will certainly let you know when we do," he said.
House Speaker Michael Madigan says he's prepared to pass a ``meaningful'' pension reform bill, and he hopes it will happen before the end of the year.
The Chicago Democrat says legislative leaders are waiting for actuaries to crunch numbers on some proposals they're considering. Once they have the information he hopes lawmakers can return to Springfield and approve a bill.
Politically connected Illinois businessman William Cellini has been released from federal prison. A spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons says the Republican insider snagged in the corruption scandal involving former Gov. Rod Blagojevich was released from the federal lockup in Terre Haute, Ind., on Oct. 31.
The same-sex marriage legislation approved yesterday, Nov. 5, by the Illinois General Assembly will become law by the end of the month.
Gov. Pat Quinn hosted a party last night at the executive mansion in Springfield to celebrate. The festivities morphed into an engagement party when one of a handful of openly gay legislators, Rep. Sam Yingling, D - Grayslake, proposed to his partner.
Director of Illinois' Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity testifies at the House revenue committee about tax incentive options offered to companies looking to locate to Illinois, or threatening to leave the state.
State legislators are advancing a measure that attempts to lure chemical plant jobs to Illinois, but broader plans to offer companies like ADM incentives are not ready just yet.
Archer Daniels Midland is the highest-profile case of a company looking for a tax break from the state, in exchange for creating jobs. In ADM's case, the company is looking to move its global headquarters from Decatur to ... maybe Chicago, maybe a city in another state.
Sister Janice Thome’s office is a 2003 brown Ford Focus with a backseat piled high with paperwork and a prayer book.
Thome puts 125,000 miles a year on this car, picking up boxes from the food pantry, finding a mattress for a newcomer, delivering a sick soul to a doctor’s appointment. All the while, she fields emergency calls on her flip phone, responding to her mission to serve the poor of Garden City, out on the plains of southwest Kansas.
This day, Thome is teaching her teen parenting class at the alternative high school.
Same-sex marriage will soon be legal in Illinois. The House narrowly approved legislation Tuesday, and Governor Pat Quinn says he'll sign it into law.
The vote came after months of intense lobbying, in which both sides claimed they were fighting for individual freedom.
It's been a busy year for people who care about same-sex marriage in Illinois. Supporters had an early victory on Valentine's Day, when the state Senate approved what backers call "marriage equality" legislation.
President Barack Obama is praising the passage of same-sex marriage legislation in his home state of Illinois. Obama, who served in the Illinois state Senate, released a statement saying he was ``overjoyed for all the committed couples in Illinois.''
The president is commending members of the Legislature for approaching the issue in an ``open and fair way.'' He says the nation's journey is not complete until gay men and women are treated equally under the law.
Same-sex marriage legislation passed the state House on Tuesday, nearly nine