News

Mike Zalewski
MikeZalewski.com

A measure that would legalize fantasy sports in Illinois is dead for the remainder of the spring legislative session.

The plan passed the Senate, but stalled in the House after a legislator accused a fantasy sports lobbyist of offering charitable donations in exchange for votes.

State Rep. Michael Zalewski, D-Riverside, is the measure's sponsor. He said because of the controversy, he's not going to call the plan for a vote this month. It's too much of a distraction with lawmakers struggling to reach a budget deal, but he says he will probably try again this summer.

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / N

The Illinois Senate passed legislation Monday that would let the state museum reopen. The measure allows the state to charge an admissions fee for the museum in Springfield and branch sites. The governor closed the museum last fall to save money.

Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel
WUIS/Illinois Issues

As Gov. Bruce Rauner continues to battle Democrats in Springfield, he's also battling them in Chicago. Rauner on Sunday upped the rhetoric against the city's mayor.

There was a time that Rauner and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel vacationed together.

But Rauner's most recent comments about Emanuel were anything but friendly.

Brent Bohlen

“Road trip!” can evoke images of fun and freedom for family and friends. This summer toss in a little history and take off with a “National Road Trip!”

NPRIllinois

A measure that would legalize fantasy sports in Illinois is dead for the remainder of the spring legislative session. 

Amanda Vinicky / Bruce Rauner, Jim Durkin

Lawmakers only have two days to pass a budget before a pending deadline. But even as top leaders came out of a meeting Sunday, saying that a deal is possible, it was clear the chances are woefully slim.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has danced around it before. But this time, he didn't flinch.

Rauner says if it gets to his desk, he will reject in its entirety the only spending plan currently alive in the statehouse: a plan House Democrats approved last week.

"That's the bill that has a $7 billion implied deficit in it, I will veto that bill," he said.

LinkedIn

Illinois appears to be headed toward a second year without a budget plan in place after clashes at the capitol Friday. Many legislators are returning to their districts for a short break, but they'll be back Sunday afternoon.

Republican legislators made a commotion about the need to stay in Springfield all weekend long ahead of Tuesday's deadline to get a budget passed.

And in fact, top-ranking lawmakers from both parties will keep meeting at the capitol.

Governor Bruce Rauner's budget director Tim Nuding says a deal is close.

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / N

Illinois' top lawmakers say budget talks are on the verge of collapse with the deadline for next year's budget just four days away.

John Cullerton
Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

As the clock ticks down on the General Assembly, lawmakers are struggling to avoid the debacle of public schools not opening in the fall. But they’re having a tough time coming up with a school funding formula that pleases both parties.

With just days remaining before the scheduled end of the spring legislative session, Democrats and Republicans appear far apart on a state budget and the governor's agenda. Will Illinois enter a second year without a spending plan?

On Wednesday, tempers at the capitol flared; but Thursday the legislature's top Republicans shifted toward an optimistic stance on the budget situation.

Dusty Rhodes / WUIS

The Illinois House passed a measure Thursday to removes sales tax on feminine hygiene products sold in the state.

Sarah Mueller WUIS

A measure legalizing fantasy sports in Illinois has stalled in committee. A House representative says she saw an email suggesting donations for votes.

afscme31.org

Members of Illinois' largest public employee union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said they're disappointed legislators Wednesday failed to override Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto of legislation that could have had big consequences for their next contract.

In Illinois, it would take more than two full-time jobs at minimum wage to afford rent for a two-bedroom apartment. That’s according to a report released this week by the Washington, D.C.-based National Low Income Housing Coalition.

A single earner in Illinois would have to put in 97 hours of work a week at minimum wage to pay for that rent, according to the report. The state’s fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,309. Illinois’ minimum wage is $8.25 per hour.

benbedford.com / lauraevelyncai.bandcamp.com

This week Rachel and Scott preview events like the "Spirited Stroll" in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield on Saturday afternoon and Champaign's Cinema Under the Stars screenings that last all summer. They also hear from Ben Bedford, a Springfield singer/songwriter who will be playing music from his new album at The Dana Thomas House on Friday. Tune in!

Rachel Otwell

Often times kids need a place to go after school lets out, especially in places like the east side of Springfield - where Feithsans Elementary School is located. About 90% of the kids who attend come from low-income families, though many parents work long hours to make ends meet. That's where the 21st Century program comes into play - it's a joint effort of District 186 and the Springfield Urban League - and relies heavily on the time and talents of volunteers.

flickr: Matt Turner

A potential new state budget barely passed the Illinois House last night,  but Governor Bruce Rauner is already signaling a veto.

Ounce of Prevention

  The number of social service groups suing Illinois is growing. Eighteen agencies are joining a lawsuit against the state to get paid -- since they haven't received $130 million due to the budget impasse. One of the latest groups to sue is notable because of who's in charge.

flickr/dnak

Soon after taking office, Gov. Bruce Rauner set a goal of  cutting Illinois' prison population by a quarter over the next decade. But the current budget crisis has cut off funding for programs that could be key to meeting his target.  

Statehouse exit sign
Brian Mackey/WUIS

Sean Crawford talks to Tim Landis of The State Journal-Register about the latest census numbers, and Brian Mackey interviews economist Natalie Davila and tax policy consultant Mike Klemens about their unique analysis of migration in and out of Illinois.

Amanda Vinicky / Michael Madigan

An attempt to reach a deal on Governor Bruce Rauner's pro-business, anti-labor demands isn't working out for House Democrats, who are set to go it alone on a new state budget. That's the takeaway from a meeting between Rauner and the legislative leaders Wednesday morning.

Republicans -- led by Rauner -- say they won't increase taxes to balance the budget until they get fundamental economic changes.

To that end, bipartisan groups of legislators have been meeting in private on the governor's agenda.

It feels like Illinois is lost without a map these days.  The current quiet drive is trying to navigate the fog but has been slow moving as of late.  An additional $60,000 is needed to reach goal by next Tuesday (May 31).  If we're still short of our destination then, we'll go into OVERDRIVE June 1.  

  

  I am so appreciative for the Calendar Club members and other donors who support NPR Illinois.  I hear this sentiment from staff, members, and listeners.  It's what makes public radio special.

Amanda Vinicky

Unionized state employees worried about stalled contract talks could learn Wedneday whether there's hope for a work-around.

Last week, thousands of union members rallied in Springfield. They asked legislators to override Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto of a bill that would change how the state negotiates with labor. Wednesday they may see if it worked.

Democratic Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch says he plans to call the measure for a vote.

WUIS

The end of the month -- and a major deadline for getting a state budget passed -- is getting ever closer.

Gov. Bruce Rauner is standing firm. He says he'll agree to raising taxes, if Democrats agree with his pro-business, union-weakening agenda.

Lawmakers continue to negotiate those items in private.

Representative Dan Brady, a Republican from Bloomington, is part of the talks.

He says the issues are "tender."

Just who can use what bathroom has garnered headlines across the country. Illinois senators are calling for a ban on unnecessary government travel to two states with bathroom laws targeting transgender individuals.

Sarah Mueller WUIS

The group that wants Illinois to change the way it draws legislative boundaries has met another milestone to get the issue on the November ballot.

pumpkin pie
Jeff Hawkins / Flickr.com/hawkinsmultimedia

Gov. Bruce Rauner has lately been critical of efforts to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, saying it’s not “what matters” in Illinois government. Our reporter has been closely following the governor’s overall efforts to improve Illinois’ criminal justice system, and was struck by Rauner’s comments on pot. So he decided to talk to someone who can explain how decriminalization fits into that broader effort.

A new plan to fund public schools was filed yesterday. Its goal is to ensure that all school districts have 90 percent of the resources needed to provide a no-frills, meat-and-potatoes "adequate" education. It would also have the state pay teacher pensions in the Chicago Public School District (the state already pays pensions in all other districts).

SJ-R.com

Sean Crawford talks with Tim Landis, Business Editor of the State Journal-Register, for our weekly Business Report.

This week...

* Population: Reflecting statewide trends, Springfield-area population down slightly from 2010 to 2015; focus on keeping millennials here.

* Food-truck festivals: New one coming to Illinois fairgrounds in July; existing festival on MacArthur Boulevard adding a third date; it's apparently the hot new trend in Springfield.

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