News

Amanda Vinicky

Illinois is in uncharted territory. It'll soon hit its sixth month without a budget. 

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democrats who dominate the legislature continue to spar about what Illinois' future should look like. Rauner wants to rein in unions; Democrats say that's akin to bolstering business tycoons at the expense of the middle class.

How long can it go on?

ILGA.gov

The race for Illinois comptroller has narrowed: There will no longer be a Democratic primary. State Sen.Daniel Biss, D-Evanston, has confirmed he will not run.

You could say the Democratic primary race for comptroller is over before it ever began; only today can candidates begin filing paperwork to run.

Christmas lights are up at the Illinois capitol, despite a brief period where it had appeared the state budget impasse would keep the dome dark. That interlude led to another outcome, appropriate during the season for giving.

The lights are on, thanks to a trio of unions that have offered to pay the state's Christmas lights electric bill.

But before that'd been finalized, Kristina Rasmussen had tried another method.

Housing Action Illinois

Estimates of the homeless populations in the state and the nation were released yesterday by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, pointing to an 11 percent drop nationally and a slight decline in Illinois.

I talked with Bob Palmer, policy director at Illinois Housing Action, to find out more about those numbers.

Washington University in St. Louis

There are actions governors can take about their concerns over Syrian refugees, but keeping them out of their states — even temporarily — is not one.  So says the emeritus professor whose textbook on immigration is used by about 185 law schools in the country.

This week, Governor Bruce Rauner said he wants to prevent Syrian refugees from entering Illinois, the state Supreme Court heard arguments concerning a Chicago pension law, and a citizens' initiative to end gerrymandering gained momentum.   Kurt Erickson of Lee Enterprises joins the panel.

Sangamon County Republicans have named Sara Wojcicki Jimenez to represent the 99th State House District. She'll replace former State Rep. Raymond Poe, who was recently appointed the new Illinois Department of Agriculture Director.

Voice of America News: Henry Ridgwell from the Turkish border by Aleppo

Human rights groups in Illinois say they'll continue programs for Syrian refugees. That’s despite the governor's calls to suspend accepting them - a threat he made on the heels of the terrorist attacks in Paris last Friday. 

A new trade deal aimed at cutting thousands of taxes and opening markets with 11 Pacific Rim nations has drawn heavy lobbying from some of America’s largest agribusinesses.

The deal – known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership – was reached in early October. It is designed to ease the flow of goods between partner nations by lowering restrictive trade policies and regulations.

Wikimedia Commons

A task force created by Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is trying to figure out how to reduce the number of local governments in the state. That group Thursday voted to recommend restrictions on organized labor. Members listening in via conference call heard an unexpected interlude.

Lloyd Karmeier
Brian Mackey / WUIS

Ideology has long been at the heart of high-profile judicial battles, whether the judges are elected or appointed. But is it different when the fight puts a specific case on the line?

Claudia Quigg headshot
mattpenning.com / NPR | Illinois Public Radio

We offer thanks for our abundance on the fourth Thursday in November each year.  Living in the United States, where food is plentiful and we are mostly free to live our lives in peace, there is much for which to give thanks on this truly American holiday. 

violin
Jose Zaragoza / flickr.com/jose_zaragoza

UIS Ethnomusicologist Yona Stamatis brings us a preview of this weekend's "Holiday Pops in the Heartland" concert, featuring festive music and traditional songs with the Illinois State University Concert Choir, Bloomington-Normal and Sangamon Valley Youth Symphonies, Twin Cities and  Springfield Ballet Companies, and the Springfield Youth Performance Group.

The State Legislative Leaders Foundation

Gov. Bruce Rauner and the four legislative leaders were supposed to meet this week for the first time since the end of the spring legislative session. Instead that meeting was postponed until December 1.

In this week's installment of Past Due, Sean Crawford sat down with Illinois Issues editor Jamey Dunn for an update on the budget impasse and how the delayed meeting could affect negotiations.

 

Valerie Everett

The first installment in a series on homelessness looks at a campaign to get the city and public schools to target the needs of homeless Chicago students.

Lisa Ryan/WUIS

Another set of unions have reached contract deals with Gov. Bruce Rauner. Amanda Vinicky looks at whether it's really a sign the Republican isn't quite as anti-union as his critics allege.

A press release from Rauner's office proclaims he's agreed to terms on new collective bargaining agreements with electrical workers, boilermakers, bricklayers and painters, covering some 500 employees.

The agreements include a "new performance incentive program," overtime earnings beyond a 40-hour work week, and a program "to address minority underutilization in state government."

books.google.com

Tune in and hear from Lisa Higgs, the president of the Vachel Lindsay Association which organizes community and poetry-related events in Springfield. Plus find out about the holiday farmer's market, a performance from the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, and much more:

In The Fields, A Search For Monarch Butterflies

Nov 18, 2015

The population of monarch butterflies has declined so dramatically in recent years that the iconic insect is being considered for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s endangered species list. In Nebraska and across the other areas of the Midwest, a stop on the monarch migration route, efforts are underway to determine the scope of the decline.

Heartland Community College

Heartland Community College in Normal is bracing for a potential faculty strike but the school's president intends to hold classes whether it happens or not.  

Imprisoned ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal of his corruption convictions that included his bid to sell an appointment to President Barack Obama's old Senate seat.

Amanda Vinicky

The Illinois Supreme Court is taking on another pension case, six months after justices unanimously tossed out the state's landmark pension law. Tuesday they heard arguments as to whether a law affecting thousands of City of Chicago employees is constitutional or not.

flickr/markmoz12

Today on the Business Report Bill Wheelhouse talks with Tim Landis of the SJ-R about home sales in Springfield,  the number of people in Illinois with land lines  & a regulatory victory for a company wanting to bring power lines through the region.

The University of Illinois at Springfield recently presented its Alumni Achievement Award to Wenguang Huang -- a Chinese-born writer, journalist and translator who earned his masters degree at UIS in public affairs reporting.

The finished product uses shades of green, blue, rose and peach that match the marble throughout the Capitol.
Bethany Carson / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Illinois' Governor and the four legislative leaders won't meet in Springfield this week after all; the gathering has been postponed until next month.

ilga.gov

Republicans interested in running for Raymond Poe's former district in the Illinois House have until 5 p.m. on Wed.,  Nov. 18 to submit an application to the Sangamon County GOP. Details are online at il99thvacancy.com.

Poe on Friday announced he'll begin Monday as the agriculture director, meaning he won't be running for reelection.

CFLL

  For the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln, it's all about philanthropy.  

ilga.gov

Governor Bruce Rauner has named a longtime Republican state representative -- Raymond Poe of Springfield -- to head the state's agriculture department. 

Democrats in the Illinois legislature fell one vote short of being able to undo governor Bruce Rauner's cuts to state daycare subsidies, with democratic state representative Ken Dunkin of Chicago facing criticism for allying himself with the republican governor.

UIS

University of Illinois Springfield researchers are taking an unusual tack at getting funds to do research. They have created a crowdfunding account to pay for testing kits. They plan to investigate hepatitis c in homeless people in central Illinois.

UIS professors Kanwal Alvarez and Josiah Alamu need to raise at least $500 and hope to get $2,000.

Alvarez says UIS researchers have not used the fundraising method previously.

Amanda Vinicky

Illinois has gone four and a half months without a budget. It's gone even longer -- five and a half months -- since the governor and leaders of the legislature have all gotten together to talk about it; the last time that happened was at the end of May. They're scheduled to finally come together next week, on Wed., Nov. 18 But the meeting's particulars have themselves become a subject of controversy.

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