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Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Over the past few months I have worked on a story about what it's like to be transgender, especially for those who do not have the privilege of fame and plenty of resources. For many, being transgender comes with stigma and discrimination in just about every facet of life.

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General Lisa Madigan pushed legislation calling for new policies to handle sexual assault cases on Illinois campuses. The bill was approved by both Houses in late May.

Ethanol is one of the most important industries in the Midwest, and it’s an industry about to change. The U.S. EPA says that by June 1 it will propose new targets for the Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS, which dictates the amount of ethanol the oil industry has to blend into our gasoline.

Michael Madigan
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

The Illinois General Assembly should have been done with its business at the end of May. Instead, lawmakers are set to return to Springfield Tuesday.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is still clashing with the Democratic leaders of the legislature. House Speaker Michael Madigan says Rauner's focus on pro-business changes is misplaced — that he ought to be more worried about getting the state’s finances in order.

flickr/Stephen Woods

The Illinois Department of Agriculture is banning out-of-state birds from exhibitions and fairs around the state to help stem the spread of a deadly bird flu that's hit nearby states.  

The restriction announced Friday includes county fairs, FFA and 4-H fairs and the state fairs in Springfield and DuQuoin.  

The agency says the bird flu hasn't yet been detected in Illinois. Agency director Philip Nelson says the restrictions are meant to protect the Illinois poultry industry and allow youths to show livestock at county and fairs this summer.  

flickr/Daniel X. O'Neill

The Illinois Senate will consider a proposed property tax freeze when the chamber reconvenes for the first time since the regular legislative session ended May 31.  

Democratic Senate President John Cullerton announced Friday the entire Senate will hear testimony on the issue Tuesday. 

This week, Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic lawmakers continued to spar over the state budget and the governor's legislative agenda.  Rauner dismissed the legislature's proposed changes for workers' compensation as "phony reform" and Democrats criticized the governor paying his top education aide, Beth Purvis, a $250,000 salary from Department of Human Services funds.  John O'Connor of the Associated Press joins the panel discussion.

Claudia Quigg headshot
mattpenning.com / WUIS / Illinois Issues

Garrison Keillor closes his “Prairie Home Companion” broadcasts by signing off from Lake Wobegon, where “all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.”

This tendency of parents to celebrate the positive is admirable, but it doesn’t tell the whole story of a family’s experience.  Because for every child—no matter how lovely—the day will come when he disappoints his parents.

A 26 year old woman has died from injuries sustained in an accident in a Wal Mart parking lot last night, policy say.   She was identified as Lindsey Sharp of Springfield.  The Sangamon County Coroner says Sharp died at 11:15 a.m. Friday.  Police indicated she had suffered a serious head injury.

The accident happened at the Wal Mart along South Sixth Street in Springfield, just after 6 p.m.

Brian Mackey / WUIS

The Illinois House met in Springfield Thursday for an unusual June session. Democrats took a series of votes on changes to the workers’ compensation system.

Illinois just enacted a big, bipartisan overhaul of workers’ comp a few years ago. But Gov. Bruce Rauner says costs are still too high, and that more changes are needed.

WUIS/Brian Mackey

Democrats in the Illinois House Thursday held a hearing over the salary for one of Gov. Bruce Rauner's top aides.

The issue is not that Education Secretary Beth Purvis is being paid $250,000 a year, but where the money is coming from. Rather than the relatively small budget for governor's staff, her salary comes out of the Department of Human Services.

Tune in to this week's version of THE SCENE with Rachel & Scott Faingold of the Illinois Times:

State Farm

State Farm Insurance Cos. says Chief Operating Officer Michael Tipsord will become the private company's next CEO in September and its first new leader since the mid-1980s.  

In a statement Thursday, the Bloomington-based company said Tipsord will take over for CEO Ed Rust Jr. Rust has been CEO since 1985. The 64-year-old Rust will remain chairman of the company's board.

flickr/Simon Sees

Dozens of state employees and top Illinois officials will be affected by Gov. Bruce Rauner's decision to ground the state's airplanes in an effort to save $3 million in the coming fiscal year.

Rauner cabinet meeting
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner issued a budget warning to members of his cabinet on Wednesday.

Rauner told top officials get ready in case Illinois doesn’t have a budget in place by the state of the new fiscal year on July 1.

Former U.S. Rep Aaron Schock's executive assistant testified before a federal grand jury investigating allegations of improper spending by the onetime rising Republican star.  

Sarah Rogers was in Springfield's federal building for a total of five hours Wednesday. But her attorney, Bill Coffield, says she did not testify the entire time.  

Prosecutors began reviewing Schock's travel expenses and spending after reports surfaced that he had decorated his Capitol Hill office in the style of TV's ``Downton Abbey.''  

An international debate has churned since a Muslim chaplain from Northwestern University complained about her treatment on a United Airlines-operated flight.

I talked with University of Illinois professor Stacy Harwood, co-leader of a project on racial  microaggression,  about whether that flight attendant’s action could be considered racist.  


Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner says he plans to raise eligibility levels for those senior citizens in Illinois’ Community Care program. Rauner says it’s necessary to help handle a budget Democrats’ passed without sufficient revenue.

The program helps keep seniors out of nursing homes by providing in-home health care, allowing them to remain independent. Gerardo Cardenas of AARP says the plan is short sighted as Medicaid will be forced to cover the cost of nursing homes.

University of Illinois Press

Alan Guebert has written the nationally syndicated column "Farm and Food File" for more than 20 years.  Most of the time he keeps a serious focus on breaking down food policy issues. Often, its not the same view as held by major farm groups.   Other times, the Delavan, Illinois based writer harkens back to his days on a southern Illinois dairy farm.

Timothy Killeen will make this announcement today, in a speech at the City Club of Chicago. 

Statehouse exit sign
Brian Mackey/WUIS

The spring legislative session ended without a budget deal between Democratic legislative leaders and Republican Governor Bruce Rauner.

The legislature plans to continue session into the summer. But what happens if a spending plan is not in place when the state’s fiscal year begins on July 1?

Lisa Ryan/WUIS

Illinois leaders have another month to settle on a new budget plan, but given their failure to reach a deal by Sunday's initial deadline, Gov. Bruce Rauner says he must take immediate steps to manage state spending.

flickr/dborman

Illinois law gives political candidates five days to report campaign contributions of $1,000 or more, but it's been weeks since Gov. Bruce Rauner gave Republican lawmakers four times that, and some still haven't told the state. But they aren't breaking the law.

It was May 11 when Rauner's campaign spread $400,000 among Republican senators and representatives, but you wouldn't know that from looking at state election records. Many legislators still haven't disclosed the money.

A high school friend works in DC and worked for Hastert. Here's his reaction.

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Your favorite TV show might be interrupted with a pointed message purchased by Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, though  the governor is refusing to say whether he's going to buy TV time to promote his agenda as he battles with the legislature's Democratic leaders.

Eleanor Klibanoff / Harvest Public Media

It's no longer enough for restaurants to offer roasted chicken or braised beef shank on their menus. They need to be able to tell customers exactly where that chicken came from and how the cow was raised. If they can remember the pedigree of the produce? All the better.

WGN broadcasting live from the WUIS/IPR Illinois State Capitol bureau for the scheduled adjournment day of the state legislature. Rick Pearson invited Amanda Vinicky to co-host .

State Capitol 100 years ago.
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library

ILLINOIS ISSUES - Gov. Bruce Rauner took office deriding state government’s overspending and promising to change things. One hundred years ago, a former Illinois legislator did just that — and he did it outside of government, as a citizen.

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

 Illinois lawmakers have given final approval to legislation that would set statewide rules for the use of police body cameras.

 Gov. Bruce Rauner will now decide whether to separate the capital city's Lincoln showplace from its parent agency.

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