News

Illinois Supreme Court
Brian Mackey / WUIS

The Illinois Supreme Court Thursday said the state does not have to pay unionized employees what it says in their contracts, unless legislators specifically appropriate the money.

The Black Sheep Cafe

It's a bit of a slow week as families gear up for spring break, but we still have plenty to talk about. We discuss an art show, a unique chance for women to make a vision board, a feminist spoken word duo and two books dealing with very different artists. Tune in!

Brian Mackey / WUIS

The Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday struck down another attempt to control the cost of government pension benefits.

This time it was Chicago city employees and retirees whose pensions were being targeted. The retirement system for one set of workers is projected to be insolvent in about a decade.

In 2014, the Illinois General Assembly changed the rules, but in Thursday's 5-0 ruling, the Supreme Court found that unconstitutional.

Illinois Public Radio’s Brian Mackey spoke with his colleague Amanda Vinicky about the decision.

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

More than whatever is happening in the headlines, our days are made (or destroyed) by the kindness (or lack of it) displayed by the people whose orbits we cross personally.

A quick errand provides an example.  On a good day, you pull into a parking lot where another driver waves you into the spot nearest the door and takes a farther spot himself.  As you enter the store, the lady ahead of you holds the door and greets you with a smile.  When you bump into someone in a crowded aisle, you hear a quick apology and a gentle laugh about the narrow passage.

WUIS

The Illinois Supreme Court has declared that former Gov. Pat Quinn was correct in 2011 when he denied state workers a promised 2 percent pay raise because lawmakers had not appropriated the money.

Creative Commons via Flickr.com/rustypenny

In the March 17 issue of Illinois Times, Springfield’s alt-weekly newspaper, Bruce Rushton looks at how some state lawmakers are spending money they'd collected to fund their political campaigns.

Searching through public documents, he found thousands of dollars spent at the Ritz-Carlton in the Cayman Islands, maintenance on luxury automobiles, and a purchase at a men’s clothing store — that last one was classified as “work attire.”

Frank de Kleine/Flickr

 A new state law aims to end the days of women having to choose between a healthy pregnancy and work, but has it been effective?

Rich Berning

Long before President Barack Obama's trip this week, the U-S has had a physical foothold in Cuba, via its naval base and prison at Guantanamo Bay. Obama's seeking to close down the detention center there. Illinois' U.S. Senators are split on its future.


Group Says Illinois Is Losing Renewable Energy Jobs

Mar 23, 2016
U.S Department of Energy

Overall employment in Illinois' clean energy sector grew by 9 percent last year. But opportunities in wind and solar energy are falling. An advocacy group, Clean Energy Trust, blames the state's laws and budget woes.

Spirituality is a topic not often discussed on the radio, or in the mainstream media as a whole. Yet it's something that's a major part of many people's lives. Even those who are agnostic or atheist may be interested in hearing about various religions - the ways they differ, and also what they have in common. Some may choose to buck religion, but still want to hold onto some aspects of spirituality.

The State Legislative Leaders Foundation

By the end of next week, Illinois will have gone a full nine months without a budget. And yet, the state's top politicians still aren't talking. The governor and the four legislative leaders went all of June through November without meeting, before finally getting together a couple of times just before the end of 2015. They didn't continue into the new year.


Illinois State Labor Relations Board logo
Illinois State Labor Relations Board

Illinois’ Labor Relations Board will hold a hearing to decide if Governor Bruce Rauner and the state’s largest public employees union have reached an impasse.


Hill Correctional Center
Google Maps

In January, the Illinois prison population was down by more than 2,500 inmates over a year earlier. But that’s still a long way off from Gov. Bruce Rauner’s goal of cutting the population by 12,000 prisoners over the next decade.

The commission he appointed to make that happen is still figuring out how to meet his goal, and met Monday in Chicago to continue deliberations.

Amanda Vinicky

Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin -- each collects private donations to help run their state fairs. But despite faulty infrastructure that will cost an estimated 180 million dollars to repair, Illinois does not.

It’s a windy day on the state fairgrounds in Springfield. Illinois' Director of Agriculture, Raymond Poe, laments a nearby building's crumbling roof.

"Agriculture represents about 25 percent of the economic value of the state of Illinois, all the way from farmers to exports. We need a place - and a high class place - to showcase our agriculture," he said.

During the season of Lent, many Catholics don’t eat meat on Fridays. Fish, though, is considered fair game, so the Friday night fish fry has become an annual tradition at churches across the country.

With the move to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba and President Obama's visit to the country, we remember a trip an Illinois governor took there nearly 17 years ago.

flickr/Mark Goebel

Sean Crawford talks with State Journal-Register Business Editor Tim Landis.

flickr/ GotCredit

The state will soon enter its 10th month without a budget, but spending continues and bills keep piling up. 

Trump and Rauner
Trump by Michael Vadon/Flickr / Rauner by Brian Mackey/WUIS

The Republican nominee for president will have Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's support, no matter who he is.

Back when Rauner was running for governor, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was often in Illinois, helping him campaign.

Rauner didn't return the favor when Christie tried to win the White House.

Despite having millions of dollars in his campaign fund, he has stayed out of the presidential primary. Rauner made no endorsements, and has generally skirted questions the race.

A mix of tourists and lobbyists milled about the rotunda of the Illinois Statehouse on Tuesday.
Brian Mackey / NPR | Illinois Public Radio

The Illinois primary election is over — so will lawmakers and Gov. Bruce Rauner finally pass a budget?

Some who watch state government closely say chances aren't so great. 

Rachel Otwell

In some schools around the state - fewer art classes are being taught. Meanwhile, art advocates say they help students creatively problem solve and art is crucial for a well-rounded curriculum.

The marketing executive who tried to lure businesses to Indiana by asking Illinois residents if they were ``Illinnoyed'' has crossed enemy lines, so to speak.  

Kelly Nicholl has been hired as the first marketing director for the Illinois Business and Development Corporation that Governor Bruce Rauner recently created.  

Crain's Chicago Business reports that until recently Nicholl was vice president for marketing with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.  

Bee and aster, Isle Royale National Park
Robert Pahre / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Gardeners would lose a weapon against insects under a measure recently introduced in the Illinois legislature.

Brent Bohlen

When I was in seventh grade, my friends and I got our parents to drop us at the local small-town movie theater on Saturday nights. We would buy tickets at an enclosed booth, shell out a quarter at the concession stand for popcorn and settle into seats as close to our crushes as we could get without being too obvious.

Several of the races in this week's primary election were widely seen as a referendum on Gov. Bruce Rauner. In the two highest-profile races, the governor neither protected an ally nor vanquished a foe.

Grow Springfield

From novices to gardening veterans, you'll find plenty to keep you interested this weekend during the Homegrown Fest taking place at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield.  The event is combined with the 13th annual Composting Symposium.

Sarah Mueller WUIS

Illinois senators voted along party lines Thursday on legislation that would spend $3.8 billion dollars to fund higher education and human services.

Illinois Symphony Orchestra

Celebrate in style with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra's Last Night of the Proms concert, a vibrant salute to British musical tradition. UIS ethnomusicologist Yona Stamatis speaks with Maestro Alastair Willis in a special sneak preview of the concert that offers rip-roaring fun for the entire family and a program of beloved orchestral works.

Sarah Mueller / NPR Illinois/Illinois Issues

Twenty years ago, Illinois adopted a school funding plan that relies heavily on local property taxes, leaving areas with low property values at the mercy of state aid. And for the past seven years, the state has failed to send those schools the full amount of aid promised under that plan.

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

The “Prayer of Serenity” asks for “the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can change, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

I thought of these words recently listening to an extroverted parent struggling over her introverted teen daughter.  This woman is a very gregarious person who comes to life when surrounded by friends.  On the other hand, her daughter likes spending time alone, listening to music, reading novels, and writing poetry.  

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