Though he hasn't decided who to support in the Republican primary race for governor, Niles Township committeeman Joe Hendrick is happy to pose with one of the candidates, Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) at GOP Day at the state fair. Four years ago when he was Republicans' nominee for governor, Brady didn't have any say in who his running mate would be; for the first time this election gubernatorial candidates get to choose a lieutenant governor, before the primary.
For the first time, candidates for governor in Illinois will choose their second in command. They used to get stuck with whomever primary voters choose for lieutenant governor -- whether the two got along or not. It's an opportunity for candidates to find a running mate they work well with, or perhaps someone to balance out the ticket. Still, the new selection process might have unintended consequences.
Republicans in the Illinois House will meet Thursday afternoon in Springfield to select a new leader. A letter obtained by WUIS says finding a replacement for outgoing Minority Leader Tom Cross is "of the utmost urgency."
It was less than a week ago that Minority Leader Tom Cross announced he was stepping down — he's expected to instead run for state treasurer.
Seventeen House Republicans signed a letter officially scheduling the meeting Thursday. They say there's no time to waste in electing Cross' successor.
With national unemployment at its lowest level since the start of the Great Recession, the numbers keep going the wrong way in several parts of Illinois.
Peoria, Danville, and Decatur all saw unemployment increase by more than a percentage point.
Still, Gov. Pat Quinn defends his administration's efforts at building the economy. Thursday, he announced that a German manufacturer will move its U-S headquarters to Schaumburg, a Chicago suburb, a move Quinn says could create 40 jobs.
Illinois' largest public pension fund hit a major low in 2012, its rate of return was less than one percent. But an early analysis shows the last fiscal year was better than expected. The success isn’t expected to make much of a dent in Illinois’ nearly $100 billion dollar pension liability, however, which lawmakers thus far have failed to tackle.
A year-and-a-half after his stroke, U.S. Senator Mark Kirk returned to central Illinois for the first time this week. Members of his party gave him a warm welcome at a Republican rally Thursday at the Illinois State Fair.
Senator Kirk made his way slowly across the stage, aided by a cane. It has been a long, slow, partial recovery since his stroke last January.
The Director's lawn on the fairgrounds is usually full on Governor's Day, when Democrats traditionally rally; instead it was largely empty on Gov. Pat Quinn's revised version, which featured multiple bands.
Illinois Democrats put on happy faces Wednesday in Springfield for one of the party's biggest annual gatherings. But even as they brushed off suggestions of turmoil and division within their ranks, a prominent member of the party was being sentenced to prison, another didn't show up and there's a battle for the top of the state Democratic ticket.
A state fair is a place for tradition: carnival rides, corn dogs, barnyard animals. And politicians.
The state fair got its start Thursday night with the Twilight parade through the north end of the capital city. It's an annual tradition. But indications are that another tradition -- a Democratic party rally -- will not continue this year.
There were cheerleaders, bands, children scrambling for candy, and of course, a parade of politicians.
The Attorney General, Treasurer, Comptroller, Lieutenant Governor were all there.
Medical marijuana may be legal in his home state, but the number two Democrat in the U.S. Senate says that shouldn't be a national policy.
It'll be awhile before patients with certain diseases will actually be able to use pot to ease their symptoms - the Illinois law doesn't take effect until January, and state regulators have to put rules in place.
Even so, clinics - including one in Chicago - are already beginning to open.
Illinois has a trio of new laws that officials say will make the roads safer. But the governor has yet to act on other measures that could have a significant impact on drivers.
Two of the new laws apply to people who've already had traffic troubles, like one named after 15-year-old Kelsey Little, who was seriously hurt in 2011 when she was hit by a teen just learning how to drive.
Illinois legislators were supposed to get their next monthly paycheck on Thursday, August 1st. But Governor Pat Quinn vetoed their salaries out of the budget. Amanda Vinicky reports on how lawmakers may be able to get by.
Many legislators won't feel the pinch too deeply.
Serving in the General Assembly is technically a part-time occupation ... and many own businesses, are partners at law firms, or have other government jobs.
But many don't, and are their family's sole breadwinner.
An influential group of business executives is declining to comment on the possibility it helped to lower Illinois' credit rating. But public employees’ unions are calling for an investigation.
The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago — and one of its leaders, former Illinois Attorney General Ty Fahner — were early leaders of the charge to do something about the state's underfunded pensions.
Fahner's been one of the most vocal advocates of doing not just something, but something major, to bring down the state's pension costs.
Wednesday is the last day individuals affected by extreme flooding in the spring can apply for federal assistance. Towns were evacuated. Homes destroyed. Fields turned to swamps. Rivers reached historic crests. Flooding that hit Illinois this spring was bad enough that President Barack Obama issued a disaster declaration for certain counties. Now is the deadline for Illinois residents impacted by flash and river flooding from April 16 to May 5 to get government help with recovery. Individual assistance - which businesses can also apply for - is available to residents of 35 counties. That's to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other disaster-related expenses. Five additional counties are eligible for public assistance - that's for the state, local governments and certain non-profit groups, who can use the money to help with debris removal and to help repair damaged public facilities. The application is at disasterassistance.gov.
Even as Congress looks to further roll back President Barack Obama's signature health care program, his home state is officially implementing a key part of it. Amanda Vinicky has more on a new Illinois law expanding Medicaid.
For the first time, low-income adults without children will be eligible for Medicaid.
Specifically ... adults within 138-percent of the poverty level, so someone making just under $16,000.
A somewhat unlikely coalition is calling on Illinois' Congressional delegation to support an overhaul of the nation's immigration policy.
At a Springfield roundtable discussing immigration, Mark Peters, an attorney with Peoria-based Caterpillar, started off his remarks by saying: "This would be a ... a really bad preface to a poor joke about a sheriff, a lawyer and a priest going into a bar..."
WUIS Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky speaks with John Kohlhepp, the newly selected Campaign Director for Illinois Unites for Marriage. The coalition is pouring about $2M into a new push to get same-sex marriage legislation approved in the Illinois House.
Illinois lawmakers thought they were in the clear after meeting a federal court's deadline to pass a concealed carry law by Tuesday. But the Illinois State Rifle Association says that's not good enough.
The Rifle Association believes lawmakers did not meet their deadline because the state's ban on carrying guns outside the home remains in effect.
Governor Pat Quinn had harsh criticism for a bipartisan panel of legislators assigned to draft a new plan to reduce the state's pension costs. He wanted legislation passed Tuesday. Lawmakers say they're close, but Quinn is not helping.
Quinn was quick to criticize lawmakers' failure to pass pension legislation in time to meet his July 9 due date.
With a week to go before a deadline requiring Illinois allow people to carry guns in public, Gov. Pat Quinn today vetoed the legislation that would have authorized concealed carry. The Democrat claims he's concerned about public safety, but he's already under fire by critics who say it's a political stunt. The measure's sponsor has already filed paperwork to override Quinn's changes.
Illinois is the only state in the nation without some form of concealed carry.