Jamey Dunn

Executive Editor/ Past Due Blog

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Read Jamey's "Past Due" blog.

No other publication explains Illinois as well as Illinois Issues.  No other publication has the audience of Illinois Issues.

Illinois Issues magazine is dedicated to providing fresh, provocative analysis of public policy in Illinois. With a special focus on Illinois government and politics, the magazine pays close attention to current trends and legislative issues, and examines the state's quality of life.

The magazine also engages its readers in dialogue, enhancing the quality of public discourse in Illinois. A not-for-profit monthly magazine published by the University of Illinois at Springfield, Illinois Issues also sponsors and promotes other appropriate public affairs educational activities.

In continuous publication since 1975 by the University of Illinois at Springfield (formerly Sangamon State University), Illinois Issues monthly magazine is known as Illinois' leading public affairs periodical. We accept that honor, and we work hard with each issue to live up to it.

More than 15,000 Illinoisans read the magazine every month. Our readers tell us they rely on Illinois Issues to keep up with Illinois government and politics. Plus, we publish an annual up-to-date directory called the Roster of State Government Officials — a resource our readers find invaluable year-round.

WUIS/Illinois Issues

Gov. Bruce Rauner says he will not consider new revenues for next fiscal year until the legislature approves some of his agenda.

Items on Rauner's wish list include: right-to-work zones throughout the state, changes to the workers' compensation system, term limits for lawmakers and cuts to public employees' future pension benefits, to name a few. Groups of lawmakers and the governor's staff have been negotiating his agenda and the budget in closed meetings, but so far, those talks have yet to produce any legislation.

Amanda Vinicky

The Illinois House held its first hearing on Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposal to address the state’s unfunded pension liability. 

Under the governor's plan, employees would keep all the retirement benefits they have logged so far, but would see a cut to their benefits going forward. Democrats on the House's pension committee said last week’s Illinois Supreme Court opinion, overturning pension changes passed two years ago, rules out that idea.

State Week logo
Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

This week, the Illinois Supreme Court struck down the 2013 pension legislation that would have cut retirement benefits for state wokers.  Meanwhile, the House began debating the governor’s "Turnaround Agenda."  And Governor Rauner personally addressed the Chicago City Council.  Illinois Issues Executive Editor Jamey Dunn joins the panel discussion.

(This story first appeared on the Illinois Issues blog last summer that appeared to set the stage for overturning the pension law.  Jamey Dunn looked at what other choices remain for state leaders)

Jamey Dunn headshot
mattpenning.com 2015 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Illinois’ medical marijuana law went into effect January 1, 2014, but so far, not a single patient has received treatment under the pilot program.

American flag next to tornado wreakage
Lee Strubinger

Illinois’ congressional delegation is trying to get the Federal Emergency Management Agency to revise how it distributes aid after natural disasters.

Two recent studies indicate that capping the size of settlements awarded in medical malpractice cases may have far less impact on health care than previously thought.

Bruce Rauner at Inauguration 2015
Brian Mackey/WUIS

This week, the Illinois legislature worked to restore some of Governor Rauner's social service cuts and convened a oversight committee to examine the reasoning behind them.  Meanwhile, Governor Rauner continued his efforts to eliminate public sector "fair share" union dues.  Also, a bill decriminalizing possession of certain amounts of marijuana moves from the House to the Senate.  Jamey Dunn of Illinois Issues magazine joins the panel discussion.

Luis Arroyo
Brian Mackey/WUIS

A budget oversight panel created by Illinois House Speaker  Michael Madigan grilled members of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration about cuts to the current budget and his plan for next year. 

  Democratic members of the committee demanded more information about how the governor is choosing which programs to cut and, in some cases, eliminate. They say the process the administration used to decide what to cut lacked transparency  and argued that some of the choices, like eliminating services to people with autism, were wrong.

potter
Jaegar Moore / flickr.com/97408355@N06

Bruce Rauner froze several state grants in order to balance the budget for the current fiscal year. Now lawmakers are asking what will happen to the people who relied on those programs even after their deaths. 

One of the grants provided money to cover burial of the poor. Under the program, funeral homes provide the services and bill the state to cover part of the costs.

State Sen. Matt Murphy
WUIS/Illinois Issues

This is Past Due, a look at big picture budget issues facing Illinois. Lawmakers have returned from their spring break, and one topic is on everyone’s mind: the budget.

Democrats want more revenue, which would likely mean some version of a tax increase. Some Republicans say they would consider it, but they want business friendly reforms passed first. This week, you will hear Jamey Dunn chat with two senators who serve on budgeting committees, one a Democrat and one a Republican.

 Some Lawmakers say that they believed certain programs had been protected under a budget deal recently struck with the governor to fund state services through the rest of the fiscal year. But Gov. Bruce Rauner froze several human services grants earlier this month — including support for people with autism.

Now a Senate budget committee is calling on members of the administration to explain the cuts. Democratic Sen. Dan Kotowski, who chairs the committee, says the money should be restored.

Jamey Dunn headshot
mattpenning.com 2015 / WUIS - Illinois Issues

This year is the 40th anniversary of Illinois Issues’ publication. The magazine has four decades of high-quality journalism to celebrate and an exciting future in multimedia ahead.

Bill Wheelhouse talks with Illinois Issues's Jamey Dunn for an explanation of the short term budget fix advancing in the legislature.

 In a recent Illinois Issues article, I looked at the post-recession budget stories of three other populous states: New Jersey, California and Texas. These states have all had ups and downs following the economic collapse in 2008. Some of the details are enviable, like Texas' economic growth and California's ability to balance its budget after grappling with staggering deficits. Other aspects serve as cautionary tales of how not to deal with big budget challenges, like pension funding.

WUIS/Illinois Issues

A version of the story first ran in Illinois Issues magazine in April 2012. It has been updated with new information.

The state’s complicated budget mess is a source of headlines for the media and headaches for those who administer state-funded programs and the politicians whose job it is to solve the problem. But most people — politicians, reporters and Statehouse commentators alike — only focus on four out of hundreds of funds when it comes time to craft the state’s budget each year.

People

Mar 1, 2015

Rauner selects agency, board heads

During his first months in office, Gov. Bruce Rauner named several key members of his administration.

As Baby Boomer residents age, and they and their parents’ generation live longer, Illinois’ infrastructure plans may have to change to accommodate a much larger retired population.

Jamey Dunn headshot
mattpenning.com 2014 / Illinois Issues

When I was a teenager, I came home one day to find monarch butterflies covering a tree in my parents’ backyard. Hundreds of them had swarmed the leaves and branches. And there they sat, opening and closing their brightly painted wings in the sun.

Illinois’ budget is in even worse shape than previously thought. Illinois has the biggest unfunded pension obligation in the nation. Illinois slapped with the lowest credit rating of any state. These are the grim headlines Illinois residents endure on a regular basis. You can’t live in this state and not have at least a vague idea that our budget is in the dumps. 

The need for infrastructure investments across the country is great and has been in the news a lot lately. The American Society for Civil Engineers (ASCE) estimates that the country will need to spend $3.6 trillion by 2020. The same group gave the country's infrastructure a D+ rating for 2013. Illinois got a C-.

House Speaker Michael Madigan
WUIS/Illinois Issues

During his inaugural speech in January, House Speaker Michael Madigan called for the creation of a task force to look into ways to prevent mass shootings, such as the 2013 Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut that took the lives of 20 children and six adults.

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey/WUIS

News Analysis - Gov. Bruce Rauner’s speech did little to convey the gravity of the cuts proposed in his budget plan.

Host Jamey Dunn and guests Kent Redfield (UIS) and Bruce Rushton (IL Times) discuss Gov. Rauner's new executive order, Aaron Schock, and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

CapitolView is a production of WSEC-TV/PBS Springfield, Network Knowledge.

Bruce Rauner
brucerauner.com

News Analysis  — As the time bombs built into the current fiscal year’s budget begin to go off, Gov. Bruce Rauner wants lawmakers to give him broad powers to move money around.

Jamey Dunn headshot
mattpenning.com 2014 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

You might think it goes without saying, but don’t believe everything you read on the Internet. If you took everything you saw on Facebook as truth, for instance, you might believe that by reposting a long legal disclaimer you could copyright the pictures and personal information you share on the social media platform and keep Facebook from stealing them to use for other purposes, such as marketing. Alas, your Facebook “friends” have steered you wrong. You already own content you post, but you also signed on to Facebook’s legal terms.

An osprey in flight
Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Ospreys, brought to Illinois as part of a project to restore the endangered hawk species, have flown the coop for warmer climates. But those working with the birds hope to see them return to the state in the near future. 

A group of volunteers are working to bring a skill to youth in the juvenile justice system that could give them an edge in the workforce.

Tinkerers and the technologically savvy have been using 3-D printing for years to make models, parts and just about anything. The printers rapidly manufacture items from a set of instructions. They typically render in plastic, but they can make things out of metal and other materials, too.

A recent study sought to gauge corruption at the state level in a novel way, by polling reporters who cover state government. Even by this new measure, Illinois was found to be one of the most corrupt states in the nation.

A team of economists is calling for changes to the way the federal government figures the cost associated with carbon emissions. 

The Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) is what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other federal entities use to estimate the monetary damage caused by carbon dioxide emissions. The current SCC is estimated to be $37 per metric ton of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. The number is used to consider the value of plans to address climate change by cutting emissions.

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