The budget passed by the Illinois General Assembly does not rely on extending the 2011 income tax hike, as originally planned by Democratic leadership. Instead, it's based on state government borrowing from itself.
Instead of making the five percent income tax rate permanent or chopping away at government programs, lawmakers opted to fill a massive hole in state revenues by doing something called "interfund borrowing."
The Illinois House is advancing legislation intended to get more people saving for retirement. Advocates say "nudging" workers into a savings program could help keep them out of poverty in retirement.
The so-called Secure Choice retirement savings program is an idea of the conservative Heritage Foundation. The plan would require all companies with more than 25 employees to automatically enroll workers in a state-supervised retirement program.
A state senator who's trying to change a mistake in Illinois' pension reform law says he's optimistic it can be corrected.
But as lawmakers head back to Springfield Tuesday, state Sen. Daniel Biss says he isn't sure yet just when or how that will happen. The language in last year's pension law would sharply reduce the pension of thousands of university employees if they don't retire by June 30, and some worry that may push many public university employees to retire early.
The Illinois Senate is considering limits on the ways law enforcement can use electronic tracking information. Both privacy advocates and police are in favor of the change.
With the popularity of GPS-enabled smart phones, many of us are constantly broadcasting our location. And Illinois law doesn't have much to say about how that information can and can't be used against us in court.
Privacy advocates want restrictions. And even law enforcement can be left guessing as to what's legal.
Gov. Pat Quinn speaks to leading Democrats in September as he seeks the state party's endorsement in his campaign for re-election; critics say the governor has been concerned about politics, rather than policy, when it comes to pensions -- for example by stripping legislators of their salaries as punishment for not passing a bill, even as he was absent from negotiations.
Governor Pat Quinn went months without meeting with members of the special legislative committee formed to draft a new pension plan, but this month he has begun to reach out.
It was Quinn's idea to form a conference committee, to bridge differences between the House and Senate over how to reduce Illinois' $100 billion pension debt.
But the ten members of that panel say other than phone calls welcoming them to the committee, he was absent from their talks from June on, leading to criticisms like this, from Rep. Jil Tracy, a Republican from Quincy.
The ten members of the bipartisan, bicameral conference committee formed to come up with a pension package gather in Chicago in July, for one of the panel's few public meetings. Gov. Pat Quinn did not attend.
As he runs for re-election, Gov. Pat Quinn is staking a lot on getting something done with pensions. He making a show of asking the state Supreme Court let him cancel legislators' salaries until it's done, and he says he won't deal with other major issues before the General Assembly -- like using tax credits to keep ADM headquartered in Illinois -- until there's what he calls a "comprehensive pension solution." But it's hard to tell just what that means. Most of the ten legislators he tasked with crafting that solution don't even seem to know. They say he's been largely absent ...
Legislators writing an overhaul of the state's pension systems could be nearing the end of their work.
Feedback's been plentiful since late last month, when a draft of a pension plan drawn up by a bipartisan legislative committee was leaked. Unions hate it - saying it overreaches in cutting retirement benefits. Business groups say it doesn't go far enough to save the state money. Not to mention complaints, including from the governor, that the committee is taking too long.
Illinois will regulate the use of drones by law enforcement under a bill signed into law by Gov. Pat Quinn.
The Chicago Democrat signed the measure Tuesday. Quinn spokesman Grant Klinzman says the governor signed the law to protect people's right to privacy.
Drones are sophisticated, unmanned aircraft that authorities are considering for aerial surveillance. The law requires authorities to obtain a search warrant before using a drone to collect information.