Illinois labor unions have filed a lawsuit seeking a new plan to reduce the state's $100 billion pension shortfall declared unconstitutional.
The We Are One Illinois Coalition of public employee unions filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Sangamon County Circuit court. The long-anticipated legal challenge comes weeks after Gov. Pat Quinn signed the measure into law and ahead of his annual State of the State address.
A Democratic challenger to incumbent Governor Pat Quinn says he received the "best news in the world" Thursday morning, he gets to remain on the ballot. Not anyone can run for office in Illinois. Getting on the ballot requires turning in paperwork, including signatures of registered voters. Tio Hardiman, the former director of the anti-violence group Ceasefire, says he did that.
"We put a lot of work into this campaign. We've traveled the entire state, it's not like we just jumped up overnight and said let's run for governor," Hardiman said.
Republicans, including (from left) Tres. Dan Rutherford's running mate Steve Kim, Sen. Kirk Dillard and Sen. Bill Brady - both of whom are running for governor - stood in line to file their elections paperwork late last year.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has denied a request for aid to local governments in Illinois after deadly tornadoes swept the state in November.
FEMA sent a letter on Thursday to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency saying that damage after the storms wasn't severe enough to warrant federal help. The storms left at least 7 people dead statewide and destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses.
Gov. Pat Quinn is supporting his prisons director after a Republican challenger called for the director to be fired. Sen. Kirk Dillard is a GOP candidate for governor. He said Wednesday that Democrat Quinn should fire S.A. ``Tony'' Godinez for hiring a man with arrests and apparent one-time gang ties.
Dillard says it's ``outrageous'' that ex-gang members are ``running the prisons.'' Xadrian McCraven was an $111,000-a-year senior policy adviser to the Department of Corrections' parole chief before he was fired Friday.
Gov. Pat Quinn's running mate will continue working in Connecticut until March 1, just before Illinois' primary election. The Chicago Sun-Times reports (http://bit.ly/19SJTfX ) Paul Vallas will keep working as superintendent of Bridgeport public schools.
Vallas submitted his resignation to Bridgeport officials on Dec. 31 and is required to give a 60-day notice. Illinois' primary election will be held March 18.
Gov. Pat Quinn has signed a pension-reform measure for the Chicago Park District.
The legislation Quinn signed Tuesday is designed to deal with a $971 million deficit in the district's pension program. When lawmakers approved it in November, experts hailed it as example of compromise for what was then an elusive solution to the five state pension systems' $100 billion hole.
With the new year comes the annual process of crafting a new state budget. Money will be tight, despite a pension law that's supposed to save $160 billion dollars over the next 30 years.
Legislators who voted to cut state employees' and teachers' retirement benefits say they had no choice. Nearly a fifth of the state budget was going into Illinois' pension systems. Meaning there was less money to spend elsewhere. The pension law is supposed to ease that so-called "squeeze."
The snowstorm that dumped several inches on Illinois has moved out of the state. But high winds and extremely cold temperatures make for another night of dangerous conditions. Interstates have slick spots from where blowing snow has covered the road. Many secondary roads are in much worse shape. Ann Schneider, Illinois' Transportation Secretary, says her agency has been advising the public to avoid driving...
"And so it's still very treacherous for motorists and we strongly encourage motorists if they don't have to travel, please don't. Stay home," Schneider said.
An Illinois Independent Tax Tribunal years in the making is up-and-running today. It gives businesses and individuals who have problems with their tax bills a new avenue to get them overturned. Still there are early concerns over who Gov. Pat Quinn has nominated to serve as the tribunal's Chief Administrative Law Judge.
Say a business doesn't agree with how much the state Department of Revenue says it owes in sales taxes. Before, it had two options: fight the tax bill in court (though that costs time and money) or plead the case to the Department of Revenue.
Illinois officials say more than 2,000 people in counties declared federal disaster areas after tornadoes struck in November applied for federal assistance. Gov. Pat Quinn visited the central Illinois community of Washington on Tuesday.
His office says more than $1.6 million in federal grants and more than $5.6 million in low-interest loans have been approved. Washington was hit hard by one of the roughly two dozen tornadoes that struck on Nov. 17. Seven people died and thousands of buildings were damaged or destroyed.
As we get ready to welcome 2014, we thought we’d take a few minutes to reflect on some of the voices in the news this past year in Illinois state politics and government. People in the Capitol were busy with same-sex marriage, medical marijuana, and dozens of other issues. What follows are a few of the more memorable moments.
Gov. Pat Quinn: “This is no small issue. This is a choice about whether we will make the tough decisions necessary to balance our budget by reforming our public pension systems."
Gov. Pat Quinn is a longtime advocate for term limits, but has yet to commit to one himself. The Chicago Democrat tells The Associated Press in a year-end interview that he won't presume a win in his 2014 re-election bid and is taking it one term at a time.
Thirty-eight people have been granted clemency by Gov. Pat Quinn for crimes that date back decades. The Democratic governor announced yesterday that he also denied another 129 petitions for clemency. Crimes committed by those who were pardoned include theft, possession of a controlled substance, burglary and forgery, and solicitation of prostitutes.
As he campaigns for re-election, Governor Pat Quinn is renewing a push for a hike in the minimum wage.
Illinois' $8.25 minimum wage bests the federal rate by a dollar.Gov. Quinn and other Democrats want to raise it higher; the governor's calling it to go up to $10.
"When we put more purchasing power in the hands of hard-working people, they're not going to admire the money in the bank vault," he says. "They're going to go out and spend that money at stores in their neighborhood, to help that consumer demand, that creates more jobs."
A judge's ruling means 23 wards of the state will not be moved for now from a facility for the developmentally disabled in southern Illinois.
A federal lawsuit is seeking to block the state's closure of the Murray Developmental Center in Centralia.
Gov. Pat Quinn ordered Murray and other facilities closed last year as part of an effort to save the state money. The suit has delayed the transfer of more than 200 residents of Murray to smaller facilities. Plaintiffs argue they won't get the care they need elsewhere.
A newly merged Office Depot chose to locate its headquarters in Florida, instead of Illinois. A Republican candidate for governor says Illinois needs to hurry if it doesn't want a similar fate with Archer Daniels Midland.
Archer Daniels Midland is based in Decatur now, and no matter what plans to keep many of its operations there. But it's searching for a new worldwide headquarters.
Chicago's in the running, but so are major cities.
A major overhaul of Illinois' pensions is now law. Gov. Pat Quinn held a private bill-signing ceremony this afternoon in Chicago. A court challenge seeking to stop it from taking effect is certain.
The new law will cut state workers' and public school teachers' retirement benefits.
It also raises the retirement age; employees younger than 46 will have to work up to five years longer before they can retire. The savings from those changes are intended to rid Illinois of a long-festering budget issue: an unfunded pension liability that's grown to about $100 billion.
Gov. Pat Quinn is set to get about $74,000 in back pay now that Illinois lawmakers have finally approved a pension deal.
The governor used his line-item veto power this summer when he halted legislators' salaries, saying they shouldn't get paid until they addressed the nearly $100 billion pensions crisis. He also stopped accepting his own paychecks. A judge disagreed with Quinn in September and the comptroller began issuing checks to lawmakers. But
A bill aimed at fixing Illinois' hundred billion pension crisis is before Gov. Pat Quinn. A spokeswoman for Senate President John Cullerton said Wednesday that the bill had been sent to Quinn. The move came a day after the Illinois General Assembly approved the bill that is estimated to save the state $160 billion over the next 30 years.
The plan reduces benefits for current and retired public employees. Among other things, it also raises the retirement age on a sliding scale for some employees.
The Illinois General Assembly approved sweeping cuts to state employee pensions Tuesday. The move comes after years of stalemate over how to address a hundred-billion dollar liability — the worst-funded pension plans of any state.
A Christmas tree and other holiday decorations bring a festive spirit to the capitol on Monday -- today the statehouse will be bustling during last-minute negotiations ahead of a landmark pension vote.
Illinois legislators will be asked today (12/3) to take what many say could be the most important vote of their careers. They've been called back to Springfield to take up a measure that would drastically alter the state's retirement plans. Doing so would have obvious ramifications for state employees, teachers and university workers whose pensions are at stake. But the impact of a vote is far more widespread. What happens could also affect everything from the state's credit rating and Illinois' next budget, to the 2014 elections. The outcome is anything but certain.
House Speaker Michael Madigan talked to reporters about pensions during the end of the spring legislative session; he and Senate President John Cullerton were at odds then over how to deal with the state's underfunded retirement systems.
The leaders of Illinois' General Assembly have reached a deal on pensions. But now they have to persuade legislators to go along with it. The House and Senate will meet in Springfield Tuesday (12/3) to debate the measure.
It's the first time the four leaders of the House and Senate have come together on a plan dealing with the state's pensions, which are the worst-funded in the nation. Details are forthcoming, but House Speaker Michael Madigan came out of a meeting in Chicago saying it will save $160 billion.
Seven candidates filed for governor earlier this week: four Republicans (Treasurer Dan Rutherford, whose lieutenant governor pick, Steve Kim, is pictured on the far left; Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-HInsdale, who is on the top right; Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, on the bottom right; and Bruce Rauner) and two Democrats, Gov. Pat Quinn and Tio Hardiman, of Chicago.
Gov. Pat Quinn has been surpassed as the nation's least-liked governor, according to a new poll by Public Policy Polling. Pennsylvania's Pennsylvania's Republican Gov., Tom Corbett, can now claim that title. But the new poll shows Quinn could still have a hard time holding on to his seat.
It was about this time last year, that numbers from Public Policy Polling showed Democrat Pat Quinn as the most unpopular governor in the country.
A Republican candidate for Illinois governor has contributed another $500,000 to his campaign. Winnetka venture capitalist Bruce Rauner has now pumped $1.25 million of his own money into the four-way GOP primary for the right to take on Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn in 2014.
Rauner filed petition signatures for a ballot position yesterday and also released three years of tax returns. They show he reported more than $53 million in income last year. He also disclosed ownership stakes in three professional sports franchises, including the Chicago Bulls.
Gov. Pat Quinn says next week is another opportunity to tackle the state's $100 billion pension crisis. Legislative leaders have been negotiating on a plan, which could come up next week if there's a special session in Springfield. House Speaker Michael Madigan has told representatives to be ready for a one-day session next Tuesday. The Senate has tentatively set some days aside next week.
However, details about the plan haven't been released publicly and legislative leaders say they're still hammering out issues.
Minutes after Gov. Pat Quinn made gay marriage legal in Illinois, the Roman Catholic bishop of Springfield began a prayer service in response. Tuesday's service was formally called a prayer of “exorcism.” But the ceremony was more subdued than that dramatic word might suggest.
Bishop Thomas Paprocki was methodical, even dispassionate, as he led at least 200 of the faithful in prayer.