Brian Mackey

Brian Mackey covers state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. He was previously A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.

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A new report says Illinois state government is at “elevated risk” in the event of an economic downturn.

As of Monday, there are 50 days until Election Day. And in the race for Illinois governor, debate season is finally getting underway.

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke is again pressing Catholic church officials on the issue of abuse.

Thousands of Illinois Democrats met Thursday in Springfield for the party’s annual state fair brunch.

Candidates repeated familiar attacks on Republicans. But some say they need to do more.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed legislation meant to bring state jobs back to Springfield.

Illinois Democrats are trying to put Gov. Bruce Rauner on the spot over equal pay for women.

They’re pushing him to sign legislation that would prohibit employers from asking job applicants about salary history.

Illinois lawmakers are being urged to pass tougher laws to protect student data privacy. On Tuesday, they heard stories from parents who say they have no way to protect their kids’ information.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner was sued Friday by a group of former state employees who want their jobs back.

Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council

A new report is trying to calculate a more realistic tally of what crime costs in Illinois. 

The report looks at recidivism — that is, people who get out of prison and are convicted of a new crime. That happens to nearly half of Illinois' inmates within three years of getting out.

The state of Illinois has agreed to settle a lawsuit over its treatment of prisoners who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

Governor Bruce Rauner has vetoed legislation intended to prevent wrongful convictions.

A conservative political group is suing to overturn the Illinois campaign law restricting so-called independent expenditure committees.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Illinois prison officials are being accused of letting a transgender inmate be harassed and assaulted.
 

Strawberry Hampton is 27 years old, and her lawyers say she’s lived as a woman since the age of 5. But the Department of Corrections classifies her as a male, named Deon Hampton — in keeping with Hampton’s birth certificate.

That’s meant housing Hampton in a series of all-male prisons.

Attorney Alan Mills, with the Uptown People’s Law Center, says Hampton has repeatedly been assaulted, by both guards and inmates.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner says he does not agree with President Trump’s initial statements on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Trump on Monday seemed to accept Russian denials about interfering in the 2016 election. That's despite American intelligence agencies concluding numerous hacks were a Russian government operation.

“We should not be defending (the) Russians’ behavior,” Rauner says. “Putin is a brutal dictator. The Russians are not our friends.”

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner on Tuesday vetoed legislation that would have gotten the state out of the controversial Crosscheck voter identification program.

The Interstate Crosscheck System is meant to identify voters who are double registered.

But an analysis by academics at Stanford, Harvard and Microsoft found one Crosscheck purging strategy would eliminate 300 legitimate voters for every one double voter.

The Illinois Governor’s Mansion reopened Saturday after a multi-million-dollar renovation.

www.dickdurbin.com

Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says he has some tough questions for President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. But he also says he hasn’t made up his mind.

Durbin says that’s not just from Kavanaugh’s 12 years on the federal bench, but also his many years as a lawyer in the executive branch of the government. He says that part of Kavanaugh's career could yield up to one million documents.

Democrats are trying to flip several Congressional seats in Illinois this fall. That’s put some Republicans in a tricky spot when it comes to questions about President Donald Trump.

Illinois officials are reacting to President Trump’s nomination of federal appellate court Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is investigating fast food restaurants over hiring practices.

At issue are so-called no-poaching agreements. That’s where restaurant franchisees are prohibited from hiring people away from other franchise owners.

So, for example, someone who works at Bob’s Burger King cannot go down the street and get a job at Jim’s Burger King.

In a telephone interview, Madigan said this is particularly hard on low-income workers.

With America and China officially in a trade war, Illinois companies say they’re already seeing consequences.

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decision from the U.S. Supreme Court Thursday gives more power to states to collect taxes on Internet sales. It could be a boon to Illinois, but not as much as in other states.

As shopping shifted away from physical stores and onto the Internet, sales taxes began evaporating, too.

But Carol Portman, who runs the Taxpayers’ Federation of Illinois, says the state has been in a relatively good position on this issue.

The latest skirmish between Gov. Bruce Rauner and the AFSCME labor union took place in a Springfield courtroom Wednesday. This time it was before a panel of the Fourth District Appellate Court.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner was asked Tuesday whether he would support a shorter prison sentence for Rod Blagojevich.

President Trump told reporters last week he thought Blagojevich was “very unfairly treated” and was thinking about commuting the former governor's 14-year sentence.

Asked about that, Rauner did not take a position one way or the other.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed Illinois’ budget into law.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois U.S. Sen, Dick Durbin says Rod Blagojevich should have gotten a shorter prison sentence.

Ever since last week, when President Trump said he was thinking about commuting the former governor’s sentence, many Illinois politicians have refused to talk about it.

That’s what current Gov. Bruce Rauner did Monday.

But Durbin was unequivocal.

The Illinois General Assembly has approved a budget for the state — and Governor Bruce Rauner is indicating he’ll “enact” it into law.

Illinois is one step closer to having a budget for next year — the state Senate approved a spending plan late Wednesday night.

It follows years of bitter partisan fighting over state taxes and spending. But the mood around this year’s budget is remarkably different.

With just two days remaining in the spring session of the Illinois General Assembly, lawmakers are optimistic about passing a state budget on time.

Illinois legislators are trying to help state taxpayers get around limitations in the new federal tax law. But the federal government may negate the plan before it even has a chance to become law.

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