House Speaker Mike Madigan

BRIAN MACKEY / NPR ILLINOIS

A former campaign consultant for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is suing his political committee and the state Democratic Party, alleging that reporting a top lieutenant for sexual harassment hindered her from advancing in the speaker's organization.

Alaina Hampton filed the lawsuit Wednesday against the Democratic Party of Illinois, chaired by Madigan, and his political fund, Friends of Michael J. Madigan, alleging retaliation for "asserting her rights to be free from unlawful harassment and a sexually hostile work environment."

Guy Stephens/ WNIJ

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner was in full campaign attack mode the day after he eked out a narrow win in the primary.  

Rauner didn’t take any time to savor his victory. Wednesday, he made factory stops in St. Charles, Rockford and Moline to press the flesh and make his case for re-election.  

Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

Powerful Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is dismissing calls to resign after a campaign worker for Illinois Democrats says it took party officials too long to respond after she reported sexual harassment by a male supervisor last year.

Madigan fired long-time political consultant Kevin Quinn Monday after an investigation found he sent inappropriate text messages to a colleague.

File photo by Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has dismissed a long-time political consultant after an investigation found he sent inappropriate text messages to a colleague.

Madigan identified the consultant as Kevin Quinn in a statement Monday.

Madigan attorney Heather Wier Vaught says the woman is a political consultant not employed by Madigan.

Vaught says Quinn texted the woman seeking a date in 2016. There were fewer than a dozen texts but they continued after the woman told Quinn she wasn't interested.

A crime-victims advocate told an Illinois House committee Tuesday that a powerful state senator sexually harassed her last year as they were working together on legislation, causing her so much mental anguish that she dropped 20 pounds and lost her hair.

Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner was a popular target Thursday when Illinois Democratic candidates met in Springfield for an annual political breakfast.

The Democrats are criticizing Rauner for all the things you’d expect: his agenda, the budget stalemate, and his reluctance to talk about President Trump. 

Gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy said both Rauner and Trump were too slow to condemn the violence and political intimidation last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

Illinois Republicans are gearing up for Gov. Bruce Rauner’s re-election fight. At a State Fair rally Wednesday, they made clear their campaign will focus on one man.

Rauner and other Republicans have spent years — and millions of dollars — demonizing Michael Madigan, the Democratic speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives. Heading into the 2018 election, they’re hoping to realize a dividend from that investment.

"We cannot give in to Madigan and his Chicago agenda any longer,” said Tim Schneider, chairman of the Illinois Republican Party.

Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

Illinois’ two-year budget impasse is over. The House of Representatives on Thursday overrode the governor's budget veto, giving final approval to a spending plan and tax increase.

After two years of stalemate, more than a dozen Republicans broke with Gov. Bruce Rauner.

They joined Democrats to pass a $5-billion dollar tax increase.

The governor had been holding out for his business-friendly agenda, but some Republicans, like Rep. David Harris, from Arlington Heights, say time’s up.

Illinois Democrats took another step in budget negotiations Tuesday, proposing a spending plan for state government.

House Speaker Michael Madigan acknowledged it won’t meet every request of Gov. Bruce Rauner.

“But I think that it goes a long way toward giving the state of Illinois a good solid spending plan that responds to the real needs of the state," he said, "and, significantly, is below the level of the governor’s introduced budget."

Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

Democrats and Republicans continue to negotiate in Springfield as Illinois approaches the end of two years without a budget. Both sides are narrowing their focus.

Republicans are emphasizing three issues: lowering the cost of workers’ compensation; cutting state pensions; and freezing property taxes.

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin said that, if Democrats try to water down changes in those areas, he’ll have a hard time winning support for a budget deal.

Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

The top Democrats and Republicans of the Illinois General Assembly met Sunday for the first time this year, and there are some signs of progress.

House Speaker Michael Madigan has consistently objected to Gov. Bruce Rauner making his political and economic agenda a prerequisite for passing a budget. At Sunday's meeting, Madigan said Republicans were still talking about what he calls “off-budget” issues. That, he said, “prompted me to add items to the off-budget list.”

@TED SCHURTER / STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER

Could a reborn Mushroom Caucus be the key to breaking the political impasse that has the financial health of Illinois at death’s doorstep?

The self-deprecatory moniker was coined a generation ago by a group of legislative backbenchers who complained they were kept in the dark by their leaders and fed horse (manure).

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has called state legislators back to Springfield this week to begin 10 special sessions through the end of June.

 

He says he wants a budget deal, but he also is spending money attacking Democrats. The attacks have come in at least three forms: online ads, direct mail, and TV commercials.

 

State Sen. Daniel Biss wants to beat Bruce Rauner in next year’s gubernatorial election. 

However, the Evanston Democrat doesn’t blame all of the state’s problems on the Republican incumbent. At a Champaign event, he said the Democrats who came before Rauner didn't fix what he considers an unfair tax system. 

The Democratic speaker of the Illinois House is chastising Gov. Bruce Rauner for comments the governor made about him.

Speaker Michael Madigan wrote the Republican a letter Tuesday. It said Rauner made ``false statements'' a day earlier that Madigan was blocking sale of the state-owned Thompson Center in Chicago.

Madigan says his staff and Rauner's continue to cooperate on the details. He says Rauner's comments were ``disingenuous'' and ``beneath your office.''

Governor Bruce Rauner says three of Illinois’ leading Democrats are conspiring to shut down state government.

Rauner made the accusation Wednesday in response to legal disagreements he’s had with Comptroller Susana Mendoza and Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

RAUNER: “Comptroller Mendoza takes her orders from Speaker Madigan, and they are working together to create a crisis and shut down the government.”

MENDOZA: “For the record: The only person who tells me what to do is my mother.”

Flickr user Pictures of Money / "Money" (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is forming a panel to pick up where a recent commission left off revamping the state's outdated public school funding formula.

The Chicago Democrat announced the panel Thursday. He says the group will address questions left unanswered by a funding reform commission convened by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner last year.

That commission reported its findings earlier this month. It concluded Illinois must change how it funds schools to ensure all students are properly educated. But it produced no legislative proposals.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan says a committee will consider a plan to sell the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago. 

The building houses state government offices, but Governor Bruce Rauner renewed a call to dispose of the property during his budget address.   

"The JRTC occupies an entire city block of prime real estate of the Chicago Loop," he said. "For years, the state has failed to properly maintain the building. We now face deferred maintenance costs of hundreds of millions of dollars."  

Jenna Dooley

Leaders in the Illinois Senate are pressuring members to vote this week on a massive compromise. It would include a state budget.

llinois state legislators opened a new two-year session of the Illinois General Assembly Wednesday. Amid the ceremonies and celebrations, the focus remains on the political stalemate that's left Illinois without a budget for more than 18 months.

Democrats remain in firm control of the General Assembly, so it's not surprising Michael Madigan was re-elected speaker of the House for a 17th time. That's despite a Republican Party campaign to pressure Democrats into dropping him.

Details of a massive, bipartisan compromise meant to end Illinois' budget stalemate emerged Monday in the Illinois Senate, but the plan has been put on hold.

Top leaders at first seemed eager to push the package through during the lame duck session, but now say they'll wait until new legislators are sworn in on Wednesday.

The Illinois Senate moved legislation to the floor that would address the long-running state budget stalemate.

"Money" By Flickr User Pictures of Money / (CC BY 2.0)

The Illinois government will run out of spending authority in just over a month. 

Leading lawmakers discussed the problem Monday, but even those in the meeting aren’t sure whether progress is being made.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner wants his corporate agenda passed before he'll talk about balancing the budget through taxes and spending cuts.  But Democrats have, until now, stressed the need for a budget to come first.  

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner continues to demand legislators lower what businesses have to pay for injured workers.  

House Democrats scheduled a hearing on the subject Monday, and yet Rauner's fellow Republicans wanted nothing to do with it.

When is a company on the hook to compensate an injured worker, and for how much?

Legislation encapsulating Gov. Rauner's preferred plan has sat idle, for a year-and-a-half.

But after he recently asked Democratic leaders to take another look at his bill; the House obliged and scheduled a hearing on it.

Gov. Bruce Rauner and all four leaders of the Illinois General Assembly met Wednesday to discuss pending issues after Democrats weren't able to make a previous meeting.  

Among the conversation topics was the state budget.  The Illinois deficit currently exceeds $10 billion, and a report from the governor's budget office says it could reach $47 billion within five years.  

A stopgap spending plan is in place through December, but Illinois remains without a complete budget.

Democrats say Illinois needs to focus on identifying cuts and hiking taxes.

Illinois Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan is suggesting lawmakers work on another partial budget without any of Gov. Bruce Rauner's demands.

However GOP legislative leaders say they won't agree to another stopgap plan.

Madigan's comments Tuesday indicate the parties remain far apart in discussions about how to end a 16-month budget standoff that has crippled social service programs and higher education institutions.

Rauner wants Democrats to adopt business-friendly, union-weakening legislation as part of a budget agreement.

ilga.gov

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan says Auditor General Frank Mautino will be “vindicated.”

Mautino has been auditor general since January.

He's under scrutiny for campaign expenses from his time as a state representative.

He has acknowledged there's a federal investigation, and the state board of elections is holding hearings. 

Madigan says Mautino will come out on top when they're finished.

While leading Democrats were in Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention last week, Republican Governor Bruce Rauner was holding press conferences exalting term limits.

“We need fresh ideas, new people, new thinkin’ term limits will get it done,” Rauner said.

But the state’s longest-serving legislator -- Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan -- says his lengthy tenure is beneficial. It put him in position to serve as a check against Rauner’s controversial agenda.

Brian Mackey

The unprecedented Illinois budget impasse has ended ... for now. Lawmakers passed and the governor signed a partial budget Thursday, the final day of fiscal year 2016. But it's only a temporary patch.

The stalemate went longer than many expected.  

Since it began last July, rape crisis centers have closed. Meals on Wheels stopped delivering food to senior citizens. Illinois' credit rating dropped.

state of Illinois

  Illinois lawmakers left Springfield a month ago fractured, indignant and without a budget. They'll return this morning for another try at a compromise.

Gov. Bruce Rauner and the legislature's four top leaders met fairly often toward the end of May, when they were supposed to have passed a new state budget.

But the meetings were short, often taking less than an hour. And the leaders comments after were often curt.

Compare that with Tuesday night, when leaders met for three hours.

Illinois Issues: Can't Anybody Play This Game?

Jun 22, 2016

Illinois political leaders’ performance on the budget is reminiscent of the losingest team in modern baseball. 

Commentary — “Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game?” More than half a century ago, the legendary Charles Dillon Stengel voiced that lament out of frustration at the way the 1962 New York Mets he managed were performing on their way to losing a modern-era record 120 games.

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