Hannah Meisel

Hannah covers state government and politics for NPR Illinois and Illinois Public Radio. Hannah previously covered the statehouse for The Daily Line and Law360, and also worked a temporary stint at political blog Capitol Fax in 2018.

She has also worked as a reporter for Illinois Public Media in Urbana, and served as NPR Illinois' statehouse intern in 2014 while working toward a master's degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield. 

Hannah also holds a journalism degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she was a reporter and managing editor at The Daily Illini.

In 2020, the Washington Post named Hannah as one of the best political reporters in Illinois.

This story has been updated to reflect Kodatt's resignation effective Wednesday morning.

Former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan's handpicked successor for the House seat he held for more than 50 years has stepped down from the General Assembly after just three days. 

Former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan has resigned the seat he’s held for the last 50 years effective Thursday.

Democratic lawmakers are again re-introducing the so-called Clean Energy Jobs Act, renewing the effort for comprehensive legislation to address both climate change and expanding Illinois’ renewable energy industry.

Like other governors nationwide, Gov. JB Pritzker has recently taken to criticizing a slower-than-anticipated COVID-19 vaccination effort at Illinois’ long-term care facilities by pharmacy giants CVS and Walgreens.

Update Friday, Jan 15: Twelve hours after this story was published, Gov. JB Pritzker announced he is revising Tier I mitigations to allow for indoor dining. However, no regions currently meet Tier I metrics. This story has been updated to reflect the changes and avoid confusion.

Update Saturday, Jan. 16: Region 5 became Illinois' first region to qualify for Tier I mitigations on Saturday. Additional information has been added to the post.

Governor JB Pritzker on Friday will unfreeze all of Illinois’ 11 regions from the so-called Tier III Coronavirus mitigations he implemented statewide in November as the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic raged.

  

GOP lawmakers are again demanding answers from Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Employment Securities over the state’s processing of unemployment benefits. 

Every decade, the year after a Census, state lawmakers are tasked with adopting new legislative maps for Illinois, which can shift the balance of power in certain areas with demographic changes.

  Illinois House Republicans say they’re still waiting on Gov. JB Pritzker to propose specific spending cuts to the state’s current year state budget, which is $4 billion out of balance.

  More than 63,000 frontline healthcare workers in Illinois have been vaccinated for COVID-19 in the last week — on top of thousands more healthcare workers in the city of Chicago.

Illinois lawmakers have not officially met for a full legislative session day since late May — more than 200 days ago.

The November COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans’ home has killed a 34th resident, the facility reported Friday — just as attorneys for four families of dead residents announced forthcoming lawsuits against the state.

This week, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced $700 million in cuts to the current fiscal year's state budget; a special investigating committee looking into House Speaker Michael Madigan's involvement in the ComEd bribery scandal wrapped up with no action; and Pritzker continues to weather criticism of his administration's handling of the deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans' Home.

Tony Arnold of WBEZ and Rick Pearson of the Chicago Tribune join the panel this week.

When Gov. JB Pritzker observes COVID-19 vaccines administered at a Peoria hospital on Tuesday morning, he’ll be witnessing among the first COVID-19 inoculations in Illinois after the state received its first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer-BioNTech.

Democratic allies of House Speaker Mike Madigan on Monday ended an inquiry into whether the speaker did anything that should disqualify him from serving in the legislature.

Members of a “Special Investigative Committee” formed at the behest of Republicans deadlocked on whether to bring charges against Madigan related to a federal probe into a bribery scheme orchestrated by lobbyists for utility Commonwealth Edison to curry favor with the Speaker.

Illinois National Guard medical staff have been sent to the LaSalle Veterans’ Homes to assist with COVID-19 testing and screening at the facility, and next week will arrive at the state-run veterans' homes in Manteno and Quincy.

Four GOP state House lawmakers on Wednesday voiced complaints from their central and southern Illinois constituents who say they have waited months after applying for new or renewed gun ownership licenses without an update from the Illinois State Police amid an unprecedented volume of applications this year.

Four GOP state House lawmakers on Wednesday voiced complaints from their central and southern Illinois constituents who say they have waited months after applying for new or renewed gun ownership licenses without an update from the Illinois State Police amid an unprecedented volume of applications this year.

Four GOP state House lawmakers on Wednesday voiced complaints from their central and southern Illinois constituents who say they have waited months after applying for new or renewed gun ownership licenses without an update from the Illinois State Police amid an unprecedented volume of applications this year.

A pair of Republican lawmakers are proposing changes to Illinois’ constitution that would expand voters’ ability to recall elections in Illinois — something currently reserved only for the governor.

Former State Sen. Marty Sandoval (D-Chicago) died Saturday after a battle with COVID-19, nearly a year after resigning from the legislature amidst an ongoing federal corruption probe involving Democratic politicians and other power brokers from Chicago’s City Hall to Springfield.

Illinois is preparing to receive its first shipment of Coronavirus vaccines by mid-December, which will be given to hospital and healthcare workers in the 50 counties with the highest COVID-19 death rates per capita, plus the city of Chicago.

An Illinois House committee will take the extraordinary step of launching an investigation into a COVID-19 outbreak at the state-run LaSalle Veterans’ Home, which has killed 31 residents in the last few weeks.

Thapedi said he was withholding judgment on Pritzker’s actions or the performance of Illinois Department of Affairs Director Linda Chapa LaVia, with whom he served in the Illinois House for a decade.

Hospital beds across the state continue to fill with COVID-19 patients, and an investigation has been announced to look into the deadly breakout in the LaSalle Veterans' Home.  Michael Madigan says he has no intention of stepping down as House Speaker, although he may not have the votes needed to keep that position the next time the Legislature meets.

WBEZ's Dave McKinney joins the panel this week.

Twenty-seven residents of the LaSalle Veterans’ Home have died in the last few weeks since the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs reported a COVID-19 outbreak at the facility in early November.

Longtime Illinois Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) says has no intention of stepping down — even after a federal indictment this week nabbed four people alleged to have orchestrated a bribery scheme for Madigan’s benefit.

Gov. JB Pritzker on Thursday called on longtime House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) to resign from his speakership if he could not explain his knowledge of or role in a years-long bribery scheme allegedly orchestrated by lobbyists and officials of electric giant Commonwealth Edison in an attempt to curry favor with Madigan.

A longtime confidante of House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) was charged along with two other former Commonwealth Edison lobbyists and the CEO of ComEd’s parent company in a nine-count indictment Wednesday, alleging the four conspired on a wide-ranging bribery scheme all designed to influence the powerful House Speaker.

As Illinois sees its 12th day of new reported COVID-19 cases over 10,000, Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday announced new statewide restrictions on businesses, including shuttering casinos, movie theatres, banquet halls and museums across Illinois, and limiting retail store capacity.

Citing a sharp uptick in Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations across Illinois, Democratic leaders of the Illinois General Assembly canceled their planned two weeks of Veto Session late Tuesday afternoon, just hours after Gov. JB Pritzker said scrapping session while the state is in dire fiscal straits “would be disappointing.”

Illinois voters rejected Gov. JB Pritzker’s signature plan to change Illinois’ flat-rate income tax system to a graduated income tax on Tuesday, delivering a major blow to the first-term Democrat as vote totals showed an insurmountable lead in "no" votes Wednesday, even with up to 400,000 mail-in ballots still left to be counted in Illinois.

 

After spending nearly four years pushing for the issue first as a candidate and then as governor — and spending millions of his own wealth — Pritzker is left with few options to with another difficult budget year looming and the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying recession nowhere near over.

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