Andy Manar

NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Legislation to expand Illinois’ sales tax for online shopping recently passed the Senate. But it faces several more hurdles before it could become law.

The measure would require more out-of-state businesses to tax internet sales to Illinois residents. But its implementation depends on a case now before the U. S. Supreme Court, challenging a similar law in South Dakota.

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The Illinois Department of Corrections says a major cash crunch has it struggling to keep its facilities running.

The warning came Wednesday at a Senate budget hearing. But some Democratic lawmakers say that was the first time they were hearing the situation was so dire.

On a summer day in 2016, state prison officials were on the brink of a crisis at Western Illinois Correctional Center.

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For more than 30 years, kids with a certain streak of genius have found a home at Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in suburban Chicago. It’s the rarest of gems in the educational landscape: a public, affordable, boarding school.

Veto Override Removes One School Funding Hurdle

Feb 1, 2018
Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois

Less than an hour before Gov. Bruce Rauner was scheduled to deliver his State of the State address, lawmakers in the House and Senate voted to override his veto of a small, technical school funding bill necessary to implement the massive school funding reform that Rauner has listed as his main accomplishment.

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The agency overseeing what’s been dubbed the nation’s worst-funded public-school system plans to hire “storytellers” to relay tales of successes in Illinois classrooms.

The post on the Illinois State Board of Education’s website seeks applicants for storytellers at a minimum salary of $47,400. Spokeswoman Jaclyn Matthews said Tuesday that three will be hired.

At the state Capitol, lawmakers are stymied by technical glitches in a landmark school-funding overhaul they approved last spring to help bring fairness to the country’s most inequitable financial system.

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

Illinoisians eligible to vote will now automatically be registered when they get their driver’s license or another state I.D.

Republican Governor Bruce Rauner signed the bill into law Monday. The measure received unanimous support from both Democrats and Republicans in Springfield.

Democratic State Senator Andy Manar sponsored the legislation.

“The bipartisan vote that was taken on this legislation was, when you think about it, quite stunning especially given the dynamic of what’s happening in Springfield today,” Manar said.

Illinois State Museum / state of Illinois

The push to reopen the Illinois State Museum continues in Springfield.

A senate committee approved legislation to get the facility back up and running.

It includes some of the governor’s suggestions such as charging an admission fee and allowing for private funding.

That’s according to sponsor, Senator Andy Manar.

“The goal of the bill is to take the governor’s amendatory veto language, put it in legislation, and present it to the senate. And hopefully this would lead to re-opening of the state museum,” Manar said.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Students at Rockford’s Guilford High School showed off their latest high-tech projects to Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner today.

Rauner stopped by the school to talk about education funding and to check out their innovative engineering-track programs. He pledged to increase K through 12 funding and reduce state mandates on schools.

The Republican governor also clued the students in on the partisan battles that were blocking progress on a state budget.

ilga.gov

Illinois public schools are funded by two main sources--property taxes and state money. State senator Andy Manar, a Democrat from Macoupin County, introduced legislation that would change that formula. 

It didn't make it through the General Assembly last session, but Manar feels confident the issue will be debated again by the new legislature.

“There's only a few people that believe that the state aid formula today, as it exists, works well. And those are the ones that benefit at the expense of the masses from today's system.”