Gov. Bruce Rauner

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Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner won’t attend President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration.  

Rauner says he’s “focused on Illinois” and is trying “to minimize the distractions” and his time out of state. The governor says he has friends in Trump's upcoming administration and expects Illinois to have a good relationship with the president-elect.  

Trump will take the oath of office Jan. 20, just 5 days before Rauner is scheduled to give the State of the State speech in Springfield.

chicago47.org

A Chicago alderman says he’s running for Illinois governor.

Ameya Pawar announced his candidacy Tuesday.

The Democrat says he’s running for governor because he wants to tackle income inequality.

I think it’s time to talk about a progressive vision,” Pawar said. “And stop talking about the status quo or busting unions or reducing benefits or declaring bankruptcy. I just think that’s a race to the bottom.”

Pawar says he’ll advocate for universal daycare in his campaign.

Gov. Bruce Rauner reached a collective bargaining agreement with the state’s Fraternal Order of Police covering conservation officers.

The measure includes a four-year wage freeze and ensures no officers will be laid off.   The News-Tribune reports LaSalle, DeKalb, Bureau, and Putnam Counties could have seen cuts from five officers in the area down to two. 

Conservation officers are responsible for patrolling state parks, lakes, and rivers.  They also enforce fish and wildlife laws,  and provisions related to endangered species.  

Brian Mackey

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner sent two clear signals when he dumped $50 million into his campaign fund: The 2018 race for Illinois governor will be a rough one, and the contest starts now.

What's still unknown is which Democrats will try to unseat the multimillionaire former businessman.

According to potential candidates and aides, those considering a bid include U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, businessman Chris Kennedy, state Sen. Andy Manar and billionaire investor J.B. Pritzker.

Kennedy could make an announcement next month. The others haven't set a timeline.

Flickr user Brent Hoard "ECU School of Education Class Room" (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois is almost six months behind in its obligation to give millions of dollars to school districts across the state for transportation, special education and other expenses.

The Herald & Review reports the stopgap spending deal Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democratic-controlled Legislature struck over the summer authorized a full year's funding for elementary and secondary education, intending to spare public schools from the uncertainty plaguing other state operations, which were only funded for six months.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration has filed an unfair labor practice charge against the state's largest public-employee union, a move union leaders call an attempt to intimidate their members.

Rauner's filing Thursday says it costs the state $2 million a day and is seeking damages.

Union spokesman Anders Lindall calls the filing ``frivolous.''

The Republican governor and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees state council are warring over whether the governor can impose the terms of the administration's final contract offer.

J.B. Pritzker is rumored to be considering a Democratic run for Illinois governor. 

He’s heir to the Hyatt Hotel fortune, and it appears the GOP is taking him seriously. They recently issued a robocall attempting to link Pritzker with imprisoned former governor Rod Blagojevich. 

Rick Pearson is a political reporter for the Chicago Tribune. He says optimism of ending the 18-month budget impasse may inspire candidates like Pritzker to run for governor.

"Satsop Nuclear Power Plant" by Flickr User Tony Webster / (CC BY 2.0)

Exelon Corp. says it plans to hire more than 400 permanent employees to work on capital projects at two Illinois nuclear plants.

The company's Wednesday announcement comes a week after Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner approved a plan that will provide billions of dollars in subsidies to Exelon to keep the pair of unprofitable nuclear plants from closing prematurely.

The new law includes $235 million a year for Exelon. The plants are in the Quad Cities in western Illinois and Clinton in central Illinois.

Screen Capture/Facebook

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner appeared in another Facebook Live video Tuesday to discuss the budget.

Rauner sat alone at a desk, delivering a version of the pro-business, anti-incumbent talking points he's used for nearly four years.

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Public universities in Illinois once again are being forced to plan to operate without state funding after going nearly the entire 2015-2016 school year without receiving any support amid the budget standoff between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the legislature's Democratic leaders.

The Herald & Review reports that a six-month spending plan which has kept schools afloat runs out Dec. 31. There's no indication Rauner and top Democrats are close to reaching a deal on a budget for the rest of the school year.

The wealthy governor of Illinois is calling for state legislators to go without pay until a balanced budget is passed.

The comptroller's office reports lawmakers last received paychecks in June.  It has put elected officials' pay in a queue, along with $10 billion of overdue bills the state can't currently afford.

Several Democrats are suing to reinstate their monthly income. But the governor criticized them in a video message.  

"If they won't do a balanced budget, they shouldn't be paid first," he said in the video. "No budget, no pay."

Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan may not agree on much when it comes to the Illinois budget.

But as they negotiate, both men apparently find it helpful to accuse the other of pushing for a tax increase.

Rauner, Madigan and the legislature’s other top leaders discussed the budget privately in Chicago.

After, Madigan said it will be difficult to pass any tax hike before a new crop of legislators are sworn in next month.

A judge in southern Illinois has issued a temporary restraining order to keep Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration from imposing contract terms onto state workers.

The order this week from Judge Robert LeChien comes after the Illinois Labor Relations Board last month issued an opinion saying contract talks between the state and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union were at an impasse.

That ruling let the state impose final contract terms.

"Satsop Nuclear Power Plant" by Flickr User Tony Webster / (CC BY 2.0)

Hundreds of happy Exelon workers jammed into a high school gym Wednesday near the Quad Cities to watch Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner sign the bill that will save their jobs at the nuclear plant in Cordova and one in Clinton, in central Illinois..

The bill also enables Exelon to increase costs for all the electricity consumers it serves.

Rauner told them there was a lot of opposition to the Future Energy Jobs Bill.

Flickr user Jim Bowen / "Illinois State Capitol" (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois legislative leaders and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner are succeeding more at frustrating each other than at striking a deal to end an 18-month budget impasse that's damaging the state's fiscal health every day.

The relationship between ruling Democrats, Republican leaders, and Rauner has only grown more toxic after several meetings in recent weeks where both sides are more likely to lash out at each other than to report meaningful progress in passing a full budget. 

"Window" By Flickr User Sam Howzit / (CC BY 2.0)

Those who work for Illinois organizations that provide services to survivors of domestic violence say the fact there’s no funding for them in the state’s soon-to-expire spending plan was an unfortunate surprise.

 

The stopgap budget doesn’t have a line item for domestic violence programs, but directors say they thought they would be paid out of the Department of Human Services' budget.

 

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Illinois legislative leaders differed on the outcome of their latest meeting with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, but there was no budget agreement Saturday in Chicago.

Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan says in comments distributed by the Illinois Department of Central Management Services that there was no budget discussion.

He says the group discussed cost-cutting workers' compensation changes and Rauner's Thursday veto of legislation providing $215 million to the Chicago Public Schools for a teachers' pension payment due in June.

AFSCME31.ORG

The union that’s representing 30,000 Illinois workers is suing Gov. Bruce Rauner.

AFSCME filed a lawsuit late Wednesday in Saint Clair County Circuit Court.

Spokesman Anders Lindall says Rauner is starting to implement a new state contract before the law allows.

"Those demands include four years with no pay increase, a 100-percent hike in what workers now pay for health insurance,” Lindall said. "The combination of those two is a big, effective pay cut."

A ruling by the state labor board recently gave Rauner the right to implement his terms unilaterally.

Flickr user 401(K) 2012 / "Money" (CC v. 2.0)

Illinois’ top politicians are divided on how to end their feud over passing a full budget. 

Republicans are holding out for Governor Bruce Rauner’s agenda.  It includes changes to workers compensation and imposes term limits on lawmakers.

House Minority Leader Jim Durkin says Republicans will be happy to talk about balancing the budget if these measures are implemented. 

A plan intended to keep two nuclear power plants operating and save thousands of Illinois jobs is on its way to Gov. Bruce Rauner.
 
The Senate voted 32-18 to approve the plan Thursday night just an hour after it got House approval 63-38.
 
The measure provides $235 million a year to Exelon Corp. for 13 years. Exelon counts it as a subsidy for nuclear power producing no gases harmful to the
atmosphere.
 
It allows unprofitable nuclear plants in Clinton and the Quad Cities to stay open.
 

Dozens of state legislators Wednesday publicly called on Governor Bruce Rauner to negotiate with the state's largest public-employee union.

But Rauner has already started taking advantage of his ability to implement new contract terms without AFSCME's approval.

A state labor board recently found Rauner was fine to have broken off talks with AFSCME last January, because the two sides were so far apart.

The union plans to fight that decision in court, but otherwise, most state employees are faced with accepting Rauner's terms, or going on strike.

"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.  

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Gov. Bruce Rauner says he wants to protect all the jobs he can at Exelon nuclear plants in Clinton and the Quad Cities.  They're slated to close unless they get help from the state.

Governor Bruce Rauner's Facebook page.

 

Gov. Bruce Rauner was part of an 80-member delegation that traveled to the Vatican.  They witnessed Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich become a cardinal.

Other notable members of the group included Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emaneul.   None of their trips were financed by taxpayers.  

In a Facebook video, Rauner said he had a lot of “interactions” with the delegation.  

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.

The Illinois Labor Relations Board has declared contract negotiations between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration and the state's largest public-employees union at an impasse.

Tuesday's decision allows Rauner to impose his terms on the 38,000-member state council of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

That gives the union the opportunity to accept the terms or vote to go on strike.

AFSCME officials say they plan to appeal to state court.

The last contract expired in June 2015 and Rauner broke negotiations in January.

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.

Today’s Cubs victory parade is expected to result in heavy delays on the Metra system. 

Trains will be crowded and operating off-schedule throughout the day, according to Daily Herald reports.  Baseball fans have been encouraged to take public transportation to the parade, but Metra advises regular riders to work from home today if possible.  

Officials further advised  passengers to leave early or stay late in Chicago to avoid a meltdown during the afternoon rush-hour.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

About 260,000 low-income Illinois residents were in danger of losing food stamp privileges early next year.

But the administration of Governor Bruce Rauner has applied for a federal waiver to continue their access through 2017.

Diane Doherty, with the Illinois Hunger Coalition, says Illinois was one of 11 states eligible because it’s so hard to find a job.

State of Illinois

Social service providers want the Illinois Supreme Court to intervene in their legal battle to force immediate payment on state contracts.

  

The Pay Now Illinois coalition filed a request Thursday with the state's highest court.

Nearly 100 groups sued in May over fallout from the budget stalemate, which is in its second year. The providers said they were owed roughly $160 million because the state didn't honor contracts.

The coalition says a partial spending plan that expires in January is insufficient.

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