Gov. Bruce Rauner

Carl Nelson/WNIJ and Screenshot of the livestream

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed an executive order Monday to create the Illinois Competitiveness Council, which will review numerous state regulations -- particularly those that pertain to private enterprise.

Rauner believes state rules stand in the way of entrepreneurs who want to develop and expand their business.  

"Over the last 15 years, Illinois has added 5,000 pages of legislation, thousands of new rules and regulations," Rauner said. "Now, many of these rules and regulations are well-intentioned, but they have unintended consequences that do more damage than good."  

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Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner announced the estimated $15 million restoration project in January, and First Lady Diana Rauner leads a private fundraising campaign for the construction.

The mansion is closing to the public in January to allow the renovation work to be done. 

State Rep. Tim Butler says the building needs the work.

Illinois' Republican politicians have had varied reactions to the news that the man at the top of their ticket, Donald Trump, is facing allegations of sexual assault.


But Republican Governor Bruce Rauner's stance on Trump remains the same -- vague.

Rauner Thursday said he's "disgusted by statements that have recently come out in the presidential election."

"I condemn in the strongest possible way sexual assault, sexual harassment in any form. And that's what I'll say,” Rauner said.

Phil Masterton / WNIJ

A new super PAC known as LIFT (Leading Illinois For Tomorrow) is spending a million dollars on ads tying Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner to Donald Trump.

The group is led by Democratic  State Sen. Daniel Biss, who says the campaign is meant to inform voters what their ballot choices mean for the state's future. 

"And so, people across the state who are very concerned about what Gov. Rauner has done to politics in Illinois were generous enough to support this effort," Biss said.

Rauner Berates Trump's Years-Old Comments On Women

Oct 10, 2016
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Rauner has repeatedly been asked about the presidential campaign and why he wouldn’t talk about it -- despite being the state’s top Republican.

He’s said virtually nothing about the race or his party’s nominee.

Speaking to Chicago reporters Monday, Rauner did have something to say in response to the Access Hollywood tape in which Trump talks about kissing and groping women.

"The rhetoric, the language, the statements in that tape that’s recently come out: disgusting, appalling, outrageous," Rauner said. "Beyond any reasonable bounds of decency.


He may call himself the leader of Illinois' Republican Party, but Governor Bruce Rauner is continuing his refusal to weigh in on this year's biggest election.

A record-setting audience of roughly 80 million people tuned in to watch Monday's presidential debate.

The next day, a reporter asked Rauner if he did the same.  

"I did not," the governor responded.  

Which means Rauner didn't hear Donald Trump's comments about Illinois' largest city.

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

Governor Bruce Rauner came into office as a big advocate of charter schools.  

He promoted the idea again this week during a Facebook live forum, when he seemed to tie school choice to the state budget.  

“Parents want and deserve options, and we’ve got to make sure as we change our funding formula, that options are on the table and we create the financial ability for low-income parents in particular who can’t afford to move or can’t afford private school tuition,” Rauner said.

Rachel Otwell

  Lawmakers haven't touched state pension benefits since the Illinois Supreme Court ruled their previous attempt unconstitutional.  That was nearly a year-and-a-half-ago. But Governor Bruce Rauner says he's "pretty excited": He thinks they will pass a new law this winter.

"I think we can come to a ... important solution to fund our pension structure. Again: Protect existing benefits, but put in place new options that are more affordable that employees can choose among, with their own choice, their own options."  

Governor Sees No Immediate Terror Threat In Illinois

Sep 20, 2016
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner says there is no indication of an imminent threat in Illinois. His comments follow incidents of bombs being planted in New York and New Jersey as well as a stabbing attack in Minnesota.  

However, Rauner says the Illinois State Police and statewide terrorism center are actively coordinating with both federal and local authorities.

"We have to remind ourselves: This battle with terrorism --- it's every day," he said. "This does not end. It does not go away."

Rauner is encouraging anyone who sees something suspicious to report it to police.


There no longer is any such position as an Illinois Department of Transportation "staff assistant," Gov. Bruce Rauner announced Monday.

An inspector general's report in 2014 found that previous administrations hired people into that role, which allowed them to skirt state hiring rules.

Then the workers often were moved into other jobs that would have been subject to merit testing. It was a way get people with clout on the state payroll.

Rauner says the inspector general is still looking for patronage hires in other departments.

  The battle between Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel continues after the city council voted to raise water and sewer taxes.

Emanuel wants the money to go toward underfunded city pensions.  He also needs Rauner and state lawmakers to approve his plan to change pension benefits.

But Rauner is critical of the mayor’s proposal.

Gov. Rauner Promotes Illinois-Japan Trade Ties

Sep 13, 2016
Illinois CMS

The economic relationship between Illinois and Japan has never been stronger, Gov. Bruce Rauner told the annual Midwest-U.S. Japan Association Conference in St. Louis on Monday.

Rauner says the state’s relationship with Japan is very important to the state’s economy.

“We have 350 companies from Japan invested in Illinois, we have 1,200 locations for businesses throughout the state of Illinois, and the employ almost 50,000 hard-working Illinoisans.”

State of Illinois

Clergy and union members rallied today in front of the Illinois Statehouse.

They're calling on political leaders to embrace what they called a moral agenda.

Reverend Krista Taves of the Quincy Unitarian Church opened with a prayer. She focused on the fusion of faith and activism.

"It is you, you, Spirit of Life, who have called us to wake up and stay woke, called us to proclaim your moral higher ground and to witness to your loving intention for all of us,” Taves said.

"#kryboard #enter #social #network" By Flickr User Victor / (CC X 2.0)

A law recently signed by Governor Bruce Rauner will make it easier for Illinois residents to access family members' social media accounts after they die.



The legislation requires that tech companies, such as Facebook, offer users a chance to name a beneficiary who would be given access to the account after they die or become incapacitated.


Hillside Democratic Representative Chris Welch sponsored the law. 


Gov. Rauner Attends Naperville Labor Day Parade

Sep 6, 2016
Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

  Governor Bruce Rauner joined a Labor Day parade in Naperville.

He's not seen as a friend of organized labor.  But Rauner got cheers at this heavily Republican parade—marching amidst the high school bands and dance teams.  

"Enjoy Labor Day! Happy parade!" Rauner said.  

Jim Caffray, a home remodeler from Oswego, says he likes that the governor is fighting the Democratic machine, and appreciated the fact there weren't any unions in the parade.  


Gov. Bruce Rauner has laid off 29 Illinois Department of Transportation employees who were among those improperly hired based on political connections.

The Republican said Thursday he issued notices to the so-called ``staff assistants'' hired by skirting personnel rules under two previous Democratic governors. They were told their last day is Sept. 15.  

Hundreds of people were hired into the position starting in 2003. The state's inspector general found in 2014 that the politically connected hires should have been put into their positions based on merit.  


Accessing life insurance benefits in Illinois will be easier, thanks to a new website and state law signed Friday by Governor Bruce Rauner.

What happens if a family grieving the loss of a loved one is owed life insurance money, but doesn't make a claim for it? In cases, the insurance companies held onto the money.

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says there are still serious issues facing the state, and he hopes a compromise can be reached so that Illinois can move forward soon.

Rauner reacted to a decision by the state's Teachers Retirement System to reassess the rate of return on pension investments. That reassessment means the state will have to pay $400 million more into the fund this year, and Rauner calls that devastating.

Amanda Vinicky

The massive unfunded Illinois pension obligation has made reducing the state's costs a priority for years.

An overhaul of retirement benefits for state employees, public school teachers and university workers has been the subject of talks between state leaders in recent months.

Gov. Bruce Rauner said as much Wednesday, but he sounded uncertain as to what will come of it.

The state Supreme Court has ruled that a previous law cutting pension benefits was unconstitutional.

Rauner Signs Measure To Curb Gun Trafficking

Aug 23, 2016
Flickr user Ryo Chijiiwa / "Tommy Guns" (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner today signed into law a measure that would increase the sentences for illegal gun sales.

People with a record of firearms offenses who try to sell guns will face harsher penalties.

Rauner says the law targets so-called straw purchasers.

“Now, someone who’s bringing guns into the state to sell, just bringing them in for that purpose, we can now go after them and we can prosecute them in a very aggressive way,” Rauner said.

The measure imposes a sentence of up to 20 years for a first offense and up to 30 years for a second one.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth is calling U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk “unhinged'' after the Illinois Republican said President Barack Obama was “acting like the drug dealer in chief.''

Duckworth is challenging Kirk for Senate. Kirk criticized Obama last week over a $400 million cash payment the administration made to Iran contingent on the release of American prisoners.

He says the president shouldn't give “clean packs of money to a ... state sponsor of terror.”

State of Illinois

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is refusing to comment on a controversial statement made by his fellow Republican, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk.

Asked last week about a recent cash payment to Iran contingent on the release of American prisoners, Kirk said President Obama was "acting as the drug dealer in chief."

Kirk and other Republicans have criticized the payment as ransom.

Rauner was asked Monday about Kirk’s characterization of Obama. He replied, "No comment."

flickr user / Michael Coghlan "Prison Bars" (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed a slew of bills aimed at overhauling parts of the state's criminal justice system, including new rules for juvenile offenders.

Among the bills the Republican governor signed into law on Monday are proposals to change the minimum probation period for convicted juvenile, allow juveniles to immediately petition for expungement, and require an attorney be present when police question juveniles younger than 15.

Rauner says the criminal justice system should be approached "with more compassion."

Gov. Rauner Signs Youth Hunting Bills

Aug 22, 2016
Carl Nelson/WNIJ

  Illinois has new rules on youth hunting.   Governor Bruce Rauner signed several bills into law, one of which expanded state programs to include trapping.  Another adds a weekend to the youth turkey hunting season.  When signing the bills, Rauner reflected on how he started hunting.  

Flickr user / kristin_a (Meringue Bake Shop) "Vote!" (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois Democrats are working hard to promote awareness of the Republican presidential nominee.


Donald Trump polls far behind Hillary Clinton in Illinois.

Many local Republicans are keeping their distance, but Democrats want to push them back together.

At a Democratic meeting today in Springfield, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos linked Trump’s rhetoric with that of Governor Bruce Rauner.

Rauner Enacts 'Gabby's Law' To Combat Sepsis

Aug 18, 2016
FLICKR User Jim Bowen

The legislation which Governor Bruce Rauner signed in Urbana today requires protocols for diagnosing and treating sepsis at all Illinois hospitals.

The legislation is named for Gabby Galbo. The Monticello girl died in 2012 at the age of five. In her case, a tick bite led to sepsis, which went undiagnosed by doctors at a hospital for several days.

At the bill-signing ceremony, Gabby’s father, Tony Galbo, said sepsis can strike anyone, causing death or serious after-effects.

Brian Mackey

  Illinois Republicans rallied in Springfield yesterday, but it was obvious one man is the driving force behind their party.  Governor Bruce Rauner. 

For the Republican Party faithful, what was once an annual duty to be endured has been transformed into an occasion for celebration. State Rep. Jim Durkin, the House minority leader, describes the pleasure of a state fair rally when it’s his party in the governor’s office.

A Rockford pregnancy center and Downers Grove doctor are suing to overturn the newly updated Illinois right-of-conscience law.

Right-of-conscience laws come into play when medical providers' obligations to provide treatment conflict with their personal beliefs.

The governor just signed a law updating the Illinois statute.

No doctor is required to perform an abortion, but a physician -- even one with moral or faith-based opposition to the practice -- now is required to refer a patient to a medical professional who will provide the procedure.

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.

Illinois Speaker Michael Madigan: A DNC Interview

Aug 1, 2016

As Chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois, House Speaker Michael Madigan ran the show for Illinois’ delegation at the Democratic National Convention last week.  As events would down, he took some time to sit down with Illinois Public Radio Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky and WBBM's Craig Dellimore.

They touch on everything from term limits and Donald Trump, to the state budget and November election.

On Bernie Sanders: "I  think that Bernie Sanders and the Sanders campaign have a done a great serviced for the Democratic Party in America.”