Illinois lawmakers

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Restrictions on home cultivation have helped marijuana legalization win Illinois Senate approval.

The Democratic-controlled Senate voted 38-17 Wednesday to allow recreational use of marijuana like 10 other states. The Illinois proposal allows those 21 and older to have up to one ounce.

Chicago Democratic Sen. Heather Steans originally proposed allowing anyone to keep five plants in their homes. Steans' final version allows only the 65,000 Illinois patients qualified for the medical-cannabis law to grow their own.

DeKalb Police Department

In response to a Florida massacre and the killing of a Chicago police officer, the Democrat-controlled Illinois House pushed through some gun control measures Wednesday, endorsing a bump-stock ban and a minimum age of 21 for buying assault-style weapons.

The House voted to prohibit the sale of bump stocks and "trigger cranks," which increase the firing rates of rifles, effectively making them assault-style weapons. Also approved was a bar on anyone younger than 21 buying assault-style weapons of the type used in the shooting deaths of 17 students in Parkland, Fla.

flickr/dankdepot

The head of the Colorado Department of Revenue has spoken to a panel of Illinois lawmakers considering a proposal to legalize marijuana in the state.

Barbara Brohl, the department executive director, told Illinois lawmakers at a hearing Wednesday that she believes the legal market for marijuana is eating into the black market, funding drug abuse treatment and prevention, and providing a safer product, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Brian Mackey/Illinois Public Radio

Partisan gridlock has caused Illinois to run without a full budget for more than a year-and-a-half. But there's one area Democrats and Republicans are working together.

It's one of the rare bright spots in Springfield: Members of both parties have been coming together to improve the criminal justice system.

"I think that's right. In fact, in the bill that you just called me about -- there was very strong bipartisan support."

Representative Barbara Flynn Currie is majority leader in the Illinois House. The "bill" she referred to is now a law.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Anxious legislators will once again see a deposit from the state of Illinois in their bank accounts. They’re getting paid tomorrow.

Illinois doesn’t have enough money in the bank to pay all of its own bills. As a result, the comptroller’s office is way behind paying businesses contracted to do work for the state.

The backlog of overdue bills is approaching $8 billion. A lot of money, to be sure.

But what does that even mean?

Maybe the best way to measure it: How often legislators themselves are getting paid.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan promised to call lawmakers into session weekly, but he canceled a planned session scheduled for today. He's already canceled several of these meetings.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner openly berated Madigan for his decision. But Madigan says bipartisan "working groups" are making progress on the budget.

Lawmakers have different approaches to finding a compromise between Republicans and Democrats. 

Rockford-area Rep. Litesa Wallace, a  Democrat, says there’s no reason to call lawmakers back into session.

BRIAN MACKEY / NPR ILLINOIS

Illinois legislators took time during session today to honor troops killed in war.

Senator Mike Hastings is a Democrat from Tinley Park, and also a combat veteran.

He says Memorial Day is a day to honor the fallen.

"But I also think that it's a day to remember what you learned from their lives. And it's an obligation amongst yourselves to share their memories, to ensure that they're not forgotten," Hastings said.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

With two months remaining in the current budget year ... Governor Bruce Rauner says Illinois has run out of cash.

He's pushing for a two-year spending plan.

"I'm recommending we do a budget that's for 2016 and 2017. Frankly, we're out of money for 2016. There's nothing that we can do really productive for 2016. We should get a grand bargain for both years, and do the right thing for the long term,” Rauner said.

Rauner -- a Republican -- has held out on a complete budget … as he presses for Democrats to adopt to an agenda THEY say will harm the middle class.

BRIAN MACKEY / NPR ILLINOIS

Illinois lawmakers are considering a pair of proposals that would change the way legislative districts are drawn every decade.

The issue is one that first-term Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has asked lawmakers to address to ensure maps for congressional and state legislative seats are drawn fairly.

It's one of the matters he wants lawmakers to tackle as a condition to resolving the 10-month budget stalemate.

Currently, the majority party draws the maps.

BRIAN MACKEY / NPR ILLINOIS

Rank-and-file Illinois lawmakers frustrated by the 10-month state budget impasse are meeting on their own in bipartisan groups to discuss potential solutions. 

Some of those legislators spoke Monday in Chicago during a forum on the budget hosted by The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.

State Reps. William Davis, a Homewood Democrat, and Republican Robert Pritchard of Hinckley say they recently attended a lawmaker gathering in suburban Chicago to discuss tactics.

Brian Mackey / Illinois Public Radio

Spring break is over for Illinois legislators, who return to the Capitol this week.

It's been a month since the Illinois House convened.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has continually said lawmakers were wrong to take a recess, saying he "expressed my frustration to the leadership in the supermajority - both the President and the Speaker - that they had their caucus leave Springfield for a month when we're in the middle of this crisis."

Illinois Budget Breakthrough? Not Tuesday

Oct 21, 2015
Brian Mackey / Illinois Public Radio

A one-day session Tuesday yielded no budget breakthroughs for Illinois lawmakers. The state's been without a spending plan for what'll soon be five months.

It was the first time legislators had been at the capitol since last month, but neither sides' position appeared to move since then.

Emanuel Talks Trust With Springfield

Jun 16, 2015
cityofchicago.org

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the main players in Springfield should cool out.

His comments come as Republican Governor Bruce Rauner started an ad campaign criticizing Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Emanuel says those commercials could make it harder to break a stalemate.

“In politics, dialogue and trust are essential and any time you break that up, you make coming to terms harder," Emanuel said.

uber.com

This week, lawmakers could decide whether Illinois will regulate ridesharing services, like Lyft and Uber.

Amanda Vinicky / Illinois Public Radio

A new session of the Illinois General Assembly begins Wednesday, when candidates who won in November's elections take the oath of office. The outgoing class of legislators left the incoming one with quite a burden. On Tuesday, the previous General Assembly adjourned without doing anything to address the state's massive pension woes. However, there were some last minute attempts.

Illinois lawmakers return to Springfield

Aug 17, 2012

Illinois lawmakers will be at the capitol today to address the state's pension woes. But there's growing skepticism that a deal can be reached at this time. Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno is among those who anticipate the day will end without a pension overhaul.