Illinois legislature

Republican State Senator Karen McConnaughay says she will not be seeking re-election in November.

Senator McConnaughay served as the Kane County Board Chairman before being elected to the state’s 33rd District in 2012. She says after more than 26 years in politics, it is time to step back and let someone else “take a shot” at solving problems in the district.  McConnaughay says, for now, she’ll focus on ethics reform.  

Guy Stephens/ WNIJ

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has a familiar wish list for the legislative session that begins this week.

Rauner has several items that he’s been asking for since he first ran for office, but his top priority this year, he said, is the budget. He said it’s time to get it right.

“Let’s get a revenue estimate that we agree on, as the law calls for," he said, "and then do a balanced budget that lives within our means for a full year, not a partial -- and that calls for no new taxes.”

Then, Rauner said, he wants to start work on his next priority.

Two Area GOP Representatives Not Seeking Re-Election

Jul 31, 2017

Republican State Representatives Bob Pritchard of Hinckley and Barbara Wheeler of Crystal Lake announced on Monday that they will not seek re-election next term.

According to a news release, Pritchard said some state challenges result from representatives serving too long and not being open to compromise on difficult issues. 

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Governor Bruce Rauner today is approving a compromise between Republicans and Democrats that sends emergency money to public universities.

    

But that compromise doesn’t mean the two parties are getting along any better.

This state money is coming just as Chicago State University had said it would close its doors Friday.

The top House Republican Jim Durkin says it took Chicago State’s closing to get Democrats and House Speaker Michael Madigan to quit playing games.

Illinois General Assembly

Illinois lawmakers are considering adding protections for people with disabilities who are victims of crime.

The legislation is sponsored by State Senator Julie Morrison of Deerfield.  

She says it would allow people with mental impairments who have been physically or sexually assaulted to have someone like a caregiver testify on their behalf in court. Morrison says current law doesn't go far enough. 

"It fails to protect the vulnerable victim who may have a higher IQ but who also suffers from cognitive impairments or developmental disabilities," she said.  

Amanda Vinicky / Illinois Public Radio

It'll be 2016 before Illinois' top political leaders meet again, as a historic stalemate grinds on.

If it wasn't obvious before that Illinois' political impasse wasn't going to end this year, it is now. "With the holidays now and, you know, kids on vacation, and travel, we may not be able to meet in the next two weeks," Gov. Bruce Rauner said Friday morning, after touring a Chicago high school.

Rauner says he expects he and the legislative leaders will next meet in early January. No date is set, but Rauner predicts it'll be around Jan. 3-5.

illinois.gov

Illinois leaders aren't in agreement on a new state budget, even as the current one nears its July expiration date. Democrats passed their own version, but Governor Bruce Rauner can't act on most of it yet, even if he wants to.

Just a few of the budget bills Democrats passed have made it to Gov. Rauner's desk. He has the ability to sign them into law, reject them entirely, or cut down the levels of spending.

The rest are still on hold.

Senate President John Cullerton says Democrats did that for a reason.

Police Body Cameras On Lawmakers' List

May 25, 2015
Chris McDaniel/St. Louis Public Radio

In the wake of officer-involved deaths in Ferguson, Baltimore and New York City, Illinois lawmakers are looking at how to change state laws regarding police officers.

In the final days of the General Assembly's session, Rep. Elgie Sims, Jr., D-Chicago, says he'll sponsor legislation that would require police to wear body cameras. He says the package also would ban law enforcement officers from using chokeholds.

Illinois Public Radio

By the end of this month, Illinois legislators are supposed to be finished with their work. That includes passing a new budget. And lawmakers are complaining that Gov. Bruce Rauner isn’t helping them move that process forward.

Rauner has spent a lot of time since he was sworn in traveling the state selling what he calls his "Turnaround" agenda, with statements like:

"You know we've got a mess on our hands, we've got a financial crisis. But we're going to get through it. We're going to restructure the government."

During his inauguration speech, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan announced a new mission -- figuring out what Illinois can do to prevent violence, like mass shootings at schools. A bipartisan task force formed to study the issue will meet for the first time today in Chicago.

Look back at the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Columbine, Northern Illinois University, and Rep. Greg Harris says you'll see commonalities. Like missed opportunities to help the killers with mental health issues that had been detected, but weren't properly treated.

Roll Call And Reaction To Pension Overhaul Passage

Dec 3, 2013
Amanda Vinicky / IPR

Illinois lawmakers approved cuts to state employee pensions Tuesday. The move comes after years of stalemate over how to address the worst-funded pension plans of any state.

Democratic Governor Pat Quinn immediately declared victory and says he'll sign it into law, while labor unions promise a court challenge. 


Illinois.gov

The committee in charge of finding a pension solution for Illinois is scheduled to meet again Monday. The 10-member committee formed last month out of a special session on pensions. But will the threat of another deadline force them strike a deal?

Brian Mackey / Illinois Public Radio

Environmentalists and business groups have reached an agreement that paves the way for "fracking" in Illinois. 

Amanda Vinicky / Illinois Public Radio

Members of Illinois' 98th General Assembly were sworn in today in Springfield. There are a number of new faces -- but the four at the top remain the same. 

Lobbying efforts are intensifying with a vote on legalizing same sex marriage looming next month at the Illinois Capitol. The rhetoric is coming from both sides of the issue.

WNIJ

Illinois smokers could soon see a huge increase in the cost of a pack of cigarettes. The Illinois House today approved a plan to more than double the tax on cigarettes, to $1.98 a pack. Other tobacco products would see a similar increase.

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Three bills stand out among those receiving attention Wednesday in the Illinois Legislature.  One has to do with health-insurance costs for state retirees.  Another is in response to the comptroller scandal in Dixon.  The third seeks to end the scandal-plagued legislative scholarship program. 

Illinois Lawmakers Go Back To Work

Jan 30, 2012

Budget issues are expected to top the agenda as Illinois lawmakers get ready for the spring session.