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The U.S. House of Representatives passed the For The People Act Friday. The bill would require political organizations to disclose large donations, and make changes to Congressional ethics rules. Illinois Representative Cheri Bustos introduced the legislation, and says it was spurred by citizens’ political frustration.

Kinzinger for Congress campaign

Wisconsin National Guard officials said Tuesday they're looking into whether to punish an Illinois congressman who belongs to the Wisconsin detachment for criticizing Gov. Tony Evers' decision to withdraw troops from the U.S. southern border.

Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger is a Wisconsin Air National Guard pilot with the rank of lieutenant colonel. He criticized Evers Monday on Twitter and on Fox News for ordering Wisconsin troops to pull out of Arizona.

Congresswoman Underwood Hosts First Town Halls

Feb 20, 2019
Sarah Jesmer

Freshman Representative Lauren Underwood (D-14) held a series of town halls throughout her district. She fielded questions about health care, climate change and border security at her last stop in Sycamore.

Congresswoman Underwood answered questions from a crowd of nearly 150 people at a DeKalb County high school Tuesday night.

Underwood sits on the Committee of Homeland Security. She said President Trump’s emergency declaration to bypass Congress for funding for a border wall is unconstitutional.

Sarah Jesmer

Democrat Lauren Underwood got a lot of attention when she upset incumbent Randy Hultgren to take the seat in Illinois’ 14th Congressional District. She became the youngest African-American woman elected to Congress. And she won with a progressive platform in what was considered a heavily Republican district.  In this week's Friday Forum, we hear Underwood’s thoughts on her new job.

Guy Stephens

The representative of Illinois’ 14th Congressional District went back home this weekend to reaffirm and celebrate her new job.

 

Democrat Lauren Underwood took the official oath of office with the rest of her colleagues Jan. 3 in Washington, D.C. The ceremonial swearing-in at her old high school, Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, was a chance for supporters in her district to bask in her triumph.

 

Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for Northern Illinois Ruben Castillo administered the oath while Underwood’s father held the Bible for her.

photo provided

An Illinois Democrat has been elected to head her party's Congressional campaign committee. 

Representative Cheri Bustos is only the second woman to head the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. She beat out two other representatives from Washington State who wanted to lead the organization that’s tasked with getting more Democrats elected to the House.

Sarah Jesmer

Marilyn Hite Ross will be Winnebago County's new State's Attorney. She currently is serving as the Chief of the Criminal Bureau. She was confirmed by the Winnebago County Board on Tuesday night with a vote of 17 to 3.

Hite Ross says she wants to champion issues related to domestic violence survivor support and a more transparent police force.

She also says she would love to see more long term mental health facilities. She said some in the criminal justice system should really be in mental health facilities.

In Illinois, the debate over gun control was waged in county-wide elections.

 

Voters in more than a dozen counties recently approved measures urging the state not to pass further gun control measures. And in several counties, the proposals added immigration to the mix.
 

Sarah Jesmer

Protests unfolded across the country Thursday evening in response to the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, after the president asked him to step down. Some see this as President Trump directly threatening the investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

MoveOn.org and partners orchestrated the mass protest, including one in DeKalb.

U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D) was re-elected to his seat in Illinois' 3rd Congressional District, receiving more than 70 percent of the vote. But for some, it was troubling that his opponent, Arthur Jones, got as much as 27 percent.

In the spring, the district made national headlines when Jones, a holocaust denier and avowed Nazi, won an uncontested Republican primary. His candidacy was roundly condemned by political leaders across the nation.

flickr user Tex Texin ""Crime Scene Do Not Cross" tape" (CC BY 2.0) http://bit.ly/2p7HmsC

Chicago's police superintendent is recommending the firing of an officer who three years ago fatally shot a teenager and his neighbor while responding to a disturbance call.

On Wednesday, Superintendent Eddie Johnson filed charges with the city's Police Board that recommend Officer Robert Rialmo be fired for shooting 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier and 55-year-old Bettie Jones. In making his recommendation, Johnson alleges "multiple rule violations."

Follow live coverage of the 2018 midterm elections, including results and analysis. Get caught up on the latest news.

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Claire Buchanan

Illinois residents are registering to vote and casting their ballots early in record numbers.

The Illinois State Board of Elections reports more than 8 million people have registered to vote, which is higher than the amount in the 2016 Presidential election.  Spokesman Matt Dietrich says there’s also been a rise in early voting.

“Right now we’ve got close to 750,000 early votes cast," he said.  "If that keeps up, we’ll definitely surpass the number that we saw in 2014, which was 791,000. But it’s also possible that we could have more early votes cast than we saw in 2016.”

 

Election day is just a week away. Voters in the 16th Congressional District will choose between Republican incumbent Adam Kinzinger and Democratic challenger Sara Dady.

Whitehouse.gov

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is coming to Illinois this week to drum up support for several Democratic congressional candidates.

Biden will host a rally Wednesday morning at the Kane County Fairgrounds in St. Charles to urge people to vote for Lauren Underwood in Illinois' 14th District. Biden formally endorsed Underwood in September.

Biden and Underwood will also encourage supporters to vote early.

Is There A Future For Recreational Pot In Illinois?

Oct 19, 2018
Sarah Jesmer

Canada recently became the largest country in the world to legalize recreational marijuana. Lines of customers looking to buy government regulated cannabis stretched for blocks. Clive Moore is a student at Concordia University in Montreal. He says he didn't expect the law to become a reality.                   

"It seems, ridiculous, it's just one of those things we just asked the government for repeatedly, and eventually they each caved in and gave it to us," said Moore.

Connie Kuntz

Everybody is busy and Nicole Rundall Royal is no exception, but the vote must go on.  Nicole took a minute to talk to us outside the Rockford Board of Elections after she voted early.  She told us the process was very simple.

"I just went in and gave them my name and they handed me a ballot and I went and voted.  It took me maybe five minutes."

Flickr Commons: Public Domain

The next debate for Illinois nominees for governor is this Wednesday in Chicago. But two candidates are being left out this time around.

At an NBC Chicago roundtable last month, Republican Governor Bruce Rauner sparred with state Senator Sam McCann, who is running under the banner of the Conservative party.  That's something that won't be happening at the forthcoming debate, sponsored by the League of Women Voters, since McCann and Grayson "Kash" Jackson, the Libertarian nominee, did not meet the criteria to attend.

 

Provided by Davis and Londrigan campaigns.

The candidates running for Illinois’ 13th Congressional District weighed in on the testimony provided last Thursday by Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, and one of his accusers, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. But only one provided a straight answer when asked whether or not they support a full investigation into the allegation of sexual assault.

NIU

Illinois is a much easier place to vote than it was a couple of decades ago. That's according to a study that shows big changes with regard to voting across the country in both directions. 

Illinois tied for 12th with Minnesota among U.S. states in 2016 according to the study's "Cost of Voting Index." That's up 21 places from the 1996 presidential election.

Chase Cavanaugh / WNIJ News

Two northern Illinois members of Congress are gearing up for the November elections.  

16th District Republican Adam Kinzinger and 17th District Democrat Cheri Bustos are fighting to keep their seats this fall.  Kinzinger is facing off against Rockford lawyer Sara Dady, and says there is energy on both sides.  

 

"I feel very strongly about holding the Senate, maybe gaining some seats, and I think the House is certainly in play."

University of Illinois

 

In his first major political speech since leaving office, former President Barack Obama took aim at the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress — blaming them for inciting division and stoking fears in the country.

Obama delivered the address at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus, where he also accepted the Paul H. Douglas Award for Ethics in Government from the Institute of Government and Public Affairs.

Rockford Public Schools

 

 

lllinois is in the grips of a severe teacher shortage, but late last week, Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed legislation to raise their wages. The bill would’ve ramped up the minimum salary to $40,000 by the year 2022. In a message explaining his veto, Rauner called that an “unfunded mandate.”

Updated at 1:35 p.m. ET

White House counsel Don McGahn is resigning this autumn after a tumultuous stretch as President Trump's in-house lawyer.

Trump announced the departure on Twitter on Wednesday morning.

One likely candidate to replace McGahn is Emmet Flood, who joined the president's legal team in May to focus on the Justice Department's Russia investigation.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said on Wednesday morning that Trump likes McGahn and that they have a "good relationship. There's not really a lot to add here."

TSPR's Emily Boyer

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner brought his re-election campaign to the McDonough County Republican headquarters, where he said he wants to make more state  funding available for higher education. 

Rauner told the crowd of a few dozen people that Illinois is his home and he wants a better future for all of the state's children. He said that K-12 education is now being funded properly. The state has implemented a new funding formula designed to make state funding more equitable among school districts.

Thousands of Illinois Democrats met Thursday in Springfield for the party’s annual state fair brunch.

Candidates repeated familiar attacks on Republicans. But some say they need to do more.

Governor Bruce Rauner on Facebook

Illinois Republicans are converging on Springfield and the Illinois State Fair for Governor's Day.

The annual festivities Wednesday draw a focus on the crucial November balloting. Gov. Bruce Rauner is trying to win re-election along with a slate of statewide and congressional candidates.

Republican regulars meet early Wednesday in downtown Springfield before GOP faithful hit the fairgrounds for an old-fashioned campaign rally at noon.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

At a bill signing event in Springfield, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner continued to say House Speaker Michael Madigan should be prosecuted. 

Last week the governor said he would help fund the campaign of Republican attorney general nominee Erika Harold, hoping she could prosecute Madigan. But, for days, the Republican governor has not said what he thinks Madigan has done wrong. 

That's until now – sort of. 

Flickr User Brad Hagan / (CC X 2.0)

Activists are organizing a "March to the Polls 2018" as a follow up to the Women's March in January.

Women's March Chicago has announced the event for Oct. 13 to celebrate the opening of early voting in Illinois. Organizers describe it as a "critical next step in voter engagement" as women show that they are "changing outcomes at the ballot box to protect a fragile democracy."

Victoria Lunacek

Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate J.B. Pritzker stopped in DeKalb on Sunday to rally support from local Democrats. He also unveiled a new campaign office. He says the goal is to further expand campaign efforts beyond Chicago and the collar counties.  Pritzker also framed his campaign as a challenge to Washington.

"I decided to run for governor because everything we care about, and I really mean everything, is under siege right now by a racist misogynist in Washington, and his local silent partner Governor Bruce Rauner," he said.

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