Sen. Jason Barickman

Illinois officials faced tough questioning Monday over the lease of a warehouse for file storage.

The Legislative Audit Commission hearing also got at broader questions over how state government spends money.

jasonbarickman.com

The issue of legalizing recreational use of marijuana is rising in profile this year. Currently, there are two bills in the General Assembly. Several Democratic candidates for governor have embraced the proposal, saying it would bring badly needed revenue to the state and reduce black market and gang control of an existing industry.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, though, bluntly opposed the idea last week in a WSIL television interview in Marion.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Republicans are pushing for a new program similar to school vouchers as part of negotiations over the education funding formula.

The impasse over school funding is jeopardizing nearly all state money for K-12 schools. Negotiations are continuing after Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed portions of the bill. But Republican State Sen. Jason Barickman accused Democrats of changing their position.

"We keep hearing from Democrats that 'We’re close, we’re close, we’re close,'" he said, "when in fact they’ve never put a firm stake in the ground, something that we could accept."

Flickr user / alamosbasement "old school" (CC BY 2.0)

New information about Illinois senate Republicans’ school funding plan were revealed Wednesday.

One week after State Sen. Jason Barickman held a press conference to announce his own school funding plan, he filed two amendments totaling 500 pages. Barickman’s plan echoes many of the themes contained in a measure filed by his Democratic colleague Andy Manar but eliminates the block grant for Chicago Public Schools​.

His plan also offers school districts a choice about certain unfunded mandates. The two senators had tried previously to craft a bipartisan plan.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois lawmakers from both political parties seem to be gathering behind a new school funding plan called the "evidence-based model." Jason Barickman, a Republican from Bloomington, announced he plans to file his own version in the Senate.

State Sen. Scott Bennett says Democrats in his chamber supported a rules change last week to impose term limits on Senate legislative leaders as a show of good faith.

 

The Champaign Democrat says they’re showing their commitment to imposing the ten-year term limits on leaders in both legislative chambers as part of a state budget package.

 

senatorbarickman.com / Peoria Public Radio

Governor Rauner spent most of the past four months traveling around Illinois, touting his so-called "Turnaround Agenda."

Some of his requests, like allowing localities to create right-to-work zones, faced an uphill battle from the beginning. But other items, like term limits, have been popular with voters since the governor ran on them last year.

Now Democrats, who control the legislature, refuse to bring a term limit proposal to a vote. They say it's a distraction from passing a state budget before the weekend's deadline.