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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Equal Rights Amendment is back in the news and back in the Statehouse, as supporters make another push for ratification in Illinois.

Meanwhile, the fiscal watchdog group The Civic Federation is out with a critique of Gov. Bruce Rauner's budget proposal and its own plan for the state, and a southern Illinois county declares itself a sanctuary for gun owners.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Democratic and Republican candidates for Illinois governor will soon receive a written pledge in the mail asking them to support the new law expanding abortion coverage -- and oppose any push to repeal it.  

After a 12-day strike beginning in February, the University of Illinois and graduate student employees settled on a new contract that includes pay raises and tuition waiver protections. Now lawmakers want to clarify who is eligible for those benefits. 

via IL Senate Democrats Twitter account

Ongoing budget talks at the Illinois Statehouse have shown no real sign of progress. This week, Senate Democrats pressed Governor Bruce Rauner’s administration this week to explain its proposal to shift pension costs to local school districts.


TaxCredits.net / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The Civic Federation, a Chicago-based fiscal watchdog group Wednesday said Governor Bruce Rauner’s budget proposal is unrealistic and relies on money that may never come through. The group’s report calls it “precariously balanced”.

Jaclyn Driscoll / NPR Illinois

The Loyola-Chicago Ramblers busted a lot of brackets and captured a lot of hearts when the men’s basketball team, as an 11 seed, made it to the Final Four in the NCAA tournament. For their accomplishments, they were honored at the Illinois State Capitol on Wednesday.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Illinois is promoting its ties to famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. State tourism officials on Tuesday unveiled a self-guided trail linking more than a dozen Wright-designed homes.


Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

With time against them, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and top leaders met again Tuesday morning to talk about adopting a budget before next month. But – there is some disagreement between leaders about just how helpful these meetings have been.

via Illinois Central Management Services

lllinois' 3 million Medicaid users will soon have more access to mental health and substance abuse treatments. Officials in Washington, D.C. ok’d a new state program that sets aside about $2 billion in Medicaid funds for the services.


Flickr: Gabriel Garcia Marengo / 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois lawmakers want to prevent a shooting similar to the one that happened in Las Vegas last year. A proposal, approved by the Senate, addresses security concerns around large-scale events.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Arguments over a flat versus graduated income tax continue among lawmakers; more political fallout surrounding the Quincy Veterans' Home; and Paul Vallas announces he's running for Mayor of Chicago.

Tony Arnold and Dave McKinney from WBEZ Public Radio in Chicago join the panel.

Flickr: rick / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The Illinois Senate approved a measure intended to provide courts with more guidance on what to do when a minor is caught with a stolen car. But some juvenile justice groups say lawmakers are missing the bigger picture.

Comptroller Susana Mendoza

The Illinois Senate passed a measure Thursday that would require the governor to disclose his total office staff and pay them all from his own payroll. The bill now heads to Governor Bruce Rauner's desk. 

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Hundreds of police officers, families, and state officials gathered in Springfield on Thursday for an annual service honoring officers killed in the line of duty. Officers from the Chicago area and Rockford were memorialized in the service at the Illinois State Library.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Governor Bruce Rauner’s administration says a costly rebuild of the Quincy Veterans Home is the best way to get rid of legionella bacteria linked to more than a dozen deaths there. While some state legislators support the move, others remain skeptical.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

When Illinois public officials are dismissed for misconduct, they are sometimes awarded large severance packages – which are paid for by taxpayers. A new proposal approved by the Senate would stop the practice.

Mark Warner via Flickr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Lawmakers in the Illinois House voted to implement more stringent background checks on drivers for rideshare services like Uber and Lyft.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

House Speaker Michael Madigan was re-elected to another term as chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois. Meanwhile, gun owners marched on the Capitol, Gov. Bruce Rauner returned from his European trade mission, and a new report looks at the crushing late fees run up during the budget stalemate.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Illinois' largest public employee union feels it has plenty to complain about. The union known as AFSCME has been fighting for what it says is overdue pay -- going all the way back to 2011.

Sen. Julie Morrison / http://www.senatorjuliemorrison.com/

In response to the deadly Waffle House shooting in Nashville, one Illinois lawmaker wants to make sure firearms stay with those who can legally carry them.

Daisy Contreras

The Illinois General Assembly was unable to override Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of a measure to license gun shops. The deadline to vote was Wednesday -- the same day hundreds of gun owners marched to the Statehouse to ask that legislators oppose the measure. 
 

Landmarks Illinois

The Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield and Du Quoin, which are frequented by hundreds of thousands of people annually, are included on Landmarks Illinois’ latest list of Most Endangered Historic Places.

Landmarks Illinois compiles the annual list as a way to call attention to threats of development, deterioration and more.  

Illinois Innocence Project

Criminal justice advocates say a measure that's cleared the Illinois legislature will keep innocent people from winding up in prison. Among other things, it would require criminal informants to be vetted before their testimony could be used at trial.


Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

The Illinois General Assembly has only a few hours left to vote on a gun dealer licensing measure that would require gun shops to register with the state and pay a license fee. Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed the proposal earlier this month, giving lawmakers only 15 calendar days to get enough support for an override. The deadline is today.

CREDIT FLICKR USER / MICHAEL COGHLAN "PRISON BARS" (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The measure would make it easier for some in jail to vote. The proposal also aims to educate those that have been through the criminal system about their voting rights.  

Moody Air Force Base via Creative Commons / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

People caught texting and driving on Illinois roadways could risk losing their licenses under a measure being considered by state lawmakers.  It’s part of a statewide effort against distracted driving. 

 

The proposed rule change would up the ante on anyone who breaks the state’s distracted driving law. Instead of just a ticket or warning, anyone who’s caught texting and driving would be hit with a moving violation. 

Those are the kind of tickets that count as strikes against your driving record; after three, your license gets suspended.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

In a move not surprising to many, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan Monday was re-elected as the chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party.

Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

U. S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth made history last week by being the first to bring her infant to the Senate floor while she voted. In Springfield, both chambers have been open to mothers and children.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

The Illinois House failed to pass legislation related to the Affordable Care Act on Friday. It would have locked in certain health insurance benefits. 

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, more than 90% of Illinoisans have health insurance. The landmark 2010 law banned companies from using pre-existing condition clauses, and let more low-income people join Medicaid. 

But federal health officials are letting states waive those parts of the law, and put in work requirements for people on Medicaid. The Trump administration has been encouraging both moves.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

State Sen. Sam McCann has left the Republican Party, and will be trying to run for governor on the Conservative Party ticket. Does that complicate the chances for Gov. Bruce Rauner, who narrowly won renomination against a more conservative Republican primary challenger?

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