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Illinois firearms dealers will now have to have state licenses. That’s part of a package of changes Governor JB Pritzker signed into law on Thursday.


This week on Statewide, we take a look at government now and in the past. 

The new governor, J.B. Pritzker, talks about some of the issues facing the state like criminal justice, higher education, taxes and ethics.   

Pritzker is from Chicago.  Most of the state's top leaders make that area their home.  But there was a time when some downstate politicians carried significant weight in the legislature.   We'll talk about that bygone era of downstate dealmakers.

VCU CNS / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

As suicide and opioid death numbers climb, researchers investigate how strong a connection exists.

Sarah Edwards

Like many people coming out of prison, Perry Cline never thought he’d get a college degree.

 

“I thought I was just going to be another bum in the streets,” he said. “So I thank God that he got something else for me. And this is just the beginning.”

Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois

When Illinois approved a new school funding formula in 2017, it didn't make funding equitable across all districts overnight. But it has opened the eyes of the State Board of Education.

The new formula, called "evidence based funding," is calculated by weighing each district's financial needs against the economic resources of the surrounding community. This comparison revealed that some districts have less than half the resources they need, while other districts have three times what they need.

Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault Website / Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault

  

Illinois’ crisis centers for sexual violence survivors are starting to feel the effects of the partial government shutdown—now in its fourth week. Funding for services will soon stop coming in. 

J.B. Pritzker
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. J.B. Pritzker spent his first full day in office taking steps aimed at setting himself apart from his predecessor.

Illinois Supreme Court
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The Illinois Supreme Court is considering whether sending a teenager to prison for 50 years is effectively a life sentence.


Illinois Department of Corrections

Before leaving office, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner granted a pardon to a man wrongly convicted of attempted murder. What makes this clemency unique is that man, Grover Thompson, is now deceased.


Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

It was a good day to be a Democrat in Illinois as Governor J.B. Pritzker was sworn in on Monday along with a diverse group of statewide office holders. In his inaugural speech, Pritzker set the stage for an ambitious progressive agenda in the upcoming legislative session. But, the Democratic governor along with a Democratic majority in the General Assembly have their work cut out for them.

J.B. Pritzker
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

J.B. Pritzker is set to become the 43rd governor of Illinois on Monday. He won in part by promising to make college more affordable, improve the state’s finances, and reform the criminal justice system.

Statehouse editor Brian Mackey sat down with Pritzker over the weekend for a conversation focused on his policy agenda, the problems facing Illinois, and ethics in government.

Katie Buck / NPR ILLINOIS | 91.9 UIS

Despite the federal government shutdown, Illinoisans will continue getting food aid through February.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

A new General Assembly sworn in on the eve of a new Governor and administration.   Tina Sfondeles of the Chicago Sun-Times joins the panel.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Outgoing Republican Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti will pass on the baton to Juliana Stratton next week, when a new administration is sworn in.

 

But before that, we sat down with Sanguinetti to talk about her upbringings with immigrant parents--a Cuban mother and Ecuadorian father, her influence on Gov. Bruce Rauner’s policies and what it has meant to be the first Latina lieutenant governor in the country.​

 

 

Interview Highlights

 

On her influence on Rauner and the policies he pursued:

A new Illinois governor will be sworn in Monday.  When Democrat J.B. Pritzker assumes the role, his party will be in charge of the state in a way not seen in decades.   Democrats gained more seats in the General Assembly during the fall election and Republicans are mired in the super-minority in both chambers.  

Greg Harris
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

For the first time in more than two decades, the Illinois House of Representatives has a new majority leader. And the appointment is breaking new ground.

National Weather Service

The first snowfall of the new year is expected to dump several inches this weekend on central Illinois.  

The Pritzker Agenda

Jan 10, 2019
J.B. Pritzker
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker takes office next week on the heels of the most decisive election victory in a generation. And he’ll be working to pass his agenda through the biggest Democratic majorities in the General Assembly since the 1960s.

That raises a question: What precisely does that agenda consist of? 

The Illinois General Assembly began a new legislative session Wednesday—with both new and familiar faces. Though the legislative leaders remain the same, making what was old “new” again,  Democrats have expanded their veto-proof majority, known as a “supermajority".

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

The new Illinois House of Representatives was sworn in Wednesday at a ceremony in Springfield, and longtime Speaker of the House Michael Madigan was elected to his 18th term in that post. But, one of the 74 newly sworn-in Democrats did not vote for Madigan.


Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

On his way out of office, Gov. Bruce Rauner is offering a few pointers to the Illinois Republican Party. He also touts what he views as the main achievements of his administration. 

Jeanne Ives headshot
Illinois General Assembley

Republican state Representative Jeanne Ives, from Wheaton, made a name for herself as one of the most outspoken far-right conservatives in the legislature. She gave up her seat to challenge Bruce Rauner for governor, but even though she lost, Ives said she’ll still carry the torch for conservatives in the state. 

Lee Milner

The Illinois House on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a measure to remove the members of the Illinois Tollway Board of Directors.


Farmers in Illinois are getting closer to growing industrial hemp. The Department of Agriculture (IDOA) drafted rules for the program which lay out who can grow it, where and how much it will cost.

Doris Turner, J.B. Pritzker, and Juliana Stratton
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker is pushing for bigger salaries for Illinois' top government officials.

Rep. Lou Lang
Brian Mackey / WUIS

A top Illinois Democrat is stepping down after more than 30 years in the House of Representative to become a lobbyist. Lou Lang was until last year the number three Democrat in the House.

Lang has long worked on marijuana and gambling legislation and is becoming a lobbyist as those are expected to become top issues in the coming year.

“I’m around, I’m not going anywhere and any legislator that needs my help to make something happen that I’ve been working on, I’m more than happy to help them,” he said. 

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

The need for new or repaired roads, bridges, buildings and other infrastructure in Illinois continues to outpace the amount of funding available to complete the projects. With a new governor and legislative session starting in January, discussions have already started with an aim to change that.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Chicago Ald. Ed Burke is accused of using his position to steer business to his law firm. The city's longest-serving alderman has ties across government in Illinois and the city — will there be other shoes to drop?

Our first show of 2019 brings you more reports and conversations from in and around Illinois.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

An Illinois politician is going to Africa, after the U-S Senate approved an ambassadorship for outgoing state Senator Kyle McCarter. The Senate also confirmed a former State’s Attorney to be the next US Attorney for Central Illinois.


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