Brian Mackey

Reporter - Statehouse

Brian Mackey covers state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. He was previously A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, Governor Bruce Rauner delivered his annual Budget Address before the General Assembly and House Speaker Michael Madigan fired a long-time campaign worker due to sexual harassment allegations.

Gatehouse Media's Doug Finke joins the panel.

Bruce Rauner
Rich Saal / The State Journal-Register (pool)

When out campaigning, Governor Bruce Rauner has been making big claims about lowering taxes. But there was little follow-through in Wednesday's budget proposal.

Bruce Rauner
Rich Saal / The State Journal-Register (pool)

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has been campaigning relentlessly against last year’s income tax increase.

But in his annual budget address Wednesday, he'll call for spending the extra money that rate hike has generated.

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner is scheduled to unveil his fourth budget proposal Wednesday in a speech to the General Assembly.

Illinois lawmakers have only enacted a budget for one of the three years he’s been in office.

That led to service cuts and some layoffs, but the state didn’t collapse. For most people, life went on as normal.

So we asked Statehouse reporter Brian Mackey: Does it really matter if Illinois has a budget?

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Billionaire hotel heir and Democratic candidate for governor J.B. Pritzker apologizes after another Chicago Tribune story about his 2008 phone conversations with then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Meanwhile, Republican candidate for governor Jeanne Ives, a state representative from Wheaton, is not apologizing for an ad that's been condemned by people across the political spectrum.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Democratic candidates for governor appeared in the first of several televised debates, an unsealed lawsuit reveals Gov. Bruce Rauner has been more involved in his personal finances than he let on, and an audit finds the administration could not properly account for more than $7.11 billion in Medicaid payments to private insurance companies. 

Todd Maisch
Illinois Chamber of Commerce

After one year of Donald Trump’s presidency, the business community is largely pleased with the results: reductions in tax rates and a rollback of Obama-era environmental regulations. But there are concerns about the president's positions on immigration, and the general chaos of the White House.

For more on the business perspective of Trump's first year in office, I spoke with with Todd Maisch, president of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. I began by asking him what, from a business perspective, were the best things to come out of Washington this year.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, Gov. Bruce Rauner dodged a Nerf-ball question about whether former Congressman and Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke was a racist. Meanwhile, Rauner, a Republican, is running an infomercial about Democratic primary candidate J.B. Pritzker. And we hear the latest on the school funding overhaul that just won't end.

Bob Daiber, state Sen. Daniel Biss, J.B. Pritzker, Tio Hardiman, and Chris Kennedy
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Five of the six Democrats running for governor were in Peoria over the Martin Luther King Day weekend. They were making largely similar cases to voters at a forum on criminal and economic justice.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner wrapped up his stay at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy, where 13 people have died from Legionnaires' Disease since 2015. It came a day after a legislative hearing at which members of the Rauner administration defended their response to outbreaks.

Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

The Illinois Supreme Court has heard arguments over a state law that bans child sex offenders from public parks.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner is staying at the Illinois Veteran Home in Quincy, in response to accusations that his administration has not responded well to repeated outbreaks of Legionnaires' Disease at the facility.

Meanwhile on the gubernatorial campaign trail, Chris Kennedy says Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel should be held accountable for driving African American people out of the city while Bob Daiber is getting detailed about a graduated income tax.

Bob Daiber
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Most of the Democrats running for governor of Illinois have long since come out in favor of a graduated income tax, where wealthier people pay a higher rate on income above a certain amount. But it wasn’t until Thursday that one candidate said what that amount ought to be.

John Cullerton and Christine Radogno
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

As we get ready to welcome 2018, we thought we’d take a few minutes to listen back to another wild year in Illinois government and politics.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Twenty-seventeen was a wild year in Illinois government and politics: it began without a budget and ended with the Republican governor facing a primary challenge.

Along the way there was a tax hike, a once-in-a-generation overhaul of education funding, hot-button bills relating to abortion and immigration, and accusations of a culture of sexual harassment in the Statehouse.

Peter Breen
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A new law allowing public funding of abortion in Illinois will take effect as scheduled on January 1. That’s after a judge on Thursday ruled against anti-abortion groups who’d sued to block it.

Mark Goebel-Flickr/https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

A law taking effect January first is meant to force Illinois government to be more honest about its money problems.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner requested a sit-down with the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune, and covered a range of grievances in his hour-long conversation.

He blamed Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel for not supporting the governor's agenda, he said House Republicans were not principled enough, and he seemed disappointed that Illinois no longer had a crisis he could leverage to pass his business-friendly, union-weakening agenda.

The state representative challenging Governor Bruce Rauner in next year’s Republican primary is proposing several changes to Illinois’ pension systems.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Over the last few years, 13 residents of the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy have died from Legionnaires’ disease. Public radio station WBEZ this week published an investigation into problems at the home. The political reaction was swift, with calls for investigations that could last well into next year.

J.B. Pritzker and Daniel Biss
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

With roughly three months to go until Illinois' primary election, there are seven men seeking the Democratic Party's nomination to be governor of Illinois.

One of the key questions facing primary voters: To counter the vast wealth of incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, do Democrats need their own billionaire at the top of the ticket?

Brian Mackey explores the potential upsides — and downsides — of an ultra-wealthy candidate.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday declared he's "not in charge" of Illinois government. Rather, he says, House Speaker Michael Madigan is really running the show.

That same day, Rep. Jeannie Ives filed to challenge Rauner in the Republican primary, saying the governor has "betrayed" their party.

I Voted sticker roll
Wikimedia

Monday is the last day to submit petitions to run for office in Illinois next year. There are several people who’ve said they’re running for high profile offices, but who have not yet turned in paperwork.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The conservative magazine National Review has called Gov. Bruce Rauner "the worst Republican governor in America." We'll discuss the claim, and how it might affect next year's elections.

Meanwhile, a group of Republican lawmakers and anti-abortion groups have sued over a new law that extends abortion coverage to women enrolled in state health insurance programs.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A group of state lawmakers and anti-abortion groups sued the state of Illinois Thursday. They’re trying to block a new law that will allow state money to pay for some abortions.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Monday was an important date on the way to the 2018 elections. It was the beginning of the period when Illinois candidates have to file petitions with, in some cases, thousands of signatures needed to get on the ballot.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Rep. Jeanne Ives continues her campaign to deny Gov. Bruce Rauner renomination as the Republican candidate for governor — a race in which Congressman John Shimkus, the Illinois delegation's senior Republican, is declining to endorse.

Then, do voters care whether candidates release detailed tax returns — or any tax returns — and should they?

Finally, a name from Illinois politics past surfaces as a potential challenger for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

John Shimkus
Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

Illinois’ senior Republican Congressman has declined to endorse Governor Bruce Rauner in next year's primary election.

small cell technology
handout / AT&T

AT&T and other mobile phone providers are pushing legislation they say will ease congestion on their networks. But some towns and cities across Illinois are worried it’s really a power grab.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner and Republican challenger Rep. Jeanne Ives hit the road this week. On the Democratic side, J.B. Pritzker sets a deadline for releasing his tax returns, after Sen. Daniel Biss compared him to President Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, Rauner signs ethics legislation that will allow the new legislative inspector general to investigate a backlog of complaints dating back nearly three years.

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