Illinois Issues

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Reporting and analysis taking you beyond the daily news and providing a deeper understanding of our state. 

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State Sen. Andy Manar shepherds historic school funding reform through the legislature after years of failed attempts.

Keith Freeman / Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

Illinois' child poverty rate is just as high as it was in 2010. Is the state doing enough to bring it down?

Kellia Phillips’ teen-aged daughters Jaleece and Janae run track. They have had to do so in ill-fitting shoes sometimes as old as three years.

Janae, 13, loves to knit and crochet. Her mother, says, “I could only get her yarn like every three months and she was so much into knitting and crocheting. I still can’t do that for her right now because I have no income.’’ 

NPR Illinois and Tri States Public Radio host the seventh Illinois Issues Forum on the state's financial health and the lasting impacts of the two-year-long state budget impasse.

NPR Illinois and WGLT host the sixth Illinois Issues Forum on the state's financial health and the lasting impacts of the two-year-long state budget impasse. 

Illinois Issues: Cairo Faces Public Housing Crisis

Aug 17, 2017
Richard Sitler / The Southern Illinoisan

Southern Illinois city's residents grapple with planned closure of public housing complexes.

Carter Staley / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

NPR Illinois hosted its fifth Illinois Issues forum August 9 at the Union League Club of Chicago. The listening tour of the state focuses on the financial health of Illinois and the lasting impacts of the two-year-long state budget impasse. 

c/o Eagle Forum (L) & Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth

Illinois remains a battleground over women's rights.

Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of  sex. 
—   The proposed Equal Rights Amendment. It might sound simple. It’s not.

Amanda Vinicky

We talked to leaders at the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability and The Civic Federation to learn about their insights on the state's first spending plan in more than two years.

Illinois Issues Forum on the state budget and the challenges ahead at the Peoria City Hall.
Sarah Scott / Peoria Public Radio

NPR Illinois continued its listening tour on the state's fiscal health co-hosting an Illinois Issues Forum in Peoria on July 20. 

Community members attended to tell how they have been impacted by the state budget impasse.

Cyndy Sims Parr / Flickr

The Land of Lincoln is the country's largest de facto nuclear waste dump.

Carter Staley / NPR Illinois

The issue pits business interests against privacy concerns.

For Carolyn Parrish, a privacy professional based in Evanston, data privacy is just as important in her personal, everyday life, as it is to keeping her business running.

Illinois Pork Producers Association

This is a statewide debate about a real rural issue  

Sean Tenner

In response to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s order for a 10-day special session, the General Assembly  returned to Springfield this week to focus on crafting a budget. Three weeks ago, legislators tried to beat the end of the official spring legislative session and worked to pass measures ranging from women’s and LGBT rights, farmer’s market concerns and issues related to women in prison. Many of these bills were approved by both chambers, and are waiting to be sent to the governor.

Credit @Ted Schurter / State Journal-Register

Louder outcry from voters may be what will be the trick to produce movement from the governor and House speaker

It's clear you have something to say about the historic impasse entering its third year.  Here are some of the early contributions:

Chicago Police Department

The General Assembly passes legislation aimed at strengthening hate crime laws after a post-presidental-campaign spike in bias incidents.

Justin Wright

Some reformers say Illinois' minimum age for juvenile detention needs to go up.

Credit Carter Staley

NPR Illinois and WDCB hosted an Illinois Issues Forum on the state budget and how it has impacted DuPage County on May 23. 

Illinois Issues: State Marches Toward Clean Energy

May 18, 2017
Dylan Blake

Even as a landmark clean energy plan unravels in D.C., Illinois is on track to meet the coal emissions reduction goals it set.

WATCH-LISTEN: State Budget Forum - Champaign-Urbana

May 17, 2017
Dina Anderson

NPR Illinois hosted a forum on the state budget in Champaign on May 17. 

Community members attended to tell how they have been impacted by the state budget impasse.

Flickr

Commentary: The time has come to stop talking about a  'truly balanced budget'

“Let’s get a truly balanced budget ... ”  Gov. Bruce Rauner and his aides, in various venues on numerous occasions, 2015-present.

Not to downplay the governor’s mantra, but what exactly is a “truly balanced budget?” 

Tom Lisi / NPR Illinois

The spring legislative session has been overshadowed by a 22-month stretch without a budget. Nevertheless, meaty legislation is being weighed. Those issues include abortion, wage theft, animal research and criminal justice.

Teresa Haley comments
Lee Milner / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

NPR Illinois hosted an Illinois Issues Forum on the state budget impasse. Illinois residents who have been directly impacted discussed the burden placed on their community. 

Warehouse Workers for Justice

Legislation aims to improve working conditions for temporary workers as the need for them increases.

Equality Illinois

As rapid-fire change comes at the federal level, advocates want  to keep Illinois' status as one of the leading states in offering protections.

Alex McCray didn’t want to believe Donald Trump had won the election. In the words of the transgender nursing student from downstate Sherman: “I was hoping it was all just one terrible nightmare. It felt like my rights were being ripped out right from underneath me.”

Brent Levin / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

There are reasons for legalizing industrial hemp.

Might pot and ditch weed help ease the state's financial crisis and boost its farm economy?

Illinois Issues: This State's Abortion Debate

Mar 30, 2017
U.S. Supreme Court exterior
Brittany Hogan / flickr

Bill aims to protect abortion rights on the chance Roe v. Wade  is overturned.

With Democrats in firm control of the Illinois General Assembly, abortion rights might seem to be safe in the state. But what would happen if the U.S. Supreme Court overturned its landmark Roe v. Wade decision, which made abortion legal across the country in 1973?

Kendall Coyne

A bill in Springfield seeks to ease the gender pay gap.

Palos Heights native Kendall Coyne, an Olympic silver-medalist in the 2014 Sochi Winter Games and a member of the U.S. Women’s Hockey Team, has joined her fellow skaters in a fight off the ice.

Matt Turner / Flickr

The spring legislative session is in full swing under the shadow of a failed Grand Bargain, which aimed to end a 20-month stretch without a budget. Bills proposed are diverse, including lobbyist ethics, an Obama holiday, wage theft and animal welfare.

Illinois Issues: What The Governor Isn't Saying

Mar 9, 2017
Gov. Bruce Rauner / Facebook

Gov. Bruce Rauner has little to say to journalists, and that's not just a problem for reporters.

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