Bruce Rauner

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.


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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.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Mounting pension debt, persistent cash flow issues, and political gridlock – Illinois has a lot of problems. But it wasn’t always this way.

In a recent article for the magazine Governing, Daniel Vock examines how the state got here

Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner has a track record of handing the toughest topics to small bipartisan panels of legislators. These “working groups” have been tasked with solving budget and pension problems, plus criminal justice reform. And weeks after the Florida mass shooting, Rauner formed a working group on public safety. Like the others, that group meets in private.

 

Speaking after today's meeting, State Rep. Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) said it's probably meant to prevent politicians from grandstanding.

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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.

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.


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.

Another candidate is complicating Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s reelection campaign. State Sen. Sam McCann (R-Plainview) announced a third-party bid for the state’s top office on Thursday. 

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Last month, the state's voters decided on the Republican and Democratic nominees for governor. But with the primaries behind them, the winners still have to convince those who wanted someone else at the top of the ticket.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner made a rare request for a meeting with the four legislative leaders of the General Assembly — House and Senate, Democratic and Republican. In a show of how once-ordinary tasks can be touted as achievements in the current toxic political climate, Republicans left the meeting saying they were pleased Democrats agreed to appoint budget negotiators.

They also apparently agreed to set a "revenue estimate" — the amount of  money Illinois government expects to collect, and thus to spend, in the next budget year.

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

There was a rare meeting Thursday among Gov. Bruce Rauner and the top leaders of the Illinois General Assembly.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Passing a state budget is arguably the most important thing the Illinois General Assembly does every year — or at least should do every year.

After last year's drama — when a two-year standoff ended with a Republican revolt against Governor Bruce Rauner — it's an open question about how things will go this year.

So I set out to answer a simple question: Will there be another impasse?

Mary Cullen / NPR Illinois

Illinois’ bicentennial commission finds ways to commemorate the state’s 200th with little time and limited budget.

Illinois will celebrate its 200th birthday with statewide events, building projects, specialty Pepsi cans, stamps, rosé, apparel and even an officials brew, "1818 Prairie State Farmhouse Ale."

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Illinois House Republicans Tuesday introduced a resolution opposing a progressive income tax — even though Democrats in the General Assembly haven’t been actively pursuing it.  

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Governor Bruce Rauner says if asked by President Trump, he would send Illinois National Guard soldiers to the U.S.-Mexico border.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

J.B. Pritzker is reiterating his call for a graduated income tax — and says before that, Illinois might need to raise its existing flat tax rate.

Rauner at gym with students
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is expecting a new addition to his family: he and First Lady Diana Rauner are becoming first-time grandparents.

Rauner, 61, has six children, all grown, so this was bound to happen at some point.

Still, the governor seemed caught off guard when reporters asked about it this week.

“Uhhh, well,” Rauner said before laughing. “Um, OK. I wasn’t going to about that, but I’m happy — you know what, we’re so excited, I’m sort of busting at the buttons.”

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Thousands of Illinoisans joined people across America and around the world in marches showing support for stricter gun laws. A former campaign worker sued House Speaker Michael Madigan over his handling of a harassment complaint against one of his top aides.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx toook moved against Facebook after the privacy lapses ¸brought into public consciousness by the Cambridge Analytica scandal. And can Gov. Bruce Rauner repair his relationship with conservative voters?

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Governor Bruce Rauner’s office has been criticized by a state audit.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Commentary: Insights from the 2018 primary election

"Is this embattled Republican governor toast?" -- Natasha Korecki, Politico

"Is Gov. Bruce Rauner a lame duck limping?" -- Chuck Sweeny, Rockford Register Star

Bruce Rauner
Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The final piece of Illinois’ education funding overhaul has been signed into law.

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Friday approved legislation intended to tie up loose ends in original law, which passed last summer.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner won renomination by just three percentage points — a remarkable margin considering he raised more campaign cash than his opponent, Rep. Jeanne Ives, by a factor of 26 to one. Ives says she won't be endorsing the Republican governor for reelection.

Meanwhile, J.B. Pritzker bested each of his two main opponents for the Democratic nomination by 20 percentage points. But state Sen. Daniel Biss and Chris Kennedy both say they'll support Pritzker in his race against Rauner.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Governor Bruce Rauner says he needs to “find common ground” with the nearly half of Republican voters who rallied behind his primary election opponent, Jeanne Ives.

In his election night victory speech, Rauner said he heard the message those voters wanted to send, but he has yet to give specific details on what that message is. 

Pritzker and Rauner
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois primary voters have spoken. This year’s race for governor will be a battle between two of the wealthiest men in the state.

But this outcome almost didn’t come to pass.

Democrat J.B. Pritzker won easily, but incumbent Republican Governor Bruce Rauner barely escaped a humiliating defeat.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A week before the primary election, Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed the first gun-control legislation sent to him after the mass murder at a school in Parkland, Florida. It would have required gun dealers to obtain state licenses.

Senate Democrats say they'll try to override the governor — eventually. They bought themselves more time by refusing to immediately recognize his veto, breaking with past practice and the Illinois Constitution.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

In response to a nationwide call for tighter gun laws, the Illinois Senate Wednesday passed several  measures. But so far Illinois has no new laws from that effort.

Bruce Rauner
Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner Tuesday vetoed the only gun-control legislation to reach his desk — one month after the Parkland, Florida shooting.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, House Speaker and Chairman of Illinois' Democratic Party Michael Madigan faced more criticism over his handling of sexual harassment allegations against party workers and lawmakers.  Also, Governor Bruce Rauner is not saying if he supports gun control legislation in Illinois.

Bernie Schoenburg of the State Journal-Register and NPR Illinois' Maureen Foertsch McKinney join the panel.

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Illinois county fair officials say they still don’t have nearly $1.5 million promised to them in the current state budget for fair operations.  

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