Statehouse

NPR Illinois file photograph / NPR Illinois

The campaign over Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposal to impose a graduated income tax has focused mainly on who would pay higher taxes. But perhaps just as important is the question of how that money would be used.

A sign in the Sangamon County building directing voters.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

With three weeks to go until Election Day, more than 526,000 Illinois voters have already cast their ballots, according to data from the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Illinois Solar Tour

Clean energy advocates are crying foul after Ameren Illinois ended its solar credit program for new solar customers earlier this month, even after state regulators urged the company to hold off. 

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey

This week, Illinois Republicans expressed outrage at the decision to put an Illinois House committee investigating House Speaker Michael Madigan on hold until after the November elections.  Meanwhile, the public's vote on Governor J.B. Pritzker's proposal to move Illinois to a graduated income tax draws nearer, and this week the governor  released his proposals for criminal justice reform.

A.D. Quig  of Crane's Chicago Business joins the panel.

Illinois Legislative Black Caucus

Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford says she plans to reintroduce legislation that would lower the Illinois' compulsory kindergarten starting age from 6 years old to 5. 

Lightford, a Maywood Democrat, successfully pushed to lower the start for kindergarten from the age of 7 years old to 6, which took effect in the 2014-15 school year. Last year, the state Senate passed legislation to drop the compulsory age further, but the measure failed to get out of the House.

Hannah Meisel/NPR Illinois

The libertarian-leaning Illinois Policy Institute on Monday filed suit in an effort to derail Gov. JB Pritzker’s signature policy proposal — changing Illinois’ constitution to allow for a graduated income tax — by forcing the state to issue “corrective notices” about the intent of the tax change, or declaring the vote on the amendment “void.”

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Questions about the connection between Democratic Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and a bribery scheme by energy giant Commonwealth Edison continues to create problems for the Speaker.  Republicans claim a House investigative committee is protecting Madigan, and representative Stephanie Kifowit announced she intends to challenge his position as the leader of the chamber.

The Chicago Sun Times' Rachel Hinton joins the panel.

Illinois State Board of Elections
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A Lake County power couple has allegedly been breaking state campaign finance laws for years, allowing the pair — who sit on the Lake County Board and Lake Forest City Council — to take in more campaign contributions than legally allowed, including from Republican mega donors Dick and Liz Uihlein.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, Governor Pritzker's administration warned that if its proposed graduated income tax vote fails, income taxes on everyone in the state will have to be raised.  Also, with the continuing extensions of the statewide eviction moratorium, landlords are facing problems paying their mortgages.

WBEZ's Michael Puente and reporter Hannah Meisel join the panel.

Illinois House Democrats on Monday accused State Rep. Amy Grant (R-Wheaton) of making racist and homophobic statements during a phone call with a purported GOP donor.

The phone call, which was recorded, included instances of Grant mentioning her opponent Ken Mejia-Beal's race and sexuality. Mejia Beal, of Lisle, is Black and openly gay. 

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, Governor J.B. Pritzker told state government agencies to prepare for across the board budget cuts.  The Big Ten sports conference declared that they will hold games this fall, putting pressure on Governor Pritzker to allow all Illinois students to play.

WBEZ's Kate McGee and WSIU's Jennifer Fuller join the panel.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, a special Illinois House committee began investigating House Speaker Madigan’s alleged role in a decade-long bribery scheme involving Commonwealth Edison.  Meanwhile, Senate President Don Harmon's office was subpoenaed by the U.S. Attorney.  And billionaire Ken Griffin is spending money to fight the proposed graduated income tax amendment.

The Chicago Tribune's Jaime Munks and Professor of State Politics at the University of Illinois at Chicago Chris Mooney join the panel.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, confirmed cases of the new coronavirus have spiked on university campuses throughout the state.  Meanwhile, many kids are beginning the new school year with virtual, remote learning only.  And the Illinois House has created a committee to look into possible wrongdoing by House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Illinois Newsroom's Lee Gaines, WNIJ's Peter Medlin, and WGLT's Dana Vollmer join the panel.

Illinois unemployment offices have been closed to public access since the stay at home order was put in effect earlier this year. 

But Governor J.B. Pritzker said Wednesday there was another safety reason for keeping the doors locked.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, rising COVID-19 positivity rates prompted Governor J.B. Pritzker to once again shut down indoor service for restaurants and bars in Will and Kankakee counties, and warned that the same might soon happen for the Metro East counties.  Local governments are becoming more worried about declining tax revenues due to the pandemic.  And energy company Exelon announced that it may have to close two of its nuclear plants.  

Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois and Kelsey Landis of the Belleville News-Democrat join the panel.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week saw the virtual Democratic National Convention, the decision to remove some controversial statues from the State Capitol grounds, and the death of former Illinois Governor Jim Thompson.

The Chicago Tribune's Rick Pearson joins the panel this week.

CREDIT FLICKR/PIONEER98-HTTPS://CREATIVECOMMONS.ORG/LICENSES/BY-NC/2.0/

Statues of two former Illinois leaders with ties to slavery will be removed from outside the state capitol building in Springfield.

The longest serving governor in Illinois history died Friday.  James R. Thompson was 84  Known as Big Jim for his stature (he stood 6'6"), he had a personality to match.  

Charlie Wheeler was already a veteran of the statehouse press corps when Thompson took office in 1977.  He would continue to cover Illinois government through Thompson's fourteen year tenure.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, the Illinois General Assembly's Joint Committee on Administrative Rules approved Governor Pritzker's intent to fine business owners who don't enforce the state's COVID-19 mitigation orders.  Also, state Senator Terry Link has been charged with tax fraud.

Amanda Vinicky of WTTW's Chicago Tonight joins the panel.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Amid the pandemic, the state's ongoing budget woes received some attention this week, with uncertainty over federal aid to states and local governments.  Also, novel coronavirus positivity rates continue to slowly rise, prompting Governor J.B. Pritzker to issue new emergency guidelines for businesses, schools, and daycare centers.

WBEZ Public Radio's Tony Arnold and Capitol News Illinois' Peter Hancock join the panel.

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This story is part of an NPR nationwide analysis of states' revenue and budgets during the pandemic.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, there were more calls for Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan to resign due to a long-term bribery scheme involving energy provider Commonwealth Edison.  Also, Governor Pritzker issued new guidelines for sports as Illinois' COVID-19 numbers have been rising.

John O'Connor of the Associated Press joins the panel.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

While he denies any wrongdoing and has not been charged with any wrongdoing, Illinois Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan is alleged to have participated in a wide-ranging bribery scheme involving energy provider Commonwealth Edison.  Illinois Republicans are calling for swift action on new ethics legislation.  Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot reacted to President Trump's declaration to send undercover federal agents to the city.

Illinois Information Service

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker is giving more time to those behind on rent or mortgage payments.  He’s extending a ban on evictions through August 22.  A moratorium was set to expire at the end of this month. 

As the minority party at the Illinois State Capitol, Republicans only have a bully pulpit. But when House Speaker Mike Madigan was implicated last week in a utility bribery case, they got more of a megaphone to go with it. 

Bill Wheelhouse

Rapper Kanye West was among those submitting petitions for the fall ballot Illinois on the final day for independent and third party candidates to file.   

West said he is running for president. But he has missed the deadline to file in several states. While he was on time in Illinois, filing does not guarantee a spot on the ballot.  Petitions can be challenged for the number of signatures and their vailidity.  West did not have a vice presidential candidate file with him.  

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, the major electric utility ComEd agreed to pay $200 million to resolve a federal criminal investigation into long-running bribery scheme that implicates Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.  Meanwhile, Governor J.B. Pritzker adjusted some aspects of the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Chicago Tribune's Rick Pearson joins the panel.

Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

The U.S. Attorney’s office says electric utility ComEd has agreed to pay $200 million to resolve a federal criminal investigation into a long-running bribery scheme that implicates Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. 

Pritzker Deciding Whether To Halt Evictions Again

Jul 16, 2020
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Governor J.B. Pritzker says he is considering extending a moratorium on evictions beyond the end of July.  During a stop in Rockford, Thursday, Pritzker was asked if he planned to renew the order when it expires at the end of the month.

J.B. Pritzker
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

As coronavirus cases surge nationwide, Governor J.B. Pritzker introduced a new plan to address a resurgence in Illinois. 

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