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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

More progress is being made in distributing the COVID-19 vaccine, accompanied by more criticism of how it's been handled so far.  State lawmakers have been authorized to receive vaccinations as part of Phase 1B of the rollout, which puts them alongside more at-risk groups.

Capitol News Illinois's Jerry Nowicki joins the panel.

voting booths
flickr/ Mortimer62

Republican state lawmakers — who are in the super-minority in the state legislature —introduced a package of election-focused bills aimed at making it easier for citizens to be involved in revising the state’s constitution, repealing legislation, and removing public officials from office.

Office of Rep. Andre Thapedi

State Rep. André Thapedi (D-Chicago) is set to resign from his seat in the Illinois House after 12 years, he told NPR Illinois on Sunday.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

As Illinois marks one year since its first COVID-19 case, vaccine distribution remains on a slower pace than expected, while state and local officials try to determine just how much of an impact the pandemic has had on revenues.

NPR Illinois reporter Mary Hansen joins the panel this week.

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

As the statewide COVID-19 positivity rate continues to drop, mitigation measures are being relaxed and plans are being made to increase the distribution of the vaccine.

Mark Maxwell, Capitol Bureau Chief for WCIA TV, joins the panel.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

This week, Illinois lawmakers wrapped up the work of the 101st General Assembly.  And there is  a new House Speaker - Chris Welch - after Michael Madigan lost the support of his caucus after nearly four decades in power.

Rich Miller of Capitol Fax joins the panel.

Justin Fowler/State Journal-Register via AP

  

Former House Speaker Mike Madigan is now merely State Rep. Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) for the first time in nearly four decades as the embattled Democratic leader passed the gavel on to new Illinois House Speaker Chris Welch (D-Hillside) Wednesday.

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The Illinois General Assembly passed an expansive criminal justice bill on the last day of the lame-duck session, which, among other changes, would end the use of cash bail and impose new certification requirements for police officers. The measure was a part of a slate of bills spearheaded by the Legislative Black Caucus.

Rep. Chris Welch during debate on the floor of the Illinois House
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

On the eve of his 50th anniversary in the Illinois General Assembly Tuesday night, House Speaker Mike Madigan’s apparent replacement, State Rep. Chris Welch (D-Hillside), was confident he secured the necessary votes to become Illinois’ first Black House speaker.

Justin Fowler / Pool photo

Illinois lawmakers spent much of their weekend session debating criminal justice reform bills.

The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus is using the lame-duck session to address a range of social equity issues, from healthcare to education to criminal justice.

IDVA

A total of 36 residents at the LaSalle Veterans’ Home have died since the fall from the coronavirus disease, placing a spotlight on how the facility handled health and safety protocols.  Just hours after being grilled at a state legislative hearing on the matter Monday, the agency’s director, Linda Chapa LaVia, stepped down with an announcement made in a news release from Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s Administration.

Embattled House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) stunned Illinois’ political sphere on Monday morning, announcing he would suspended his campaign for a historic 19th term as leader of the Illinois House after falling short on the support he needs in a first round vote Sunday night.

Hannah Meisel/NPR Illinois

Embattled House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) is facing down what could be his final two days as Speaker of the Illinois House — a title he’s held for all but two years since 1983 — after a Sunday evening vote in a private House Democratic caucus meeting left him with only 51 tentative votes for a historic 19th term as speaker.

Nam. Y Huh/Associated Press

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul is teaming up with the FBI to investigate a spate of fraudulent unemployment claims during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Amidst the turmoil in Washington DC, the Illinois Legislature meets this week for a lame duck session, with questions about who will be House Speaker and which direction the Illinois Republican Party will go.

Chris Mooney, Professor of State Politics in the Political Science Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago, joins the panel.

via IDES website

  

GOP lawmakers are again demanding answers from Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Employment Securities over the state’s processing of unemployment benefits. 

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

  Illinois House Republicans say they’re still waiting on Gov. JB Pritzker to propose specific spending cuts to the state’s current year state budget, which is $4 billion out of balance.

ilga.gov

Democratic state Sen. Andy Manar of downstate Bunker Hill announced Monday he will resign from the General Assembly effective Jan. 17 to join the governor’s office as an advisor two days later.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The panel marks the end of 2020 and looks ahead to 2021, joined by Amanda Vinicky of Chicago's WTTW.

Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington
Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) will resign his Senate seat effective 11:59 p.m. on Thursday — New Year’s Eve.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

This week, Washington D.C. worked on a new COVID-19 pandemic stimulus package, while the first batch of vaccines continue to be distributed to health care workers.  Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is facing criticism for her handling of a new scandal involving the Chicago Police Department.

Greg Hinz of Crain’s Chicago Business joins the panel.


 

Abraham Lincoln Presidential LIbrary and Museum

Citizens of Illinois, I believe, should measure the product of our efforts by these tests: Is the Constitution of 1970 superior to the Constitution of 1870? Is the Constitution of 1970 relevant to the problems of our state at this time? By either test, I submit, the 1970 Constitution possesses a more efficient and economical governmental structure, while strengthening at the same time our commitment to the human needs of our people… the 1970 Constitution talks to a human purpose and a human society.

hand sanitizer outside the governor's office suite in the Illinois State Captiol Building
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois lawmakers have not officially met for a full legislative session day since late May — more than 200 days ago.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

This week, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced $700 million in cuts to the current fiscal year's state budget; a special investigating committee looking into House Speaker Michael Madigan's involvement in the ComEd bribery scandal wrapped up with no action; and Pritzker continues to weather criticism of his administration's handling of the deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans' Home.

Tony Arnold of WBEZ and Rick Pearson of the Chicago Tribune join the panel this week.

Democratic allies of House Speaker Mike Madigan on Monday ended an inquiry into whether the speaker did anything that should disqualify him from serving in the legislature.

Members of a “Special Investigative Committee” formed at the behest of Republicans deadlocked on whether to bring charges against Madigan related to a federal probe into a bribery scheme orchestrated by lobbyists for utility Commonwealth Edison to curry favor with the Speaker.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

This week, Governor JB Pritzker ordered Illinois National Guard medical personnel to the state's four veterans' homes following a deadly outbreak in the LaSalle facility amid criticism from Republican lawmakers.  Also, Michael Madigan continued to resist calls for him to step down as Speaker of the House.

Capitol News Illinois' Jerry Nowicki joins the panel.

Four GOP state House lawmakers on Wednesday voiced complaints from their central and southern Illinois constituents who say they have waited months after applying for new or renewed gun ownership licenses without an update from the Illinois State Police amid an unprecedented volume of applications this year.

Illinois State Capitol Dome in clouds
Brian Mackey / WUIS - Illinois Issues

A pair of Republican lawmakers are proposing changes to Illinois’ constitution that would expand voters’ ability to recall elections in Illinois — something currently reserved only for the governor.

A group of Illinois Republican lawmakers is demanding Gov. J.B. Pritzker call a special session of the General Assembly to deal with persistent state unemployment system issues.

Nearly 300,000 fraudulent unemployment claims have been made in Illinois this year.

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