Statehouse

Rachel Otwell / NPR Illinois

Illinois lawmakers doubled the gas tax, raised vehicle registration fees and the tax on tobacco – all to gather money for a $45 billion statewide construction program.

Negotiations spilled into the weekend as an agreement on a gambling package – the primary funding mechanism for building improvements throughout the state – fell apart on Friday, the last day of the spring legislative session.

House Speaker Michael Madigan speaks to his colleagues and Gov. J.B. Pritzker on the last day of the 2019 legislative session
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinoisans will soon pay more for gasoline and cigarettes. Those are just two tax increases needed to pay for a $45 billion infrastructure plan, which includes money from sports betting and additional casinos.

Rep. Kelly Cassidy and Sen. Melinda Bush
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Legislation meant to protect abortion rights if Roe v. Wade is overturned is headed to the governor’s desk.

Speaker Madigan watching a roll call on the electronic display board.
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The usual May 31st deadline for the Illinois General Assembly passed last night, but lawmakers are not yet done with their work.

Cassidy debate
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois is poised to become the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana after lawmakers approved a massive 610-page proposal that is touted as one of the most equitable in the country. 

Roberta Lynch speaks with reporters at a news conference
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the biggest labor union representing Illinois state workers, has reached a contract deal with Governor J.B. Pritzker’s administration.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey

Note: The show was taped during the noon hour on Friday, while debate and negotiations at the Statehouse were still ongoing.

On the final day of the Regular Legislative Session, lawmakers continued to work on finalizing the state budget, along with votes still to come on a constitutional amendment to switch Illinois to a graduated income tax, legalization of marijuana, expansion of gambling, and abortion legislation.  WTTW's Amanda Vinicky joins the panel.

House Speaker Michael Madigan makes a rare visit to the House floor
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Friday is the last day of the Illinois General Assembly’s scheduled spring legislative session, and lawmakers still have a long list of things to do.

Reps. Mike Zalewski and Rob Martwick listen to debate over proposed rates for a graduated income tax
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Democrats are almost finished carrying out one of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s top campaign pledges, as the Illinois House on Thursday approved tax brackets for his proposed graduated income tax.

Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Construction workers are building the foundation for new tracks at a train crossing south of downtown Springfield. The long-term plan includes new underpasses so cars won’t have to wait for trains.

Several months ago, Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder sent a letter to lawmakers asking for $127 million in a construction plan to pay for the next phase – new tracks and overpasses farther south.

Sens. Healther Steans and Toi Hutchinson celebrate passage of the recreational cannabis legislation in the Illinois Senate
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois state Senate approved a proposal on Wednesday to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 years and older beginning on January 1, 2020. 

fingerprints
Alan Levine / Flickr - CC-by 2.0

People who want to legally own a firearm in Illinois would have to submit fingerprints under legislation approved Wednesday in the state House of Representatives.

With only three full days left in the Illinois Spring legislative session, the long-awaited gaming expansion plan is still under wraps. 

Rep. Kelly Cassidy watched as the Reproductive Health Act passes.
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

After a long and unusually emotional debate in the Illinois House Tuesday, lawmakers approved legislation aimed at keeping abortion legal in Illinois, regardless of what happens in other states or Washington, D.C.

Illinois Capitol Rotunda
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The U.S. Census count is less than a year away, and the group tasked with making sure everyone is counted is asking state lawmakers for millions to help in that effort.

If the count on April 1, 2020 reveals that Illinois has lost another 45,000 residents, the state could lose two of its 18 congressional seats, according to an analysis from Election Data Services Inc., a political consulting firm.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker hugs Rep. Robert Martwick after passage of a graduated income tax constitutional amendment
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois voters will get to decide the future of the state’s income tax. Democrats on Monday approved a measure to put a graduated income tax on the ballot next fall.

State Sen. Emil Jones III (D-Chicago)
Illinois Senate Democrats / Illinois Senate Democrats

With only four days left in the Illinois legislative session, some lawmakers say they are ready to move forward with a gambling expansion proposal.  But many others have pressing questions about diversity and business opportunities — one of several issues left to be worked out before the end of session May 31. 

Illinois Capitol Rotunda
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois lawmakers are back in Springfield Monday. They’ve got a long to-do list — with just five days until the end of session.

Child welfare workers are calling on Illinois lawmakers to better fund private services.

Kelly Cassidy testifies with Dr. Tabatha Wells of Planned Parenthood and Colleen Connell of the ACLU of Illinois
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Late Sunday night, Illinois Democrats advanced legislation meant to protect abortion rights in case Roe v. Wade is overturned.

House Revenue and Finance Committee
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Democrats are advancing legislation that spells out the rates for a proposed graduated state income tax.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois General Assembly has just one week left in its spring legislative session, and the number of outstanding issues are beginning to pile up.

A graduated income tax constitutional amendment seems to be on track, but lawmakers are still hashing out details — and rounding up votes — on crafting state budget, funding an infrastructure program, legalizing marijuana, and expanding gambling.

Dana Vollmer / NPR Illinois

Gov. J.B. Pritzker wants to raise taxes on beer and other types of alcohol to help pay for construction projects.

Sports betting in a Nevada casino.
Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar / Flickr: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

With only one week left in the spring legislative session, lawmakers are still trying to piece together a final sports betting proposal, but issues between daily fantasy sports company FanDuel and Rivers Casino chairman Neil Bluhm – could be holding up negotiations.

The rail at the Illinois capitol
Matt Turner / Flickr

Illinois lawmakers have agreed to make a change to the state's minor consent law for health care services. The current statute allows children 12 and up access to diagnosis and treatment options for sexually transmitted infections and HIV, but not preventative healthcare or counseling. A proposal, that now heads to Gov. J.B. Pritzker's desk, would ensure youth also have access to preventions options without parental consent.  

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

State Representative Kelly Cassidy said Thursday that she’s received a pledge from House Speaker Mike Madigan that her expansive abortion legislative will be heard.

That bill would lift provisions that would make performing abortions illegal if Roe. V. Wade is overturned. The bill would also require private insurers to cover abortion if they already cover pregnancy-related expenses.

Statehouse Update: One Week Left And Miles To Go

May 23, 2019

Recreational pot, construction projects and more — here’s what we know.

Delia Ramirez
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Affordable-housing advocates are joining the chorus calling on Illinois lawmakers to approve an infrastructure plan.

guns ammo bullets
Tony Webster - Flickr / CC-by 2.0

Illinois lawmakers are considering whether to overhaul the application process for Firearm Owner’s Identification cards.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois officials faced tough questioning Monday over the lease of a warehouse for file storage.

The Legislative Audit Commission hearing also got at broader questions over how state government spends money.

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