Statehouse

Capitol in fog
Amanda Vinicky / NPR Illinois

The former ethics watchdog for the Illinois General Assembly says the office is “broken.”

Julie Porter says as her term was ending earlier this year, lawmakers on the Legislative Ethics Commission buried a report in which she concluded one of their colleagues had engaged in wrongdoing.

a woman being injected with a vaccine
Pan American Health Organization / via flickr.com/pahowho (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Public health officials say they‘ll work to increase vaccination rates across Illinois.

The announcement comes as the the U.S. is expected to have the worst run of measles cases since the disease was deemed eliminated in the year 2000.

Courtesy of the Walgren Family

Illinois House lawmakers passed legislation requiring a parent be present when students are questioned or detained in connection to a crime.

A bowl of sesame seeds
Flickr user: jacqueline CC BY-NC 2.0

Around 150,000 children have an allergy to sesame, a study from Northwestern University shows. A proposal at the Illinois Statehouse could help parents and children avoid foods with the ingredient.

State Rep. Jonathan Carroll’s eight-year-old daughter is among the kids with the food allergy. During a cooking demonstration at school, she started swelling up because of tahini – a sesame-based product. Luckily, she took an antihistamine before the reaction was too bad.

matryosha / Flickr / CC-by 2.0

Illinois lawmakers are at odds over how to punish damage to important infrastructure. Some fear it would mean harsher sentences for charges that already exist.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey

Even though it’s the legislative spring break, there are several issues still to be negotiated, including a potential construction program funded with a gasoline tax, legalization of recreational marijuna, dealing with the state’s growing pension debt, and what to do about a declining population.

faucet tap water
Kamil Kaczor / Flickr / CC-by 2.0

An Illinois toddler died nine years ago after suffering third degree burns from bathwater. The Illinois House last week approved legislation to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Sexual Harassment
Shutterstock

Some Illinois lawmakers want more protections for employees who are sexually harassed in private sector jobs. 

Capitol in fog
Amanda Vinicky / NPR Illinois

Illinois lawmakers are moving to give judges more discretion in sentencing people convicted of certain crimes.

Jeff Smudde / IPR / WGLT

Governor J.B. Pritzker held his largest press conference over the weekend — and he’s promising media transparency under his administration.

Governor Prtizker bill signing
Dana Vollmer / NPR Illinois

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a law today intended to protect collective bargaining rights for labor unions.

It would ban local governments from creating “right-to-work zones” — where employees at a unionized company no longer have to pay fees if they choose not to join.

Gas station pump
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

While gas prices fluctuate, one charge at the pump has stayed the same since 1990. Illinoisans have paid the same gas tax – the charge per gallon the state collects. But that could soon change.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Chicago Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot spends two days meeting with Illinois lawmakers. How much of her agenda runs through Springfield?

Meanwhile, Democrats began moving on a centerpiece of Gov. J.B. Pritzker's agenda: a constitutional amendment that would pave the way for a graduated income tax.

crime survivors rally
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul say they’ll use the power of their office to expand trauma services — but they’re asking for help from the General Assembly.

They made the announcement surrounded by survivors of crime at the Illinois Capitol Thursday.

Lori Lightfoot addressing the Illinois Senate
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Chicago Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot has finished her two-day visit to the state capital.

CDDavidsmeyer.org

There’s a civil war of sorts under way in Illinois – pitting Chicago against much of the rest of the state.  This dispute is one of politics and policy and it has even led to a resolution being filed by a group of Republicans that would split Illinois into two separate states.    

Don Harmon and Dan Hynes and Emily Miller
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A proposal to overhaul Illinois’ income tax took another step forward Wednesday. The graduated income tax easily cleared an early hurdle — passage by the Senate Executive Committee.

State of Illinois drawn on chalkboard
Carter Staley / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois lawmakers want to make it easier for marginalized college students to qualify for financial aid.

Lori Lightfoot and Michael Madigan
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Chicago Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot is beginning to lobby for her agenda in Springfield.

J.B. Pritzker
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

After years of campaigning, Democrats are moving ahead with a plan to change Illinois’ tax system. On Tuesday they formally introduced the language they want to change in the Illinois Constitution.

flickr/meeshpants

The co-founder of an Illinois prisoner advocacy group is calling for a statewide effort to investigate claims of innocence.

Susana Mendoza
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza is suspending more than $5.7 million in payments for a mismanaged state technology contract.

Liz Morris
Ounce for Prevention and Illinois Action for Children

About 200 advocates for early childhood education programs filled the Illinois statehouse recently.

The advocates want  $250 million dollars from an infrastructure spending plan for child care facilities around the state. That’s a big boost from the  $45 million  they got in the last plan a decade ago. 

FDR Presidential Library & Museum

Illinois Senators want to make sure everyone is counted in the 2020 Census.

no smoking
daniel / Flickr.com/number657 (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Tobacco sales in Illinois will soon be off-limits to anyone younger than 21 under a law signed Sunday by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

Liz Morris / Ounce of Prevention and Illinois Action for Children

Advocates for children are pushing for expansion of a child care program for lower income families that was cut by former Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration. 

The Child Care Assistance Program was cut severely in 2015 so that 90 percent of the participants lost services. The eligibility limits have increased since then.

Legislation under consideration would further increase the number eligible families by making the income limit higher.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Lori Lightfoot was elected mayor of Chicago this week, trouncing Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

How’d she win? What’s her agenda? And what kind of city council will she have to work with?

J.B. Pritzker
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said Thursday he’s confident the legislature will approve a graduated income tax.

flickr/katerha

Legislation being considered in the Illinois House would raise the age for locking up children accused of a crime.

Ilmicrofono Oggiono / Flickr: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Thousands of Illinois’ home care workers who help seniors are asking for a wage increase— before the state’s minimum wage reaches $15 an hour in 2025. 

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