Statehouse

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Brian Mackey

A look back at the top stories in Illinois politics and government over the past year.

Pritzker and Rauner
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

As we get ready to welcome 2019, we thought we’d take a few minutes to listen back to the past year in Illinois government and politics.

We heard the most expensive campaign for governor in American history, a leading politician pulling the plug on his career, and a range of accusations from hacking to harassment.

Mitch Barrie / Flickr

The ongoing series of mass shootings across the country prompted Illinois lawmakers to pass a number of measures in 2018 aimed at preventing such tragedies. One of those is taking effect on January 1st.

Rachel Otwell / NPR Illinois

State lawmakers have changed rules about stalking. The new law was part of a response to the mass shooting at a Florida high school earlier this year.

Previously, only a person who is being harassed or stalked can file for an order of protection. Under the order, a judge can prohibit the harasser from getting within a certain distance of the victim.

In the hopes of preventing violence, a law that takes effect Jan. 1 will allow churches, schools or workplaces to ask for similar protections.

General Assembly chamber
Matt Turner / flickr

 

The Illinois General Assembly could include sports betting on their agenda this year.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

After years of effort, a bipartisan coalition passed criminal justice reform legislation in Congress this week. Turns out the relationship between Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and presidential adviser/son-in-law Jared Kushner played a role in keeping the legislation on track.

WUIS/Illinois Issues

Illinois is continuing to lose population, according to new Census estimates out Wednesday.

via Annie Thompson / Office of The Attorney General of Illinois

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan says Illinois six Roman Catholic dioceses failed to disclose at least 500 sexual abuse cases involving priests. That’s one of the first findings the office has released so far in its ongoing investigation of the dioceses.


Jenna Dooley / NPR Illinois

The Illinois Legislative Ethics Commission has selected a new inspector general – to investigate misconduct and harassment within the Statehouse

Peter Breen
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Anti-abortion groups are once again going before the Illinois Supreme Court.

They're trying to block last year’s new law allowing state government to pay for abortions.

Rod and Patti Blagojevich
WBEZ / Flickr

Former Illinois first lady Patti Blagojevich has once again gotten the attention of President Donald Trump.

She’s been going on Fox News to argue for clemency for her imprisoned husband, former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich.

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner says he tried to get out of his failed re-election campaign.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner says he tried to get out of his doomed re-election bid. In an interview with Craig Wall of WLS-TV, Chicago's ABC station, he says he tried and failed to recruit other people to take his place on the ballot.

Chao, Pritzker, DeSantis, Trump
still image from video / pool

Illinois Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker was in the White House Thursday, part of a group of newly-elected governors meeting with President Trump.

Illinois Supreme Court
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The Illinois Supreme Court is upholding the medical privacy of a defendant in a lawsuit.

Jimmy Baikovicius via Flikr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is continuing her investigation of the state’s six Roman Catholic dioceses, and now says criminal prosecution is a potential.


Doris Turner, J.B. Pritzker, and Juliana Stratton
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker is making legalizing marijuana one of his top priorities.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker announced his ninth and tenth transition committees this week, including one on business issues and economic development. He also reiterated his committment to raising Illinois' hourly minimum wage to $15.

Blagojevich mugshot with wiretap waveform
Brian Mackey (illustration) / U.S. Government (photo)

News Analysis — This coming Sunday, December 9, marks the 10th anniversary of the day the FBI arrested Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

The event led to his impeachment, criminal conviction and a 14-year prison sentence. There were also changes in state ethics laws.

But there are those who say the corruption was not the worst part of the Blagojevich administration — and I am among them. I'll make that argument in this week's Illinois Issues in-depth report.

Brian Mackey

The Illinois Statehouse is looking festive this year, with its annual outdoor lights descending from the dome to the ground. But on the inside, things look a little less traditional.

via Creative Commons / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Hundreds of Chicago murder cases from as far back as 2014 have DNA evidence from the crime scene: it just hasn’t been processed yet by Illinois’ Forensic Science Lab. State senators met in Chicago on Monday to find out why.


Photo by Martin Brosy on Unsplash

Illinois prison inmates will continue to pay $5 for medical and dental visits, after the legislature tried and failed to get rid of the fee last week.

Prison reform advocates want to eliminate the co-pay, saying it deters inmates from seeking necessary treatment. An Illinois Department of Corrections spokeswoman emphasized that no one is denied care for not being able to pay.  

The effort to get rid of the co-pay comes at a time when medical care in the correctional system is under scrutiny due to a class-action lawsuit in federal court.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner held his first news conference since losing re-election. He would not say why he thinks he and his fellow Republicans lost, but he did tell reporters he's “scared” for the people of Illinois.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

The Illinois legislature has approved the so-called Voices Act, overriding a veto from Governor Bruce Rauner. It's aimed at helping certain immigrants obtain special visas.


State Rep. Lou Lang, a Democrat from Skokie, said Speaker Madigan will decide what happens to former leadership job.
Amanda Vinicky

Illinois state Rep. Lou Lang—a Skokie Democrat—could get his House leadership position back after being cleared of sexual misconduct allegations several months ago. 

The Illinois Innocence Project / via https://www.uis.edu/illinoisinnocenceproject/teshome-campbell-case/

Illinois lawmakers approved tighter restrictions on the use of jailhouse informants, overturning Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto. The legislation is meant to keep innocent people out of jail.


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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner's budget office issued its final five-year forecast and the trends are not good. Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker is likely going to face an uphill climb toward meeting his campaign promises while coming anywhere close to balancing the state budget.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Commentary: Trying to impose his will rather than seeking compromise and calling counterparts corrupt got the one-term politician nowhere.

Like an actor in a Greek drama or a Shakespearean character, Gov. Bruce Rauner will leave office as a tragic figure, felled by his overriding hubris -- excessive pride or self-confidence, arrogance -- that led to his political downfall.

DNA analysis
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center / flickr.com/nasamarshall CC-BY-NC

The Illinois Supreme Court on Tuesday heard its first-ever case on Illinois’ tough biometric privacy law, which imposes restrictions on the collection of things like retina scans and fingerprints.

At issue is whether people can sue just for having their information collected.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Illinois lawmakers say they’ve begun discussing a potential capital bill. It would fund construction and repair projects for the state’s infrastructure over the next several years.


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