Statehouse

Rep. Lou Lang
Brian Mackey / WUIS

A top Illinois Democrat is stepping down after more than 30 years in the House of Representative to become a lobbyist. Lou Lang was until last year the number three Democrat in the House.

Lang has long worked on marijuana and gambling legislation and is becoming a lobbyist as those are expected to become top issues in the coming year.

“I’m around, I’m not going anywhere and any legislator that needs my help to make something happen that I’ve been working on, I’m more than happy to help them,” he said. 

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey

Chicago Ald. Ed Burke is accused of using his position to steer business to his law firm. The city's longest-serving alderman has ties across government in Illinois and the city — will there be other shoes to drop?

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

An Illinois politician is going to Africa, after the U-S Senate approved an ambassadorship for outgoing state Senator Kyle McCarter. The Senate also confirmed a former State’s Attorney to be the next US Attorney for Central Illinois.


When it comes to Illinois state government over the past half century, James Nowlan has been both a watcher and participant. 

New Illinois Laws in 2019

Jan 1, 2019
Meagan Davis / Flickr

State lawmakers approved hundreds of changes that are now Illinois law.

Guns, hemp, and stalking are among the themes of the more than 250 new Illinois laws signed by Governor Bruce Rauner that took effect on New Year’s Day.

We took a look at some of the biggest changes to come out of Springfield in the past year, and how they'll affect life in the Prairie State in 2019.

Juliana Stratton
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

With two weeks until Illinois’ inauguration day, Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker is still filling key roles in his administration. He’s departing from tradition by including his lieutenant governor among them.

via WI State Representative Joel Kleefisch / Facebook

Illinois hunters will soon be able to swap their orange hunting gear with pink if they wish, thanks to a new state law taking effect in January.


State Week logo (capitol dome)
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.

State Week logo
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.

State Week logo
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.

State Week logo
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.

State Week logo
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.

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