Brian Mackey

Reporter - Statehouse

Brian Mackey covers state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. He was previously A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.

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State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week ProPublica Illinois and the Chicago Tribune collaborated on a story that revealed the extent to which Illinois schools are using "seclusion rooms" — essentially solitary confinement — to handle children who cause trouble, mostly in special education classes.

Sandbagging the Bulkheads (mural study, Cairo, Illinois Post Office) by Wendell Jones
Wendell Jones / Smithsonian American Art Museum

Would you say that most people can be trusted, or that you can’t be too careful? An NPR Illinois survey shows Illinoisans are divided on the question — though not in the usual ways of politics. This week, we look at the issue of trust, and why it matters for democracy.

flickr/katerha

Lawyers are asking a federal judge to hold the state of Illinois in contempt over the way it deals with mental illness in prisons.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

After four decades in the legislature, Senate President John Cullerton announced he'll retire in January. Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot spent a day lobbying in the Capitol, but came away empty handed. And lawmakers approved measures intended to improve the fiscal future of police and fire department pensions.

Rodney Davis speaking at the Illinois State Fair in August 2019
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

With the impeachment investigation moving into a more public phase this week, members of Congress are calibrating their responses.

Rodney Davis’ 13th District includes wide swaths of rural, central Illinois, where President Trump is popular. But is also includes college towns filled with Democratic voters, and Davis was re-elected by a slim margin last year.

It’s against that backdrop that Davis has traveled from being a Trump objector — to a Trump supporter.

Dick Durbin
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says he’ll try again this week to pass legislation that would permanently resolve the immigration status of the young immigrants known as “dreamers.”

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot leaves the Press Room in the Illinois Statehouse on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019.
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

After spending Tuesday lobbying in the state Capitol, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says she’s optimistic lawmakers will go along with her changes for a proposed Chicago casino. Otherwise she says there could be negative consequences for the entire state.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Democrats and Republicans are calling for an ethics crackdown in the wake of now-former state Rep. Luis Arroyo being charged with bribery.

Two people in business attire ascending on an escalator.
Alex Proimos / Flickr.com/proimos (cc by-nc 2.0)

A new report from the Illinois General Assembly suggests concerns about the economy might be overblown.

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

A proposal that would let college athletes make money from endorsements cleared a major hurdle Wednesday in the Illinois General Assembly.

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin makes final remarks as the 2019 legislative session comes to a close
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A day after state Rep. Luis Arroyo was charged with bribery, his colleagues began the process to throw him out of office.

Pritzker in ceremonial office
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker is supporting legislation that would let college athletes get paid for endorsements.

Luis Arroyo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

An Illinois state lawmaker is facing bipartisan calls for his resignation. It comes after he was charged Monday with attempted bribery.

Illinois Capitol Rotunda
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois lawmakers are back in Springfield Monday for the start of what’s expected to be a relatively quiet veto session.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot proposed a budget this week. The city's path to greater financial health runs through Springfield, but will the General Assembly come through?

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Chicago teachers on are on strike as freshman Mayor Lori Lightfoot makes some big requests of lawmakers in Springfield. Billionaire Gov. J.B. Pritzker releases summaries of his annual tax returs, and uses them to promote a graduated income tax for Illinois. And we take a closer look at the proposed asset consolidation for the hundreds of troubled downstate and surburban local police and fire pension funds.

Sky's the Limit walkway-com-art installation at O'Hare International airport
Thomas Hawk / via Flickr.com/thomashawk (cc by-nc 2.0)

New polling data from NPR Illinois and the University of Illinois Springfield shows Illinois registered voters are sharply split on whether immigrants help or hurt the state.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

There's more information about the federal investigation into state Sen. Martin Sandoval, we dig deep on why Illinois' population is declining, and Gov. J.B. Pritzker's approval rating is high despite negative attitudes about the state.

Susana Mendoza speaks to people attending a women's march outside the Illinois Capitol
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza is joining calls for state Sen. Martin Sandoval to step down from his role as chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee.

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

A broad majority of Illinois voters support major changes to the state income tax, favoring a system where the wealthy pay more. That’s according to new survey data from NPR Illinois and the University of Illinois Springfield.

Gov. Pritzker speaks at a Democratic candidate forum
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A majority of Illinoisans think the state is on the wrong track and have a dim view of the economy, but the pessimism doesn’t seem to be affecting Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s job approval.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

More details come out about FBI raids on the home and offices of state Sen. Martin Sandoval. The Legislative inspector general is out with two reports about sexual harassment under House Speaker Michael Madigan's watch. And Planned Parenthood has been secretly building a new facility in Illinois near St. Louis.

federal agents waiting for a ride
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The federal investigation into state Senator Martin Sandoval involves lobbyists, government officials, and construction companies. That’s according to a newly released copy of a search warrant for the senator’s Springfield office.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Federal agents raided the Capitol and district offices of state Sen. Martin Sandoval. The director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum was let go. And state Sen. Toi Hutchinson, one of the "marijuana moms" is to be named Illinois' first "cannabis czar."

federal agents waiting for a ride
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

FBI agents raided the Capitol office of Illinois state Sen. Martin A. Sandoval Tuesday morning.

A stock-photo vape pen in seen in a photography by Georgia Geen of VCU Capital News Service.
Georgia Geen/VCU Capital News Service / via flickr.com/vcucns (cc by-nc 2.0)

Illinois lawmakers are considering a ban on flavored e-cigarettes and vaping products.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A new report raises questions about the future profitability of casino gambling, one of the first people to say #MeToo in the context of Illinois politics is still looking for work, and the Illinois State Fair's claim of record revenue is not the whole story.

Stateville Correctional Center is shown as a puzzle
Google Maps / Illustration by Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

The Illinois Department of Corrections is being cited for a range of problems in an audit released Wednesday. There were 46 findings over a two-year period.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is once again under scrutiny, the Pritzker administration issues a budget warning, and Cook County judges reelect their leader.

100 dollar bill about to be cut with scissors
IGPA

State agencies are getting a warning from Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s budget office: Be prepared to make significant cuts next year.

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