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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Delia Ramirez
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

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

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.

road construction
Gary Brown via Flickr (gsbrown99)

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is finally getting specific on what could be in a massive statewide building plan — and what taxes and fees could be raised to pay for it.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Republicans are trying to get back in on next year's budget negotiations. Meanwhile, as red states compete to place more and more restrictins on abortion, activists want Illinois to move the other way.

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Republican on Thursday were trying to elbow their way back into budget negotiations.

The move comes as lawmakers have just two weeks left in their annual legislative session, with a long to-do list that includes passing a state budget.

Illustration by Brian Mackey / Photo by Kenwood

News Analysis — The Illinois Department of Corrections did not fare well in a recent state audit. Among the findings was that the agency could not account for 3,568 pieces of equipment.

Dig into the numbers and property records, and you’ll find a bigger story about the challenges of pursuing efficiency in state government.

Stateville Correctional Center
Google Maps

Governor J.B. Pritzker has nominated an Ohio prison official to lead the Illinois Department of Corrections.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois gets an April surprise — $1.5 billion in unexpected revenue — as lawmakers debate what the windfall means. The public also got its first look at the long-anticipated language in a proposal that would legalize marijuana for recreational use.

Meanwhile, an audit found that child abuse and neglect investigations suffered during the budget impasse of 2015-17, and lawmakers advanced legislation that would more than double the gas tax in order to pay for infrastructure building and repair.

electric vehicle charging
Paul B / flickr.com/eastbeach (cc by-nc 2.0)

Illinois lawmakers say they’re ready to move ahead with a major road construction program. It would mean tax and fee increases on gasoline, license plates and driver’s licenses.

An audit released Tuesday paints a damning picture of Illinois’ child-welfare agency.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Listen to a special State Week, recorded in front of an audience at the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices state historic site in downtown Springfield.

Host Sean Crawford, along with regular panel members Brian Mackey, Daisy Contreras and Charlie Wheeler, are joined by guest Hannah Meisel of The Daily Line. The discussion focused on the governor’s push for a graduated income tax and Senate Democrats pushing it through that chamber. You'll also hear about prospects for recreational marijuana, sports betting, a capital construction program and more.

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

The Illinois Senate is moving the state closer to a major overhaul of its tax system.

Senate Democrats approved a constitutional amendment that would change Illinois’ flat income tax to one that’s graduated — where the wealthy pay more.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois’ former legislative inspector general went public this week with a complaint that one of her reports was buried. She says the office is desperately in need of reform, and absent that, is effectively powerless.

Meanwhile, WBEZ-FM is reporting Gov. J.B. and First Lady M.K. Pritzker are under federal investigation for removing toilets from a mansion in order to lower their property tax bill.

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.

Capitol in fog
Amanda Vinicky / NPR Illinois

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

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Alex Weimer / Flickr.com/americanbackroom (CC-BY-NC 2.0)

The Illinois law meant to prohibit distracted driving may not prohibit watching videos behind the wheel, so state lawmakers are trying to change it.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey

This week, rallies at the statehouse over gun rights and abortion; still more questions about legalized sports betting; and despite the launch of a new awreness campaign, another State Trooper killed by a semi-trailer on the highway.

boarding an aircraft at O'Hare
Michael Kappel / flickr.com/m-i-k-e (cc by-nc 2.0)

Illinoisans can now get driver’s licenses and state ID cards that comply with Real ID, the strict federal security requirements that will soon be needed for air travel.

Brendan Kelly
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois State Police says its cars have been hit 14 times this year — more than in each of the previous three years in their entirety.

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

The Illinois State Police was under fire Monday for the state’s huge backlog in testing crime-scene DNA.

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