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.

Subscribe to a podcast feed of Brian Mackey's stories by copying this URL into iTunes or any other podcast app. You can also subscribe to the RSS feed of his stories.

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.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
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.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
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.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
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.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
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.

Charlie Wheeler in the Speaker's Gallery of the Illinois House of Representatives in 2019.
Clay Stalter / UIS Campus Relations

Charlie Wheeler has been covering Illinois government for 50 years. As he retires from leading the Public Affairs Reporting program at the University of Illinois Springfield, he reflects on the decline of the Statehouse press corps, the threat that poses to democracy, and the rays of hope in non-profit news.

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

Naperville government prohibits recreational sales of the drug in the community. Corruptions charges are formally dropped against former Congressman Aaron Schock. And a vocal conservative lawmaker says he won’t seek reelection.

The Rev. Edward Ohm speaks to an anti-abortion gathering Wednesday in the rotunda of the Illinois Statehouse.
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A small gathering of anti-abortion activists prayed in the Illinois Capitol Building Wednesday. It comes as lawmakers are considering whether to further relax the state’s abortion laws.

Illinois State Board of Elections
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Tuesday marks the official beginning of campaign season in Illinois — the day potential candidates can start circulating petitions to get their names on the ballot.

In Illinois, people can’t really be political candidates until they collect enough signatures — anywhere from hundreds to thousands, depending on the office. State election law dictates when that process can begin; this year it’s Sept. 3.

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

A new report from NPR Illinois and ProPublica shows the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has protected the reputation of several members of the faculty accused of sexual harassment.

Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s tenure crossed the 100-day mark. She marked the ocassion by giving a speech laying out the city's significant fiscal problems, but stopped short of saying precisely what she wants to do to fix them.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker holds giant scissors at the ribbon cutting for the Illinois State Fair in August 2019
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has broken his leg, and his office says he doesn’t know how it happened.

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

As Democrats and Republicans gear up for next year’s election, the parties rallied in Springfield this week with events timed to the Illinois State Fair.

U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi headlined the Illinois Democratic County Chairs' Association brunch Wednesday in Springfield.
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi rallied with Illinois Democrats Wednesday in Springfield.

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

President Donald Trump once again dangles the possibility of a commutation for impeached and imprisoned ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich. 

Rod and Patti Blagojevich
WBEZ / Flickr

President Donald Trump says he is “very strongly considering” commuting the prison sentence of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker has proposed a graduated tax system for Illinois.
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

In the wake of last weekend’s shootings in Texas and Ohio, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is calling for a ban on large-capacity magazines.

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

The U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago announced Friday that state Sen. Tom Cullerton was under indictment for embezzeling from a local branch of the Teamsters union. He’s accused of collecting more than $274,000 in pay and benefits for “little or no work.” Cullerton denies the charges.

Carter Staley / NPR Illinois

Illinois state government is getting a slightly better assessment from one of the major credit rating agencies.

handout / Illinois Office of Communication and Information

People with criminal records could soon have better luck getting jobs in health care.

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

Republicans are lining up to try to reclaim the seats won by freshmen U.S. Reps. Sean Casten and Lauren Underwood, there are fights over a suburban business emitting a cancer-causing chemical, the feds are inching up on the speaker, and more.

Birds N Brooks Army Navy Surplus features an M16/AR-15 rifle atop its sign
Google Maps

A group of gun dealers is suing the state of Illinois to block new regulations on their businesses.

Pages