Brian Mackey

Reporter - Statehouse

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.

He now hosts the Illinois Public Radio program The 21st.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads and the number of confirmed cases and deaths in Illinois increases, the state faces a growing medical, social, and economic crisis.  Governor J.B. Pritzker is urging people to abide by his "Stay at Home" order and calling on the federal government for more help.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Ngozi Ezike testifies about the novel coronavirus at a Senate hearing on March 3, 2020.
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

For the first time, an infant was among the newly discovered cases of COVID-19 announced daily by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Officials on Sunday said they’d confirmed 296 new cases of coronavirus disease, though official tallies are thought to significantly understate the actual number of infections.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinoisans voted in the primary election as COVID-19 continued its spread across the state.

early voting signs in the Sangamon County Complex
NPR Illinois

Despite fear and uncertainty amid a global pandemic, hundreds of thousands of Illinois voters turned out for Tuesday’s primary election. Overall, however, turnout was down significantly compared to the last presidential primary in 2016.

IDPH director Ngozi Ezike speaks at Illinois' daily coronavirus disease briefing
screen capture / Illinois Office of Communication and Information

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is ordering the cancellation of any event with more than 50 people. It’s the latest mandate in the ongoing effort to slow the spread of coronavirus disease.

Medical and health officials answer questions about the first two confirmed COVID-19 cases in Springfield
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Updated 9:50 p.m. Saturday, March 14

On Saturday evening, Sangamon County health officials announced there are two confirmed cases of coronavirus disease in Springfield.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois takes drastic steps to slow the spread of coronavirus disease, including banning sporting events and other large gatherings. Meanwhile, politicians are deciding how to campaign amid a global pandemic with just days to go before Illinois’ primary election.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaking with reporters at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago
screen capture / Illinois Office of Communication and Information

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is closing all schools in Illinois — public and private — for two weeks. It’s the latest way the state is trying to prevent local spread of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Fox Valley Older Adult Services in a file photo from 2017
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Citing the risk from coronavirus disease, the Illinois Department on Aging is ordering senior centers to close.

hand sanitizer outside the governor's office suite in the Illinois State Captiol Building
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Citing concerns about coronavirus disease, the Illinois General Assembly is cancelling session for next week. Authorities are also restricting other large gatherings in the Capitol building.

Rep. Kelly Cassidy and Sen. Melinda Bush
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois politicians would be allowed to use campaign money to pay for child care under legislation being considered in the General Assembly.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

With new cases of the coronavirus disease known as COVID-19, Illinois public health officials say the question of the virus spreading here is no longer a question of if, but when and how widely. At least two Chicago conventions were canceled, though officials say the risk to most Illinoisans remains low.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois House voted this week to ban red-light cameras in some of the state’s communities, but the legislation leaves out Chicago and some of the biggest suburbs.

Meanwhile, reproductive health activists lined up behind a push to bring comprehensive health and sexual education to all public school kids in Illinois, from grades K-12.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. J.B. Pritzker presents his budget to the General Assembly, WBEZ reports on another trove of emails to and from Speaker Michael Madigan's top aides, and former Gov. Rod Blagovich gets an early release from prison.

Seven Democratic candidates at the beginning of the PBS-Politico debate in December
PBS Newshour

With less than a month until Illinois’ primary election, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is leading in a new poll of Illinois voters. But the field is still quite divided.

Illinois Gov. J.B. addresses a joint session of the Illinois House and Senate.
handout / Illinois Office of Communication and Information

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is already making plans to spend money from a significant change in the state income tax, even though it can only happen if voters agree to amend the Illinois Constitution this November.

A significant chunk of Pritzker’s annual budget proposal, delivered Wednesday, depends on the governor's graduated income tax.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week a bipartisan group of Illinois lawmakers introduced a constitutional amendment that would create an independent commission to draw the boundaries of legislative districts.

Google Maps

A bipartisan group of lawmakers has introduced an amendment to the Illinois Constitution meant to transform the way legislative district boundaries are created here.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A former legislative ethics watchdog calls out the Ethics Commission, former state Rep. Luis Arroyo pleads not guilty (but is thought to be cooperating with the feds), and Gov. J.B. Pritzker wants Illinois to supplant Iowa and New Hampshire at the front of the presidential primaries.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks with reporters at an elementary school in Springfield.
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. J.B. Pritzker wants to elbow Iowa and New Hampshire out of the way in future presidential elections — so Illinois can seize the starring role in the primaries.

House Speaker Michael Madigan speaks with reporters in a corridor on the first floor of the Illinois Statehouse
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is defending his handling of harassment and assault complaints against former state Rep. Jack Franks.

Illinois State Board of Elections
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

An audit is criticizing cybersecurity practices at the Illinois State Board of Elections, but the board is taking issue with some of the findings.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. J.B. Pritzker focused on corruption in his State of the State address this week, a day after former state Sen. Martin Sandoval pleaded guilty to soliciting bribes for doing his job.

a legislators'-eye view of Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaking to a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly
handout / Illinois Office of Communication and Information

Gov. J.B. Pritzker used his State of the State address Wednesday to call for a culture change in Illinois government — particularly when it comes to corruption.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker listed his party's legislative accomplishments Wednesday in Springfield
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is set to deliver his first stand-alone State of the State address Wednesday. Here’s a preview of what he’s expected to say — and what some lawmakers want to hear.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

State Sen. Don Harmon is now president of the Illinois Senate. Meanwhile, state officials say more than 500 non-citizens were inadvertently registered to vote.

The Illinois State Capitol circa 1860
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library

Last weekend, lawmakers elected Don Harmon to be president of the Illinois Senate. It’s been described as a bitter fight, but it has nothing on some of the conflicts from Illinois’ past, including one particularly “discreditable row” from the year 1857.

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

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s personal lawyers are seeking to keep him from having to sit for a deposition in a racial discrimination lawsuit against his campaign.

Dick Durbin speaks with reporters outside his house in Springfield
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

As the U.S. Senate prepares for President Trump’s impeachment trial, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin has a warning for his colleagues.

Sen. Don Harmon walking down the aisle to the front of the Illinois Senate chamber
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

There is a new president of the Illinois Senate: Don Harmon, a Democrat from Oak Park, won the support of his colleagues during a special meeting Sunday afternoon.

Pages