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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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.

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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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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner's budget office issued its final five-year forecast and the trends are not good. Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker is likely going to face an uphill climb toward meeting his campaign promises while coming anywhere close to balancing the state budget.

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

The Illinois Supreme Court on Tuesday heard its first-ever case on Illinois’ tough biometric privacy law, which imposes restrictions on the collection of things like retina scans and fingerprints.

At issue is whether people can sue just for having their information collected.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois General Assembly rolled over Gov. Bruce Rauner in the first week of veto session, voting to override his vetos of more than three-dozen bills. But that's only half the game.

When lawmakers return for week two of veto session, the House and Senate will swap bills to complete the override process — will the governor fare any better then?

Stateville Correctional Center
Google Maps

A new report suggests a third of the deaths in Illinois prisons are preventable.

Illinois Capitol Rotunda
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A bomb threat in the Illinois State Capitol Building caused the House and Senate chambers to be evacuated Wednesday afternoon.

J.B. Pritzker and Michael Madigan
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan says he expects to work “very well” with Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker and will support two of Pritzker’s major proposals.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

J.B. Pritzker and his fellow Democrats ran the table on statewide offices at this week's general election. The party also picked up two seats in Congress, increased its supermajority in the state Senate, and gained a supermajority in the Illinois House.

Many of the Democratic gains were rooted in former Republican strongholds outside Chicago. Do the election results suggest a permanent realignment? Or is it unique to the circumstances of 2018?

Pritzker yard sign
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A day after defeating incumbent Bruce Rauner, Illinois Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker is beginning his transition into government.

Pritzker and Rauner
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Billionaire J.B. Pritzker’s big investment paid off. The Illinois Democrat soundly defeated incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner Tuesday night.

It’s thought to be the most expensive governor's race in American history. And Pritzker's win gives Democrats complete control of Illinois government.

Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Illinois election officials say there’s been a huge spike in early voting this year. But it’s not yet clear just what that means.

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Illinois’ top political candidates spent the weekend making a final push ahead of Tuesday’s election.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

In the final days of the 2018 elections, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic nominee J.B. Pritzker are making their closing arguments.

National politicians like President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden were also in Illinois in the last week, mostly to stump for Congressional candidates as Democrats and Republicans vie for control of the U.S. House.

Bruce Rauner
Amanda Vinicky / NPR Illinois

Days before the election, a leading motorcycle group is rescinding its endorsement of Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner gained attention — and generated outrage in some quarters — for an ad that used both profanity and a mock same-sex marriage to attack his Democratic opponent, J.B. Pritzker. Plus an update on the state of the race heading into the final week of campaigning.

Pritzker - Rauner
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The upcoming general election will decide whether Republican Bruce Rauner gets another term as Illinois governor or if the voters will choose to go with Democrat J.B. Pritzker.

But there’s one outcome of the election we already know for certain: Illinois will continue its experiment with amateur politicians running state government.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Democratic candidate for Illinois governor is facing a racial discrimination lawsuit against his campaign — from 10 of his own campaign workers.

With early voting underway and less than three weeks until Election Day, he denies the allegations and is pushing back hard.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The Democratic candidate for Illinois governor is facing a racial discrimination lawsuit against his campaign — from his own campaign workers.

Ten current and former staffers accuse J.B. Pritzker’s campaign operation of subjecting them to harassment and retaliation. Pritzker denies the accusations.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and his Democratic challenger, J.B. Pritzker, met in Quincy Thursday for the third and final debate of the 2018 elections. Did voters learn anything about either man’s policy preferences?

Plus, Illinois Democrats are trying to pick up as many as four Republican-held seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. And a new report says Chicago’s racial divides are holding back the city’s economy.

Bruce Rauner and J.B. Pritzker
still image from video / ABC 7 Chicago (WLS-TV)

The major party candidates for Illinois governor met for the second of three debates Wednesday night, and both men stuck mostly to the same attacks they’ve making for months.

Pritzker and Rauner
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A new poll shows Illinois Democrats are far more enthusiastic about voting in this fall’s election than Republicans.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

All four candidates for governor shared a stage this week for the first of three televised debates. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and his Democratic challenger, J.B. Pritzker, picked up right where their mudslinging TV ads left off.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker carried their negative campaigns on stage Thursday evening in the first of three televised debates. Libertarian candidate Kash Jackson and Republican state Sen. Sam McCann (running for governor under the Conservative Party banner) also participated in the slugfest.

A hospital room
Bill McChesney

Non-profit hospitals in Illinois will still get to avoid paying property taxes. That’s after a ruling Thursday by the Illinois Supreme Court.

NPR Illinois

The Illinois Supreme Court on Wednesday heard arguments over whether victims of the illegal drug trade can sue dealers.

Illinois Supreme Court Building
Illinois Supreme Court

Fired Prisoner Review Board member Eric Gregg is asking the Illinois Supreme Court to give him his job back. In a case argued Tuesday, the justices were also asked to consider the limits of a governor’s power to fire certain state officials.

frowning piggy bank
Carter Staley / NPR Illinois

A new report says Illinois state government is at “elevated risk” in the event of an economic downturn.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

I'm Audie Cornish with a look at election security in All Tech Considered.

(SOUNDBITE OF ULRICH SCHNAUSS' "NOTHING HAPPENS IN JUNE")

J.B. Pritzker
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

As of Monday, there are 50 days until Election Day. And in the race for Illinois governor, debate season is finally getting underway.

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