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 (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey

A new General Assembly sworn in on the eve of a new Governor and administration.   Tina Sfondeles of the Chicago Sun-Times joins the panel.

Greg Harris
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

For the first time in more than two decades, the Illinois House of Representatives has a new majority leader. And the appointment is breaking new ground.

The Pritzker Agenda

Jan 10, 2019
J.B. Pritzker
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker takes office next week on the heels of the most decisive election victory in a generation. And he’ll be working to pass his agenda through the biggest Democratic majorities in the General Assembly since the 1960s.

That raises a question: What precisely does that agenda consist of? 

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

Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker is pushing for bigger salaries for Illinois' top government officials.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey

Chicago Ald. Ed Burke is accused of using his position to steer business to his law firm. The city's longest-serving alderman has ties across government in Illinois and the city — will there be other shoes to drop?

Juliana Stratton
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

With two weeks until Illinois’ inauguration day, Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker is still filling key roles in his administration. He’s departing from tradition by including his lieutenant governor among them.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey

A look back at the top stories in Illinois politics and government over the past year.

Pritzker and Rauner
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

As we get ready to welcome 2019, we thought we’d take a few minutes to listen back to the past year in Illinois government and politics.

We heard the most expensive campaign for governor in American history, a leading politician pulling the plug on his career, and a range of accusations from hacking to harassment.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

After years of effort, a bipartisan coalition passed criminal justice reform legislation in Congress this week. Turns out the relationship between Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and presidential adviser/son-in-law Jared Kushner played a role in keeping the legislation on track.

WUIS/Illinois Issues

Illinois is continuing to lose population, according to new Census estimates out Wednesday.

Peter Breen
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Anti-abortion groups are once again going before the Illinois Supreme Court.

They're trying to block last year’s new law allowing state government to pay for abortions.

Rod and Patti Blagojevich
WBEZ / Flickr

Former Illinois first lady Patti Blagojevich has once again gotten the attention of President Donald Trump.

She’s been going on Fox News to argue for clemency for her imprisoned husband, former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich.

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner says he tried to get out of his failed re-election campaign.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner says he tried to get out of his doomed re-election bid. In an interview with Craig Wall of WLS-TV, Chicago's ABC station, he says he tried and failed to recruit other people to take his place on the ballot.

Chao, Pritzker, DeSantis, Trump
still image from video / pool

Illinois Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker was in the White House Thursday, part of a group of newly-elected governors meeting with President Trump.

Illinois Supreme Court
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The Illinois Supreme Court is upholding the medical privacy of a defendant in a lawsuit.

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

Illinois Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker is making legalizing marijuana one of his top priorities.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker announced his ninth and tenth transition committees this week, including one on business issues and economic development. He also reiterated his committment to raising Illinois' hourly minimum wage to $15.

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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