Jamey Dunn-Thomason

Community Advisory Board - Former Illinois Issues Editor

Springfield

Senior Coordinator of Strategic Communications
Institute of Government & Public Affairs
University of Illinois System

NPR Illinois Community Advisory Board
July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2022 - First Term
July 1, 2022 - June 30, 2025 - Eligible Second Term

police tape
flickr/ Tony Webster

Peter Nickeas covers breaking news for the Chicago Tribune. He spent three years on the overnight shift and during that time went to the scenes of hundreds of shootings in the city.

Nickeas reflected on this time and the effect it’s had on his life in an essay for the September issue of Chicago Magazine, titled   “Three Years of Nights.”

Illinois Issues editor Jamey Dunn talked with Nickeas about the essay and his time as an overnight reporter covering crime in Chicago. 

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Eric Skiff

The Illinois Teachers Retirement System voted last week to reduce the amount of money it assumes it will make from its investments. The board revised this rate of assumption down to 7 percent from 7.5 percent.

This change means that as lawmakers and the governor are putting together a budget for next fiscal year, they will have to come up with a projected $420 million more than what they might have expected to pay into the retirement system for teachers outside of Chicago. Illinois' total unfunded liability for all its pension funds is pegged at $111 billion. 

Paul Sableman

After reports of unlivable conditions at public housing in Cairo, Illinois, The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development took over the Alexander County Housing Authority earlier this year.

Southern Illinoisan reporter Molly Parker has been following the story. Illinois Issues editor Jamey Dunn checked in with her recently for an update. 

Hans Stieglitz

Armadillos are moving into the state, and some researchers believe they may make it as far north as the central Illinois area. 

Illinois Issues editor Jamey Dunn talked with F. Agustin Jimenez, a zoology professor at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, about armadillos and why they might one day be more prevalent in the state.   

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Eric Skiff

In 2008, the Great Recession helped to tip Illinois into a fiscal crisis it still hasn't recovered from. A new report from Standard & Poor's found that another even moderate recession would mean big trouble for the state's budget. ​

Birthday cake
Will Clayton

When the state marked its centennial, there were hundreds of celebrations all over Illinois. 

Randy Dunn
Brian Mackey / WUIS

After years of declining enrollment and a recent loss of funding under the state budget impasse, leaders of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale are considering the school's future.  

Molly Parker, a reporter with The Southern Illinoisan, is working on a series of stories focused on the university. Illinois Issues editor Jamey Dunn sat down with Parker to talk about SIUC.  

Jamey Dunn, Kent Redfield, and Charlie Wheeler
Network Knowledge

Host Jamey Dunn and guests Kent Redfield (UIS) and Charlie Wheeler (UIS) discuss former Gov. Rod Blagojevich losing his bid to have his prison sentence reduced.

CapitolView is a production of WSEC-TV/PBS Springfield, Network Knowledge.

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

This week, convicted former governor Rod Blagojevich's resentencing resulted in the same 14-year prison term.  Also, Michael Madigan's failed primary challenger is suing him for defamation of character.  Illinois Issues' Jamey Dunn, WBEZ's Tony Arnold, and Jason Meisner of the Chicago Tribune join the panel.

flickr/ Pal-Kristian Hamre

The governor describes the stopgap budget as a bridge to reform. But it could also be called an excavator — digging the state’s fiscal hole deeper.

Jamey Dunn
Network Knowledge

Host Jamey Dunn and guests Jordan Abudayyeh (WICS) and Patrick Yeagle (IL Times) discuss the results of the Republican National Convention.

CapitolView is a production of WSEC-TV/PBS Springfield, Network Knowledge.

flickr/ Joshua Mayer

Iowa officials are warning Midwestern resident about plant, called wild parsnip, that can cause burns and blisters. 

Amanda Vinicky, Kent Redfield, and Brian Mackey
Network Knowledge

Host Amanda Vinicky, Brian Mackey, and gusts Kent Redfield (UIS) talk about whether or not we are still a house divided.

Illinois State Museum in Springfield
Lisa Ryan / WUIS - Illinois Issues

Gov. Bruce Rauner closed the Illinois State Museum last fall, citing the lack of a state budget. The museum in Springfield reopened over the weekend and is now charging a five-dollar admission fee. The Dickson Mounds site is also open to the public again. 

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

Democrats and Republicans came together to approve a partial state budget. It's enough to sustain some government operations through the end of the year, but it's still a long way away from functional government.

Democratic leaders in the legislature and Gov. Bruce Rauner appear to be close to a deal to approve some funding for social service providers, higher education, capital construction and state operations. The proposal would also fund K-12 schools for all of next fiscal year.

But the plan can’t erase the destruction caused by the state going for a year without a budget.​​

flickr/ Bill Brooks

 The United Way of Illinois surveyed social services providers in the state and found that during the budget impasse, about  1 million of their clients have lost services due to lack of funding. 

Jamey Dunn
Network Knowledge

Host Jamey Dunn and guests Dave Dahl (WTAX) and Bruce Rushton (IL Times) talk about a bipartisan gun control bill and the budget.

CapitolView is a production of WSEC-TV/PBS Springfield, Network Knowledge.

Gov. Bruce Rauner
NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

  Gov. Bruce Rauner says his Republican negotiators and Democrats are getting closer to an agreement on a partial state budget. Meanwhile, bipartisan gun control legislation has surfaced in the wake of the massacre of 49 people in Orlando, Fla.

Jamey Dunn, Charlie Wheeler, and Brian Mackey
Network Knowledge

Host Jamey Dunn, Brian Mackey, and Charlie Wheeler discuss the possibility of a budget agreement before the end of the fiscal year.

CapitolView is a production of WSEC-TV/PBS Springfield, Network Knowledge.

This week, NPR is focusing on voting across the country in a series of reports called A Nation Engaged. As part of the project, NPR Illinois took a look at issues affecting voters in our state.

Legislation that would automatically register Illinois residents to vote when they have interactions with the state — like renewing a drivers license — is  on the governor’s desk.

voting booths
flickr/ Mortimer62

This week, NPR is focusing on voting across the country in a series of reports called A Nation Engaged. As part of the project, NPR Illinois took a look at issues affecting voters in our state.

When Illinois voters go to the ballot in November, many will find that they only have one candidate listed on their ballot for some offices. Illinois has larger percentage of these uncontested races for its state legislature than many other states similar in population size. 

Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice / Kewanee

A program meant to rehabilitate juvenile offenders hasn’t seen state funding while Illinois has gone for almost a year without a budget. The program, called Redeploy Illinois, has had to make cutbacks, leaving more than 100 teens without services.

A recent report from the Associated Press found that some young people who lost access to the program have committed new violations, including a string of crimes in Rockford early this year. Illinois Issues editor Jamey Dunn talked with Associated Press reporter Sophia Tareen about her story. 

House floor
Brian Mackey / WUIS

Illinois has a constitutional requirement that its budget must be balanced — spending has to equal revenues every year. But is the Illinois budget ever really balanced?

Brian Mackey put that question to two people who closely follow Illinois' finances: Charlie Wheeler, director of the Public Affairs Reporting at the University of Illinois Springfield, and Jamey Dunn, editor of Illinois Issues.

    

Illinois State Museum

Gov. Bruce Rauner shuttered the Illinois State museum last fall, saying that the closure was a necessary cost-saving measure.

Earlier this week, his administration announced that the Springfield branch of the museum and the Dickson Mounds location will reopen on July 2 — that is if a legislative committee approves a plan to charge adults a five-dollar admission fee. 

House floor
Brian Mackey / WUIS

Ever since the Great Recession of 2008, Illinois state government has been going from one fiscal crisis to the next. While crisis can force action, it can also lead to decisions that may not be best in the long term.

hourglass with dollar signs instead of sand filtering through
flickr/ Bill Brooks

Bipartisan working groups are currently trying to find a way out of the budget impasse. But the crisis could have been prevented long before the battle between Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic leaders began.

flickr/picturesofmoney

Because of the lack of a budget, social services providers have not been getting paid for some of their work, even though they have contracts with state to continue providing these services. Some are now suing Illinois.

These organizations help the state's most vulnerable populations. But they are also businesses that have to make payroll, keep the lights on and balance their books for yearly audits. 

flickr/ Howard Weliver

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recommended that the city of Galesburg offer residents bottled water or filters after tap water there tested for high levels of lead.  

Flickr user: TaxCredits.net

Illinois is one of only eight states with a flat income tax. The reasons can be traced to the state’s first-ever successful attempt at putting an income tax in place.  

An effort to change the current tax structure is underway, but supporters face a fast-approaching deadline.  

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