State Week

Fridays at 12:30-1 p.m., 7:30-8 p.m., Saturdays 6:30-7 a.m.

State Week has been produced by NPR Illinois since January 1975, created by original WSSR News Director Rich Bradley when the station went on the air. It is the longest running public affairs program on NPR Illinois and was patterned after the popular PBS show Washington Week in Review.

Sean Crawford moderates the program.  He is joined by a regular panel consisting of Charlie Wheeler, retired director of the Public Affairs Reporting Program at UIS, and NPR Illinois Statehouse reporter Brian Mackey. This regular panel is joined by one or two guest journalists each week to analyze and comment on the top news stories of the week in Illinois state government and politics.

State Week is made available to all public radio stations in Illinois and is also available as a podcast.

  • Subscribe by clicking on Podcast under Ways to Connect on the right.
  • Listen on-demand below.

— STATE WEEK Q&A —

The State Week panel wants to hear your questions (about state government).

We'd also like you to ask your question on air. There are two ways to get in touch:

  • Leave a voicemail at (217) 206-6412.
  • Record a voice memo on your smart phone and email it to brian.mackey@nprillinois.org. (Here's a helpful guide from NPR. Be sure to begin by saying who you are and where you're from, along the lines of: "Hi, I'm Brian Mackey from Springfield, and I've always wondered ...")

We hope to hear from you soon.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

After four decades in the legislature, Senate President John Cullerton announced he'll retire in January. Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot spent a day lobbying in the Capitol, but came away empty handed. And lawmakers approved measures intended to improve the fiscal future of police and fire department pensions.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Democrats and Republicans are calling for an ethics crackdown in the wake of now-former state Rep. Luis Arroyo being charged with bribery.

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Brian Mackey

As the fall veto session continues, the Stathouse has been rocked by a federal charge of bribery against Democratic state representative Luis Arroyo and his subsequent resignation.  Meanwhile, the end of the Chicago teachers’ strike is allowing Mayor Lori Lightfoot to focus more on her agenda for fixing the city’s budget problems.

WTTW Chicago Public Television's Amanda Vinicky joins the panel.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot proposed a budget this week. The city's path to greater financial health runs through Springfield, but will the General Assembly come through?

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Chicago teachers on are on strike as freshman Mayor Lori Lightfoot makes some big requests of lawmakers in Springfield. Billionaire Gov. J.B. Pritzker releases summaries of his annual tax returs, and uses them to promote a graduated income tax for Illinois. And we take a closer look at the proposed asset consolidation for the hundreds of troubled downstate and surburban local police and fire pension funds.

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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.

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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.

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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."

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

An investigative report released this week shows an atmosphere of bullying, intimidation, and sexual harassment in the Illinois statehouse.  Also, Governor Pritzker signed a new law raising the minimum salaries of teachers; a photo taken at a state senator’s fundraising event that showed two people staging a mock assassination of President Trump made national headlines; and Chicago’s new mayor is weighing her options on closing the city’s budget deficit.

WBEZ political reporters Tony Arnold and Dave McKinney join the panel.

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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.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

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

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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.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, two separate political social media posts provoked heavy criticism, a campaign volunteer for Republican U.S. Representative Rodney Davis was caught posing as a newspaper reporter, and Governor J.B. Pritzker received high marks from Governing Magazine.

Bernie Schoenburg of the Springfield State Journal-Register and Chris Mooney, Political Science Professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago join the panel.

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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.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. J.B. Pritzker canceled an upcoming performance by the band Confederate Railroad at the DuQuoin State Fair. 

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot wants Illinois to help Chicago with its ballooning pension payments, which are squeezing other priorities in the state budget.

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Brian Mackey

This week, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed off on marijuana, infrastructure, and gambling.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois is investing $29 million to try to get an accurate count in the 2020 Census. On the line are two seats in Congress and the Electoral College.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. J.B. Pritzker this week signed a bill to make what he and activists say is the most progressive abortion-rights law in the country. But could Democrats risk a backlash by going too far? And what are they targeting next?

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois General Assembly ended its spring legislative session last weekend, passing what some are calling the most productive session in a generation.

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Brian Mackey

Note: The show was taped during the noon hour on Friday, while debate and negotiations at the Statehouse were still ongoing.

On the final day of the Regular Legislative Session, lawmakers continued to work on finalizing the state budget, along with votes still to come on a constitutional amendment to switch Illinois to a graduated income tax, legalization of marijuana, expansion of gambling, and abortion legislation.  WTTW's Amanda Vinicky joins the panel.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois General Assembly has just one week left in its spring legislative session, and the number of outstanding issues are beginning to pile up.

A graduated income tax constitutional amendment seems to be on track, but lawmakers are still hashing out details — and rounding up votes — on crafting state budget, funding an infrastructure program, legalizing marijuana, and expanding gambling.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Republicans are trying to get back in on next year's budget negotiations. Meanwhile, as red states compete to place more and more restrictins on abortion, activists want Illinois to move the other way.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois gets an April surprise — $1.5 billion in unexpected revenue — as lawmakers debate what the windfall means. The public also got its first look at the long-anticipated language in a proposal that would legalize marijuana for recreational use.

Meanwhile, an audit found that child abuse and neglect investigations suffered during the budget impasse of 2015-17, and lawmakers advanced legislation that would more than double the gas tax in order to pay for infrastructure building and repair.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Listen to a special State Week, recorded in front of an audience at the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices state historic site in downtown Springfield.

Host Sean Crawford, along with regular panel members Brian Mackey, Daisy Contreras and Charlie Wheeler, are joined by guest Hannah Meisel of The Daily Line. The discussion focused on the governor’s push for a graduated income tax and Senate Democrats pushing it through that chamber. You'll also hear about prospects for recreational marijuana, sports betting, a capital construction program and more.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois’ former legislative inspector general went public this week with a complaint that one of her reports was buried. She says the office is desperately in need of reform, and absent that, is effectively powerless.

Meanwhile, WBEZ-FM is reporting Gov. J.B. and First Lady M.K. Pritzker are under federal investigation for removing toilets from a mansion in order to lower their property tax bill.

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