State Week

Fridays 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 Crawfordthe NPR Illinois News Director and former Statehouse Bureau Chief, 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 reporters from throughout Illinois. The program provides analysis and commentary 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.

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— STATE WEEK Q&A —

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

Send a question or comment to engage@nprillinois.org 

We hope to hear from you soon.

On this epsiode, our panel reviews hearings into the LaSalle Veterans Home and the COVID-19 outbreak that killed 36 residents last fall. 

A top aide to Gov. Pritzker told lawmakers this week she was misled by officials at the home and the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker this week announced the long-awaited bridge phase will kick in May 14.  He also indicated the state could move to a full re-opening of the economy in June.  

And redistricting is a once a decade political process in Illinois.  Democrats are in control, but are they living up to their promise of transparency?

Listen to the discussion.

On this episode, the panel discusses a new report that recaps last year's deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans Home,  calling the response at the state-run facility "inefficient, reactive and chaotic."    

Gov. Pritzker has offered up a large package aimed at the state's power industry.   Meanwhile,  the governor has reversed course on a campaign pledge. 

Steve Daniels of Crain's Chicago Business joins us.  

Months after a bribery scandal rocked the halls of Illinois government, there is still uncertainty over what action, if any, lawmakers will take in response. 

This week saw the release of video and other evidence of a Chicago police officer fatally shooting 13 year old Adam Toledo.  Several top Illinois and city officials have weighed in.  Chicago's mayor promised a new policy on how and when officers engage in foot chases.  

Also, is the latest surge in coronavirus cases leveling off?

Our panel includes Rachel Hinton of the Chicago Sun-Times. 

Illinois will open vaccination elgibility to those 16 and older on Monday.  It's a big step in the vaccine rollout.  Illinois has also been setting daily records when it comes to administering the shots. 

But the state remains in a precarious position as cases and hospitalizations are headed in the wrong direction.  There's also the challenge of convincing more people to take the vaccine.   

Peter Hancock of Capitol News Illinois joins our State Week panel.  

While the state announced a Bridge Phase for reopening Illinois, not so fast.  A rising number of COVID-19 hospitalizations has stalled the step toward a return to normalcy.  We provide a status update on the pandemic in Illinois.  

We also discuss redistricting.  No surprise that Republicans and Democrats are at odds over how to determine new legislative boundaries.   And Chicago Teacher's Union members are closely watching a bill on the governor's desk.  And they're not the only ones.

Heather Cherone of WTTW's Chicago Tonight joins the panel. 

Gov. J.B. Pritzker joined tens of thousands in Illinois getting vaccinated.  But it happened on the same week COVID-19 cases are back on the rise, leading some to worry about a quick re-opening of the economy.  

The Governor also signed a major economic opportunity package from the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus.  He also appears poised to sign a healthcare initiative to help Black and brown communities. 

We discuss that and more on this episode of State Week.

Mike Miletich, Capitol Bureau Chief for Quincy Media, joins the panel.

This week, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said he was optimistic that vaccine supply will allow the state to allow those 16 and older, outside of Chicago, to get their shots starting April 12.  The governor also laid out a new "bridge" phase as part of the Restore Illinois plan.  It's a step toward getting the state back to some sort of normalcy.  

In a week that marked the one year anniversary of the pandemic, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he's cautiously optimistic as more vaccines arrive.  His administration even mentioned a return to holding conventions and trade shows this summer.   

Pritzker is also pleased that a windfall will be coming to the state as part of a federal coronavirus stimulus package.   How might the state use that money?

Our panel discusses where things stand in Illinois -- on the public health front and with the state budget.  

On this episode, we discuss Congresswoman Robin Kelly, who becomes the new Illinois Democratic Party Chair, replacing Michael Madigan.  Gov. J.B. Pritzker supported her opponent and some view Kelly's ascension as a defeat for the governor.  

Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger has been outspoken about his own party.  It appears he'll face a primary challenge.  We discuss his political future.  

And Illinois continues to fall behind when it comes to its pension obligations.  We discuss it all on State Week. 

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey

Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan's legislative district seat saw not just one, but two replacements within a week.  And Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law a large reform package dealing with crime and policing.

The Chicago Sun-Times' Rachel Hinton joins the panel.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Governor J.B. Pritzker delivered a combined State of the State and State Budget address this week with proposals to fill the deficit left by the pandemic.  And after 50 years in the state legislature, former House Speaker Michael Madigan resigned his district seat.

Chicago Tribune State Government Reporter Dan Petrella joins the panel.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

While Illinois expands eligibility to receive the new coronavirus vaccine, there are still questions about the speed of distribution so far.  Also this week, the state Republican party has a new leader.

Chicago Tribune Investigative Reporter Joe Mahr joins the panel.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

More progress is being made in distributing the COVID-19 vaccine, accompanied by more criticism of how it's been handled so far.  State lawmakers have been authorized to receive vaccinations as part of Phase 1B of the rollout, which puts them alongside more at-risk groups.

Capitol News Illinois's Jerry Nowicki joins the panel.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

As Illinois marks one year since its first COVID-19 case, vaccine distribution remains on a slower pace than expected, while state and local officials try to determine just how much of an impact the pandemic has had on revenues.

NPR Illinois reporter Mary Hansen joins the panel this week.

NPR Illinois State Week logo (Capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

As the statewide COVID-19 positivity rate continues to drop, mitigation measures are being relaxed and plans are being made to increase the distribution of the vaccine.

Mark Maxwell, Capitol Bureau Chief for WCIA TV, joins the panel.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

This week, Illinois lawmakers wrapped up the work of the 101st General Assembly.  And there is  a new House Speaker - Chris Welch - after Michael Madigan lost the support of his caucus after nearly four decades in power.

Rich Miller of Capitol Fax joins the panel.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Amidst the turmoil in Washington DC, the Illinois Legislature meets this week for a lame duck session, with questions about who will be House Speaker and which direction the Illinois Republican Party will go.

Chris Mooney, Professor of State Politics in the Political Science Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago, joins the panel.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The panel marks the end of 2020 and looks ahead to 2021, joined by Amanda Vinicky of Chicago's WTTW.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

This week, Washington D.C. worked on a new COVID-19 pandemic stimulus package, while the first batch of vaccines continue to be distributed to health care workers.  Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is facing criticism for her handling of a new scandal involving the Chicago Police Department.

Greg Hinz of Crain’s Chicago Business joins the panel.


 

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

This week, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced $700 million in cuts to the current fiscal year's state budget; a special investigating committee looking into House Speaker Michael Madigan's involvement in the ComEd bribery scandal wrapped up with no action; and Pritzker continues to weather criticism of his administration's handling of the deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans' Home.

Tony Arnold of WBEZ and Rick Pearson of the Chicago Tribune join the panel this week.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

This week, Governor JB Pritzker ordered Illinois National Guard medical personnel to the state's four veterans' homes following a deadly outbreak in the LaSalle facility amid criticism from Republican lawmakers.  Also, Michael Madigan continued to resist calls for him to step down as Speaker of the House.

Capitol News Illinois' Jerry Nowicki joins the panel.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey

This week, investigations began into the deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the La Salle Veterans' Home investigation, while Michael Madigan continued to lose support for his role as House Speaker in his own caucus amid the ComEd bribery scandal.

Rachel Hinton of the Chicago Sun-Times joins the panel.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Hospital beds across the state continue to fill with COVID-19 patients, and an investigation has been announced to look into the deadly breakout in the LaSalle Veterans' Home.  Michael Madigan says he has no intention of stepping down as House Speaker, although he may not have the votes needed to keep that position the next time the Legislature meets.

WBEZ's Dave McKinney joins the panel this week.

This week, a Michael Madigan confidant and three others were indicted in an alleged bribery scheme that prosecutors say also involved the powerful House Speaker, known as Public Official A in federal documents. 

Madigan again denied he's done anything wrong and he's not been charged.  But more House Democrats have publicly pulled their support for him, making it seem less likely he can win another term in the leadership post in January.  There have also been calls for him to resign as the state's Democratic Party Chairman. 

Our panel discusses Madigan's future and whether his long tenure in politics is about to end.  

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey

This week, Governor J.B. Pritzker admonished Illinoisans who continue to flout COVID-19 mitigation measures and warned that he soon may have no choice but to order another stay-at-home directive.  Meanwhile, the Pritzker administration is left with a huge budget problem to deal with, especially with the failure of the governor's proposed graduated income tax amendment.

Dan Vock, reporter and author of the States of Crisis newsletter, joins the panel.
 

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey

The election saw disappointing results for Democrats at the state level, especially the failure of Governor J.B. Pritzker's proposed change to a graduated income tax.  And House Speaker Michael Madigan is under increasing pressure to step down as head of the state Democratic party.

The State Journal-Register's Bernie Schoenburg joins the panel.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey

This week saw a continued rapid rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations around the state, and ten out of the eleven regions in the Restore Illinois Plan will be under stronger mitigation measures by the end of the weekend.  There has been a record volume of early voting and voting by mail in the state ahead of Tuesday's election, and many eyes are watching Democratic Illinois Supreme Court Justice Tom Kilbride’s bid to retain his seat.

Ray Long of the Chicago Tribune joins the panel.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey

This week, the rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations prompted Governor J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health to impose increased mitigation measures in regions around the state.  State officials also revealed their plans for distributing a vaccine when one becomes available.  The election is just over a week away, and the ballot referendum on moving the state to a graduated income tax continues to be a focus of attention.

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