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State of the State is about the effectiveness and culture of Illinois government. Written by Brian Mackey, the blog focuses on key areas of news important to Illinois such as criminal justice and labor.

Rauner Urges All Or Nothing On Agenda

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner laid out an ambitious, pro-business agenda Wednesday during his first State of the State address. The Republican was speaking to a legislature that’s still dominated by Democrats, and reaction was mixed.

Rauner's agenda reads like a businessman's dream: restricting lawsuits and workers' compensation, and reducing the power of labor unions. But he also called for changes to the criminal justice system, acknowledging conditions in state prisons are "unacceptable."

Rauner says his agenda should appeal to lawmakers from both parties, but he added: "We should consider it as a whole, not as a list of individual initiatives."

That suggestion raised a few Democratic hackles, like those of Rep. Elaine Nekritz, from Northbrook: "I was like, wow, there's a way to enter into a negotiation, isn't it? To say that it's my way or the highway?"

Lawmakers from both parties are still eager to hear what Rauner will do about the state’s massive financial problems. For that, we'll have to wait two more weeks until his budget address.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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