Heather Steans

Sens. Healther Steans and Toi Hutchinson celebrate passage of the recreational cannabis legislation in the Illinois Senate
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois state Senate approved a proposal on Wednesday to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 years and older beginning on January 1, 2020. 

cannabis ladies
State Sen. Heather Steans / State Sen. Heather Steans

Earlier in May when language for Illinois' recreational cannabis proposal was unveiled, it was Gov. J.B. Pritzker who stole the headlines, receiving much of the credit. While it's his signature that will ultimately appear on any proposal passed by the legislature, it was four female lawmakers who chose to embark on the difficult path to legalization years ago. 

Executive Cannabis
Jaclyn Driscoll / NPR Illinois

Illinois has an official proposal to legalize recreational cannabis, but the bill language is still a work in progress. On Wednesday, legislators in the Senate Executive committee were able to pick apart details of the legislation and make suggestions for changes. 

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois has officially proposed legalizing cannabis for adults 21 years and older by Jan. 1, 2020. But as details of the legislation emerge, so does the opposition. 

Flickr: Cannabis Culture / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois has been mulling over the idea of legalizing recreational cannabis for years. While some proponents tout it as a social justice issue, others focus on the additional revenue it could bring in for the cash-strapped state.

Jaclyn Driscoll / NPR Illinois

When talking about legalizing recreational cannabis in Illinois, the conversation has shifted from “if” to “when.” Still, many residents have questions and concerns about what such a program would mean for the state. Lawmakers pushing for a legalized program held a meeting in Springfield on Monday where they attempted to clear up any confusion and gather feedback from residents. 

adapted photo from Heath Alseike/flickr

With growing support among politicians and the public, Illinois could likely legalize recreational marijuana as soon as next year. But, passing legislation may hinge on where the revenue will go. 

Statehouse exit sign
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

With just two days remaining in the spring session of the Illinois General Assembly, lawmakers are optimistic about passing a state budget on time.

Riddled with complaints and ethical violations, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services wants more money to address what the director called “a number of burning fires.” 

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The Illinois Department of Corrections says a major cash crunch has it struggling to keep its facilities running.

The warning came Wednesday at a Senate budget hearing. But some Democratic lawmakers say that was the first time they were hearing the situation was so dire.

Rick Proctor / Unsplash

Lawmakers see chance for green with recreational marijuana.

Marijuana legalization is getting another look in Illinois, particularly for the money it could bring the state. The state has overdue bills nearing $9 billion after a more than two-year budget stalemate, and some argue a little extra cash could go a long way.

John Cullerton and Christine Radogno
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

As we get ready to welcome 2018, we thought we’d take a few minutes to listen back to another wild year in Illinois government and politics.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A group of state lawmakers and anti-abortion groups sued the state of Illinois Thursday. They’re trying to block a new law that will allow state money to pay for some abortions.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

The Illinois General Assembly took some steps last week to address concerns of sexual harassment in the statehouse. But some lawmakers themselves don't think legislators policing each other is the best approach.

c/o Eagle Forum (L) & Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth

Illinois remains a battleground over women's rights.

Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of  sex. 
—   The proposed Equal Rights Amendment. It might sound simple. It’s not.

BRENT LEVIN / CC BY 2.0 / FLICKR

Some lawmakers say legalizing recreational marijuana should be on the horizon for Illinois. But they admit there are still details to work out. 

Heather Steans
file / Office of Sen. Heather Steans

Illinois lawmakers and the governor have spent the past several days ratcheting up their calls for compromise to end the budget impasse.   

Barbara Flynn Currie
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois House has blocked Governor Bruce Rauner’s attempt to merge the parts of state government that deal with discrimination complaints.

Heather Steans
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Both the Illinois House and Senate return to work in Springfield today. Just over two weeks remain before the annual legislative session is scheduled to end.

Heather Steans
file / Office of Sen. Heather Steans

Illinois Senate Democrats are hoping to win bipartisan support for a partial government spending plan.

The proposal would release more than $800 million that’s been collected in special state accounts for higher education and human services, areas that have been particularly squeezed during the 22-month budget stalemate.

Brent Levin / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

There are reasons for legalizing industrial hemp.

Might pot and ditch weed help ease the state's financial crisis and boost its farm economy?

Grand Bargain GOP
senators via ILGA.gov / Rauner by Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

Ten Republican senators voted for at least one bill in the grand bargain. We asked all of them about Gov. Bruce Rauner's role in stopping them from going further.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner is pushing to break off a couple pieces from the Illinois Senate’s so-called grand bargain. Democrats say that’s a bad omen for the prospects of an overall budget deal.

A pair of Republican state senators want to move ahead with a plan to permanently cut Illinois pension benefits and provide a one-time cash infusion to the Chicago Public Schools. Rauner tweeted his endorsement of the idea.

State Sen. Heather Steans
SEN. HEATHER STEANS' OFFICE

The Illinois Senate is still negotiating a compromise to finally rectify the state's historic failure to enact a budget. The proposal has changed a lot in the month since it was introduced. 

Attorney General Lisa Madigan and a young volunteer at the 2016 Democratic National Convention Illinois delegation breakfast.
Amanda Vinicky / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Hillary Clinton was born in Chicago in 1947, and raised in the suburbs. Sixty-eight years later, she’s making history as the first woman to be nominated for President by a major party.

Following, a handful ladies in Illinois’ delegation reflect on Clinton’s candidacy and on what it’s like to be a woman in politics.

Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois/Illinois Issues

Gov. Bruce Rauner has always said schools are his top priority. Last year, he vetoed the budget except for schools. In the stopgap plan negotiated by leaders this week, most services get only six months of funding, but pre-kindergarten through high school grades get a full year. That includes an increase of more than $330 million.

Michael Madigan
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Legislators who've been privately working for the past month to craft a temporary budget have one drafted, but that doesn't make it a done deal.

WUIS

  Billions of dollars in cuts are part of a possible budget for next year.  So are higher taxes. 

Amanda Vinicky / WUIS / Illinois Issues

Billions of dollars in cuts are part of a possible budget for next year. So are higher taxes.

Illinois built up a deficit over the years; the current impasse has only exacerbated it. A bipartisan group of legislators chosen to craft a solution has a potential path for fiscal year 2017.

Members are cagey about sharing details. It's politically sensitive; members say they're hesitant to share details out of respect for their private negotiations.

BrettLevinPhotography / Flickr

A measure to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana passed the Illinois Senate Tuesday.

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