J.B. Pritzker

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Legalized sports betting has officially launched in Illinois. This week, a casino in suburban Chicago opened the state’s first place for gamblers to legally bet on professional sports games. But rolling out Illinois’ sports books has been a slow-going process, and uncertainty remains about how much revenue the practice will end up generating for an already cash-strapped state. For this week’s Illinois Issues report, I explored what’s happening in the wide world of Illinois sports wagering.


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With new cases of the coronavirus disease known as COVID-19, Illinois public health officials say the question of the virus spreading here is no longer a question of if, but when and how widely. At least two Chicago conventions were canceled, though officials say the risk to most Illinoisans remains low.

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Electricity and environmental advocates offered their pitches to Illinois state senators this week on how to reduce a portion of the state’s carbon emissions. But each group has different ideas about how to do it.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. J.B. Pritzker presents his budget to the General Assembly, WBEZ reports on another trove of emails to and from Speaker Michael Madigan's top aides, and former Gov. Rod Blagovich gets an early release from prison.

Seven Democratic candidates at the beginning of the PBS-Politico debate in December
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With less than a month until Illinois’ primary election, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is leading in a new poll of Illinois voters. But the field is still quite divided.

Illinois Gov. J.B. addresses a joint session of the Illinois House and Senate.
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Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is already making plans to spend money from a significant change in the state income tax, even though it can only happen if voters agree to amend the Illinois Constitution this November.

A significant chunk of Pritzker’s annual budget proposal, delivered Wednesday, depends on the governor's graduated income tax.

Governor Pritzker's remarks as prepared for delivery:

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week a bipartisan group of Illinois lawmakers introduced a constitutional amendment that would create an independent commission to draw the boundaries of legislative districts.

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A bipartisan group of lawmakers has introduced an amendment to the Illinois Constitution meant to transform the way legislative district boundaries are created here.

Private jets at Sun Valley Airport in 2015.
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Illinois Senators overwhelmingly override Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s veto of a sales tax exemption Wednesday, a day after member of the House did the same. It’s the first time that’s happened during Pritzker’s time in office.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks with reporters at an elementary school in Springfield.
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. J.B. Pritzker wants to elbow Iowa and New Hampshire out of the way in future presidential elections — so Illinois can seize the starring role in the primaries.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. J.B. Pritzker focused on corruption in his State of the State address this week, a day after former state Sen. Martin Sandoval pleaded guilty to soliciting bribes for doing his job.

a legislators'-eye view of Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaking to a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly
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Gov. J.B. Pritzker used his State of the State address Wednesday to call for a culture change in Illinois government — particularly when it comes to corruption.

State of Illinois

The following are the Governor’s remarks as prepared for delivery:

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker listed his party's legislative accomplishments Wednesday in Springfield
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is set to deliver his first stand-alone State of the State address Wednesday. Here’s a preview of what he’s expected to say — and what some lawmakers want to hear.

Megan Blair speaking at a news conference where Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a bill to cap the cost of insulin.
​​​​​​​Illinois Office of Communication and Information

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a law Friday intended to bring down the cost of insulin.

flanked by students, J.B. Pritzker speaks with reporters at a Springfield school
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a law Wednesday aimed at bringing more young people into the civic conversation.

Doris Turner, J.B. Pritzker, and Juliana Stratton
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s personal lawyers are seeking to keep him from having to sit for a deposition in a racial discrimination lawsuit against his campaign.

Sen. Don Harmon walking down the aisle to the front of the Illinois Senate chamber
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

There is a new president of the Illinois Senate: Don Harmon, a Democrat from Oak Park, won the support of his colleagues during a special meeting Sunday afternoon.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Tuesday marks one year since J.B. Pritzker was sworn in as governor of Illinois. Since then, the state has raised its minimum wage, legalized marijuana, and passed several other pieces of legislation long sought by Democrats.

Pritzker marked the occasion with a series of interviews, including with our Statehouse reporter.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, WBEZ Chicago reported on a 2012 email in which then-lobbyist Mike McClain priased a former state worker for having “kept his mouth shut on ... the rape in Champaign,” among other things.

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Recreational cannabis has been legal in Illinois for just under a week, and the state estimates consumers have already bought nearly $11 million worth of product. But the legal industry is only just getting started.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Marijuana sales began with more than $3 million in sales on New Year’s Day. Backers of the law, however, say that news ought to take a back seat to the more than 11,000 pardons for past pot convictions Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a day earlier.

J.B. Pritzker speaks with reporters in his ceremonial office
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday issued pardons for more than 11,000 low-level marijuana convictions.

graphic for the 2019 installment of the voices in the news feature
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

As we close the book on 2019, we thought we’d take a few minutes to listen back to what has been a most consequential year in Illinois government and politics. From novice politicians taking power to a flood of major legislation, these are some of the voices that made news in 2019.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

It would be difficult to overstate how consequential the past year was in Illinois government and politics. This week on State Week, the panel looks back at some of the top stories of 2019.

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The more than 255 new Illinois laws taking effect on New Year's Day may affect everything from your car to your paycheck.

We took a look at some of the biggest changes coming in 2020.

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Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker approved a plan Wednesday to pool the pension funds of nearly 650 downstate police and fire departments.


Michael Madigan
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said Monday he has not spoken to House Speaker Michael Madigan about a series of federal inquiries. That’s despite reports that investigators appear to be targeting the speaker's inner circle.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx personally filed paperwork that led to vacating and expunging the marijuana convictions of more than 1,000 people.

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