John Cullerton

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week ProPublica Illinois and the Chicago Tribune collaborated on a story that revealed the extent to which Illinois schools are using "seclusion rooms" — essentially solitary confinement — to handle children who cause trouble, mostly in special education classes.

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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.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

The second and final week of the Illinois legislature’s fall veto session begins Tuesday. State lawmakers will have just three days to get a number of proposals — big and small — over as many legislative hurdles as possible.


Lee Milner

State lawmakers are considering whether to ban flavored tobacco products in Illinois. Both sides of that debate made their cases before a panel of state senators in Springfield Tuesday.


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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

The federal investigation into state Senator Martin Sandoval involves lobbyists, government officials, and construction companies. That’s according to a newly released copy of a search warrant for the senator’s Springfield office.

Diocese of Springfield

The Roman Catholic bishop of Springfield has banned the Illinois General Assembly's leaders from receiving Holy Communion at local churches because of their involvement in abortion legislation approved last week.

Gov. J.B. Pritzer flanked by senators at a news conference
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois General Assembly finally finished its annual legislative session this weekend, with lawmakers approving item after item on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s agenda.

Observers and participants are calling it one of the most significant sessions in living memory.

Cullerton smoking tax
Jaclyn Driscoll / NPR Illinois

In January, Gov. J.B. Pritzker proposed several tax increases to help balance Illinois' budget. One of those proposals was a 32-cent hike on a pack of cigarettes, but some of his fellow Democrats want to triple that.

The Illinois General Assembly began a new legislative session Wednesday—with both new and familiar faces. Though the legislative leaders remain the same, making what was old “new” again,  Democrats have expanded their veto-proof majority, known as a “supermajority".

TaxCredits.net / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The Civic Federation, a Chicago-based fiscal watchdog group Wednesday said Governor Bruce Rauner’s budget proposal is unrealistic and relies on money that may never come through. The group’s report calls it “precariously balanced”.

Jaclyn Driscoll / NPR Illinois

The Loyola-Chicago Ramblers busted a lot of brackets and captured a lot of hearts when the men’s basketball team, as an 11 seed, made it to the Final Four in the NCAA tournament. For their accomplishments, they were honored at the Illinois State Capitol on Wednesday.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

With time against them, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and top leaders met again Tuesday morning to talk about adopting a budget before next month. But – there is some disagreement between leaders about just how helpful these meetings have been.

Illinois State Board of Elections

As the midterm election draws near, some state lawmakers want to change the way Illinois’ political districts are drawn. They want to do that by giving voters a chance to change the constitution. 

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner made a rare request for a meeting with the four legislative leaders of the General Assembly — House and Senate, Democratic and Republican. In a show of how once-ordinary tasks can be touted as achievements in the current toxic political climate, Republicans left the meeting saying they were pleased Democrats agreed to appoint budget negotiators.

They also apparently agreed to set a "revenue estimate" — the amount of  money Illinois government expects to collect, and thus to spend, in the next budget year.

Bruce Rauner
Rich Saal / The State Journal-Register (pool)

There was a rare meeting Thursday among Gov. Bruce Rauner and the top leaders of the Illinois General Assembly.

Rich Saal / The State Journal-Register (pool)

Commentary: The governor's plan would rely on some iffy savings from shifting pensions costs to schools and universities and getting state workers to pay more for their health care.

Bruce Rauner
Rich Saal / The State Journal-Register (pool)

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has been campaigning relentlessly against last year’s income tax increase.

But in his annual budget address Wednesday, he'll call for spending the extra money that rate hike has generated.

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.

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handout / AT&T

AT&T and other mobile phone providers are pushing legislation they say will ease congestion on their networks. But some towns and cities across Illinois are worried it’s really a power grab.

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Brian Mackey

Despite Governor Bruce Rauner calling the Democrat-controlled Legislature into special session to resolve the issue of school funding, there is still no agreement on funding for Chicago Public Schools.  Also, the next gubernatorial race is shaping up to be the most expensive in state history; we'll look at the potential money involved.  Joining Sean Crawford in the studio is IPR Education Reporter Dusty Rhodes, UIS Professor Emeritus Kent Redfield, and Law360 Springfield Reporter Hannah Meisel.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

After more than two years, 16 Republicans split from Gov. Bruce Rauner to help Democrats pass a budget for Illinois. It spends less than Illinois has been during the impasse, and raises the individual income tax rate from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent.

What was the breakthrough? Was this really an uprising among rank-and-file legislators? Does Rauner benefit from this outcome? And is the end of Illinois' fiscal problems?

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois is beginning a third straight year without a real budget. Legislators say they're close to a deal and continue to negotiate — but is that for real or just for show?

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont announced she's resigning effective Saturday. She instigated the effort at bipartisan compromise that became known as the "grand bargain." Republicans have already selected Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, to succeed her.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois General Assembly returns to Springfield as the clock ticks down to the new fiscal year July 1. Will Illinois begin a third fiscal year without a real budget? Is Gov. Bruce Rauner really interested in "compromise" ? And are Democrats willing to meet his demands?

John Cullerton, Bruce Rauner and Michael Madigan
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner has called state legislators back to Springfield this week. He says he wants a budget deal. But Rauner is also spending money attacking Democrats.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner has called 10 special sessions on the budget for the final days of the month. For the first time, he's publicly endorsed a specific set of tax increases to accompany the non-budget demands he's been making since he came into office. Does this represent real movement? Or is it just marketing?

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois government ended another legislative session without a budget. Because of that, credit rating agencies downgraded the state's debt while public universities announced more layoffs.

Meanwhile, Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker was in the news because of his relationship with imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Michael Madigan
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois General Assembly ended its annual legislative session last night without agreeing on a budget.

Top Democrats and Republicans blamed each other.

As Brian Mackey reports, state government's long, slow financial crisis will accelerate.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Senate Democrats go it alone on a tax hike — will their House counterparts follow suit? And what happens if legislators don't pass a budget by the scheduled end of session on May 31?

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