Toi Hutchinson

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. 

Sexual Harassment
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Some Illinois lawmakers want more protections for employees who are sexually harassed in private sector jobs. 

adapted photo from Heath Alseike/flickr

Growing and selling cannabis for medical purposes in Illinois is legal, and it's looking more likely that the state will legalize a recreational program as well. But one crucial component that remains illegal is for banks to do business with marijuana-related companies. 

Tatiana Vdb - Flickr / CC-by 2.0

Women in the Illinois Senate want to address a surge in maternal deaths related to childbirth.

Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) / Flickr: Ryan McGilchrist

The Illinois Senate Thursday approved raising the legal smoking age from 18 to 21. All eyes now turn to Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who has yet to say where he stands on the idea. 

Claire Harbage / NPR

Amid talk of possibly legalizing marijuana in Illinois in the near future, farmers will soon be able to grow another type of cannabis plant thanks to a new state law.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Illinois lawmakers say they’ve begun discussing a potential capital bill. It would fund construction and repair projects for the state’s infrastructure over the next several years.


Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This month marks a year since the Me Too movement went viral as a hashtag on social media (after having first been started in 2006 by Tarana Burke.) This week, we hear from several women in Illinois whose work in government has been affected. 

Andy Manar
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois is one step closer to having a budget for next year — the state Senate approved a spending plan late Wednesday night.

It follows years of bitter partisan fighting over state taxes and spending. But the mood around this year’s budget is remarkably different.

Sexual Harassment
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Illinois lawmakers acted quickly last month in response to sexual harassment allegations at the statehouse.  But several female legislators say this isn't a quick fix.  They say the process was rushed and not enough thought was given to explore alternative options.

State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, a Chicago Democrat, says the new policies were not inclusive of everyone affected by the issue—such as legislative staff and lobbyists. She says she hopes newly formed legislative task forces in the House and Senate will resolve this concern. 

Jaclyn Driscoll

Women in the Illinois Senate plan to advance their voices in leadership with the creation of their own caucus. Women on both sides of the aisle say they’ve had a significant role in crafting policy, but may not always get the credit they deserve. 

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.   

Toi Hutchinson
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A controversial abortion measure was approved Wednesday in the Illinois Senate. It would expand government funding of the procedure.

Starved Rock State Park
courtesy Brian Mackey / all rights reserved

A key source of funding for the Department of Natural Resources could be blocked. Or maybe not.

caduceus medical symbol
Pixabay

The Illinois legislature has passed legislation amending the state law that decides when doctors can object to caring for a patient based on moral principle.

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

As we get ready to welcome 2016, we thought we’d take a few minutes to listen back to what’s been a difficult year in Illinois government and politics. There was an epic fight between Democrats and Republicans in Springfield, disgrace for two Illinois Congressmen, and a reckoning over violence in Chicago. Here now are some of the voices that made news in 2015.

flickr/DavidWilson

Campaign contributions to former Governor Rod Blagojevich may have sealed the fate for a pair of historic Illinois racetracks. But not if some state legislators have their way.

Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

As the Illinois General Assembly’s spring legislative session comes to a close, Gov. Bruce Rauner has failed win passage of his "Turnaround Agenda." Brian Mackey has this assessment of three of the most common theories as to why.

  Despite current employment protections, pregnant women in the workplace are still sometimes forced out of jobs in Illinois. The governor Tuesday signed legislation aimed at ending that practice.

The law is meant to protect women from losing a job just because they become pregnant.

It also requires employers to provide "reasonable accommodations" to pregnant women, such as giving more leeway when it comes to taking bathroom breaks or sitting down at work.

flickr/danxoneil

  Opponents of Governor Pat Quinn's proposed income tax increase say it will chase jobs out of Illinois. A new report that challenges that assumption.

What to do about Illinois' expiring income tax hike has been the star of the debate this spring. The governor threatens cuts unless its extended, while Republican leaders say keeping the higher tax rate is a bigger threat to the economy.

Ralph Martire, director of the Chicago-based Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, says that's a misunderstanding. He says property taxes are the true obstruction of economic growth.