Illinois Politics | WGLT

Illinois Politics

Staff / WGLT

The McLean Count State's Attorney's Office will not represent the County Clerk in the upcoming recount of the vote in the race for Mayor of Normal.

State's Attorney Jason Chambers said he has named a special prosecutor from the Appellate Prosecutor's Office to handle the job.

Hastert To Lose Pension

Apr 26, 2017
Tannen Maury / EPA

An Illinois retirement board is terminating former U-S House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s state pension.

He’d been collecting about $28,000 a year for his service in the state legislature.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Governor Bruce Rauner indicates a key difference in competing school funding bills is a bargaining chip.

Rauner said Chicago Schools should be treated the same as other districts by the state. That came during a tour of the Beer Nuts factory in Bloomington as WGLT asked Rauner about Senator Jason Barickman's school funding formula bill.

Daniel X. O'Neil / Flickr

Illinois lawmakers have returned to Springfield as state government is closing on 22 months without a budget.

Governor Bruce Rauner has been saying he’s heard there's good progress on an overall budget deal.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth said progressives should not get their hopes up about a single payer healthcare insurance system.

Staff / WGLT

The United Way of McLean County is dramatically reducing support for human service agencies.

ISU Credit Rating Unchanged With An Asterisk

Apr 21, 2017
Staff / WGLT

Illinois State University's bond rating remains unchanged, though the Standard and Poor's agency has placed ISU on a credit watch.

That's in recognition of the state budget crisis and a lack of more than $80 million the university would regularly have received in the last two years if not for the deadlock between the governor and lawmakers.

Court Rejects Blagojevich Appeal

Apr 21, 2017
Il. Dept. Corrections / Facebook via Creative Commons

A federal court has taken just three days to reject the appeal of imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich seeking a third sentencing.

The unanimous ruling Friday by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago dismissed arguments that the Democrat's trial-court judge should have reduced his 14-year prison term for corruption because of his good behavior behind bars. 

Mike Miletich / WGLT

One of the many Democratic candidates for governor says he is the only person that can win over Bruce Rauner.

Bob Daiber is the Madison County Regional Superintendent of Schools. During a stop in Bloomington Wednesday night, Daiber said he wants to improve many areas the current administration has failed at. 

Mike Miletich / WGLT

State Senator Andy Manar says everyone could benefit if Illinois has great equity among school districts. 

During a stop in Bloomington Wednesday night, the Bunker Hill Democrat said the state is harming individuals today by having the least equitable state in the country.

Unit 5 district offices
Staff / WGLT

The head of the Unit Five School District says he is pushing the panic button firmly about state aid payments. Speaking during GLT's Sound Ideas, Superintendent Mark Daniel said the district will run out of money about the end of the spring legislative session.

"We will not be able to have a balanced budget. So we will be in deficit spending: My great concern is if there is no state budget then how are they going to make payments in the future," said Daniel.

Matt Molinari / Flickr

Livingston County Prosecutors and law enforcement leaders want the state to boost early childhood block grant funding funding by $50 million. Sheriff Tony Childress said that will allow the state to capture more federal funds for preschool.

Childress was with the States's Attorney and another Sheriff reading books to three and four year olds at a Pontiac grade school.

Twitter

Billionaire businessman J.B. Pritzker is expected to announce a bid for Illinois governor.

The Chicago Democrat tweeted Thursday that he was readying for "the big announcement" above a picture with his son holding a sign reading "J.B. for Governor."

Meagan Davis / Flickr

Attorney General Lisa Madigan is taking her case over state employee pay to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Madigan is asking the justices to review a lower court order that has kept state workers getting paid during the 20-month budget stalemate.

CBlue98 / Flickr

McLean County Government is planning a behavioral health forum as part of its continued focus on mental health issues.

County Board Chair John McIntyre said it will be May 18th.

AFSCME.org

Members of AFSCME, the biggest labor union representing Illinois state workers, have taken a big step toward a possible strike.

AFSCME has been fighting with Gov. Bruce Rauner over its contract for more than two years.

And the strike authorization vote comes more than a year after Rauner broke off negotiations, saying they were at impasse.

Rich Saal / The State Journal-Register/Pool

Governor Bruce Rauner is finally weighing in on a bipartisan deal meant to end Illinois’ budget stalemate. Rauner shot down a key component of the compromise during his budget speech.

Rauner was kept out of the Senate negotiations from the start. He has since praised them in general but refused to get into specifics until now. In his budget speech to the General Assembly Rauner said he does support expanding the sales tax to cover more services but he opposes taxing groceries and drugs.

JWolff-STL / Flickr

Next week a downstate judge is scheduled to hear arguments whether Illinois state workers should be paid if there’s still no budget. The result could shut down state government.

Democratic Attorney General Lisa Madigan says if a judge rules employees cannot get paid, the threat of a shutdown could force a budget agreement.

Rauner Madigan Mediator Failed

Feb 10, 2017
Dave Gray / Flickr

Governor Bruce Rauner says an undisclosed third party tried to help strike a budget deal between the Illinois governor and his main political rival, House Speaker Michael Madigan.

The Governor was asked on Chicago Public Radio whether he has tried a mediator with Democratic House Speaker Madigan.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Politicians of all parties often sidestep awkward questions.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner followed that tradition during a stop at Heartland Community College in Normal on Wednesday.

Tazwood Center For Wellness

Editors Note: During our interview series Stretched Thin, we reported on the impact of the state budget impasse on local social service agencies   That was in spring of 2016. There's still no budget. In our new series Stretched Thinner, we check back in with those social social service agencies.

MCCA

Editors Note: During our interview series Stretched Thin, we reported on the impact of the state budget impasse on local social service agencies   That was in spring of 2016. There's still no budget. In our new series Stretched Thinner, we check back in with those social social service agencies.  

Mid Central Community Action in Bloomington is keeping its head above water as it tries to deliver services to the homeless, to those escaping and recovering from domestic violence, and to those who are trying to stabilize their lives.

Cristian Jaramillio / Staff

Several programs operated by the Bloomington-Normal YWCA rely heavily on state funds. Liz German, Vice President of Operations at the YW says the impasse in Springfield has many of those programs on hold.

"We have been told that, as of January 1, there is no more money," German said during Sound Ideas. "Theoretically there are hundreds of thousands of dollars we won't be getting. This hurts because it means federal matching dollars won't be available either," she added.

One position has already been eliminated, German said, and other cuts are on the way.

Cristan Jaramillo / WGLT

Editors Note: During our interview series Stretched Thin, we reported on the impact of the state budget impasse on local social service agencies and heard how the stalemate was affecting members of the community.  That was in spring of 2016. There's still no budget. In our new series Stretched Thinner, we check back in with those social social service agencies. 

State Sen. Bill Brady

President Donald Trump continues to roll out changes and initiatives that indicate a starkly different direction than under the Obama administration.

For instance, his nominee for education Secretary is a firm backer of school vouchers.

Daniel X. O'Neil / Flickr

Gov. Bruce Rauner said he is "deeply optimistic" about the future of Illinois despite the state's problems. He addressed a joint session of the General Assembly with his third State of the State address.

The Republican said he is frustrated by the "slow pace of change."

Illinois State Capitol exterior
Justin Brocke / Flickr

Illinois House GOP Leader Jim Durkin has picked State Representative Dan Brady of Normal for his leadership team.

Brady will serve as Deputy Leader in the Republican Caucus this year and next.

Illinois200.com

Governor Bruce Rauner said he is looking forward to the state showcasing its history and its potential for the future during the upcoming the bicentennial.  Rauner said events will take place throughout the state to mark the 200th anniversary. 

"And the good news is we're kicking it off in December with the start of the full year of celebration and it's going to be fantastic," Rauner said.

Staff / WGLT

State Senator Bill Brady, (R) Bloomington, is now on a higher rung of Senate leadership.

Minority Leader Christine Radogno has picked Brady as Deputy Leader, his first time in that role.

Illinois State Capitol exterior
Justin Brocke / Flickr

Illinois lawmakers have approved a four-month extension of a corporate tax incentive program amid an ongoing budget standoff.  

The Economic Development for a Growing Economy, or EDGE, program was set to expire at the end of last year. It offers businesses tax breaks in exchange for agreements on creating and maintaining jobs.  

The House and Senate approved the measure Tuesday with wide support. A spokeswoman says Gov. Bruce Rauner will sign the extension, but he's urging support of a Republican-backed plan to overhaul the program.  

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