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Illinois Politics

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Court orders have kept money flowing to certain social services.  But many others have had to scale back or close after waiting more than ten months for the state to pay their bills.

This is the latest bid to minimize the damage.


Editors Note:  "Stretched Thin," is examining the effect of the state budget impasse on local social service agencies to put a human face on how the stalemate is affecting the daily lives of Illinois residents. 

A growing number of human service providers are suggesting Illinois residents express their dissatisfaction in the voting booth over the state's nearly year-long budget impasse.

Stepping Stones / YWCA of McLean County


Editors Note:  Stretched Thin is an ongoing series of interviews with those managing social service agencies through an unprecedented state budget stalemate.

It's getting harder for rape victims to obtain free services in McLean County.

Despite signed contracts with the state, the Stepping Stones Rape Crisis program at the McLean County YWCA is operating with only half its annual $150,000 budget. Stepping Stones has contracts with the state to provide rape prevention classes, a 24-hour hotline, accompaniment to the hospital, and support throughout the prosecution of a case.

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The State of Illinois is being sued for not paying some of its social service contractors. Lawmakers and the governor have not agreed on a budget in 10 months.

Illinois General Assembly
Illinois Lawmakers / State Of Illinois

Illinois House members are considering a proposal to change the state's flat income tax to a progressive one. The switch would mean people who earn more money would pay more in income taxes.

Illinois State Capitol exterior
Justin Brocke / Flickr

Yet again, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and Governor Bruce Rauner are at odds.  This time, over a constitutional amendment introduced by the Speaker.

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Editors Note:  Stretched Thin is an ongoing series of interviews with those managing social service agencies through an unprecedented state budget stalemate. 

After ten months without payment on signed state contracts, many social service agencies in Illinois have gone under. Others are scraping the bottom of their reserves. Some have taken out loans. Others are having difficulty because banks don't view the state as a good credit risk and doubt the agencies will be paid.

Rauner Takes Turnaround Agenda Tour To Peoria

May 3, 2016

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner visited a startup incubator in Peoria Tuesday touting his pro-business agenda.
Governor Rauner greeted a room of young business owners, software developers and designers essentially saying 'I Was like you once.'
“I was a venture capitalist myself for 32 years before going into public service. I know firsthand how hard it is to start a business and build a business, how much risk and sacrifice and sweat and worry is involved in it,” said Rauner.


Editors Note:  Stretched Thin is an ongoing series of interviews with those managing social service agencies through an unprecedented state budget stalemate.

The state budget crisis is eroding social service agencies. The political standoff over Governor Rauner's turnaround agenda is also reshaping the way the state functions in unintended and potentially long lasting ways.

Steve Vance / Flickr via Creative Commons

As the state budget impasse has entered an eleventh month, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says he's hopeful a "grand bargain" can be worked out by the end of May.  But, he's leaving the bargaining to others.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Non Tenure Track professors at ISU are showing solidarity with their counterparts at other budget strapped campuses with a demonstration on the quad.

M. Spencer Green / Flickr via Creative Commons

A judge has ordered the detention of former US Rep. Mel Reynolds after finding Reynolds' proposed place of residence while on bail in a tax case to be unacceptable.

Tannen Maury / EPA

The judge in Dennis Hastert's hush-money case said that if the former House speaker wants letters of support considered during his sentencing, they must be made public.

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Illinois lawmakers have taken the first step toward eliminating the office of Lieutenant Governor. A proposed amendment to the state Constitution could save a projected $1.6 million a year.

A house committee passed the proposal to the full House. An identical measure is pending in the Senate.

The lieutenant governor doesn't actually have to do much. The Constitution vaguely says whoever holds the office "shall perform the duties delegated to him by the Governor."

Tannen Maury / EPA

Prosecutors say they expect one person who accused Dennis Hastert of sexual abuse to speak at his sentencing in his hush-money case, and the judge has indicated that he wants to consider that the former U.S. House speaker lied to federal authorities.

Schock Staffers Subpoenaed

Apr 12, 2016

Four congressional staffers have told the U.S. House that they've been subpoenaed by the federal court in Springfield, Illinois, where a grand jury is conducting a probe into the spending of former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock. The financial chief for the House, Traci Beaubian, and three other staff members wrote letters notifying the chamber about the subpoenas that were read on the House floor Monday. The letters did not mention the subject of the subpoenas. Schock, a Republican from Peoria, left office in March 2015 amid questions about congressional and campaign spending.

Illinois State Capitol exterior
Justin Brocke / Flickr

Republicans in the Illinois General Assembly are proposing $1.3 billion in spending to cover human services.  

Christine Radogno is minority leader of the Senate. She and House GOP Leader Jim Durkin say most of the money would come from state funds set up for special purposes. The money in those funds can't be spent because there's no budget to provide spending authority.  

Radogno says it's necessary for services for the elderly, child support, affordable housing, drug addiction treatment and diversionary programs for low-level criminal offenders.  

Staff / WGLT

There's evidence the state budget standoff is hurting the economy in Illinois and in Bloomington Normal.

M. Spencer Green / Flickr via Creative Commons

A federal judge has issued an arrest warrant effective at midnight for a former U.S. congressman from Illinois who says he is staying in South Africa with his ill daughter. Former U.S. Rep. Mel Reynolds is free on bond in a federal tax case. U.S. District Judge John Darrah ordered the warrant be issued. Reynolds told the judge in an open letter that he's staying abroad to care for his daughter in the African nation because she is suffering from scoliosis and may also have cervical cancer. Judge Darrah refused a request by Reynolds to stay abroad longer. Reynolds' trial is set for May 2.

No Retrial For Blagojevich

Mar 30, 2016
Il. Dept. Corrections / Facebook via Creative Commons

Prosecutors say they won't retry former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich on the five counts tossed by a federal appeals court and have requested a resentencing date.

High Court Rejects Blagojevich Appeal

Mar 28, 2016
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A lawyer for Rod Blagojevich is disappointed the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the imprisoned former Illinois governor's appeal of his remaining corruption convictions, including his attempt to sell the vacant U.S. Senate seat once occupied by President Barack Obama.

Gov Rauner Gives Trump Luke Warm Embrace

Mar 21, 2016
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The Republican nominee for president will have Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner's support ... no matter who he is.

Congressman Davis Hedges On Supreme Court Issue

Mar 16, 2016
Steve Petteway / Staff Photographer Supreme Court

President Barack Obama has nominated appeals court judge Merrick Garland to the US Supreme Court to fill the seat vacant since the death of Antonin Scalia. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky says no one the president nominates will be considered by the Senate.

Dead Candidate Leads Race

Mar 16, 2016
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A southwestern Illinois candidate who died in November is leading in the race for a Democratic Party committeeman post in the city of Belleville.

Illinois Delegation Heads To Cuba

Mar 16, 2016
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Three members of Illinois' congressional delegation will accompany President Barack Obama to Cuba this weekend.

No Money For Fairground Repairs

Mar 14, 2016
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A spending plan from Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner outlines a $180 million backlog in repairs and maintenance for the state fairgrounds in Springfield and Du Quoin.

New Names In Rutherford Suit

Mar 9, 2016
Scott Proctor / Flickr via Creative Commons

A federal lawsuit claiming sexual harassment by former Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford names four other staffers who allegedly complained of unwanted sexual advances by the one-time gubernatorial hopeful.

Illinois Public Media- WILL

Governor Bruce Rauner says 15th District Congressman John Shimkus can play a role in promoting his “Turnaround Agenda” in Washington.

The governor campaigned with Shimkus today in a six-city tour of the 15th Congressional District that began in Mahomet Monday morning. Rauner calls Shimkus a model for a party that seeks to help small business owners and farm families.

And the governor says Shimkus has helped Republicans in their fight against longtime Democratic House Speaker.

Dan Brady

State lawmakers are considering funding community colleges and MAP tuition grants for low-income students, despite Republican Governor Bruce Rauner's rejection of the legislation.

Governor Bruce Rauner has promoted his school-funding plan across the state. He says Democratic attempts to change the school funding formula are a Chicago school bailout. Some Democrats level the same charge against's Rauner’s proposed takeover of Chicago Public Schools.