Politics and Government | WGLT

Politics and Government

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.

Brett Levin / Flickr

The Illinois medical marijuana industry saw $2.2 million in retail sales during April, the largest one-month figure yet. Program director Joseph Wright says the program now includes 36 dispensaries and 6,200 qualified patients.


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.

Illinois State University

ISU Trustees will consider a three percent tuition hike for incoming students. Fees would also rise by three percent. Room and board would go up one percent.

Dori Merr / Wikimedia Commons

Researchers analyzed why some hospitals make big profits and found a surprise: Seven of the 10 most profitable hospitals are nonprofits, including one in Urbana, Illinois, where hospital tax exemptions are headed for a contentious court battle.

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.

Illinois State University

In Illinois, as in other parts of the country, parts of the African American Community have been resistant to LGBTQ issues. This is in spite of the traditionally Democratic party makeup  of that community driven by Chicago and Metro-East populations. In fact, as the Associated Press reported at the time, one of the reasons the Illinois gay marriage bill vote was closer than it could have been and took longer to pass was resistance by the Chicago Black legislative caucus.

Hastert Sentenced To Prison

Apr 27, 2016
Tannen Maury / EPA

Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert was sentenced Wednesday to 15 months in prison for breaking federal banking rules in a scheme to cover up sexual abuse.

Tim Evanson

College Democrats and Republicans at Illinois State University say they are happy County Clerk Kathy Michael is embracing suggestions to reduce the three hour wait times to vote students experienced during the primary election last month.

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.

Jacob DeGeal

The Head of the McLean County Board says work still needs to be done to adjust to same day voter registration. Students at Illinois State University had wait times of up to three hours on primary Election Day last month. Some left discouraged without voting.

Higher Ed Budget To Governor

Apr 13, 2016
Mark Goebel / Creative Commons

The Illinois Senate has moved swiftly to approved a spending plan the House passed just Tuesday.

Ralph Weisheit

A development entity is urging the Bloomington and Normal City Councils to talk about a sales tax revenue sharing agreement.

Nora Dukowitz / City of Bloomington

A $207 million balanced budget for the next year is under consideration by the Bloomington City Council tonight. The proposal includes additional revenue from a sales tax passed last year and includes more spending for the city’s infrastructure.


The Bloomington Police Department says it can't prove who drove over grave markers and damaged them in connection with a Donald Trump rally. The department says it has declined to file charges in the case.

Donald Trump speaks at a podium
Michael Vadon / Flickr

Although he may need them during the convention, don't expect Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump to make an attempt to woo uncommitted delegates. That's according to Kerri Milita, Assistant Professor of Politics and Government at Illinois State University.

During an appearance on GLT's Sound Ideas, Milita said, "I don't see him being able to pull that off. With Trump, it's first ballot at the convention, or not at all."

Milita said Trump's retaliatory campaign style hurt him in Wisconsin, where she says voters are more sensitive to civility and being nice.

Staff / WGLT

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

Staff / WGLT

Illinois State University students complaining of long lines at the polls last month have a sympathetic ear in a McLean County Board member. During a Finance committee meeting, Erik Rankin echoed Illinois State University students’ frustrations after waiting hours in some cases to vote at the Bone Student Center in last month’s primary.

Staff / WGLT

As part of the general budget planning process Illinois State University goes through every year, the administration offers guidance to Deans and Department Chairs to come up with spending plans.

A judge overseeing Dennis Hastert's hush-money case has appointed a Northwestern University doctor to review the former U.S. House speaker's medical records. U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Durkin said in a filing that Dr. Robert S. Golden would conduct the review, which was ordered last month after Hastert's sentencing was delayed because his lawyers said he had nearly died and remained in poor health.

Late-payment penalties have cost Illinois more than $900 million over the last six years, according to new figures from the state comptroller's office. The penalties for paying bills late cost the state about $160 million during the 2014 fiscal year.

Charlie Schlenker

The Town of Normal is pulling back on its Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant application for a year. The $14 million plus request would have funded a pedestrian underpass below the train tracks in Uptown. Mayor Chris Koos says the town did not want to get in the way of other requests of the TIGER program.

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

Heartland Community College in Normal is marking a quarter century of existence this week. Heartland is one of those entities which proves the public is not always right.

Sen Durbin Defends Prez Over Cuba Visit

Mar 25, 2016
whitehouse.gov/photos / YouTube via Creative Commons

An Illinois Senator who traveled with President Barack Obama says those giving him political heat for spending time in Cuba fostering relations with America's neighbor instead of rushing to Washington following the Brussels attacks are off base. US Senator Dick Durbin traveled with Barack Obama and addressed the issue upon his return. He says returning to DC would be a win for terrorists. The Democrat went on to criticize one of the candidates for President who says the US should get out of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

State of Illinois

A Bloomington State Senator says he will carefully read the Supreme Court opinion on the Chicago pension case.

stalebg / Wikimedia Commons

After the Paris bombings in November, ISU Political Scientist Ali Riaz told Charlie Schlenker and GLT listeners that it was ISIS perhaps showing signs of weakness at home by extending the front to Europe.

Michael Hill / WGLT

Mayor Tari Renner voiced his concerns over a plan that would allow a group of three Aldermen to add discussion and action items to agendas. He said it could create a problem as it has in polarized states and communities.

Nia Gilbert

A sizeable percentage of students at University High School in Normal recently dressed all in black for a day to mark the Black Lives Matter movement. There was some contention as other students dressed all in white as part of an All Lives Matter response. GLT's Charlie Schlenker talks with two organizers of the Black Lives Matter effort, Juniors Seba Nassar and Nia Gilbert about why they thought it was a necessary thing to do at U-High.

Wikimedia Commons

The West African food crisis of 2008 had various causes: rising energy costs, increasing use of grain for ethanol production, shifting diets linked to rapid urbanization, export bans, and globalization and economic dependence on western countries. It's that last pressure on which this year's Ridgley Geography lecturer at ISU focuses.

Staff / WGLT

An independent review of Matt Sorensen's financial dealings while serving as McLean County Board chair finds no evidence of illegal or unethical conduct.

The review was conducted by former Normal town attorney Steve Mahrt, who produced a 600-plus page document. Sorensen resigned his seat in January following indictment on federal wire fraud charges in connection with a business dealing. He has pleaded not guilty to the charge.