Politics and Government | WGLT

Politics and Government

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

It's an election year and pay raises are difficult things to pass when people are on the ballot. So it proved on the McLean County Board when members turned down a two percent pay hike amounting to about ninety eight dollars per year.

Lee Milner / Illinois News Broadcasters Association

A state senator says the biggest scandal in Illinois and across the country isn’t getting much attention and he’s not sure why.

Sam McCann, R-Plainview, says the rise of super PACs (political action committees) since the U. S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision is killing democracy and will discourage people from running for public office.

Charlie Schlenker / Schlenker

A move to cut the McLean County Coroner's salary by six percent has failed soundly. Outgoing County Board member Ben Owens made the motion, saying new hires in businesses often come in at a lower rate than their predecessors. Owens framed the proposal as a money saving move for taxpayers.

Mathew Paul Argall / Creative Commons

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. 

The head of the Children's Home and Aid Society in Bloomington says the last ten months has done a lot to her organization. During Sound Ideas, Lisa Pieper talked WGLT's Charlie Schlenker about the impact on human services from the state budget standoff over Governor Rauner's turnaround agenda.

Michael Allen Smith / Creative Commons

Count the McLean County Chamber of Commerce and the Bloomington Normal Economic Development Council among the interest groups on board a proposed sales tax sharing agreement in the twin cities.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

A bipartisan group of lawmakers known as the Budgeteers has forwarded a draft of an outline of a spending plan to the Governor and legislative leaders. It includes spending cuts and revenue increases, but not Governor Bruce Rauner's proposed reforms to the structure of state government.

Alan Levine / Creative Commons

Illinois’ school funding formula relies heavily on property taxes. That leaves districts with low land values to make do with about six thousand dollars per student each year, while districts with thriving businesses can spend up to five times that amount.

Matt Turner / Flickr

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.

Ralph Weisheit

The head of the company that just took the Mitsubishi plant in Normal off the automaker's hands says they will start liquidating the equipment in two or three months if they do not find a buyer for the plant.


The apparent Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump has the apparent support of central Illinois Congressman Darin LaHood. During a stop in Bloomington, LaHood (R-Dunlap) said he's standing by his statement that he will support whoever wins the GOP nomination.

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

The process to find a new Bloomington City Manager could begin shortly after the next municipal election. Voters will go the polls to elect a mayor and some aldermen April 4, 2017.

Aldermen voted 8-1 during their meeting Monday evening to give City Manager David Hales an 18 month extension from the current expiration date of January 11, 2017, along with a 2.3 percent pay increase. 

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

The head of the Mitsubishi Auto plant in Normal said this has been his most difficult year of more than four decades in the auto industry. The company laid off most of its workforce last year and the final hundred plus workers at the facility will lose their jobs at the end of the month.

Michael Hill / WGLT

Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis is supporting five bills to combat opioid abuse in McLean County and across the country. At least four of the measures are expected to be discussed on the House floor this week.

Staff / City of Bloomington

A new hotel proposed for downtown Bloomington could receive the benefits of a Tax Increment Financing District. Council members will vote tonight on creating a TIF study for an area that includes buildings at Front Street and Center Street.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Exelon Nuclear estimates it will lose more than 100 million dollars on its Clinton and Quad Cities Nuclear Power plants in 2017 unless it can get money to preserve those reactors.

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.

Michael Vadon / Flickr

Illinois State University political scientist Kerri Milita says the apparent Donald Trump presidential nomination may hurt other Republican candidates in the November election.

Speaking on GLT's Sound Ideas, Milita said people going to vote for Trump will have an anti-establishment mindset and that may transfer to other races.

Creative Commons

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.

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.