Brian Mackey

Brian Mackey covers state government and politics for WUIS and a dozen other public radio stations across Illinois. He was previously A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. He can be reached at (217) 206-6412.

Subscribe to Brian Mackey's State of the State podcast on WUIS' podcast page, or by copying this URL into iTunes or any other podcast app.

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

Last Friday, central Illinois held its final naturalization ceremony before this year’s election.

Fifty-eight men and women entered Springfield's Old State Capitol as citizens of 30 nations. An hour later, they left as citizens of one.

We’re just over a month away from the election of 2016. It’s a season of campaign advertising, speeches, debates, and of course polling.

Every election cycle, Illinois voters are asked their opinions on a range of issues by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at SIU Carbondale.

This year, they weighed in on elections for president and U.S. Senate, the popularity state government leaders, and whether Illinois ought to amend its constitution to lock in road-building money.

Could the Republican nominee's emphasis on "law and order" derail a growing bipartisan consensus on crime and punishment?

A federal judge has blocked an Illinois law that had been aimed at making it easier to vote this fall.

The law required the state’s biggest cities and counties to let citizens register to vote on election day and at their local polling place. It did not impose the same requirement on smaller election authorities.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library digitized a rare copy of a 1956 presidential primary debate. What does it have to say about American politics today?

Internet Archive Book Images / Flickr

Illinois is more than a year behind on payments to people who’ve been wronged by state government. Such individuals can seek compensation through the Court of Claims, which hears cases ranging from injuries caused by state workers to people unjustly imprisoned for crimes they did not commit.
Chief Justice Peter Birnbaum says the court has not let the budget impasse interfere with its work.

"I made the decision for the court: Let’s issue these orders, enter these awards. Because we felt that the claimants deserved to know that they won."

Prisons often take an expansive view of their power to censor what inmates are reading. It makes sense that they might ban a book on, say, how to escape from jail. But what about medical textbooks? Classic works of literature? Or even a picture of a cat?

A central-Illinois physician has lost another round in his fight to become an independent candidate for Congress.

In an era of political gridlock, one of the few topics on which there's been hope of bipartisan cooperation is on the issues of crime and punishment.

Politicians have traditionally been averse to doing anything that could get them painted as being "soft on crime."

It's an easy attack, and one that's been frequently deployed in the past. But this year, criminal justice reform advocates are fighting back.

Debates over the minimum wage usually come down to economics — whether it helps or hurts workers and businesses. But new research suggests another potential winner: babies.

Economists have long known that people who make more money are generally healthier.

The ongoing budget debacle that’s hobbled Illinois government was front and center today in Springfield.  The "Budgeting for Results” commission is supposed to be hearing from the public about how state government can be more efficient. 

A Bloomington man running for Congress has successfully sued to keep his name on the ballot.

David Gill is running as an independent, and failed to file the number of valid signatures required by Illinois law.

That number is much higher than it would be if he were running as a Democrat or Republican, and a federal judge on Thursday ruled that Gill must remain on the ballot.

  Earlier this week, when Republicans rallied at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield, it was as though they were on that classic game show "Password," where no one was allowed say the name of their party's presidential nominee.

Thursday, however, Democrats took the opposite tack, saying the name again and again. Illinois Public Radio's Brian Mackey tells us about what you might call the Democratic Party's Donald Trump strategy.

Illinois Democrats are working hard to promote awareness of the Republican presidential nominee.  Donald Trump polls far behind Hillary Clinton in Illinois.  Many local Republicans are keeping their distance, but Democrats want to push them back together.  

As Illinois Democrats rallied in Springfield today, one name was on everyone’s lips.  At a morning meeting, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin was the first in a long parade of Democrats who delighted in taunting the other party.

In just a few years, one man has transformed the Illinois Republican Party from a perennial also-ran into a serious contender. Bruce Rauner been an agenda-setter, a shot-caller, and a rainmaker. And his party’s true believers couldn’t be happier.

The Illinois Department of Public Health recently reported the state is aware of 47 cases of Zika virus, including at least three pregnant women. Meanwhile, officials in Florida are trying to contain the first known mosquito-borne outbreak of the disease in the continental U.S.

In an attempt to sort through the facts and fears about Zika, we spoke to Dr. Janak Koirala, division chief of infectious disease and a travel medicine specialist at the SIU School of Medicine in Springfield.

Could a campaign emphasis on "law and order" derail the emerging bipartisan consensus on crime and punishment?

Donald Trump continues causing headaches for down-ballot Republicans. Meanwhile, state legislators are already airing TV ads, and a conservative group sues to block same-day voter registration.

A number of Illinois politicians continue to push the issue of of term limits.

This is the first week on the job for the new director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

This is the first week on the job for the new director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of some of the most devastating battles of World War I.

This Thursday at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, there’ll be a lecture on trench warfare during what was once known as The Great War.

Mark DePue is a historian at the museum and a specialist in American and military history. He spoke with our reporter Brian Mackey.

Last week’s shootings in Dallas, Minnesota and Louisiana have renewed attention on the relationship between police officers and African-American citizens.

Earlier this week on Illinois Edition, we heard from several activists with the Black Lives Matter movement. Today we’re going to hear from across the protest line.

On Monday, reporter Brian Mackey spoke with Chris Southwood, the president of the Illinois Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police.

Who should pay for the Illinois courts?

Some Illinois politicians are making a push to eliminate time limits on when people can be prosecuted for child sex crimes.

The move was prompted by the case of former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert.   

Illinois government has been stuck in a rut for going on 18 months now, and much of the attention has centered on the fight between Governor Bruce Rauner and the Democratic leaders in the General Assembly.

  The administration of Governor Bruce Rauner is touting the low interest rate Illinois got in last week’s bond sale. But at least one public finance expert says that’s not the full story. 

Twitter/Elliot Aviation

The Illinois Supreme Court has struck down a law meant to help a business expand in Illinois.  The Illinois Constitution says you can’t have laws targeting individual people or businesses. So to get around that, lawmakers will sometimes pass bills that seem general but, wink wink, everyone knows who’s benefiting.