Brian Mackey

Brian Mackey covers state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. He was previously A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.

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Gov. Bruce Rauner has spent much of the past few years bad-mouthing the Illinois economy — saying his agenda would turn things around. But not everyone in his administration is sounding the alarm.

The Illinois state treasurer is urging legislators to override one of Governor Bruce Rauner’s recent vetoes. Democrat Mike Frerichs says the legislation is needed to help people claim life insurance benefits.

Advocates say Illinois’ treatment of prisoners with mental illness is so bad — the prison system is in a “state of emergency.” They’re asking a federal judge to intervene.

Advocates say the treatment of Illinois prisoners with mental illness is so bad that the prison system is in a “state of emergency.” They’re asking a federal judge to intervene.

More than a year ago, the Illinois Department of Corrections agreed that it needed to improve its treatment of prisoners with mental illness. It settled a decade-old court case, but lawyers for the prisoners say the state isn’t improving quickly enough.

State and federal legislators from Illinois are proposing new laws in response to Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas.

State Rep. David Harris is the latest in a growing list of Illinois lawmakers who say they’re not running for reelection.

Illinois politicians continue reacting to Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas. Their responses are often falling along party lines.

Illinois politicians continue reacting to Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, but responses are falling down party lines.

As happens with just about every mass shooting, and the more routine violence that plagues parts of cities like Chicago, Democrats say it shows the need for tighter gun laws.

Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says military-grade weapons should not be considered normal.

But Republicans prefer to set aside those conversation, which is what Gov. Bruce Rauner did when asked whether he would support a so-called assault weapons ban.

State financial regulators are recommending an increase in the fees that currency exchanges charge for cashing checks. Opponents say it will hurt Illinois' poorest residents.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan says she’s not running for re-election.The surprise announcement comes midway through her fourth term. 

Madigan has been attorney general since 2003 and has focused much of her energy on consumer protection. The Democrat has filed lawsuits over student debt, worker abuse, and drug prices.
 

That’s led some Republicans to say she ought to have spent more time fighting public corruption.

Still, Madigan has been popular with voters, winning re-election three times with anywhere from 60 to 70 percent of the vote.
 

He was once a respected school superintendent. Now Larry Wyllie is being indicted for fraud.

  Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan Wednesday is issuing formal guidance to state and local police on immigration law.        

The document outlines recent changes in federal and state policy. On the one hand is President Donald Trump’s January executive order meant to increase deportations. That’s juxtaposed against Illinois’ new so-called TRUST Act, meant to increase protections for immigrants without legal status.

  Gov. Bruce Rauner signed that into law last month.

Environmental groups are criticizing Ameren Illinois for what they describe as backing away from energy efficiency goals.

Environmental groups are criticizing state regulators for a decision involving Ameren Illinois. The state Commerce Commission is letting the power company reduce its goals for energy efficiency.

The efficiency targets were part of a big state energy law passed last year. Its main purpose was to keep two of Illinois' nuclear power plants open. The investment in “clean energy” was part of the deal.

But Ameren says it cannot meet its efficiency goals, at least not cost effectively. And now the Illinois Commerce Commission is basically saying: OK.

More than two months after the Illinois General Assembly finally approved a state budget, Gov. Bruce Rauner is moving ahead with a plan to begin cutting into the $15 billion backlog of bills.

It’s been two months since Illinois government finally passed a full budget. Legislators hoped that would accelerate the payment of overdue bills, which total more than $15 billion. But the governor’s office is holding that up.

It’s been two months since Illinois government finally passed a full budget. Legislators hoped that would accelerate the payment of overdue bills. But the governor’s office is holding that up.

The math seems pretty simple: Illinois is paying interest penalties of 12 percent on some debt. But like refinancing a home mortgage, we could borrow to pay that off at closer to 4 percent.

Gov. Bruce Rauner, however, doesn’t seem to like that idea.

“Just more borrowing — in and of itself, without a plan for repayment — would be a huge mistake.”

The Illinois state treasurer is urging legislators to override one of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s recent vetoes. Democrat Mike Frerichs says the override is needed to help people claim life insurance benefits. 

color:#3D3D3D;letter-spacing:.05pt">With Labor Day parades stepping off across Illinois today, Democratic politicians are thinking about how to win back the once-solid support of union members.

Illinois State Senator Bill Brady formally became the Illinois Senate Republican leader Tuesday. He's been acting as minority leader since Sen. Christine Radogno resigned at the end of June.

The Illinois legislature this afternoon approved a major, bipartisan overhaul of the way Illinois funds public education.

Backers are calling it a landmark reform. It would focus state spending on areas with more students in poverty — though no school district would get less funding than it does today.
Democratic state Senator Kimberly Lightford, from Chicago, says the change has been a long time in coming.

Election officials in Chicago say the personal information of 1.8 million voters was found unsecured on the Internet.

Another Illinois legislator will not be seeking re-election.

State Rep. Sara Wojcicki Jimenez is from Leland Grove, near Springfield.

She was among the Republicans who defied Governor Bruce Rauner — helping Democrats pass Illinois' first budget in two years.

Illinois Republicans are gearing up for Gov. Bruce Rauner’s re-election fight. At a state fair rally Wednesday, they made clear their campaign will focus on one man.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed legislation that makes it illegal to expel toddlers from preschools.

Backers of the new law point to a study that says toddlers and other Illinois preschoolers are expelled at a rate three times greater than their older, school-age counterparts.

“I just want you to let that sink in.”

Governor Bruce Rauner has signed legislation that makes it illegal to expel toddlers from preschools.

Backers of the new law point to a study that says toddlers and other Illinois preschoolers are expelled at a rate three times greater than their older, school-age counterparts.

“I just want you to let that sink in.”

State Rep. Juliana Stratton is a Democrat from Chicago.

“When you see expulsion in early years, it leads to higher suspension and expulsion rates in later grades."

Another voice is urging Gov. Bruce Rauner to work with the budget that was passed over his objections.

A Republican state representative is urging Governor Bruce Rauner to issue bonds to start paying down the backlog of bills.

Representative David Harris, from Arlington Heights, is one of the Republicans who voted with Democrats to raise taxes and pass a budget. He says the state’s 14-billion dollars in unpaid bills was a big reason why.

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza is urging Gov. Bruce Rauner to step up the pace in dealing with the state’s debt.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has vetoed parts of the Democratic education funding overhaul known as Senate Bill 1. He used his Constitutional power to make recommendations for changes in the legislation, saying he wanted to stop a "bailout" of Chicago schools. But Democrats accuse him of tacking right and waging an "assault" on public education.

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