Brian Mackey

Brian Mackey covers state government and politics for Illinois Issues magazine, 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.


State News
7:05 am
Wed May 20, 2015

Philip Morris Fighting $10b Judgment — Again

Originally published on Tue May 19, 2015 4:10 pm

A $10-billion lawsuit was back before the Illinois Supreme Court Tuesday. A group of smokers say Philip Morris defrauded them into thinking light cigarettes were safer than regular — but lost the case a decade ago. Now they’re hoping for another bite at the apple.

The case was decided way back in 2005, when a sharply divided Illinois Supreme Court overturned the record $10-billion judgment. The justices ruled that the Federal Trade Commission had approved marketing “light” cigarettes as safer.

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State News
5:23 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

Illinois Supreme Court hears Philip Morris “light” cigarettes case again

A 10-billion dollar lawsuit was back before the Illinois Supreme Court today. A group of smokers say Philip Morris defrauded them into thinking light cigarettes were safer than regular, but lost the case a decade ago. 

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State News
1:05 pm
Fri May 8, 2015

IL Supreme Court finds Pension Reform Law unconstitutional

The Illinois Supreme Court has struck down legislation that tried to cut retirement benefits for thousands of state workers. 

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State News
1:27 pm
Mon May 4, 2015

In Gov. Rauner, Echoes Of Gov. Walker

file WUIS

Originally published on Thu June 11, 2015 4:43 pm

If you follow state government long enough, you start to hear the same things over and over again. That holds even across four decades.

Last week, I produced an obituary for the late Gov. Dan Walker, who died at the age of 92. In listening to several of his speeches from 1975 and '76, I was struck by the similarities to the sorts of things we hear from politicians today — particularly Gov. Bruce Rauner.

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NPR Story
7:03 am
Thu April 30, 2015

Dan Walker, From Power To Prison

Dan Walker, center, behind a sign pointing toward Eddyville.
file WUIS/Illinois Issues

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 1:31 am

A former governor of Illinois has died. Dan Walker ran the state for one term in the 1970s. A Democrat, he focused much of his brief political career fighting members of his own party as he did the opposition Republicans.

At a time when most Democratic politicians in Illinois were cogs in a massive political machine, Dan Walker was a nobody.

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State News
5:55 pm
Thu April 16, 2015

Illinois Officials hold Holocaust memorial ceremony

Illinois officials gathered in Springfield today for the annual Holocaust memorial ceremony. As happens every year, a survivor shared her story. 

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NPR Story
12:52 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Illinois House Moves To Patch $1.6b Hole

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 12:41 pm

The Illinois House on Tuesday voted to patch a 1.6-billion-dollar hole in the current state budget.

  The budget was supposed to get Illinois through June, but already the state's running out of money for things like court reporters and prison guards. That’s in part because Democrats passed an incomplete budget last year — not wanting to raise taxes or cut spending.

Now Democrats and Republicans — including Gov. Bruce Rauner — say they’ve found a solution. But it continues to mostly avoid that difficult choice.

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NPR Story
6:04 am
Mon March 23, 2015

Lawmaker: Give Bankruptcy A Chance

Originally published on Mon March 23, 2015 5:01 am

An Illinois Republican has proposed changing state law to let cities and towns declare bankruptcy.

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State News
6:52 am
Thu March 19, 2015

Negotiating Illinois' minimum wage


For the first time in years, legislation to raise the minimum wage is advancing in the Illinois House. Brian Mackey has more.

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State News
7:27 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Governor: 'Don’t Want To Get Out In Front' On Budget Deal

Gov. Bruce Rauner took questions from Springfield business leaders Wednesday at a forum sponsored by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce.

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 10:59 pm

Illinois politicians continue to be focused on the massive money shortfall for the current budget year.

Illinois is running out of money, and it’s beginning to hurt. A day-care program that helps low-income parents hold jobs has run dry, and soon Illinois might not be able to make payroll at state prisons.

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