Daisy Contreras

Daisy reports on statehouse issues for our Illinois Issues project.  She's currently a Public Affairs Reporting graduate program student at the University of Illinois Springfield.  She graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology with an associates degrees from Truman College.  Daisy is from Chicago where she attended Lane Tech High School.

A team of Chicago Tribune reporters looked into cases of sexual misconduct in the city's public schools spanning a decade. Their series 'Betrayed' tells the stories of students abused by educators or other school employees. We talked to David Jackson — one of the reporters involved — about what they uncovered. 

The Illinois General Assembly has revived an effort to bridge the so-called “gender wage gap.”

The plan would ban employers from asking about salary history during interviews.

Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a similar measure last year. The latest version still keeps prior salary out of the interview process, but tries to address concerns from business owners who are worried about their bottom line.

Wendy Pollack is with the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law in Chicago. She says no law is perfect and hopes Rauner acknowledges it’s a good starting point.

The debate continues over whether Illinois’ law allowing for taxpayer-funded abortions violates the state constitution. A trial judge dismissed the case last year but anti-abortion advocates are fighting back.  

Nati Harnik / AP

Illinois anti-abortion groups were back in a Springfield courtroom today ... arguing against the new state law allowing for taxpayer-funded abortions.

They’re asking the Fourth District Appellate Court to overturn a trial judge’s dismissal of their case last year.

State Representative Peter Breen, a Lombard Republican and lawyer for the plaintiffs, says this goes beyond abortion. He says his case is really about the procedures the state legislature follows when passing a budget.
 

A prominent state legislator, who led efforts in the Illinois House to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, has stepped down from his leadership post after being accused of bullying and intimidation. 

The Illinois General Assembly has approved a plan aimed at making sure people in jails can exercise their right to vote.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan said he will cooperate with a special investigation over claims he used intimidation to pressure state Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) to quit her part-time job with Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart's office. Cassidy alleges Madigan retaliated after she criticized him over his handling of sexual harassment cases within his office earlier this year.

An Illinois House committee Monday discussed Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposal to reinstate the death penalty for mass shooters and for those who murder police officers. The proposal is part of a broader public safety plan put forth in an amendatory veto.  

After weeks of feuding within the Illinois Republican Party an unusual agreement has been reached with hopes of bridging the divide.

Update 5/16/18: The Senate approved the measure 35-18. 
 
After Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a proposal to license gun dealers, several legislators are suggesting a new, bipartisan approach in hopes of getting his support. 

Flickr Creative Commons/Larissa Puro

Pro-choice advocates in Illinois want the candidates for governor to pledge support for a law that expands abortion coverage, and oppose any push to repeal it.

After Republican Governor Bruce Rauner signed a law providing abortion coverage under state health insurance and Medicaid - some, like State Representative Jeanne Ives who ran against him on the GOP ticket in the primary - said it showed Rauner’s position on the issue is too liberal.

The Illinois Senate approved a measure intended to upgrade security at public, large-scale events. Under the plan, law enforcement could use drones as monitors.

But Democratic state Senator Kwame Raoul of Chicago says this could also be a pathway for invading people’s privacy – and wants officers to obtain a warrant first.

“I want to trust to utilize the drones to protect against a tragic incident at Lollapalooza or some other mass gathering at a park. I’m not left with the feeling of comfort by a reference to no legitimate law enforcement purpose.”

The Illinois Senate approved a measure intended to provide courts with more guidance on what to do when a minor is caught with a stolen car. But some juvenile justice groups say lawmakers are missing the bigger picture.

Several Illinois legislators are pushing to bring more construction jobs to the state. A plan under consideration in the House would award tax credits to companies that put up new buildings or improve existing structures. 

Brianna Laugher / Flickr
CC BY-SA 2.0

 

Illinois lawmakers are pushing to expand access to birth control by allowing pharmacists to fill orders without consulting a doctor. But state Representative Terri Bryant, a Murphysboro Republican, says this is an issue only a doctor should handle.

 

“I would like to express that this actually risks a patient’s safety. It’s an issue of a young person under the age of 18 being able to go in and get what should be a prescription medication.” Bryant says.

Dank Depot / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

A proposal to allow the temporary use of cannabis over opioids for pain management was approved by the Illinois Senate Thursday.   It would allow a patient who doesn’t have immediate access to a medical marijuana card to be temporarily certified by a doctor to use cannabis.

Chris McCloud is with HCI alternatives, a medical cannabis dispensary. He says this legislative approach is a unique plan addressing the problem of opioid addiction.

 

As the state works toward a budget for the next year, some lawmakers say they need a target for how much money is available.
  

One idea is if the state had a revenue estimate in place, drafting a balanced budget would be an easier process. Without one, budget negotiators say they are in the dark when it comes to how much is available to spend.    

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

The Illinois General Assembly was unable to override Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of a measure to license gun shops. The deadline to vote was Wednesday -- the same day hundreds of gun owners marched to the Statehouse to ask that legislators oppose the measure. 

State Sen. Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat, said in a statement he didn’t have the necessary votes in the House to call for the override. 

In response to the deadly Waffle House shooting in Nashville, one Illinois lawmaker wants to make sure firearms stay with those who can legally carry them.

The Illinois General Assembly has only a few hours left to vote on a gun dealer licensing measure that would require gun shops to register with the state and pay a license fee. Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed the proposal earlier this month, giving lawmakers only 15 calendar days to get enough support for an override. The deadline is today.

In a move not surprising to many, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan Monday was re-elected as the chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party.

Last month, the state's voters decided on the Republican and Democratic nominees for governor. But with the primaries behind them, the winners still have to convince those who wanted someone else at the top of the ticket.

Lawmakers are urging the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services be more transparent with the public.

 

萨德入韩有变? 美官员:若韩不愿部署可撤回 / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says while President Trump made the right call to attack the Assad regime last Friday, he suggests the Commander-in-Chief use more precaution moving forward.

Trump last Wednesday tweeted about Russia with a heads-up on a possible U.S. missile attack on Syria. Durbin says the use of social media could have dire consequences.

 

Gary Lerude / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner Thursday signed legislation that will bring so-called 5G wireless technology to the state. Some cities are worried about the unintended consequences. 

Wireless providers can now install small devices on utility poles. These will increase cell phone or internet signal, promising faster connections.

But opponents say cities will lose authority over how much they can charge private companies for using their public infrastructure. Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder says this opens the door for other proposals that overstep local authority.

Illinois lawmakers Wednesday took a step closer to establishing state net neutrality rules before the federal regulations expire later this month. The Illinois proposal advanced out of a House committee and will be discussed by the General Assembly. But — there’s still confusion about consumer protections and the legality of legislation.

Illinois is joining several states scrambling to keep net neutrality protections before the federal repeal date of April 23.  Some Illinois legislators say they still have time to act with a plan before that deadline.

After Illinois was targeted by Russian hackers prior to the 2016 elections and voter information leaked, securing future data has become a priority.  The state may now look to emerging technology for one possible solution.       

After what’s thought to be one of the most expensive primaries in Illinois history, billionaire businessman J.B. Pritzker is the Democratic nominee for governor.  Incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner won the Republican primary, narrowly beating his only opponent, state Representative Jeanne Ives.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner Tuesday vetoed the only gun-control legislation to reach his desk — one month after the Parkland, Florida shooting.

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