Sam Dunklau

Sam is a Public Affairs Reporting intern for spring 2018, working out the NPR Illinois Statehouse bureau.

The Illinois House failed to pass legislation related to the Affordable Care Act on Friday. It would have locked in certain health insurance benefits. 
 

As the midterm election draws near, some state lawmakers want to change the way Illinois’ political districts are drawn. They want to do that by giving voters a chance to change the constitution.
 

Illinois state legislators and advocates say state employees need more protection from a growing trend of workplace violence. But statehouse measures addressing that have gotten a mixed reception.
 

With summer fast approaching, one Illinois lawmaker wants to let people break into cars to rescue animals trapped inside. But some argue that might do more harm than good.
 

The annual statewide Holocaust Remembrance service was held  in Springfield on Thursday. Each year, the scores of Jews and political targets killed by the Nazis are remembered in a service called Yom HaShoah.
 

Solidarity and somberness echoed through the Old State Capitol hall, where those gathered recalled the six million Jews and millions of others killed by the Nazis during the Holocaust. 

Governor Bruce Rauner says if asked by President Trump, he would send Illinois National Guard soldiers to the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Illinois General Assembly is considering whether people should be allowed to sue to block regulatory decisions of state government. The state’s business community says that’s dangerous for the economy.

Illinois farmers are among the targets of new Chinese tariffs. Beijing this week said it will impose a tax on American soy and pork products, two of Illinois' chief exports. The move is a response to President Trump’s announced tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum.

Illinois State Sen. Kyle McCarter’s nomination to be the U.S. ambassador to Kenya comes at a time of challenges for the African nation.

An Illinois lawmaker wants to give police officers more power to take away guns from someone who poses a threat. 

Though Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a measure to license gun dealers, Illinois House Democrats are trying to muster support to overturn the decision.
 

People who use Illinois currency exchanges will pay less in fees to cash certain types of checks. It’s part of an overhaul of the state’s check cashing fee structure.  

Last year’s data breach at the Equifax credit reporting agency brought attention to the fees customers can be charged for freezing their accounts. The Illinois Senate Wednesday approved a ban on such fees.

Illinois is using emergency spending rules to upgrade the water system at the veterans’ home in Quincy. Outbreaks of the waterborne Legionnaires’ Disease have killed and sickened dozens of residents and staff.

Illinois county fair officials say they still don’t have nearly $1.5 million promised to them in the current state budget for fair operations. 
 

 
The Illinois House lawmakers are considering a requirement that veterans’ home officials promptly inform families about Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks. The proposal is the latest in a string of measures responding to the state’s handling of an outbreak at the Illinois Veterans’ Home in Quincy.

The Illinois House is taking up a measure that requires veterans’ home officials to promptly inform families about Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks. It’s a response to the ongoing health crisis at the Quincy Veterans’ Home.

Sue Scherer joined a chorus of lawmakers who have condemned the Rauner administration's handling of that outbreak, which left 13 veterans dead and sickened nearly 60 others over the past three years

The Decatur Democrat says concerns about her own nursing home-bound mother echo the concerns of those families in Quincy. 

Kids who are prescribed medical marijuana might be allowed to use the drug on school grounds under an Illinois proposal. The legislation would allow parents to give cannabis medication to those kids if and when they need it.

Representative Lou Lang, a Democrat from Skokie, says about 250 kids around the state use cannabis-oil patches to treat a range of conditions from epilepsy to cancer. Although medical marijuana has been legal in Illinois since 2013, Lang says the drug is still banned in schools no matter what.

Illinois hospitals are one step closer to saving a program that generates a lot of money used to treat low-income patients.

Palmetto State Armory

Illinois state lawmakers passed a series of sweeping gun-control measures yesterday in the wake of a nationwide call to action.

 But Governor Bruce Rauner has yet to take a position on many of the ideas — and declined to do so again today. Rauner hasn’t taken questions from Statehouse reporters since last months’ school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Al_HikesAZ / (CC BY-NC 2.0) / Flickr

Big changes to Illinois' gun laws don't happen often. But a growing movement across the country appears to be resonating in the state's General Assembly.
 

Hundreds rallied outside the statehouse calling for stricter gun control. Several in attendance had lost loved ones to gun violence. They wore pins showing the faces of the deceased.

Mary Kay Mace lost her daughter when a gunman opened fire in a Northern Illinois University classroom. The recent high school shooting in Florida happened on the 10th anniversary of her daughter's death.

WBEZ (CC BY-NC 2.0) / Remixed by WCBU / Flickr

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan continues to push back against accusations that his office mishandled sexual harassment complaints. The Speaker Tuesday issued a one-page press release with brief summaries of nine complaints involving staffers working in his state office.

Early voting in this year’s primary election came a little late in some parts of Illinois. But officials say the polls are now officially open statewide.

Ted Eytan / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Flickr

A state legislative proposal would make sure schools teach about LGBTQ people who made history. Equality Illinois, an LGBTQ advocacy group, says many of the state’s school-aged children who don’t identify as heterosexual feel left out of history lessons. Mike Ziri is the group’s Public Policy Director.

A group of Illinois state legislators want to lower check cashing rates at currency exchanges — while the industry is pushing to raise those rates.

 

Last summer, the industry told Illinois’ financial regulator it hadn’t been allowed to increase service fees since 2007, and the time had come for a raise. 

The polls have opened for Illinois’ primary election, as voters were allowed to start casting early ballots Thursday. But the state’s election technology needs to be overhauled, according to the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.

 

Democrats in Springfield are pushing ahead with a plan hospitals say can’t come soon enough. It’s worth billions of dollars for treating some of the state’s most vulnerable people.

It’s called the Hospital Assessment Program, and it’s how the state pulls in billions of dollars in federal money to treat elderly, poor and disabled patients on the Medicaid program.

The two political parties have been negotiating in private for months, and now Democrats are pushing the debate out into the open.

Illinois families could use their college savings plans to send their younger kids to K-12 private schools under a new plan.


Customers across Illinois could see lower utility bills as early as next month. The state’s regulatory body has ordered Illinois companies to slash their rates.

As Democrats and Republicans try to make local property taxes into an election-year political issue — state lawmakers are looking to cut tax rates for senior citizens.

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