Gov. Bruce Rauner

Legislation aimed at reducing the cost of workers' compensation insurance for Illinois employers has won Senate approval.  One measure sponsored by Evanston Democratic Sen. Daniel Biss creates a government insurance company to compete in the policy-writing market. It was approved 32-20 Friday. It goes to the governor. 

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has granted five petitions for clemency and denied 197 others.  The Illinois Prisoner Review Board says the granted cases involve attempted burglary, theft and drug charges.  A petitioner granted clemency is allowed to go to court to seek expungement of a criminal record. Each person granted clemency has undergone a background check.

Illinois Democrats are asking Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration for more information about state leases of private warehouses.  The Senate Appropriations Committee questioned agency directors over decisions to lease property instead of using existing state buildings to store records.

Lawmakers of both parties, and even Gov. Bruce Rauner, agree that Illinois doesn't fund schools in an equitable manner. But with the legislative session scheduled to end on May 31, they still can't agree on exactly how to fix it.

 

One plan earned bipartisan approval in a House committee today, clearing a procedural hurdle that positions it for possible speedy passage.

 

The Illinois Senate could take up some lingering issues related to the "grand bargain" budget compromise.  Senators are looking at a possible vote on changes to the workers' compensation system. It's one of the "structural" changes Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has demanded during the two-year budget stalemate. 

Democratic State Senator Andy Manar, of Bunker Hill, is accusing Gov. Bruce Rauner of trying to kill his school funding legislation. He says the administration fed erroneous information to a Republican operative's website.  The story appears in the Kankakee Times, one of a dozen community news organizations created by Dan Proft.  Proft runs a political action committee supported by Rauner.

Chicago Public Schools plans to take out a $389 million short-term loan to get the financially struggling district through the end of the school year and make a pension payment due next month.  Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the plan Friday. His appointed school board will vote on it Wednesday.

Flickr Creative Commons/Kiran Foster

Illinois is set to eliminate the statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases through legislation passed with support from a victim of imprisoned former U.S. Rep. Dennis Hastert.  The Illinois House unanimously approved the measure on Thursday, sending it to a supportive Gov. Bruce Rauner.   Attorney General Lisa Madigan says Hastert's case provided a prime example of why the law should be changed. 

Mixed results today when Illinois Senate Democrats went ahead with voting on the so-called “grand bargain.” It's been widely seen as the best hope for ending Illinois' nearly two-year budget stalemate. 

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's chief education adviser says the governor won't support an overhaul of Illinois' school-funding formula if it benefits Chicago Public Schools "at the expense" of others.  The Illinois Senate approved legislation aimed at eliminating the disparity in spending between affluent school districts and those serving poorer communities. Similar legislation is in the House. 

Billionaire Ken Griffin has contributed $20 million to Republican Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's re-election fund.  Rauner's campaign committee reported the donation from the CEO of the Chicago-based investment firm Citadel on Wednesday. 

The Illinois Senate has rejected a two-year property tax freeze. The Democratic offer to meet Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's demand for tax relief for local homeowners is one of the measures that is part of the "grand bargain" budget compromise. 

Politicians Disagree On What Makes A Healthy Economy

May 16, 2017

With just two weeks remaining in the spring legislative session, Illinois politicians appear to be positioning themselves to blame each other for the failure to pass a budget. Illinois has gone nearly two years without a real budget because Gov. Bruce Rauner refused to negotiate one until Democrats also took up his political and economic agenda.

The Illinois Senate has scheduled a do-over for some pieces of legislation that are part of the so-called grand bargain budget compromise.  Democrats who control the Senate used a procedure to move bills that have already been approved by the Senate back into position for votes again. 

Top Illinois House Democrats are publicly asking Gov. Bruce Rauner why the Republican won't meet with them on state budget matters with just two weeks left in the spring legislative session.  House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie of Chicago and three other Democrats wrote Rauner last week offering to discuss an agreement on Illinois' first annual budget since 2015. 

Commentary: The time has come to stop talking about a  'truly balanced budget'

“Let’s get a truly balanced budget ... ”  Gov. Bruce Rauner and his aides, in various venues on numerous occasions, 2015-present.

Not to downplay the governor’s mantra, but what exactly is a “truly balanced budget?” 

The Illinois Senate is plunging back into the "grand bargain" budget compromise with three weeks remaining in the legislative session.  

The Senate voted 35-15 to give local governments flexibility on paying debts. It's one of the few measures with bipartisan support in a package that's supposed to help break a logjam on a state budget deal.

Chicago Democratic President John Cullerton wanted to call others, but Republican Leader Christine Radogno of Lemont said they weren't ready.

Flickr Creative Commons/Larissa Puro

The Illinois Senate has approved a measure intended to protect abortion rights … and expand access to the procedure.

The legislation would allow for coverage of abortion under state health plans to include government employees and women on Medicaid.
Senator Toi Hutchinson, a Democrat from Chicago Heights, made what she called an “economic argument” for the legislation.

A Chicago tax policy and research group is urging Illinois lawmakers to pass a full budget instead of "piecemeal" solutions in the final weeks of the legislative session.  The Civic Federation says in order to close an estimated $4.6 billion deficit, Illinois needs spending restraints, increased revenues, and borrowing for unpaid bills. 

The state treasurer says not enough people realize Illinois’ credit could soon be rated “junk.” That’s if lawmakers and the governor don’t agree on a budget by the end of this month.  Treasurer Mike Frerichs has mostly avoided the political fight surrounding the state’s budget crisis. But he says if former Republican Governor Jim Edgar can criticize the current governor, piling on isn’t political.

Flickr Creative Commons/Chicago Architecture Today

The future of a state building housing about 2,200 employees is sparking the latest disagreement between Gov. Bruce Rauner and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.  Republicans pitched plans earmarking future property tax receipts of a possible James Thompson Center sale for Chicago schools. 

Illinois Senate Democrats say Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration inappropriately spent money to move records from a closed prison to new warehouse space.

A private foundation pushed by Gov. Bruce Rauner is preparing to kick off a major fundraising effort to revamp Illinois' dilapidated fairgrounds.
 
Rauner announced the creation of the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation during last year's state fair, with the goal of raising enough money to repair crumbling buildings, deteriorating roadways, and aging sewer and electrical systems. The fairgrounds have also battled flooding during heavy rains.
 

Illinois Senate Democrats say Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration inappropriately spent money to move records from a closed prison to new warehouse space.
 
Sen. Andy Manar is a Bunker Hill Democrat. He questioned Corrections Department Director John Baldwin during an appropriations committee hearing Wednesday.
 

The governor of Illinois has activated the State Emergency Operations Center as flooding affects parts of the state after heavy weekend rains.  Gov. Bruce Rauner says rivers are swelling with water in some Illinois communities, causing flooding. Activating the operations center means that state agencies will be ready to quickly respond.

The Illinois General Assembly has sent Gov. Bruce Rauner a plan to shore up Chicago pensions. The House voted 63-45 to allow the city to use increases in water- and sewer-service rates to triple contributions to retirement programs covering municipal workers and laborers. Firefighters' and police pensions are separate. 

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan met briefly to discuss what has been a two-year budget stalemate.  Madigan noted after the meeting that there's a growing cry from school superintendents, human services providers and credit-rating houses to adopt a full year state budget. 

Members of the Illinois House passed legislation today that would require state agencies to buy American products, even if they’re not the cheapest.

Democratic Representative Jay Hoffman of Swansea is sponsoring the proposal. He says it aligns with President Donald Trump’s focus on American manufacturing.

“I could just reference your president’s executive order regarding ‘Buy American.’ This is saying our state taxpayer dollars should put our people to work and we should use the buying power of our state to create jobs and economic opportunity.”

Kurt Summers Passes on Bid for Governor in 2018

Apr 26, 2017

Chicago Treasurer Kurt Summers says he will NOT run for Illinois governor. Instead - he’s endorsing one of the Democrats hoping to unseat Republican incumbent Bruce Rauner.

Summers went so far as to ask Cook County Democratic Party leaders for their endorsement. But today - Summers said he’s not running for governor, without really explaining why.

He endorsed billionaire venture capitalist JB Pritzker, saying Pritzker would best serve the African-American community as governor.

The campaign to restore the governor's mansion in Illinois is getting close to its $15 million goal less than two years after private fundraising began as an alternative to traditional appropriations for state construction.
 
Gov. Bruce Rauner says private donors have raised about $14 million for the Illinois Executive Mansion. He says he expects to reach another million "in the next couple of weeks."
 
The goal is to complete restoration of the 162-year-old mansion in time for the August 2018 bicentennial of Illinois statehood.
 

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