Illinois General Assembly

Rachel Otwell

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has asked the top leaders in the Illinois General Assembly to meet ahead of the veto session next week.  State legislators head into the veto session with hopes of coming to an agreement on a full state budget and pension reform. The state is operating on a temporary budget approved in July.

New Details Emerge About Sandack's Resignation

Sep 16, 2016

A former Illinois state lawmaker says he was the victim of an international crime ring - and took their bait “hook, line, and sinker.”


Ron Sandack resigned from Republican leadership in Springfield earlier this year.

A group of pastors is suing Illinois over a law that bars therapists from trying to change a minor's sexual orientation.

To fix its broken state government, Illinois needs term limits for members of the General Assembly, and fairly drawn district maps so both parties have a chance to win. That's according to a republican lawmaker and two candidates for the state house who held a news conference in Moline today.

State Senator Neal Anderson, from Rock Island, hopes both can be voted on, and passed, during the veto session this fall. 

President Barack Obama is now 55 years old. His birthday came and went last week, and most Illinois residents probably didn't take notice.

They may have, had legislation sponsored by Illinois State Representative Andre Thapedi passed. He wanted Obama's birthday to be recognized as a holiday in the President's adopted home state.

Mike Madigan Sued By Primary Opponent

Aug 8, 2016
Illinois Lawmakers

Longtime Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is being sued by one of his opponent’s in this year’s Democratic primary.

Jason Gonzales lost to Speaker Madigan in the March primary - receiving 27 percent of the votes. Now he’s suing Madigan for many reasons - including campaign ads saying Gonzales is a convicted felon.

Gonzales was pardoned by Governor Pat Quinn. And he says in his federal complaint the ads caused emotional distress.

A number of Illinois politicians continue to push the issue of of term limits.

A law signed by Governor Bruce Rauner last week gives high school journalists rights they haven't had since 1988. That's when a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court dictated that student publications could be censored by school administrators.

But Illinois has become the 10th state to restore free speech rights to student media. Stan Zoller, with the Illinois Journalism Education Association, helped guide the legislation.

Governor Bruce Rauner is making another high-profile pitch for term limits.  The longtime House Speaker Michael Madigan has an opposite view on the idea … as he told Amanda Vinicky at the Democratic National Convention.

Madigan’s been House speaker for a long time (nearly uninterrupted since 1983), and during that time, he’s amassed a lot of power.

That’s a big asset for Democrats trying to fend off the governor’s agenda, Madigan says.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has vetoed legislation that would have prevented the state from limiting which elderly and disabled Illinoisans qualify for state-subsidized help.  
Illinois uses what's called the Determination of Need score to determine eligibility. The greater the need, the higher the score.
The proposal codified a qualifying score of 29. Rauner had previously proposed raising it to 37 to help free up resources. But advocates say that would've kicked off some 34,000 people.  

State officials are officially seeking a new private manager for the Illinois Lottery after moving to terminate Northstar Lottery Group's contract last year.  

Gov. Bruce Rauner announced the release Thursday of a request for proposal on a 10-year $300 million contract. He says proposed contract changes eliminate past problems.

Illinois awarded Chicago-based Northstar a contract in 2010. The company was criticized about its management style and not meeting revenue goals. Under September's termination agreement, Northstar continues operations until 2017.

Illinois Board of Elections officials say Auditor General Frank Mautino didn't file amended campaign disclosure reports and could face a public hearing.

Election board Executive Director Steve Sandvoss says Mautino didn't file the amended reports by Monday's deadline. The hearing would look into Mautino's use of campaign money while serving in the Illinois House.

Gov. Bruce Rauner is renewing his call for term limits and says the General Assembly should vote on the idea in the fall.  

Rauner delivered a campaign-style speech Monday in Chicago. Relying on a teleprompter, he spoke for less than 10 minutes and wouldn't take reporters' questions.

The first-term Republican says Illinois politics needs new ideas and faces. He says he'll be pushing term limits during a two-day state tour.

Rauner: Budget delays will cost the state more

Jul 15, 2016

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says the state will need more revenue to reduce the deficit the longer it goes without a full budget.

Rauner spoke today at an American Legion event in Springfield... a day after a government commission found the state is on pace to spend nearly 8 billion dollars more than it will take in. Rauner says the state will need money because of interest penalties the state must pay for delinquent bills.

Illinois' General Assembly has two new members. And both are in their twenties.

Omar Aquino won a Democratic primary, but didn't have to wait to win the general election to become a state senator. He was sworn in earlier this month to replace Senator William Delgado, who retired. Aquino is a 29-year-old Latino from Chicago.

A group of convicted child sex offenders is challenging the Illinois law that bans them from parks and schools.

They say key sex offender restrictions are so broad it’s impossible to know what is or isn’t allowed … and that means the laws violate the constitution.

The five anonymous offenders are scheduled to make their case to a federal judge this week. Illinois Public Radio's Patrick Smith reports.

Seth Perlman / Associated Press

Last week's budget compromise between the governor and Illinois General Assembly "is a very important step in the right direction." That's according to Governor Bruce Rauner who stopped in Moline today to shake hands with local residents and talk about the partial year, stop-gap plan.

Flickr Creative Commons/Daniel X. O'Neil

The partial-year budget the Illinois General Assembly sent to Gov. Bruce Rauner drew only a handful of "no" votes in the House.  Democratic Rep. Jack Franks of Marengo says the piecemeal plan pushes hard choices off until after the November election. Franks is leaving the House to run for McHenry County Board chairman. He says there were no "profiles in courage". 

First responders seek protection from lawsuits

May 9, 2016

Illinois mayors and first responders want state lawmakers to protect them from lawsuits when responding to emergencies.

Brad Cole, of the Illinois Municipal League, says there was a long-held notion that government employees could serve the general public without fear of being sued.

But he says the Illinois Supreme Court recently struck down that principle. Cole says he wants a law passed to bring it back.

Legislation pending in the General Assembly would give middle and high school trumpet players excused absences if they need to miss class to play Taps at a military funeral. The bill was inspired by Jack Bumann, a senior at Alwood High School in Woodhull, Illinois, just north of Galesburg. He estimates that he has played at the funerals of about two dozen fallen soldiers.

Governor Bruce Rauner today approved a compromise between Republicans and Democrats that sends emergency money to public universities.

But that compromise doesn’t mean the two parties are getting along any better.

This state money is coming just as Chicago State University had said it would close its doors Friday.

The top House Republican Jim Durkin says it took Chicago State’s closing to get Democrats and House Speaker Michael Madigan to quit playing games.

Munger moves to delay lawmakers' pay

Apr 18, 2016

The lack of an Illinois state budget is playing out in the race for state comptroller - who is the person in control of the state’s checkbook.

Illinois’ government has not had a budget in nearly 10 months.

Republican Comptroller Leslie Munger says finances are so tight - she’s going to delay paying Illinois elected officials.

She’s not stopping payments to them - just putting them in line with groups like social services - that the state is also late in paying.

A stalemate persists, as Illinois begins a tenth month without a budget.  Legislators are back in Springfield after a spring break.  And they now have a few months to also find an agreement on a new budget, to cover next year.

Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno says the urgency to pass a budget has heightened:

"It has been urgent all along, but I think in large part people have been shielded from that urgency, because they don't all use all the services of the state of Illinois."

Todd Pilon, WTVP

Governor Bruce Rauner's budget speech today largely avoided specifics about state spending. Instead, he's still arguing Illinois should be more favorable to business. Brian Mackey has more.

Rauner took pains to portray himself as open to working with majority Democrats -- he used the word "compromise" five times. But the governor is standing by his overall strategy: pro-business laws first, then we can balance the budget.

"I won’t support new revenue unless we have major structural reforms to grow more jobs and get more value for taxpayers."

Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune

President Barack Obama returned to his political beginnings Wed. and delivered an unprecedented hour-long speech to Illinois state lawmakers. He delivered the speech on the 9th anniversary of the day he launched his campaign for president from Springfield.

The point of the speech was to address the extreme political polarization he sees happening in the country - and Illinois. But afterwards, just about the only thing Republicans and Democrats agreed on is that the speech wouldn’t change things.

A Chicago lawmaker plans to try again next spring to drop criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. 

Governor Bruce Rauner making an urgent appeal to lawmakers to uphold his veto of a measure he called the "worst" he's ever seen, on the eve of a possible vote.  

Negotiations on a full year's budget appear to remain far apart ... but it's up to Governor Bruce Rauner whether Illinois will make due with a downsized version for July.

Democrats passed what they say is a one-month, bare-bones budget over Republicans' objections, including Gov. Rauner's, who had this to say about it last week:

"This is just getting to their four billion dollar whole one month at a time ... I don't support that bill. I do not, I will not sign, I don't support that bill."

A stop-gap budget is on its way to Governor Bruce Rauner, and that's as far as it will probably get. Legislators are moving forward on another front, too.

Just before Illinois began its new fiscal year at the start of the month, Gov. Rauner rejected the bulk of the state budget. Meaning Illinois is without one.  That's left service providers and state employees wondering when, and if, they'll be paid.

Democrats say the temporary budget they've now passed will keep the most important needs covered, through July. Here’s one top Senate Democrat, Heather Steans:

Legislators are running out of time if they want to override Governor Bruce Rauner's veto of the state budget.  That would have to be done by tomorrow.

Illinois has been without a spending plan since the start of this month. Democrats did pass budget by an end of May deadline ... only for Rauner to reject nearly all of it, calling it out of balance. He left school funding intact.

Last week, Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan was coy about whether legislators would try to reinstate the vetoed spending.