Illinois General Assembly

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.

As Illinois' budget stalemate continues, Democrats continue to dispute whether the governor's office is spending too much on staff. Just how much Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration is costing taxpayers was supposed to be the subject of a hearing, called by House Revenue Chairman John Bradley.

"Is there anyone from the governor's office here to testify?"

Why the silence? No one from the governor's office showed. That's a breach of legislative decorum that's virtually unheard of.

Illinois state lawmakers have rejected a plan to give Chicago Public Schools a short-term reprieve from a big pension payment.


Chicago Public Schools has to ask Illinois lawmakers in Springfield for permission to delay paying 634 million dollars for teacher pensions. It’s due at the end of this month.

Jesse Ruiz is the interim head of Chicago Public Schools - and wanted to put the payment off for 40 days to find a “permanent solution.”


Remember last year's election? There was a non-binding referendum to raise the minimum wage in Illinois to $10 an hour. A majority of voters said they wanted it to happen.

But the General Assembly hasn't been able to get it done.

"I am planning on not allowing the minimum issue (to) fall by the wayside. It's a critical component to the development of the middle class."

Peoria Public Radio

The spending plan Democrats approved is broken into 20 different bills ... and most  have yet to be sent on to Governor Bruce Rauner.

That means Rauner is not yet able to sign them into law ... or reject them.

Senate President John Cullerton says Democrats held the bills back so Rauner would have time to think ... rather than veto them right away.

Republican Representative Eddie Sullivan, of Mundelein, says he's ready for Democrats to hurry things along.

Cullerton says budget stalemate can be resolved

Jun 17, 2015

The President of the Illinois Senate says he's optimistic the budget showdown can be resolved before state services are affected.  Illinois' current spending plan expires at the end of this month, but there's no deal on a new one.

Gov. Bruce Rauner is still pushing his agenda, which includes pro-business laws and forcing legislators to limit their terms in office. The Republican's ideas have landed with a thud in the Democratic-led General Assembly.

Despite their differences, Senate President John Cullerton says progress is being made. 

IL State Auditor to retire

Jun 17, 2015

Illinois' longtime top auditor has announced he'll retire at the end of December.

Bill Holland is only several years into his third, ten-year term. But the 63-year-old Springfield resident says he's ready to spend more time with his grandchildren. 

The governor and legislature's leaders issued statements commending his expertise, professionalism and fairness.

Holland offered some advice to whomever is chosen to replace him --- respect the position.

Federal records show that Illinois television stations will begin to air ads Tuesday, paid for by Governor Bruce Rauner's political action committee. 

When the depths of the dispute between Republican Gov. Rauner and the General Assembly's Democratic leaders really became public at the end of last month, Senate President John Cullerton said the governor had warned a media blitz was on the way.

Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger is preparing for what could happen if there's no state budget in place when the new fiscal year begins next month.   The Republican who controls the state's checkbook says she'll outline the consequences of inaction during a news briefing today (Wednesday). That includes state workers who won't get paychecks and facilities that may have to be closed.  Her office says she'll discuss a timeline of what may come in the coming weeks.   Illinois lawmakers are at an impasse over the state budget.

So-called "clean energy" measures to encourage using solar or wind-generated power and keeping nuclear power plants profitable have stalled in the Illinois General Assembly as the spring session winds down. 

Despite huge pushes to alter Illinois' energy policies, it appears none will advance before the end of the month when the General Assembly is set to adjourn.  

Illinois' longtime House speaker is forming a bipartisan task force to examine a way to fix the state's outdated school funding formula. 

The Illinois Supreme Court has announced it will hear oral arguments in the state's landmark pension-overhaul case on March 11. 

Former Gov. Pat Quinn worked right up until his successor was sworn into office last week. 

Legislators scurried to pass a smattering of bills Wednesday, as the veto session neared its end. Although the Senate is set to meet Thursday morning, its calendar is fairly empty. 

Millions more workers would have access to private retirement accounts under a proposal approved Wednesday by the Illinois General Assembly. It would require companies with at least 25 employees, which do not already offer retirement plans, to automatically enroll workers in a new type of individual retirement account.