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Hannah Meisel

Hannah covers state government and politics for NPR Illinois and Illinois Public Radio. Hannah previously covered the statehouse for The Daily Line and Law360, and also worked a temporary stint at political blog Capitol Fax in 2018.

She has also worked as a reporter for Illinois Public Media in Urbana, and served as NPR Illinois' statehouse intern in 2014 while working toward a master's degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield. 

Hannah also holds a journalism degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she was a reporter and managing editor at The Daily Illini.

In 2020, the Washington Post named Hannah as one of the best political reporters in Illinois.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security is finally implementing a so-called work-share program — first authorized under a 2015 law — that could have saved anywhere from 43,600 to 123,900 jobs statewide during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to research from the University of Illinois and Illinois Economic Policy Institute.

On the heels of a pandemic-recession, a major credit ratings agency is upgrading Illinois’ creditworthiness for the first time in two decades.

Moody’s Investors Service on Tuesday announced it was lifting Illinois’ bond rating from one notch above junk status to two. Illinois still has the lowest credit rating of all states by far, but Gov. JB Pritzker and other Democrats in charge of state government celebrated after Moody’s upgrade.

Businesses and social gatherings in Illinois are no longer subject to any COVID-related capacity limits as the state enters the long-awaited “Phase Five” of Gov. JB Pritzker’s “Restore Illinois” economic reopening plan on Friday.

Governor JB Pritzker on Friday signed new legislative district maps Democrats pushed through the General Assembly a week ago — maps Democrats approved on partisan lines over objections from community advocacy organizations, self-styled government reform groups and Republicans.

“Illinois’ strength is in our diversity, and these maps help to ensure that communities that have been left out and left behind have fair representation in our government,” Pritzker said in a statement. “These district boundaries align with both the federal and state Voting Rights Acts, which help to ensure our diverse communities have electoral power and fair representation.”

Illinois Democrats on Friday pushed through new legislative district maps in a whirlwind 12 hours full of partisan rancor — over the objections of Republicans and many community advocacy organizations who contend Democrats are not acting in good faith in their handling of the once-in-a-decade process.

Democrats in Illinois’ House and Senate Thursday evening released a second set of proposed legislative district boundary maps with four days left in the General Assembly’s regularly scheduled spring session.

A federal grand jury on Wednesday indicted former House Speaker Mike Madigan’s longtime chief of staff for lying under oath during the grand jury’s investigation of electric utility Commonwealth Edison’s admitted bribery scheme benefitting Madigan.

The Illinois General Assembly’s typical end-of-May rush is headed for an acrimonious conclusion after Democrats published their long-awaited proposed legislative maps Friday evening, kicking off what those in the party hope is the final leg of a contentious once-in-a-decade redistricting process.

Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino should not have spent nearly a quarter million dollars in campaign funds for fuel and repairs to personal vehicles when he was a state lawmaker, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

Illinois is launching a $1.5 billion federally funded housing assistance program for Illinoisians hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Illinoisans who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no longer need to wear face masks in most circumstances, Gov. JB Pritzker said Monday.

Pritzker’s announcement follows updated guidelines released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .

In the months before the state-run veterans’ home in LaSalle saw a massive COVID-19 outbreak that eventually killed more than a quarter of the facility’s residents, leaders at the state agency that oversees the home obscured its inner workings from Gov. JB Pritzker’s office, a top Pritzker staffer told lawmakers on Thursday.

  The state inspector general who headed an investigation into the November COVID-19 outbreak that killed 36 residents at the LaSalle Veterans’ Home told lawmakers Tuesday that communication issues pinpointed as a root cause of the crisis predated the pandemic.

  As a panel of state lawmakers prepares to grill members of Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration over how a COVID-19 outbreak at a state-run veterans’ home grew so massive it killed more than a quarter of the facility’s residents in the fall, Republicans in the Illinois House on Tuesday sent Attorney General Kwame Raoul a letter urging his office to open a criminal investigation into the matter.

Illinois’ economy was humming along last winter, a few years removed from the state’s two-year budget impasse in which Illinois’ unpaid bill backlog climbed to nearly $17 billion, and finally experiencing the kind of growth that had eluded the state for years after the Great Recession.

Gov. JB Pritzker on Friday expressed regret over hiring former Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs Director Linda Chapa LaVia as critics lash out after a scathing report examining what led to the massive COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans Home last fall, which left 36 residents dead.

For the first time in more than 200 years, Illinois’ population declined over the last decade, according to new 2020 U.S. Census results released Monday, and the state will lose one congressional seat after the 2022 election.

Democrats in the Illinois House are advancing a new measure that would require both mandatory fingerprinting before getting a firearm owners identification card and universal background checks before gun purchases.

State lawmakers this week will kick off the once-in-a-decade process to reshape how Illinois’ legislative and congressional maps are drawn.

Tuesday marks the one-year anniversary of Illinois’ first reported death from COVID-19. In the next 12 months, Illinois would go on to report nearly 21,000 more confirmed COVID-19 deaths, while more than 1.2 million Illinoisans have been infected so far.

The Illinois Department of Public Health on Friday afternoon launched a COVID-19 vaccine hotline — something advocates have been asking Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration to do for months.

Former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan’s vacated 22nd District House seat has a new occupant — the second replacement in four days — after Madigan asked his first choice to step down this week in an embarrassment to the normally fastidious Democratic boss.

This story has been updated to reflect Kodatt's resignation effective Wednesday morning.

Former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan's handpicked successor for the House seat he held for more than 50 years has stepped down from the General Assembly after just three days. 

 

Former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) on Sunday used his remaining political power to install a 26-year-old political protege to the House seat he resigned from last week after more than 50 years.

JUSTIN FOWLER/STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER VIA AP

Former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan is resigning the seat he has held for the last 50 years, effective at the end of the month.

Hannah Meisel

Democratic lawmakers in Illinois are again re-introducing the so-called Clean Energy Jobs Act, renewing the effort for comprehensive legislation to address both climate change and expanding the state's renewable energy industry.

State Rep. André Thapedi (D-Chicago) is set to resign from his seat in the Illinois House after 12 years, he told NPR Illinois on Sunday.

Like other governors nationwide, Gov. JB Pritzker has recently taken to criticizing a slower-than-anticipated COVID-19 vaccination effort at Illinois’ long-term care facilities by pharmacy giants CVS and Walgreens.

Update Friday, Jan 15: Twelve hours after this story was published, Gov. JB Pritzker announced he is revising Tier I mitigations to allow for indoor dining. However, no regions currently meet Tier I metrics. This story has been updated to reflect the changes and avoid confusion.

Update Saturday, Jan. 16: Region 5 became Illinois' first region to qualify for Tier I mitigations on Saturday. Additional information has been added to the post.

Governor JB Pritzker on Friday will unfreeze all of Illinois’ 11 regions from the so-called Tier III Coronavirus mitigations he implemented statewide in November as the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic raged.

  

Former House Speaker Mike Madigan is now merely State Rep. Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) for the first time in nearly four decades as the embattled Democratic leader passed the gavel on to new Illinois House Speaker Chris Welch (D-Hillside) Wednesday.

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