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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.

  Illinois House Republicans say they’re still waiting on Gov. JB Pritzker to propose specific spending cuts to the state’s current year state budget, which is $4 billion out of balance.

Illinois lawmakers have not officially met for a full legislative session day since late May — more than 200 days ago.

Democratic allies of House Speaker Mike Madigan on Monday ended an inquiry into whether the speaker did anything that should disqualify him from serving in the legislature.

Members of a “Special Investigative Committee” formed at the behest of Republicans deadlocked on whether to bring charges against Madigan related to a federal probe into a bribery scheme orchestrated by lobbyists for utility Commonwealth Edison to curry favor with the Speaker.

Illinois National Guard medical staff have been sent to the LaSalle Veterans’ Homes to assist with COVID-19 testing and screening at the facility, and next week will arrive at the state-run veterans' homes in Manteno and Quincy.

Four GOP state House lawmakers on Wednesday voiced complaints from their central and southern Illinois constituents who say they have waited months after applying for new or renewed gun ownership licenses without an update from the Illinois State Police amid an unprecedented volume of applications this year.

Former State Sen. Marty Sandoval (D-Chicago) died Saturday after a battle with COVID-19, nearly a year after resigning from the legislature amidst an ongoing federal corruption probe involving Democratic politicians and other power brokers from Chicago’s City Hall to Springfield.

Gov. JB Pritzker on Thursday called on longtime House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) to resign from his speakership if he could not explain his knowledge of or role in a years-long bribery scheme allegedly orchestrated by lobbyists and officials of electric giant Commonwealth Edison in an attempt to curry favor with Madigan.

A longtime confidante of House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) was charged along with two other former Commonwealth Edison lobbyists and the CEO of ComEd’s parent company in a nine-count indictment Wednesday, alleging the four conspired on a wide-ranging bribery scheme all designed to influence the powerful House Speaker.

As Illinois sees its 12th day of new reported COVID-19 cases over 10,000, Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday announced new statewide restrictions on businesses, including shuttering casinos, movie theatres, banquet halls and museums across Illinois, and limiting retail store capacity.

Citing a sharp uptick in Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations across Illinois, Democratic leaders of the Illinois General Assembly canceled their planned two weeks of Veto Session late Tuesday afternoon, just hours after Gov. JB Pritzker said scrapping session while the state is in dire fiscal straits “would be disappointing.”

Clean energy advocates are crying foul after Ameren Illinois ended its solar credit program for new solar customers earlier this month, even after state regulators urged the company to hold off. 

The libertarian-leaning Illinois Policy Institute on Monday filed suit in an effort to derail Gov. JB Pritzker’s signature policy proposal — changing Illinois’ constitution to allow for a graduated income tax — by forcing the state to issue “corrective notices” about the intent of the tax change, or declaring the vote on the amendment “void.”

‘A Bed Is Not A Bed Is Not A Bed’: Building Up Child Welfare System To Deal With Looming Crisis Not A Simple Task

Republicans in Illinois' Congressional delegation are on board with Governor Bruce Rauner's move to temporarily close the state's borders to Syrian refugees in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris. 

The state's eight Republican House members are also condemning President Obama's plan to let in 10,000 refugees from that country this year.

Illinois is one of 24 states closing its borders to Syrian refugees in wake of the terrorist attacks in France last Friday. It's unclear whether this move is legal under federal law.

In a statement, Gov. Bruce Rauner announced the state will "temporarily suspend" accepting Syrian refugees, citing safety and security concerns after the Islamic State group killed and injured hundreds of people in the Paris attacks.

Illinois lawmakers missed a Jan. 1 deadline to approve a state-run health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act. Without its own exchange, the state forfeits millions of federal dollars while leaving consumers vulnerable to paying more for insurance.

Illinois was facing dual deadlines last month when lawmakers made a final effort to create its own marketplace. The first was the looming New Year---which they blew past last week, losing out on as much as $270 million.

Peoria Public Radio

There are still thousands of votes yet to be counted in the race for Illinois State Treasurer.

  On Nov. 4, Illinois voters will choose from the Republican and Democratic statewide candidates they've been hearing about for months. But there will also be a third choice in those races: candidates representing the Libertarian party. But getting on the ballot wasn't easy for the Libertarians.

  Candidates from the Illinois Green Party will not appear on the November ballot.

A federal judge Thursday denied the party reprieve from the state's election requirements for third parties.

The Green Party had sued, claiming the barriers for third parties are too onerous ... threatening the right to free speech and equal protection.

Scott Summers, the party's candidate for governor, says he's disappointed with the judge's ruling.

  Environmental activists hoping to curb hydraulic fracturing in Illinois crashed a breakfast held for Democratic party organizers in Springfield Wednesday. They want to stop natural gas extraction in the state before it starts.


"Drought! Pollution! Earthquake! Fracking is a big mistake!"

  The debate over state retiree pensions has been a consistent backdrop for the Illinois gubernatorial election, bringing older voters to the forefront of many debates. It's this senior voting bloc that could make all the difference this election.

  With the Illinois State Fair set to begin later this week, officials say they have safety in the forefront of their minds. The event, which attracts nearly 1 million visitors yearly, is set to open Friday morning ... though anyone can get an early preview Thursday evening after the annual opening parade.

Flickr/aka_kath

Two people are being fined for violating ethics rules in their capacities of running Illinois' two State Fairs. Both incidents involved free beer tickets.

  Business and labor leaders are urging Illinois' Department of Natural Resources to finish the rules for hydraulic fracturing. The coalition says it's left wondering if the governor's administration might be dragging the process for political reasons.

It's been over 400 days since the General Assembly passed a law to allow hydraulic fracturing in Illinois. Proponents say the technique of drilling for natural gas deep in the ground will lead to job and revenue growth.

  The Republican candidate for Illinois Attorney General is criticizing incumbent Lisa Madigan for defending the state's pension overhaul law, which he thinks is unconstitutional.

As Hannah Meisel reports, Republican candidate for Illinois attorney general Paul Schimpf argues the state's pension overhaul is unconstitutional.

A clause in the state's constitution says that once earned, pension benefits shall not be diminished.

  Since the Illinois Supreme Court struck down the state's eavesdropping law in March, it's been legal to record audio of someone without asking permission. But legislators are working on a replacement.

The Supreme Court found the old law overly broad. It was a crime even to record in public, where people shouldn't really have an expectation of privacy. Because of that, Illinois' law was considered one of the strictest in the nation.

  Illinois' two state fairs did not comply with the law last year, according to a recent state audit -- and budget realities mean that'll happen again this summer.

The audit found that both the fairs in Springfield and DuQuoin overcharged entrance fees for horses.

But the Department of Agriculture says it's a consequence of the state contributing 200-thousand dollars $200,000 less toward the purse.

  It could be December before a judge decides on the legality of Illinois' pension overhaul law for at least another five months. Attorneys met Thursday in Sangamon County Court and agreed on a timeline for the case.

Current and retired state employees, teachers and university workers are suing Gov. Pat Quinn over the pension overhaul passed by the General Assembly late last year.

  The Illinois Teachers' Retirement System says it expects a lower return on its pension investments in the next year. That means the state will have to cover more of the cost of teacher pensions.

TRS says it's still a good assumed rate of investment return at 7.5 percent. That falls in line with similar pension systems nationwide. But it's not as profitable as 8-percent, which TRS had been using for the previous few years.

  The budget passed by the Illinois General Assembly does not rely on extending the 2011 income tax hike, as originally planned by Democratic leadership. Instead, it's based on state government borrowing from itself.

Instead of making the five percent income tax rate permanent or chopping away at government programs, lawmakers opted to fill a massive hole in state revenues by doing something called "interfund borrowing."

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