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Illinois

The U.S. Attorney’s office says electric utility ComEd has agreed to pay $200 million to resolve a federal criminal investigation into a long-running bribery scheme that implicates Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. 

Gov. J.B. Pritzker used his State of the State address Wednesday to call for a culture change in Illinois government — particularly when it comes to corruption.

BRIAN MACKEY / NPR ILLINOIS

A majority of Illinoisans think the state is on the wrong track and have a dim view of the economy, but the pessimism doesn't seem to be affecting Gov. J.B. Pritzker's job approval.

Monday – Friday, September 23 – 27, 2019 | unknown precisely (during ME/AE):
Enrollment Exodus, 5-Part Series from Illinois Public Radio stations
(details, TBD)

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker last month laid out his plan for a state budget.  But the Democratic governor is perhaps being too optimistic, counting on proposals for tax revenue sources that still need to be negotiated. One of those is the expansion of gambling and raking in the money from taxing and further regulating it. 

The Pritzker Agenda

Jan 11, 2019

Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker takes office next week on the heels of the most decisive election victory in a generation. And he’ll be working to pass his agenda through the biggest Democratic majorities in the General Assembly since the 1960s.

That raises a question: What precisely does that agenda consist of? 

State lawmakers have changed rules about stalking. The new law was part of a response to the mass shooting at a Florida high school earlier this year.

Previously, only a person who is being harassed or stalked can file for an order of protection. Under the order, a judge can prohibit the harasser from getting within a certain distance of the victim.

In the hopes of preventing violence, a law that takes effect Jan. 1 will allow churches, schools or workplaces to ask for similar protections.

The major party candidates for Illinois governor met for the second of three debates Wednesday night, and both men stuck mostly to the same attacks they’ve making for months.

When it comes to state spending, Illinois politicians are giving voters what they want. That’s the problem.

The Illinois Governor’s Mansion reopened Saturday after a multi-million-dollar renovation.

Experts blame the long-standing problem on discrimination, especially the "inadequate, inequitable'' education funding system.

Downstate Senator Sam McCann filed petition signatures on Monday to get on the fall ballot. Back in April he announced a run for governor for the newly created Conservative Party. 

Illinois is losing residents, according to recent census estimates, and common explanations include high taxes, unfriendly business policies or the state’s growing pension debt.

An article from the watchdog group Better Government Association examines those claims. The BGA’s senior editor, Bob Secter, says they distract from a deeper look at demographic trends.

Updated at 2:31 p.m. ET

The Supreme Court heard fiery arguments Monday in a case that could remove a key revenue stream for public sector unions.

A sharply divided court could be poised to overturn a 40-year-old Supreme Court decision that would further undermine an already shrinking union movement.

Rich Egger

Beginning this year in Illinois, people and corporations donating up to $1.3 million for private school scholarships can get a 75% credit toward their state income tax. This was a controversial but bipartisan concept, adopted last summer to help forge a compromise in a big overhaul of Illinois' school funding plan.

FLICKR-THOROUGHLYREVIEWED / HTTPS://THOROUGHLYREVIEWED.COM

A new state law breaks down the guidelines an attorney must follow in a so called "collaborative divorce." Couples who choose this team-based approach don't want to settle in court and instead join a group of professionals who coach them on finances, mental health, and child care needs. 

Many blind parents say they have fallen prey to preconceived biases involving their children and their parenting capabilities. A new law in Illinois aims to address these concerns.

Brian Mackey

A new law allowing public funding of abortion in Illinois will take effect as scheduled on January 1, 2018. That's after a judge on Thursday ruled against anti-abortion groups who sued to block it.

Brian Mackey

With roughly three months to go until Illinois' primary election, there are seven men seeking the Democratic Party's nomination to be governor of Illinois.  One of the key questions facing primary voters: To counter the vast wealth of incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, do Democrats need their own billionaire at the top of the ticket?

Illinois Praised as Property Tax Model for Wind Farms

Dec 11, 2017
Darrell Hoemann/ Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting

Illinois' taxing model for wind energy companies is touted as one of the best in the country, bringing in $30.4 million in property taxes in 2016, according to economic experts. Barton DeLacy, a tax expert from Chicago, said that the Illinois system is a good model that is very close to the value he gives to wind farms and is much more consistent than in other states.

T.J. Carson

The Illinois Animal Disease Testing Laboratory in Galesburg has  conducted tests on dead animals since 1976.  The testing is done to determine the presence of West Nile virus and other diseases.  But the facility is scheduled to close at the end of April.

T.J. Carson

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-IL) recently started her third term by taking on a bigger role in her party. She is one of the three co-chairs of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee.

Illinois Information Service

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner struck an upbeat tone in his third State of the State address Wednesday.  He also tried to project an image of someone willing to compromise -- but in such a way that Democrats say he glossed over his own role in the crisis that's hobbling Illinois government.

There’s still no budget for Illinois, but some big changes to education policy kicked in this year. As the contentious presidential election played out, several national issues affected the lives of citizens here.

A would-be state holiday passed last week without notice in Illinois. But supporters are hoping it will be recognized in the future.

Beyonce, George Lucas, and Magic Johnson were among the stars on the guest list for President Barack Obama's White House 55th birthday party (Obama's former chief of staff, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, scored an invite too).

T.J. Carson

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) is worried the lack of a state budget is putting institutions of higher education throughout Illinois at risk. He said it could be a "disaster" for state universities and private colleges to recruit students with so much uncertainty surrounding their bottom lines.

School Superintendents Warn of Bleak Futures

May 20, 2016
T.J. Carson

School districts across Illinois are worried about whether they will receive state funding for  next school year.  They say without the state support, teachers and other employees could lose their jobs, programs could be cut, and some schools might close their doors.

  A majority of Illinois voters do not believe that Illinois is headed in the right direction. That's according to a new poll, from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.

Rachel Otwell

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner delivered a roughly 30 minute budget speech to the Illinois General Assembly during the noon hour Wednesday.  The state is now in its eighth month without a budget for the current fiscal year, and he said the state hasn't had a truly balanced budget for decades.

Brian Mackey

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner shared his vision for the next year during his second State of the State speech, which was delivered to Illinois lawmakers at noon Wednesday.

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