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Illinois Issues

School districts across the state have been resourceful in coming up with ways to honor their high school graduates, as health regulations prohibit the typical ceremonies.  But some of those plans ran into roadblocks with the governor’s office and the Illinois State Board of Education. 

The worst pandemic in recent history, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was the 1918 so-called “Spanish flu” pandemic, caused by a virus “with genes of avian origin.” This was caused by a different virus than COVID-19 – coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, hopkinsmedicine.org. Spanish flu hit America in the spring of 1918 and wasn’t finished with us until the summer of 1919. 

One was sold away from her children. Another was freed and became a businessman. Others were freed only to be kidnapped and sold back into slavery. These are just a few stories of people who were enslaved in Illinois.

Last weekend, lawmakers elected Don Harmon to be president of the Illinois Senate. It’s been described as a bitter fight, but it has nothing on some of the conflicts from Illinois’ past, including one particularly “discreditable row” from the year 1857.

Buying and using marijuana will be legal in Illinois as of January 1. We asked top state experts what that does and doesn’t mean, and compiled their answers in this Q&A.

Would you say that most people can be trusted, or that you can’t be too careful? An NPR Illinois survey shows Illinoisans are divided on the question — though not in the usual ways of politics. This week, we look at the issue of trust, and why it matters for democracy.

Illinois residents across the state, and across party lines, largely support more gun regulations. That’s according to the results of an NPR Illinois - University of Illinois Springfield survey. We took a look at the new data and explored what might be behind the numbers.


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.

A small but growing number of U.S. women are choosing to give birth at home. However home birth midwives are not regulated by the state of Illinois. Many mothers still choose to stay home, despite the risks involved in not having a proper vetting system.

 Should minors have to tell their parents or a judge when they want to terminate a pregnancy?

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? 

An Illinois woman posed as a man and served in the infantry during the Civil War. Was she transgender?

With growing support among politicians and the public, Illinois could likely legalize recreational marijuana as soon as next year. But, passing legislation may hinge on where the revenue will go. 

Two small towns in rural Illinois recently lost their Walmart stores -- more than three decades after the retail giant came in and pushed out mom and pop shops. Now, the communities have lost convenience as well as major property and sales tax revenue. Some see it as an opportunity to revitalize main street, while others are not so optimistic.

Online Learning Can Open Doors For Kids In Juvenile Jails

Aug 13, 2018

But the quality of online coursework is one of many concerns for advocates.

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

Illinois will host what could be the most expensive race for governor in U.S. history. The huge increase in campaign spending raises a lot of questions about the rise of big money in politics. Between now and the election, Illinois Issues will examine the impact in a series we're calling Money Machines.

Watch the first Illinois Issues Forum from Springfield.  Our 2018 election coverage starts discussing the fiscal health of Illinois. 

Last year NPR Illinois toured the state in partnership with NPR member stations to hear how the two-year state budget impasse impacted communities in Illinois. The adoption of a budget provided some clarity for those affected but many challenges remain. 

This year, we aim to seek solutions to many of the fiscal problems that persist and discuss the prominent issues in the 2018 elections. 

On Wednesday, Illinois ratified the Equal Rights Amendment, a proposed change to the U.S. Constitution — 46 years after Congress approved it.

WATCH-LISTEN: State Budget Forum - Macomb

Aug 30, 2017

NPR Illinois and Tri States Public Radio host the seventh Illinois Issues Forum on the state's financial health and the lasting impacts of the two-year-long state budget impasse.

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.

Democratic leaders in the legislature and Gov. Bruce Rauner appear to be close to a deal to approve some funding for social service providers, higher education, capital construction and state operations. The proposal would also fund K-12 schools for all of next fiscal year.

But the plan can’t erase the destruction caused by the state going for a year without a budget.​​

flickr/ Bill Brooks

Bipartisan working groups are currently trying to find a way out of the budget impasse. But the crisis could have been prevented long before the battle between Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic leaders began.

Illinois is one of only eight states with a flat income tax. The reasons can be traced to the state’s first-ever successful attempt at putting an income tax in place.  

An effort to change the current tax structure is underway, but supporters face a fast-approaching deadline.  

Illinois has more than $100 billion in pension debt. So far, attempts to fix it have been mostly illegal.

Should criminals bear the cost of their own rehabilitation?

Top Judge in Illinois Stepping Down

Oct 25, 2013
Rich Egger

The Illinois court system will get a new leader next week.