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Illinois Legislature

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.

Americans have responded to drug addiction in a number of different ways in recent decades. The War on Drugs of the 1980s and 90s spawned mass incarceration of Black and Brown populations. Some addicts, many of whom have some measure of wealth and privilege, are sent to rehab.

Elmhurst resident Nicole Virgil got into home gardening after researching the industrial food process and watching documentaries like “Food Inc.”

But after she and her husband set up a homemade hoop house in her backyard to protect her vegetable garden during the winter, she received multiple citations from the city for violating local building codes.

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

A state representative wants to ban violent video games. He says they contribute to increased carjacking in Chicago. It’s far from the first time state lawmakers have taken the idea for a test drive.

In Illinois, The Fight For LGBTQ+ Rights Continues

Mar 1, 2021

In his first weeks in office, President Joe Biden rolled back multiple federal policies that negatively affected LGBTQ+ people under former president Donald Trump. But in Illinois, policy advocates say there are still more battles to be fought.

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. 

Madigan Resigns as State Democratic Party Chairman

Feb 23, 2021
CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS FILE PHOTO BY JERRY NOWICKI

Former Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan announced he is resigning as chairman of the state Democratic Party, a post he has held since 1998.

 

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.

Republican state lawmakers — who are in the super-minority in the state legislature —introduced a package of election-focused bills aimed at making it easier for citizens to be involved in revising the state’s constitution, repealing legislation, and removing public officials from office.

Sexual health education could soon be mandatory in Illinois public schools under reintroduced legislation from Democrats in the General Assembly.

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.

  

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.

The Illinois General Assembly passed an expansive criminal justice bill on the last day of the lame-duck session, which, among other changes, would end the use of cash bail and impose new certification requirements for police officers. The measure was a part of a slate of bills spearheaded by the Legislative Black Caucus.

  

GOP lawmakers are again demanding answers from Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Employment Securities over the state’s processing of unemployment benefits. 

  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.

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.”

Members of the Illinois General Assembly’s Black Caucus Tuesday released a four-pronged agenda that they say will dominate this fall’s legislative session. 

The group of lawmakers wants several areas addressed: criminal justice reform, which includes violence prevention and  police accountability; education and workforce development; economic opportunity and equal access; and health care and human services.

Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford, a Maywood Democrat,  said the time to address racism at the federal level, and in Illinois, with legislation is now.

As the minority party at the Illinois State Capitol, Republicans only have a bully pulpit. But when House Speaker Mike Madigan was implicated last week in a utility bribery case, they got more of a megaphone to go with it. 

Higher Minimum Wage, Gas Tax Increase Among New Laws

Jul 1, 2020

July 1 marks the start of a new fiscal year in Illinois.  It also means several new laws take effect.  Here is a rundown of some of those:

Minimum Wage

The minimum wage is going up in the state.  Workers across most of Illinois will see a boost in their pay to $10 per hour. That is up .75 cents from the bump they received the first of the year.  Those making minimum wage will continue to see annual hikes of a buck per hour each January until the hourly minimum hits $15.

Republicans Sue Governor Over Limits On Gatherings

Jun 17, 2020

The Illinois Republican Party is suing Governor J.B. Pritzker over the crowd limitations he imposed during the COVID-19 outbreak.  

Chicago Reps Want Special Session to Deal with Police Reform Issues

Jun 4, 2020

At least three Illinois House members say they want a special legislative session to strike on issues of law enforcement reform and accountability while police brutality has the nation's focus.

As outrage and protest against police brutality and racial injustice has spilled into the streets of cities across the country, several Black Illinois state lawmakers are offering their plans for how to fix those problems.

Reports across the country of retail workers being physically attacked for enforcing safety rules, like the wearing of face masks and social distancing, prompted Illinois lawmakers to take action.  A measure was passed getting tougher on those who commit such acts. 

COVID-19 was both in the forefront and in the background during the abbreviated spring legislative session that Illinois lawmakers wrapped over the weekend. It was the focus of both the legislation and the politics in Springfield.

A lawmaker who portrays himself as an outsider found himself on the outside Tuesday. A group of protestors, meanwhile, made their voices heard as state lawmakers convened for the first day of a special legislative session.

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