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Illinois Legislature

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.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker called for the legislature to reconvene to discuss an economic recovery plan for the state.

Pritzker said his administration has supported residents and small businesses by banning evictions, delaying tax filing deadlines, and expanding unemployment eligibility, but he said more work needs to be done to get the economy going.

As Illinois lawmakers consider whether to change ethics laws after recent scandals, former legislative inspector general Julie Porter is urging them to start with themselves.

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.

A day after state Rep. Luis Arroyo was charged with bribery, his colleagues began the process to throw him out of office.

Charlie Wheeler has been covering Illinois government for 50 years. As he retires from leading the Public Affairs Reporting program at the University of Illinois Springfield, he reflects on the decline of the Statehouse press corps, the threat that poses to democracy, and the rays of hope in non-profit news.

The Illinois General Assembly finally finished its annual legislative session this weekend, with lawmakers approving item after item on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s agenda.

Observers and participants are calling it one of the most significant sessions in living memory.

Illinoisans will soon pay more for gasoline and cigarettes. Those are just two tax increases needed to pay for a $45 billion infrastructure plan, which includes money from sports betting and additional casinos.

The usual May 31st deadline for the Illinois General Assembly passed last night, but lawmakers are not yet done with their work.

WIU Supporters Deliver "Buy Into Western" Petition; Governor Responds

Mar 15, 2019
Photo of the group taken in the Rotunda / Austin Thompson with TnT Video

Supporters of Western Illinois University traveled to Springfield Thursday to hand deliver a petition to the governor's office. The governor was out of town at the time, but he did address it and the university during a visit to Quincy.

Illinois became the first state in the Midwest Tuesday to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the measure at the Governor’s Mansion in Springfield. 

Illinois is one step closer to having a $15 minimum wage, after the state Senate approved the legislation by a 39-18 vote Thursday.

New Illinois Laws in 2019

Jan 2, 2019

State lawmakers approved hundreds of changes that are now Illinois law.

Guns, hemp, and stalking are among the themes of the more than 250 new Illinois laws signed by Governor Bruce Rauner that took effect on New Year’s Day.

We took a look at some of the biggest changes to come out of Springfield in the past year, and how they'll affect life in the Prairie State in 2019.

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.

One of Springfield’s top Republican negotiators on higher education said freeing up more money for financial aid might look easy compared to the coming debate over a new funding formula for state universities.

Rauner Vetoes Teacher $40K Minimum Salary Bill

Aug 28, 2018
Wikimedia Commons

Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed a bill last weekend that would have raised the minimum salary for Illinois public school teachers to $40,000 by 2022. In his veto message, Rauner wrote that legislation isn’t the best way to raise teacher pay.

In the Farrington school district, near Mount Vernon, a new teacher makes less than $29,000 — even with a master’s degree. Farrington is one of the lowest-paying districts, but state officials say some 7,000 teachers statewide makes less than $40,000.

A new state law just approved by the legislature would change that.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed Illinois’ budget into law.

The Illinois General Assembly has approved a budget for the state — and Governor Bruce Rauner is indicating he’ll “enact” it into law.

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

With just two days remaining in the spring session of the Illinois General Assembly, lawmakers are optimistic about passing a state budget on time.

WUIS

State representatives in Illinois passed several gun control measures this week, a couple of them with bipartisan support. The move comes as a national debate is unfolding following the February 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Hundreds of people descended on the statehouse Wednesday to urge legislators pass stricter gun regulations. Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense has chapters across the country; it was founded in 2012 as a response to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Illinois lawmakers acted quickly last month in response to sexual harassment allegations at the statehouse.  But several female legislators say this isn't a quick fix.  They say the process was rushed and not enough thought was given to explore alternative options.

State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, a Chicago Democrat, says the new policies were not inclusive of everyone affected by the issue—such as legislative staff and lobbyists. She says she hopes newly formed legislative task forces in the House and Senate will resolve this concern. 

Rich Egger

State Representative Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) gathered supporters outside the McDonough County Courthouse on a gray and chilly November morning.  Macomb Mayor Mike Inman stood alongside local Republican leaders including County Board Chair Scott Schwerer and Sheriff Rick VanBrooker. The crowd applauded as Hammond delivered the news they came to hear.

The Illinois House dealt a series of rebukes to Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday, as Republicans joined Democrats to override nearly a dozen of the governor’s vetoes.

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