Secretary of State's Office

Applicants visiting Illinois driver services facilities will no longer be issued a new permanent driver's license or identification card at the end of the application process. Instead, they will leave the facility with a temporary paper driver's license, which is valid for 45 days.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Legislative leaders gave mixed reviews to the latest discussions with Gov. Bruce Rauner to negotiate an end to Illinois' epic budget standoff with any optimism tempered by skepticism about a possible compromise.

 Republican House Leader Jim Durkin said after the meeting Tuesday he was heartened by Democrats' willingness to discuss the pro-business reforms Rauner wants as a condition to an agreement. But after the meeting, House Speaker Michael Madigan said in a statement that progress on a budget is possible when Rauner ``sets aside his agenda.''  


  Illinois' leaders are divided over school funding, even as superintendents worry it will get caught in the political stalemate.

Gov. Bruce Rauner wants to increase how much Illinois sends schools overall, by $120 million.

Even then, some districts -- including the financially beleaguered Chicago Public Schools -- would see their state funding drop. Senate President John Cullerton nixed that as a viable option Monday.

Amanda Vinicky

  For only the second time this year, Gov. Bruce Rauner and the four legislative leaders are set to meet, Tuesday, in Springfield.  It comes as Illinois' historic budget stalemate yawns into May, with two weeks left in legislators' regular session schedule.

These "leaders' meetings" are private, but NPR Illinois Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky had the chance to speak with House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton.



Jenna Dooley

A northern Illinois food assistance program has been drawing heavily on community donations due to the state’s budget impasse.

Colleen Bredeson is the community outreach coordinator for the Voluntary Action Center in Sycamore, which administers the area Meals on Wheels program.

Brian Mackey

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says he’s optimistic Democrats and Republicans can reach a big compromise on a budget deal.


But time is running out before a big deadline at the end of the month.

The state’s now gone 10 and a half months without a budget. Court orders kept the much of the government’s lights on.

Governor Rauner says he’ll be negotiating this week but he doesn’t expect a deal until the last second on May 31st.

That’s because starting June 1st - procedures change and it takes more Yes votes to pass a budget.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has vetoed legislation to allow an arbitrator to settle state-employee wages and working conditions if union negotiations stall.

In his veto message Monday, the Republican governor called the bill “dangerous,” adding it would replace his bargaining power with a union-friendly arbitrator.  

Ruling Democrats can try to override the veto.

AFSCME's state council Executive Director Roberta Lynch says the bill is a compromise to avoid a strike.

adapted from Flickr user Dannielle Blumenthal / cc x 2.0

The U.S. Departments of Justice and Education wrote a letter to schools across the country last week regarding the rights of transgender students. The list includes best practices to ensure the safety and comfort of students who identify as a different gender from their sex assigned at birth. It advises school officials on matters like using preferred gender pronouns of those students. WNIJ contacted a number of area school districts about the policy: only two replied, including LaSalle-Peru Township High School.

Members of the Illinois State Board of Elections today took another step in their investigation of Auditor General Frank Mautino.

They voted to ask for more information about his campaign spending — spending that Republicans have called excessive.

Campaign finance reports show Mautino, a Democrat, paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to Spring Valley Bank and a single service station.

The election board gave Mautino’s old fundraising committee until July 1 to turn over more documentation.

Phil Masterton/WNIJ

Neighborhood activists hit the ground running -- rather, hit the “grass mowing” -- Monday morning in Rockford for a show of neighborhood pride.

Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey, 13th Ward Democratic Alderwoman Linda McNeely, Pastor Marvin Hightower and others assembled at an overgrown lot in Rockford’s Zion West Neighborhood Monday morning.