Brian Mackey

Brian Mackey covers state government and politics for Illinois Issues magazine, WUIS and a dozen other public radio stations across Illinois. He was previously A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. He can be reached at (217) 206-6412.


6:07 am
Wed January 21, 2015

Frerichs Not Releasing Investigation Results For Former Treasurer


Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs is keeping secret the results of an investigation into his predecessor. 

Former Treasurer Dan Rutherford’s political career imploded after an employee accused him of sexual harassment and political intimidation.

Rutherford, a Republican, denied the allegations and hired a former IRS investigator to look into the charges. He said he’d release the results of that $27,000 investigation — taxpayer funded — but later backtracked, citing the advice of attorneys to keep it secret.

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NPR Story
5:45 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Report Faults State For Closing Women's Prison

Logan Correctional Center, in Lincoln, houses the majority of Illinois' female inmates.

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 5:13 pm

Illinois’ main prison for women has nearly 2,000 inmates. An outside monitor says that’s the result of poor planning when Illinois closed the prison at Dwight nearly two years ago.

The majority of Illinois female inmates are incarcerated at Logan Correctional Center in central Illinois.

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6:45 am
Thu December 4, 2014

Illinois General Assembly Approves Rideshare Regulations

Credit Uber

Illinois lawmakers passed driver regulations for ridesharers. 

The House and Senate approved creating statewide regulations yesterday for drivers working for services such as Uber and Lyft. It includes modified insurance requirements, background checks and a zero-tolerance substance policy. 

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6:19 am
Thu December 4, 2014

Illinois Lawmakers Pass Same-Day Voter Registration

Credit Flickr user / kristin_a (Meringue Bake Shop) "Vote!" (CC BY 2.0)

The Illinois General Assembly voted to make same-day voter registration a permanent feature of state elections. 

Democrats allowed it for the first time in this year’s election. As with most changes to election law, there was a fierce debate. Republicans charged Democrats rushed it through and the changes open the door to voter fraud.

But Barbara Flynn Currie, the Democratic Majority Leader, says that’s not true.

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5:12 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

RAW TAPE: Bruce Rauner's First Statehouse News Conference

Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner speaks with reporters in the Statehouse on Nov. 20, 2014.

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 1:11 pm

Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner visited Springfield on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014. He met with legislative leaders and other elected officials, and held his first Statehouse news conference. Listen to the full audio:

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NPR Story
2:22 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Why Is Illinois So Hard To Poll?

Gov. Pat Quinn, seen at the Illinois State Fair, beat the polls in his 2010 campaign for governor.

Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 1:37 pm

This story first ran in the October 2014 edition of Illinois Issues magazine.

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NPR Story
6:33 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Privacy Issues Complicate Body Cams For Illinois Police

Ferguson demonstrators stand in front of a Quik Trip in this Aug. 12, 2014 file photo.

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 5:20 pm

The idea of requiring police to wear body cameras has been a hot topic after the protests in Ferguson, Missouri. On Friday, a group of Illinois lawmakers will take up the issue.

Advocates of body cameras say they can clear up the muddle of facts that often accompany police shootings, like the one in Ferguson. They also say police will be on better behavior if they know they're being watched.

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5:35 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Illinois Lawmakers To Consider Police Body Cameras, Questions Remain

Credit Flickr: West Midlands Police / Photo cropped from original

Facts are often murky around shootings, whether or not they involve police officers, and eyewitness testimony can be unreliable.

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NPR Story
6:35 am
Thu October 16, 2014

After 22 Years, Crime Victims Back On Ballot

Attorney General Lisa Madigan, facing away, confers with supporters of Marsy's Law before a news conference Wednesday at the AG's Springfield office.

Originally published on Wed October 15, 2014 10:04 pm

This story first appeared as Illinois Issues' State of the State column in the October 2014 edition of the magazine.

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4:57 am
Fri October 10, 2014

Familiar Jabs, Talking Points In First Quinn/Rauner Debate

Gov. Pat Quinn, left, and Bruce Rauner at Thursday's gubernatorial debate in Peoria.

Originally published on Fri October 10, 2014 4:37 am

The two leading candidates for Illinois governor met Thursday night in Peoria for the first debate of the election season. Both men stuck closely to the ideas they’ve been honing for months on the campaign trail.

Democratic Governor Pat Quinn and his Republican challenger, Bruce Rauner, are running carefully scripted campaigns.

Quinn has a populist message: That he’s a friend of the working man, always looking out for the little guy.

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