Brian Mackey

Brian Mackey covers state government and politics for 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.

Subscribe to Brian Mackey's State of the State podcast on WUIS' podcast page, or by copying this URL into iTunes or any other podcast app.

  Who should pay for the Illinois courts?

Illinois’ judicial system is increasingly being funded by the men and women who find themselves in court. For both civil and criminal cases, fees and fines have been growing, especially in the last decade.

Now a task force is out with its examination of the system and recommendations for change.

To get the lay of the land, we thought we’d revisit our report on the subject from last year.

Who should pay for the Illinois courts?

senatorbennett.com

Some Illinois politicians are making a push to eliminate time limits on when people can be prosecuted for child sex crimes.

The move was prompted by the case of former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert.   

Although he pleaded guilty to violating federal banking laws, Hastert's 15-month sentence took into account his admission that he sexually abused teenage boys when he was a high school wrestling coach.

Brian Mackey

In the political gridlock that’s seized Illinois government, much of the attention has centered on the fight between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democratic leaders in the General Assembly.

But a new analysis says someone else should share the blame: voters. The people of Illinois are giving politicians contradictory instructions -- namely, keep taxes low but state services high.

University of Illinois

The administration of Gov. Bruce Rauner is touting the low interest rate Illinois got in last week’s bond sale. But at least one public finance expert says that’s not the full story. 

Given Illinois’ low credit rating and ongoing fiscal disaster, it was expected the state would have to promise a bigger payday in order to attract investors to its bond sale.

Instead, Illinois got a historically low interest rate — which the Rauner administration wasted no time in touting.

elliottaviation.com

The Illinois Constitution says you can’t have laws targeting individual people or businesses.

To get around that, lawmakers will sometimes pass bills that seem general but everyone knows who’s benefiting.

That’s what happened for Elliott Aviation, which services private and corporate planes in Moline.

In order to encourage expansion here in Illinois rather than in Iowa, lawmakers voted to eliminate property tax bills for private aviation companies at Quad City International Airport.

The local school district sued, saying the law would cost it $150,000 a year.

Brian Mackey

Illinois US Senator Dick Durbin continues to tamp down speculation that he might run for governor in 2018.

Illinois is approaching a full year without a budget — owing largely to the stalemate between Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and the Democrats who control the legislature.

That has some Democrats looking ahead to 2018 — whispering about Durbin as a possible candidate.

Gov. Bruce Rauner marked the end of the legislative session with a blistering attack on Democratic legislators. He then embarked on an eight-city tour — mostly downstate — where he continued his critique.

One of Rauner’s main messages is that Democrats are holding the state budget “hostage” in order to get their way. I thought that accusation of political ill-will had a familiar ring, so I decided to take a closer look at the governor’s communication strategy.

Former Gov. Jim Edgar expressed a dim view of stopgap funding measures during an appearance Tuesday on the public radio program The 21st. He also shared his views on whether current Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democratic supermajorities in the legislature will ever come to terms on the anti-union aspects of the governor’s "Turnaround Agenda."

On Monday, an organization called Illinois Voices sued the Illinois State Police and attorney general’s office. It’s targeting what it says are unconstitutionally vague and burdensome restrictions on people who have to register under the state’s sex offender laws.

The case is Does 1-4 v. Madigan, No. 16 CV 4847 (N.D. Ill.). Download the complaint here (PDF).

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