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.

M. Spencer Green/AP

The Illinois Senate approved legislation meant to address record gun violence in Chicago.

It's intended to push judges into imposing longer prison sentences on repeat gun offenders.
It passed on a vote of 35 to 9, but several legislators voted “present” — or didn’t vote at all.

Democrat Jackie Collins of Chicago, says “locking up more people is not the solution to gun violence.”

“What is needed is economic development, police reform, and stopping the flow of illegal guns in communities ravaged by deep concentrations of poverty and hopelessness.”

State of Illinois

Illinois has entered its 22nd month without a real budget. Among the state services most affected by the political fight are those that help victims of domestic violence.

Illinois doesn’t spend a lot of money fighting domestic violence — it’s way less than a tenth of a percent of the state budget. But since last summer, it’s spent nothing.

Vickie Smith represents 62 providers across Illinois. She says some groups have laid people off; others are about to.

"170 - Typing" by Flickr User Hillary / (CC X 2.0)

Two bills meant to expand internet privacy rights cleared procedural hurdles in the Illinois House.  

Chicago Democratic Rep. Art Turner Jr., says he wants to make it easier to find out what kind of information companies collect. He says that’s particularly important since President Trump and Republicans in Congress are scaling back federal protections.

“Illinois is in a unique position now to provide privacy rights and that protection for consumers here," Turner says.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A group of rank-and-file Democratic state lawmakers unveiled the “Comeback Agenda.”  It's a response to Republican Governor Bruce Rauner's "Turnaround Agenda," which was proposed two years ago.  

Democratic State Sen. Don Harmon says the measure grew out of frustration with the fighting and lack of progress in Springfield.

“We wanted to be for something. We wanted to outline a vision of where Illinois could go,” he says.

It’s been two years since Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner unveiled his Republican “Turnaround Agenda.” On Wednesday, a group of rank-and-file Democratic legislators responded with their own “Comeback Agenda.”

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