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.

Pages

NPR Story
5:02 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Chicago Mayor: Lower Penalties For Drugs

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is seen in this file photo.

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 4:44 pm

  Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday called on state lawmakers to reduce penalties for drug possession.

  Two years ago, Chicago began allowing its police to issue tickets for possessing small amounts of pot, rather than immediately making an arrest.

Emanuel says the change is working: "We have seen about 4,100 fewer arrests in that area."

Read more
NPR Story
5:00 am
Mon September 22, 2014

Can A Governor Really Create Jobs?

Gov. Pat Quinn

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 8:54 pm

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

Read more
NPR Story
12:09 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Illinois Schools In Pension Limbo

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 11:50 pm

It’s expected to be some time before the courts decide whether Illinois can trim retirement benefits for public school teachers, university workers, and state employees. But the uncertainty continues to affect the credit outlook of schools and community colleges across the state.  

Read more
Illinois
5:09 am
Fri August 1, 2014

At Historic Sites, Budget Cuts Could Lead To Closures

The law office where Abe Lincoln had his practice is among the sites that could have reduced hours because of state budget cuts.

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 11:56 pm

A budget cut is leading to a reduction in hours at many state historic sites. Officials say without more money, some sites could close completely.

This spring, lawmakers passed what they called a largely flat budget. One of the few areas of government to experience a significant funding cut was the Historic Preservation Agency, which runs dozens of sites, from the U.S. Grant Home in Galena to the Kincaid Mounds in far southern Illinois.

Read more
NPR Story
5:09 am
Wed July 2, 2014

In Illinois Legislature, A Culture Change On Criminal Sentencing

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 12:30 pm

Not long ago, it seemed every time a different type of crime started making the news, members of the Illinois General Assembly would rush to increase the penalty for that offense. But today — with prisons stuffed beyond capacity and state finances ailing — lawmakers have begun taking a more deliberate approach. Brian Mackey reports on a criminal sentencing culture change in the Illinois General Assembly.

Read more
Politics
10:07 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Quinn Signs Minimum Wage Ballot Question

Credit League of Women Voters

Voters will get to weigh in on whether Illinois should raise its minimum wage for adults to $10 an hour. Governor Pat Quinn approved the ballot question Sunday. And he wasted no time campaigning on the issue.

Read more
NPR Story
8:57 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Quinn Fundraising Appeal Tied To Bill Signing

Gov. Pat Quinn speaks to reporters in this file photo.

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 8:43 am

Voters will get to weigh in on whether Illinois should raise its minimum wage for adults to $10 an hour. Gov. Pat Quinn approved the ballot question Sunday, and wasted no time campaigning on the issue.

The question is just advisory — lawmakers don’t have to heed the people’s advice — but supporters of the increase say they hope it’ll pressure reluctant legislators to go along.

Critics say this is a ploy to get more Democrats to the polls — since turnout tends to be lower in non-presidential election years.

Read more
NPR Story
6:52 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Illinois Outlaws Police Ticket Quotas

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 6:03 am

Police ticket quotas are now illegal in Illinois. Over the weekend, Gov. Pat Quinn signed a law prohibiting the practice.

The backers of this change say there are better ways to evaluate a police officer than on how many tickets she writes.

Read more
NPR Story
4:11 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Lawsuit: Rutherford 'Coerced And Intimidated' Employee Into Political Work

Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford speaks with reporters in this file photo from August 2013.

Originally published on Thu June 12, 2014 1:53 pm

A former state employee on Thursday filed more allegations of political and sexual harassment against Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford. He's also expanding the list of defendants to include Mitt Romney's presidential campaign organization.

Edmund Michalowski quit the treasurer's office and sued Rutherford shortly before this year's Republican primary, driving his boss to last place in the race for governor.

His initial lawsuit was dismissed last week, but he was allowed to file another version.

Read more
NPR Story
4:04 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Rare In Illinois, Black Bear On The Move

A black bear is seen near Genoa, in DeKalb County, on the morning of Wednesday, June 11, 2014.

Originally published on Wed June 11, 2014 4:57 pm

A black bear has been spotted in northern Illinois, heading east across the state. The species was once well represented in Illinois, but they've been quite rare for more than a century.

Read more

Pages