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.

DCFS

The head of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is defending the decision to leave a toddler in a Joliet Township house where she was later found dead. George Sheldon answered questions about the incident at a State Senate hearing Wednesday in Springfield.

One-year-old Semaj Crosby was found dead under a couch last Thursday. Her mother had reported her missing a couple of days earlier. Just before that, the family had been visited by a caseworker from DCFS.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Illinois Senate Democrats are hoping to win bipartisan support for a partial government spending plan.

 

The proposal would release more than $800 million that’s been collected in special state accounts for higher education and human services — neither of which has been fully funded since summer 2015.

 

Those areas have been particularly squeezed during the 22-month budget stalemate.

 

"Metra" By Flickr User Chris Phan / (CC BY 2.0)

Downstate mass transit services have been hit hard by the Illinois budget stalemate. Lawmakers are now looking to remove them from the fight.

Downstate transit is funded in part through city and county sales taxes. Before that money can be spent, it passes through state government. That means transit agencies have to wait in a long line to get paid.

Illinois is more than $11 billion dollars behind.

State Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, is sponsoring legislation that essentially would pull downstate transit out of line, sending them tax money directly.

WILL

An Illinois Republican Senator with a no-tax-hike budget plan is pushing Gov. Bruce Rauner to get on board.

State Sen. Kyle McCarter of Lebanon is one of the few legislators of either party who says Illinois can solve its budget problems without raising taxes. His proposal includes a 10 percent reduction across state government — the sort of deep cut that could alter the services Illinois provides to its citizens dramatically.

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton says he and his colleagues will take up a partial government spending bill passed by the House earlier this month.

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