Brian Mackey

Brian Mackey covers Illinois state government and politics from the WUIS Statehouse bureau. 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) 206-6020.

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NPR Story
5:27 am
Wed February 26, 2014

House Sets Spending Cap — Down $1b From Last Year

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 11:19 pm

The Illinois House took a key first step in the state budgeting process Tuesday.

It adopted what's called a "revenue estimate" — how much money Illinois is expected to be able to spend in the next fiscal year.

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NPR Story
4:08 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Arizona Pension Case Could Chart Course for Illinois

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 12:24 am

A court case decided in Arizona Thursday could have implications for Illinois' ongoing legal battle over pensions. The decision (pdf), by the Arizona Supreme Court, struck down an attempt to reduce Arizona officials' retirement benefits.

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NPR Story
4:32 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Cullerton Prods GOP Over 'Secret Plan' On Budget

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 5:21 pm

The top Democrat in the Illinois Senate on Monday went on the offensive over state spending. Senate President John Cullerton is calling out the Republicans running for governor.

Cullerton laid out the hits expected in next year's budget, including the roll back of the income tax hike and mandatory spending increases on things like personnel and healthcare for the poor. Add it up, Cullerton says, and it's a nearly $3 billion hole.

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NPR Story
5:25 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Illinois To Limit Deer Hunting Permits

Illinois plans to limit deer hunting in more than 40 counties next year. It's meant to give the deer population a chance to stabilize and grow.

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 2:49 pm

Efforts to reduce the number of deer in Illinois have been so successful that the state plans to reduce the number of hunting permits this year.

Illinois already met its goal of reducing the deer population statewide a few years ago. But some counties still had herds deemed problematic — causing car accidents and crop damage.

Now, in more than 40 counties, officials at the Department of Natural Resources want to see the number of deer go up by anywhere from one to 29 percent.

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NPR Story
4:54 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Hardiman Swipes Quinn For Not Debating

Tio Hardiman

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 6:33 pm

  Democratic candidate for governor Tio Hardiman is lashing out at incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn for refusing to debate in the run-up to the March primary. Quinn isn't saying much in response.

A spokeswoman for the Quinn campaign previously said there would be no debates between he and Hardiman.

On Wednesday, the governor was asked why voters shouldn't be able to hear from both men face to face.

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NPR Story
6:36 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Interview: Annie Leibovitz In Springfield

Annie Leibovitz looks at photos from her exhibit at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield. At left are Lincoln's hat and gloves he had with him the night of his assassination.

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 3:03 am

The photographer Annie Leibovitz is best known for shooting celebrities. Her elaborately staged work is a staple of Vanity Fair and Vogue magazines. But a few years ago, she set out on a more personal project — a pilgrimage to capture places and objects connected to people who've inspired her, including Abraham Lincoln.

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NPR Story
5:23 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Cullerton Taunts GOP Over Budget Delay

Senate President John Cullerton

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 5:01 pm

The campaign for governor seeped into a debate in the Illinois Senate Wednesday. It let senators get into a little partisan elbowing.

Legislators were in town for just two days of session this week, and they only passed one bill. It lets Gov. Pat Quinn delay his budget address from mid-February to the end of March. The administration says it needs the delay to continue crunching numbers.

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NPR Story
6:14 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Gambling Push Resumes in East St. Louis

Rep. Bob Rita is to convene a hearing on gambling expansion at the Casino Queen in East St. Louis.

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 6:03 am

An Illinois lawmaker is attempting to revive talks over a massive expansion of gambling in the state. The effort begins Tuesday evening at a casino in East St. Louis.

After years of effort, talks to expand gambling broke down last spring. The issue receded amid high-profile legislation dealing with pensions, concealed carry, and same-sex marriage.

Now Rep. Bob Rita, a Democrat from Blue Island, is trying to get gambling back on the front burner.

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NPR Story
9:50 am
Sun January 26, 2014

Candidates Pitch 'Electability' At GOP Debate

The 2014 Republican candidates for governor are, from left: state Sen. Bill Brady, Treasurer Dan Rutherford, Bruce Rauner, and state Sen. Kirk Dillard.

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 4:04 am

The four men competing for the Republican nomination for governor met in Peoria last night. They were participating in a live debate broadcast on public radio and television stations across Illinois. There were no big blow-ups or arguments. In fact, the candidates seem to agree on a lot of policy issues.

That left each man making the case for why he thinks he's in the best position to be the first Republican elected governor since 1998.

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NPR Story
6:16 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Campaigns Must Disclose Payroll Numbers

Bruce Rauner speaks with reporters in this August 2013 file photo.

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 10:14 am

The Illinois State Board of Elections is putting a stop to a practice that's allowed political campaigns to hide some of their spending.

This is a story of new technology coming under the purview of older campaign finance laws.

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