Brian Mackey

Brian Mackey covers state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. He was previously A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.

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Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

The top Democrats and Republicans of the Illinois General Assembly met Sunday for the first time this year, and there are some signs of progress.

House Speaker Michael Madigan has consistently objected to Gov. Bruce Rauner making his political and economic agenda a prerequisite for passing a budget. At Sunday's meeting, Madigan said Republicans were still talking about what he calls “off-budget” issues. That, he said, “prompted me to add items to the off-budget list.”

Illinois Office of Information and Communications

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is attempting to frame the debate heading into Wednesday's special session of the General Assembly.

Rauner delivered a video message Tuesday night from the Old State Capitol Historic Site. It lasted three minutes, and was timed so it could be carried live on the evening news.

“Right now, our state is in real crisis,” Rauner said, "and the actions we take in the days ahead will determine how history remembers us."

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has called state legislators back to Springfield this week to begin 10 special sessions through the end of June.

 

He says he wants a budget deal, but he also is spending money attacking Democrats. The attacks have come in at least three forms: online ads, direct mail, and TV commercials.

 

CREDIT "COURTROOM ONE GAVEL" BY FLICKR USER BETH CORTEZ-NEAVEL / (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois’ struggling social-service agencies lost another round in court Thursday.

An appellate panel in Chicago said Illinois does not have to pay unless the state has a real budget. A three-judge panel unanimously rejected all of the human service providers' claims.

They tried to say Gov. Bruce Rauner exceeded his authority by signing contracts for their work, and then turning around and vetoing money out of the budget to pay them.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan argued in court Tuesday that paying state employees removes “any imperative” for Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and the General Assembly to “fulfill their basic constitutional obligations ... and resolve their budget impasse.”

Madigan is trying to halt state employee paychecks. She said only the General Assembly can approve state spending, which means Illinois does not have the legal authority to make payroll.

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