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.

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Brian Mackey / Illinois Public Radio

It’s been 10 months since the Illinois Supreme Court struck down the state’s last attempt at a pension overhaul. Legislators have yet to decide what to do about Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation pension debt, but they are beginning to weigh their options.

One set of proposals would let employees collect their pension as a single payment when they retire.

A police group says the lack of a state budget is making Illinois a more dangerous place to live.

Rauner touted proposals that would begin to inch toward his goal of reducing Illinois’ prison population by 25 percent over the next decade. But elsewhere in the Capitol, law enforcement officials warned that the lack of a state budget means crime prevention programs are shutting down.

“I am upset at the governor," Tom Weitzel, the police chief in Riverside, said.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin paid tribute to the late Justice Antonin Scalia yesterday.

He says Scalia was a bright, funny and dedicated public servant — though they disagreed on many issues.

But Durbin says he cannot understand why Senate Republicans have vowed to block anyone President Barack Obama nominates to the vacancy.

“Obama was elected for four years. He has eleven months or so left in this term. There’s more than enough time for him to prepare a nominee, submit it to the Senate, go through the orderly process and take a vote," Durbin said.

Gov. Bruce Rauner is scheduled to deliver his budget message to the Illinois General Assembly this Wednesday. In advance of that, interest groups are lining up to plead their case for state funding. On Monday, representatives of the state’s colleges and universities made one such pitch.

Brian Mackey

A group that wants an independent panel to draw Illinois' legislative districts claims support from President Barack Obama.

Obama said politicians should not get to pick their voters in his Springfield speech this week.

He was speaking about federal elections, but the group Independent Maps says this rationale applies to the states.

Obama says politicians' enthusiasm for the idea often depends on whether their party has control of district boundaries.

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