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.

Click the image to launch a slideshow of White House pool photographs by Justin L. Fowler of The State Journal-Register and Terrence Antonio James of the Chicago Tribune.

flickr user / Michael Coghlan "Prison Bars" (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Illinois’ overcrowded prisons could be a big topic of debate in Springfield next year.

Local advocacy groups have been raising alarms for years.

Now, a Washington-based advocacy group says it’s joining the fray.

Jenna Moll is with the U.S. Justice Action Network. She says there are ways to cut prison populations that actually improve public safety … at a lower cost.

On episode 16 of the State of the State podcast, a commission working on an overhaul of Illinois’ criminal justice system has approved its first set of recommendations.

Illinois House Republicans

The newest Illinois state legislator has been sworn in.

Sara Wojcicki-Jiminez is a Republican from Springfield. She was previously an aide to first lady Diana Rauner and a spokeswoman for the House Republican caucus.

"One of the things that I learned on staff is that I should definitely keep this brief,” she said. “So I am very humbled by the opportunity. I am honored. I look forward to working with everybody in our caucus, and for our friends across the aisle."

Brian Mackey / Illinois Public Radio

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner spoke in public Wednesday for the first time since Tuesday's big summit with legislative leaders. He says he is still defending his decision not to negotiate a budget until Democrats approve his agenda.

Rauner says he's not expecting quick progress in his standoff with Democrats in the General Assembly. The governor says he wants Illinois to be more business-friendly.