Sean Crawford


Advisory Board Ex-Officio


Sean has led WUIS' news operations since the fall of 2009. He replaced the only other person to do so in the station's history, Rich Bradley. Prior to taking over the News Department, Sean worked as Statehouse Bureau Chief for WUIS and other Illinois Public Radio stations. He spent more than a dozen years on the capitol beat.

Sean  began his broadcasting career at his hometown station in Herrin, Illinois while still in high school.  It was there he learned to cover local government, courts and anything else that made the news.  He spent time in the Joliet area as News Director and Operations Manager for a radio station and worked for a chain of weekly newspapers for two years.  Along with news coverage, he reported heavily on sports and did on-air play by play. 

Sean holds a Master's Degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois Springfield. 

Brian Mackey / Illinois Public Radio

The lack of an Illinois budget means public pension systems won't get their state contribution next month. That won't stop retirees from getting their checks.

However, there could still be an impact.

The funds get money from members, the state and in the case of the Teachers Retirement System, school districts.

Dave Urbanek is the TRS spokesman. He says another key is investment income. But some of those investments, like stocks and bonds, might have to be liquidated in order to send out future checks.

state of Illinois

The Illinois budget gridlock continues four months into the fiscal year. Downstate Republicans are finding themselves having to balance support for the Governor with constituent concerns.

One of those lawmakers is C.D. Davidsmeyer. He says he has his theories of when the General Assembly will negotiate a state budget.

Davidsmeyer says that would likely mean it will be worked out in December at the very earliest. He says little is happening that oculd move the situation toward compromise.

Katherine Johnson / Flicker

The Illinois State Fair ended in August.  But many who worked there are still owed money. 

 The annual Springfield summertime event  is a celebration of agriculture and more.  But this year, the state warned vendors they might have to wait to get paid.  Turns out, that wasn't an idle threat.  Tim Landis is a reporter for the State Journal-Register newspaper, which tallied up the outstanding bills.  Among them, paying the sculptor of the fair's most well known symbol: 

Heartland Alliance

The Illinois poverty rate hovers above pre-recession levels at about 14 percent, according to Census numbers released Thursday.

Meanwhile, income in Illinois is stagnant, according to numbers crunched by the Chicago-based Heartland Alliance. 

This is likely a consequence of the state's budget woes, says Kimberly Drew, an economic security specialist at the alliance.

“Many of our anti-poverty programs are essentially imploding because they are not receiving funding,” Drew said. “And this has very real consequences in people's lives."

A panel of lawmakers will weigh in Wednesday on the planned closure of two state facilities.  But the final decision rests with the governor. 

You may be asking: How did Illinois get to this point?

Illinois is likely to enter August without a full-year budget for Fiscal Year 2016, which began July 1. The longer the impasse continues, the more the impact will be felt. 

Most Illinois residents may be busy with their summer and less focused on the state budget, since schools are expected to open on time. State workers also are getting paid.

Republican State Rep. Tim Butler says the ongoing fiscal fight will boil over in more ways:


Illinois could join a handful of states that allow cameras to be installed in the rooms of nursing home residents. 

Supporters say it would give families peace of mind to have electronic monitoring of the care their loved ones receive. But there are also concerns, especially when it comes to privacy.

"Nursing homes, a lot of people tend to forget ... that is their home," Hinsdale Republican Representative Patti Bellock said.

Supporters say the cameras would only be installed when the resident or family agrees. They would also have to cover the cost. 

Illinois Department of Corrections

DNA helped exonerate more than 300 people in the U.S. Among the most recent was Christopher Abernathy, who was freed last week from a northern Illinois prison. He served almost 30 years for rape and murder. 

The Illinois Innocence Project, based at the U of I Springfield, provided DNA testing in that case. Its founder, Larry Golden, says he's seen a change in how people view the justice system and its mistakes in the past two decades.

Illinois is reporting widespread flu activity earlier than most years.  Widespread means the flu is showing up statewide.  Illinois tracks people hospitalized for the flu. That number is above 200 with nearly half the cases in the week that ended December 13th.