Tom Lisi

Tom reports on statehouse issues for NPR Illinois.  He's currently a Public Affairs Reporting graduate program student at the University of Illinois Springfield.  He graduated from Macalester College.  Tom is from New York City where he also did stand-up and improv and wrote for the Awl and WNYC public radio.

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Illinois House Democrats passed legislation Wednesday that would compel state agencies to buy more American-made products.

State Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, said the proposal he sponsored aligns with President Donald Trump’s focus on American manufacturing.

“I could just reference your president’s executive order regarding ‘Buy American,’ " he said. "This is saying our state taxpayer dollars should put our people to work and we should use the buying power of our state to create jobs and economic opportunity.”

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Some groups are bracing for the problems of a future Illinois state budget that doesn’t raise taxes high enough or cuts spending.

"smoke detector (05-04-08)" by Flickr User Katy Warner / (CC X 2.0)

New legislation would require Illinois residents to replace their smoke detectors.

Newer models can be temporarily silenced without removing the battery, so homeowners don't have to take them down when they burn their popcorn.Springfield Fire Marshal Chris Richmond says non-functioning smoke detectors are found at the scene of many fire deaths.

“Here in Springfield just on February 13th, we had a three-year-old die in an apartment fire. That apartment did not have functioning smoke alarms. Tragic situation, tough on my personnel, tough on the entire community.”

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Milkweed could become the Illinois state wildflower under legislation pending in the General Assembly. 

Vanessa Tyler is a Girl Scout who attends Pleasant Plains Middle School, near Springfield. She and her troop lobbied lawmakers to support the proposed state designation. She says it’ll help people think twice about killing milkweed.

"Money" By Flickr User Pictures of Money / (CC BY 2.0)

A new proposal from Illinois Democrats would raise the state’s minimum wage from the current $8.25 to 15 dollars per hour over five years.

Illinois voters in 2014 overwhelmingly approved raising the state’s minimum wage to ten dollars an hour. Lawmakers never followed through on that referendum.

Representative Jeanne Ives is a Republican from Wheaton. She says the move to a $15 wage in Seattle has cut the number of hours workers get there.

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