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.

Illinois Democrats want to stop Gov. Bruce Rauner from further changing the way the state manages Medicaid, one of its most expensive programs.

State Sen. Dave Koehler of Peoria previously supported allowing outside companies and hospitals to run portions of the healthcare system for low-income people. But he says the companies are falling short, and the governor's proposal would increase their reach.

Flickr User That Guy DouG/CC 2.0

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.”

Flickr user Pictures of Money / "Money" (CC BY 2.0)

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.

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