Government

Government and Legislature

State Legislature Is Back In Session

Apr 14, 2015
state of Illinois

Illinois lawmakers return to Springfield today after a two-week spring break to begin work on a budget compromise for next year. A Senate hearing yesterday could indicate a tough road ahead.

Cities and counties in Illinois would see their share of state money cut in half under Governor Bruce Rauner’s proposed budget. Rauner also proposed eliminating state assistance for foster children over age 18.

Ogle, DeKalb Counties Get 'Disaster' Declaration

Apr 10, 2015
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Gov. Bruce Rauner today declared DeKalb and Ogle counties state disaster areas after severe storms and tornadoes ripped across northern Illinois.

At least two people in DeKalb County are reported dead and roughly a dozen more injured. Dozens of homes and businesses have been damaged or destroyed.

Amanda Vinicky / WUIS

Gov. Bruce Rauner says he choose to award business tax credits to uphold Illinois' trustworthiness with companies, but the Republican's critics are calling it "beyond the pale."

Social service organizations are still reeling from the unexpected news they received a week ago that Gov. Rauner was immediately cutting off their state grants.

No longer would there be money to bury the indigent. Funding for The Autism Program would be eliminated. Funding would be stripped from addiction prevention. Cuts would total $200 million.

ilga.gov

Employees at the University of Illinois Urbana campus are pushing back against a proposal to eliminate a 50 percent tuition discount for their children.

They are getting some help from State Rep. Carol Ammons, D-Urbana, who says the nearly $10 million dollars that would be saved annually by ending the tuition waivers wouldn’t be worth the damage it would do to state universities and their employees.

At a news conference on the Urbana campus, office worker Molly McLaughlin said the tuition waiver is one reason she decided to work at the U of I. 

va.gov

Long waits for medical care persist at Illinois veteran’s hospitals.

That’s despite efforts to hire more doctors, open more clinics and allow some patients to see private practice physicians as an alternative. 

An Associated Press review of government data finds nearly 20,000 medical appointments completed at the state's five major VA centers from September through February failed to meet the health system's timeliness goal. They call for patients to be seen within a month.

The AP examined waiting times at 940 VA hospitals and outpatient clinics nationwide.

Polls closed at 7 p.m. Tuesday for April 5 Illinois Consolidated Election. There are approximately 1,600 races across 18 counties of northern Illinois -- plus a handful of referenda.

Decisions will be made on school, library district, park district, township and village board members as well as a variety of individual offices.

The following counties have provided links for election results. Simply click on the county name below to be connected to the web page for unofficial results:

The decision on whether passenger rail service will come to Rockford as proposed depends on the State of Illinois, not on Amtrak.

“The currently proposed service to Rockford would require state support,” Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari told WNIJ News in an e-mail. “The state will decide how much service it will contract with Amtrak to provide.”

Magliari responded to reports that Amtrak representative Ray Lang told the House Public Safety Appropriations Committee that Rockford will not get Amtrak passenger rail service any time in the near future,

State Senator Suggests Public Universities Should Privatize

Mar 24, 2015
senate.gop

Less regulation and more freedom to make decisions -- these are among the things State Sen. Bill Brady says public universities would gain in Illinois if his bill to privatize them becomes law.

The Bloomington Republican introduced a bill asking the six public institutions to plan for a six-year evolution to privatization.

He says campuses already have been coping with falling state support for years. But Brady resists the suggestion his measure could accelerate the slide.

Illinois Child Care Bureau

There's been a lot of attention on the effect of the budget shortfall's immediate effect on a state-subsidized day care program in Illinois. But child care providers and parents are also worried about Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed cuts to next year's budget.

Flickr user Daniel Borman / "Money, Money, Money" (CC BY 2.0)

Unions and other advocates for raising Illinois' minimum wage won a small victory yesterday. For the first time in years, an increase is advancing in the Illinois House.  

Even Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner says he can get behind it — if it comes after a long list of pro-business legislation.

Democrat Art Turner, from Chicago, got the measure through a committee on a party-line vote.

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