Democratic legislative leaders say they want to hear bold plans from Gov. Scott Walker during today’s State of the State address.

Rep. Peter Barca and Sen. Jennifer Shilling said yesterday that the Republican governor needs to work with them to strengthen the state's middle class and improve its infrastructure.

They say Democrats have a suite of proposals aimed at boosting working families, including creating a child care tax credit, expanding broadband access in rural areas and restructuring student loan debt.


The rift between Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and the state's public employee union has escalated.

Rauner announced Friday he's asking the state labor board to decide if negotiations with AFSCME have reached an impasse. A few days ago in an interview with Illinois Public Radio, Rauner -- a Republican -- said his bargaining team is spinning its wheels.

After roughly one year -- about 67 sessions -- he claimed "AFSCME has refused to compromise off of their starting position, which was status quo with major increases in compensation, and other issues." 

State of Illinois

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is observing his first anniversary in office.

Rauner campaigned on a promise to shake up Springfield. On that account, at least, he has succeeded. Illinois is in the midst of a historic budget impasse -- with no signs of it coming to an end.

Critics, including Democratic Rep. Lou Lang of Skokie, lay the blame on the governor.

Sen. Durbin: More Money For Medical Research

Jan 11, 2016

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin visited Southern Illinois University’s School of Medicine Friday to announce an increase in federal funding for medical research for this year.

Senator Durbin said the federal government will pay an extra $2 billion more than last year to study and treat diseases.

The Democrat held up a 3-D model of an infant heart with a birth defect as an example of how advances in medical research can help families.

His late daughter, Christine, had the same heart defect as the 3-D model when she was born.

Secretary of State

If you have not gotten your passport yet due to Real ID compliance issues in Illinois, no need to worry. The effectiveness date for the act has been extended.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says there will be no I.D.-related security changes at airports for at least two years. The department previously said the act would go into effect after Sunday.

State of Wisconsin

Governor Scott Walker wants Wisconsin's attorney general to challenge President Barack Obama's gun control plan.

Walker said in a statement Wednesday that he believes Obama overstepped his authority when he announced an executive action to expand mandatory background checks to gun shows, flea markets and online sales.

Walker says Obama has created uncertainty for law-abiding citizens who want to sell guns and could deprive millions of Americans of their gun rights without any indication of imminent danger.

He called the plan an illegal act.

Jeff Bossert / Illinois Public Media

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner visited the Iroquois County seat of Watseka Tuesday, on the same day he declared that county and 10 others state disaster areas due to flooding, bringing the total to 23.  Watseka Mayor Bob Harwood says he has greater hopes for a federal disaster declaration than he did last summer.

Harwood says the December rains were unusual in that they impacted both the Iroquois River and Sugar Creek, hitting Watseka’s south side nearly as much as the north, which typically more prone to flooding. 

State of Illinois

An Illinois task force for local government consolidation and unfunded mandates released its final report today.

Gov. Bruce Rauner created the Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force almost a year ago. Its purpose was to find ways to restructure local government functions to save taxpayer money.

Flickr user ynse / "dna rendering" (CC BY 2.0)

A bipartisan group of Wisconsin legislators is trying to move a bill mandating the state destroy defendants' DNA samples if they're found innocent.

Current Wisconsin law requires police to take DNA from anyone arrested for a violent felony and send the samples to the state Justice Department's crime lab.

Convicted felons, sex offenders and anyone convicted of a misdemeanor also must surrender their DNA.

If a defendant is found not guilty or delinquent he or she can ask the DOJ to destroy their DNA samples and purge all records of the samples.


A lawsuit that could determine the fate of fantasy sports betting in Illinois could go to trial next summer.

Boston-based DraftKings and the Illinois Attorney General agreed to an expedited schedule and a bench trial in a lawsuit that could determine the fate of daily fantasy sports betting in the state.

An order filed in Cook County Circuit Court shows Lisa Madigan agreed to respond to DraftKings' complaint by January 22nd. A trial could begin by June.

DraftKings' attorney said in a statement the company and its legal team “are confident” they will win their case.