Government and Legislature

Amanda Vinicky

Another lawsuit over a pension law was filed this week in Illinois, this time seeking to strike a law that reduced Chicago Park District pensions. That could be significant for other local governments, and future negotiations.

When it first passed, the park district pension law was seen as a possible model for future ones. That's partially because it had been drafted in cooperation with SEIU, the union representing park district workers.

Interim Beloit Police Chief Announces Overhaul

Oct 9, 2015

Interim Beloit Police Chief David Zibolski released a letter announcing changes he has made in the past 120 days in the BPD.

An outside review of the Beloit Police Department was conducted and results came back questioning the “leadership and management.” The findings were so critical that Police Chief Norm Jacobs and Deputy Chief Tom Dunkin were promptly placed on paid administrative leave.

Zibolski was named Interim Police Chief while the city performed an internal investigation.

Mental Illness Awareness Week began 25 years ago. In 1990, Congress designated the first week of October every year to eliminate stigma against those dealing with illnesses such as depression or schizophrenia.

Some have taken to social media to post about their own experiences with #IAmStigmaFree.

Illinois Senate Republicans /

State Sen. Kyle McCarter says he'll challenge 10-term U.S. Rep. John Shimkus's re-election bid in the Republican primary in Illinois' 15th Congressional District.

The conservative lawmaker from Lebanon says Shimkus has been in Washington too long after promising to serve no more than six terms when he was first elected in the district covering all or parts of 33 counties in eastern and southern Illinois.

KWMU / Twitter / WILL

The U.S. House Republican Conference is scheduled to select its candidate for speaker Thursday to replace John Boehner, who’s leaving Congress at the end of the month.

The rifts in the Republican party that led to Boehner's departure are reflected in the thinking of House Republicans from Missouri and Illinois.

Vijay Kumar Koulampet, CC BY-SA 3.0 / via Wikimedia Commons

A Wisconsin state Senate committee is holding a public hearing on a Republican bill that overhauls the state's 110-year-old civil service system. It would affect about 30,000 state employees.

The bill would do away with the civil service exam, speed up the hiring process, define “just cause” for disciplining employees and eliminate “bumping” rights that protect more experienced workers from losing their jobs.

State of Illinois

Leaders of several state universities and community colleges are sounding the alarm as they begin month three of receiving no money from Illinois. 

State support for Illinois’s 12 public universities and its 49 community colleges is the largest part of the state government that isn’t being funded during Springfield’s budget impasse.

While the state’s bigger schools, like the University of Illinois, are able to truck along without much impact on students, the situation at Eastern Illinois University is much more dire, officials say.

State of Illinois

Illinois public colleges and universities have become collateral damage in the state’s months-long budget impasse, fueled by political stalemate between Illinois’ Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and the democratically-controlled General Assembly.

Rauner says he’s willing to consider more state revenue to pay for support to items like public colleges and universities, but only if lawmakers pass his pro-business, union-weakening “Turnaround Agenda” first.


Hundreds of artists and administrators met last week to discuss the state of the arts in Illinois.

Politics dominated the discussion, with a focus on ever-shrinking budgets for many arts groups. That includes the Illinois Arts Council Agency, which is the state department that oversees government spending on the arts.

Funding for the council has diminished from about $20 million dollars in 2007 to less than $9 million in 2012.

Ra Joy heads Arts Alliance Illinois, which is the state's largest such advocacy and membership group.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Federal prosecutors say former Congressman Aaron Schock has been deceptive in complying with a subpoena. But Schock’s attorneys are disputing those claims.

Federal prosecutors said in mid-September Schock “deceptively refused” to hand over all the documents they subpoenaed as part of an investigation into his activities.

In a 23-page court filing yesterday, Schock's lawyers asserted attorney-client privilege and other considerations should keep some records out of the hands of prosecutors.