Government

Government and Legislature

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.

ARTSALLIANCE.ORG

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.

State of Illinois

Two Illinois legislators are finalists for a bigger job in state government. Frank Mautino and Elaine Nekritz -- both Democrats in the Illinois House -- are among the finalists to be auditor general next year.

State Senator Jason Barickman, a Republican from Bloomington, is on the commission that helped narrow the field. Barickman says he's optimistic the next auditor general will be selected before the current one retires at the end of this year.

Jennifer Brdlik

Is it marketing or an “awareness campaign?” That’s the question sparked by a company’s upcoming ads for medical marijuana.

Chicago-based Cresco Labs is the BIG player in Illinois’ medical marijuana market. It holds permits for cultivation centers in Joliet, Kankakee, and Lincoln. It’s a big investment for the company…so it’s investing what it says is “seven figures” worth of ads, in print and on radio, social media, and billboards.

Illinois State Museum / state of Illinois

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is set to close state museums and a sport-shooting complex to the public because of the budget crisis. But most staff will still report to work. 

The Illinois State Museum in Springfield and four satellite locations -- along with the World Shooting and Recreational Complex in Sparta -- will close today.

Rauner's office initially sent layoff notices to more than 100 workers at those sites in an effort to save about $5 million. But unions sued, saying the layoffs violated their contract.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White says his office will suspend mailing reminder notices on renewing motor vehicle registrations because there's still no state budget.

White said Monday that interrupting the mailing service will save about $450,000 a month. 

White sent Gov. Bruce Rauner a letter last week warning of potential major problems at government facilities related to the budget standoff. He says vendors aren't being paid and are threatening to suspend services.

White also worries that utilities could be shut off at the state Capitol in Springfield.

Durbin.senate.gov

With a possible federal government shutdown on the horizon, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) says the consequences for his home state would be especially dire if it occurs while Illinois remains without a state budget.

“When we have government shutdown in Washington as we did several years ago, innocent people are going to suffer as a result of it,” Durbin said Friday, standing in front of military planes at Scott Air Force Base. “And we can certainly know the impact it’s going to have on some groups, not the least of which will be federal employees.”

N. IL Lawmakers React To Boehner Exit

Sep 25, 2015

Overwhelming support has emerged in response to House Speaker John Boehner’s announcement to resign next month. Boehner believes stepping down will prevent further disarray among the House Republicans.

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) envisioned a productive ending for Boehner’s last month as Speaker.

Associated Press / NPR

Pope Francis’s call for a renewed spirit of cooperation in Congress drew praise from members of Illinois’s delegation. Democratic Senator Dick Durbin praised the pope’s address to Congress Thursday, which he says extended a challenge to lead better lives and to help people.

“It couldn’t have come at a better time,” Durbin said. “We are divided on partisan lines and regional lines and so many others. But he’s really begged us all to put that aside, and aspire to some of his values and ideals that he’s spelled out.”

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