Government and Legislature

Thousands of low-income families would once again be able to get state help paying for child care under a compromise deal introduced Monday by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Rauner had been responsible for changes that cut the families off from the program in the first place. He unilaterally raised eligibility standards so a parent making minimum wage no longer qualified.

After a months-long ruckus, the Republican governor says he'll expand eligibility once again. 

Today’s the day for many medical marijuana patients in Illinois. As many as eight dispensaries around the state are scheduled to open as the next chapter of legalizing medical marijuana begins.

Only around 33-hundred people have been granted medical cannabis licenses by state regulators. That’s one reason people in the industry have been coordinating informational meetings about how to apply. Last Wednesday, one such forum was held in Rockford.

No pictures, please.

Advocates for senior citizens and people with disabilities are assessing how action today by the Republican governor affects services they say they depend on.

Early this year, Gov. Bruce Rauner unveiled a plan to save money, by making it harder for the elderly and disabled individuals to qualify for government aid.

People not deemed needy enough would no longer receive state-provided home care workers, or state-paid nursing home care.

The legislature didn't like that idea, and passed a measure that would require eligibility remain at the status quo.

Federal prosecutors handed former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock a second subpoena for financial records, texts and emails. That’s part of a grand jury probe into spending by the Peoria Republican.

The new subpoena was disclosed as prosecutor Timothy Bass appeared before U.S. District Court Judge Sue Myerscough. Bass says it's “utter nonsense” Schock hasn't fully complied with a grand jury request issued months ago.

Prosecutors also object to claims of privilege that Schock's attorneys made over some documents being reviewed by Myerscough.

Tracking Progress Since Quinn Conceded Governor's Race

Nov 5, 2015
Brian Mackey / Illinois Public Radio

A year ago, then Governor Pat Quinn conceded his race for re-election to Republican Bruce Rauner.  Voters once again sent Democratic legislators back to Springfield with supermajorities. 

Rauner came into office promising he'd shake up state government.

Rauner insists that lawmakers institute a series of changes -- from legislative term limits, to a more business friendly workers' compensation system, and a clampdown on collective bargaining -- before he'll talk revenue.


The Illinois Supreme Court has once again ruled in favor of tobacco giant Philip Morris. The decision, announced Wednesday, saves the company from a $10.1 billion judgment.

The case has been before the court off and on for more than a decade. A group of smokers say Philip Morris tricked them into thinking “light” cigarettes were safer than regular.

The Supreme Court already threw out the record award back in 2005. But a few years ago, the smokers went to a trial judge and tried to revive the case.

A northern Illinois program that provides meal service is cutting back due to the state's budget impasse.

DeKalb's Voluntary Action Center announced a reduction in its nutrition services. The interim director says 53 percent of the Center's Aging Service grant money for the Meals on Wheels program comes directly from the state.

The schedule for the Senior Lunch program at the DeKalb Senior Center will be affected the most.

A portrait of former Speaker Dennis Hastert has been removed from a hallway outside the House chamber. Just last week, the Illinois Republican pleaded guilty to breaking banking laws in a hush money scheme.  
 The portrait has hung for years in the Speaker's Lobby, a plush area just outside the chamber where lawmakers and reporters congregate. 

Spokeswoman AshLee Strong says new Speaker Paul Ryan felt it was time to ``rotate in a different portrait.''  

State of Illinois

The state of Illinois is more than $181 million behind in distributing monthly motor fuel tax revenue to municipalities, counties and other local governments amid the ongoing state budget impasse.

Records from the Illinois comptroller's office show more than $89 million is owed to municipalities and $63.6 million is owed to counties.

The State Journal-Register reports another roughly $29 million hasn't been given to smaller townships and road districts, and many rely on the funding for most of their maintenance and repair budgets.

Illinois Supreme Court

Judicial races are getting increasingly politicized. That's according to a study published Thursday surveying 2013-2014 state Supreme Court races called "Bankrolling the Bench."

Illinois sticks out when it comes to money spent to elect or keep judges on the bench. But not in a good way, according to the report's lead author Scott Greytak, who works for the nonpartisan group Justice at Stake.