Government and Legislature

state of Illinois

Lawmakers will have nearly two billion dollars less to work with as they craft next year's budget.

There's one big reason Illinois isn't going to have that $1.9 billion to spend on assets like education, health care, foster care and long-term care.

Illinois Supreme Court Will Hear Arguments On Pension Law

Mar 11, 2015
state of Illinois

It's been more than a year since Illinois passed a major overhaul of government-employee pensions. Today, the law goes before the state Supreme Court. 

The law being challenged does away with retirees' compounded cost-of-living raises and increases the retirement age for younger workers. It also gives employees a small break on how much of their paycheck automatically goes toward their future pension.

Back when he signed it in 2013, then-Gov. Pat Quinn called the reform a bipartisan victory.

"Everyday people, I think, will benefit from this reform," Quinn said.

An Illinois lawmaker announced he will receive treatment for cancer.

State Rep. Frank Mautino of Spring Valley says his doctor found a mass in his esophagus during a routine physical in January. The Democrat says he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer after a biopsy in February.  

Brian Mackey

A legal battle over union fees is brewing in Illinois between the Republican governor and Democratic attorney general.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan says Gov. Bruce Rauner had no authority to bring a fight over union dues to federal court. She's trying to dismiss the case.

Rauner is trying to get rid of so-called "fair share" dues on two fronts: Earlier this year, he ordered state agencies to stop collecting them, and he's suing in federal court to toss out the underlying state law that requires them.

Flickr user 401(K) 2012 / "Money" (CC v. 2.0)

Illinois taxpayers are waiting longer than usual for their state income tax refunds. 

Terry Horstman of the Illinois revenue department says the agency is working to fix the problem.

The new state treasurer is in the middle of an extensive review of how the office is managed.

Democrat Mike Frerichs says he brought in “outside eyes” to make sure the office is operating efficiently. 

state of Illinois

One in every 10 Illinois state employees earned more than $100,000 in 2014. That’s according to a published report. 

The employees included judges, prison guards and nurses. The Chicago Sun-Times cites public records, saying 682 workers made more than former Gov. Pat Quinn's six-figure salary.

More than 100 workers doubled their base pay by working overtime or through compensatory time, including more than a dozen workers who got at least $80,000 each in additional pay.

Children of public university employees may see their tuition waivers taken away if an Illinois lawmaker's proposal is approved.

Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, says it costs the schools about $10 million a year to offer half-price tuition to employees’ children.

"I see the state of Illinois pretty much on a lifeboat,” Franks said, “and we're sinking and we can't afford to do everything. I wish we could, but this is not the time that we can continue to have these type of perks."

Brian Mackey/Illinois Public Radio

The newly appointed Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform includes a significant number of members who are well known as advocates for a more rational approach to criminal justice — that is, basing sentencing decisions on what's most likely to rehabilitate an offender while also protecting the public.

America is heading toward the day when whites will no longer make up the majority of the population. And U.S. children will get there soon, according to a new U.S. Census Bureau report. The agency also says the overall U.S. population will grow older — and grow more slowly — in coming years.

By around 2020, "more than half of the nation's children are expected to be part of a minority race or ethnic group," the Census Bureau says, putting Americans under the age of 18 at the front of a trend that will see the overall population follow suit some 20 years later.