Government and Legislature

Brian Mackey

Labor unions are going on the road to make their case against Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s pro-business agenda. The latest in a series of events took place in Springfield this morning.

For months, Rauner has been pushing proposals he says would improve Illinois’ economy — such as by lowering the cost of workers’ compensation insurance and restricting lawsuits.

But the governor is also pushing to weaken labor unions — like by creating right-to-work zones.
Several union leaders and members held an event at a Springfield church to voice their concerns.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Violent crime, heroin use, and police relations in Rockford --  those three problems were the focus of a year-long study by the Department of Justice. The city invited the analysis and received the initial results Tuesday.

Devout Longtime Illinois Lawmaker Dies

Sep 21, 2015
Illinois General Assembly

A Chicago lawmaker known for her musical spin on Springfield issues died this morning.

Esther Golar was a state representative from the city’s south side.

It was known that Representative Golar was sick with cancer for a few weeks now.

Recently, her illness was put on full display in the House of Representatives. There were some critical bills calling for a vote, and Democrats needed every vote they could get.

Democratic Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth was close with Golar.

Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board

A state board that's charged with protecting rare flora and fauna has fallen victim to the state's budget woes. Gov. Bruce Rauner 's administration says funding for staff has been eliminated. 

LaHood Sworn Into Congress; Bustos Approves

Sep 18, 2015

Republican Darin LaHood was sworn into Congress Thursday…and a Democratic lawmaker says she’s ready to work with him.

LaHood last week won a special election to fill the vacant seat in Illinois’s 18th District.

Cheri Bustos, who represents the neighboring 17th District, says she’s well-acquainted with LaHood.

U.S. Department of Labor

An Illinois business partnership is getting several million dollars to help create hundreds of apprenticeships in the state.

The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded the Illinois Advanced Apprenticeship Consortium $3.9 million to fund the creation of 600 apprenticeships over the next five years. The apprentices will attend college through an employer sponsorship and be paid for their work during their time in the program. 


In the turbulent days before a grand jury decided not to indict a former Ferguson police officer that shot and killed Michael Brown, Gov. Jay Nixon was asked why he needed a commission to figure out what ails the St. Louis region. 

His answer then was personal. His reaction to the actual report issued by the Ferguson Commission is for the entire state.

Nixon is originally from the St. Louis region – albeit exurban Jefferson County. And he’s been in office for nearly 30 years. So, he was asked, shouldn’t he know what policies were needed to respond to Michael Brown’s death?

The LaSalle County Jail could get some extra money if some Chicago-area inmates are housed at the facility.

The LaSalle County Jail was built in anticipation the inmate population would increase over the years. But, that hasn't happened.

Now, some Cook County detainees might be transferred to the LaSalle County jail.

It was designed to hold 300 people...but LaSalle Sheriff Tom Templeton says there are times when the jail is only half full.

A federal judge has given lawyers for former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert more time to file pre-trial motions in his hush-money case.

Attorneys for the Illinois Republican and federal prosecutors filed a joint motion Thursday asking for a two-week extension of Monday's filing deadline.

The two sides say they've been discussing issues Hastert's lawyers may raise. They say the extension may give them time to address those issues so the motions won't be necessary.

U. S. District Court Judge Thomas Durkin granted the motion Friday without comment. 

LaHood Wins 18th Congressional Seat

Sep 11, 2015

Illinois State Senator Darin LaHood was elected the next Congressman for the 18th District.

The Peoria Republican beat Democrat Rob Mellon of Quincy by capturing nearly 70 percent of the vote in yesterday’s special election. 

LaHood says he’s humbled by the results.

“When you set a goal over six months and you’re rewarded here tonight with the kind of response we got, it’s a good feeling,” LaHood said.

LaHood says an immediate priority is hiring local district staff. He says he will resign from the state senate before getting sworn into Congress next week.