Government

Government and Legislature

Brian Mackey/Illinois Public Radio

Illinois' unemployment insurance program will see some changes next year ... the result of something that's rare in Springfield these days as a budget stalemate persists: hard-fought negotiations giving way to a compromise.

Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration, labor, and business, all agreed on something: changes to the unemployment insurance program.

The measure awaiting the governor's signature would make it easier for businesses to prove worker misconduct.  That could decrease employer’s costs by exempting them from having to pay benefits.

Brian Mackey / Illinois Public Radio

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner spoke in public Wednesday for the first time since Tuesday's big summit with legislative leaders. He says he is still defending his decision not to negotiate a budget until Democrats approve his agenda.

Rauner says he's not expecting quick progress in his standoff with Democrats in the General Assembly. The governor says he wants Illinois to be more business-friendly.

Brian Mackey / Illinois Public Radio

With Illinois in its sixth month without a budget, the state's top political leaders met Tuesday in Springfield. It was the first time they'd all gotten together in months. Was anything accomplished?

In a word: No.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democrats who run the Illinois House and Senate seem as divided as ever.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner pledged to save taxpayers money by eliminating some of the state's nearly 7,000 units of government.

Now, a task force is preparing its final recommendations.

Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti is the commission's chairwoman. She says its suggestions could make government more efficient and effective if the Legislature and Rauner choose to implement them.

The suggestions include letting voters decide whether a unit of government should be eliminated.

“At the end of the day, the savings are going to be huge,” Sanguinetti said.

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

A group of human service providers wants Illinois lawmakers and Governor Bruce Rauner to pass a budget for the current fiscal year and next fiscal year. That’s after it appears the state will go more than half of this fiscal year without one.

Judith Gethner is with Illinois Partners for Human Services. She says they want both to happen in January, so providers can prepare for cuts that are likely to come.

University of Illinois

Illinois public universities are using their reserves to survive while Illinois operates without a budget. But University of Illinois president Tim Killeen says burning through savings at a rate of $76 million per month is not sustainable. 

“It is time to fix this,” Killeen said. “My expectation is that there will be a good outcome or a reasonable outcome in the January/February time frame, at which time we will pick up the ball and run and University of Illinois will go from strength to strength, I assure you of that.” 

Flickr: West Midlands Police / Photo cropped from original

A Chicago Democrat says he hopes a new state law will prevent the very situation that’s playing out over the death of a 17-year-old killed by a Chicago police officer.

The new law sets standards for officers who wear body cameras.

State representative Elgie Sims says it’s significant, given the release of a police dashboard video of the shooting death of Laquan McDonald.

“It only reinforces what we did,” Sims said.

Flickr user Daniel Borman / "Money, Money, Money" (CC BY 2.0)

When the state finally has a budget, who will be left out?

Illinois is facing the very real possibility of going for more than half of the current fiscal year without a budget.

Over that same six months, court orders, consent decrees and the one budget bill that Gov. Bruce Rauner did sign — funding for K-12 education — put the state on track to spend well above the revenue it’s taking in. Illinois Comptroller LeslieMunger estimates that roughly 90 percent of state spending is still happening, even without a budget.

DeKalb's Future Plans Unveiled

Nov 25, 2015

The City of DeKalb has released a draft of its 10-Year Strategic Plan and invites community members to review it and offer comments and suggestions. The plan combines input gathered at more than 40 group discussions held throughout DeKalb and facilitated by Northern Illinois University's Center for Governmental Studies.

Kankakee Community College

Many public Illinois colleges and universities are hard-hit by the budget stalemate. The state isn’t mandated to fund higher education the way it must pay for kindergarten through high school.

Kankakee Community College made cuts earlier in the year due to a continued decline in enrollment. Officials cut down on its award-winning sustainability program and decided to stop operating its public radio station.

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