Illinois Senate

A measure in the Illinois Senate aims to reduce the number of veteran suicides.

It's a response to a recent study that found nearly 22 veterans kill themselves every day in the U.S.  The bill would address specific problems that could add to a service member's stress. Sen. Paul Schimpf says this includes better state Department of Veterans Affairs assistance with mental health issues.

"There is a stigma in the veterans community ... saying that it's a sign of weakness to seek help," Schimpf said.

M. Spencer Green/AP

The Illinois Senate approved legislation meant to address record gun violence in Chicago.

It's intended to push judges into imposing longer prison sentences on repeat gun offenders.
It passed on a vote of 35 to 9, but several legislators voted “present” — or didn’t vote at all.

Democrat Jackie Collins of Chicago, says “locking up more people is not the solution to gun violence.”

“What is needed is economic development, police reform, and stopping the flow of illegal guns in communities ravaged by deep concentrations of poverty and hopelessness.”

The Illinois Senate's leader is promoting legislation he says will protect immigrants from Trump administration actions.

Several immigrant and anti-crime groups and labor unions joined Democratic Senate President John Cullerton of Chicago on Monday to unveil legislation he calls the TRUST act. It would bar law enforcement agencies in Illinois from helping in immigration actions unless federal authorities present a warrant from a judge.

It also would bar federal agents from state-funded schools or health institutions unless they have a court-issued warrant.

"Wheelchair" by Flickr User zeevveez / (CC X 2.0)

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration is frustrating state senators by refusing to answer questions about where agencies could tighten their belts.

Several Senate committees grilled agency directors Tuesday about spending cuts to deal with a multibillion-dollar deficit. The Democratic-controlled committees teamed up to put Rauner on the spot.  They blame him for scuttling the Senate's negotiated budget compromise last week.  

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner says he's urged Republican state senators to keep negotiating for a budget compromise that's ``a good deal for taxpayers.''

The Illinois Senate has been working for months to pass a so-called ``grand bargain'' that could resolve a nearly two-year state budget impasse.

After a deal fell apart last week, Democratic Senate President John Cullerton blamed the Republican governor for sabotaging it. He says Rauner peeled off GOP votes that had been lined up to support an income tax increase, property tax freeze and other measures.

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