Flickr user Pictures of Money / "Money" (CC BY 2.0)

Gov. Bruce Rauner and Illinois lawmakers are contemplating dire economic forecasts as they meet in search of a state budget deal.

Legislative leaders met with the governor at the Capitol on Wednesday and discussed numbers released Tuesday by Rauner's budget director.

They include an estimate that the state will be $7 billion in the red by June 30, and that the backlog of unpaid bills will top $13 billion by then.

The Republican governor and Democratic leaders have been unable to agree on a full-year spending plan for nearly two years.

Jenna Dooley

The Illinois Senate again has approved a plan to automatically register people to vote, despite an earlier veto of the legislation by the governor.

Automatic voter registration had strong bipartisan support when legislators first approved it earlier this year.

But Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed the proposal, warning that non-citizens could be registered.

Sen. Andy Manar, a Democrat from the Springfield area, says there are adequate safeguards. He also says automatic registration is a way to streamline Illinois government.

The Illinois Labor Relations Board has declared contract negotiations between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration and the state's largest public-employees union at an impasse.

Tuesday's decision allows Rauner to impose his terms on the 38,000-member state council of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

That gives the union the opportunity to accept the terms or vote to go on strike.

AFSCME officials say they plan to appeal to state court.

The last contract expired in June 2015 and Rauner broke negotiations in January.

Flickr user Brent Hoard "ECU School of Education Class Room" (CC BY 2.0)

Public colleges and universities in Illinois will have the option of reducing payroll costs in the form of furloughs on employees, under a rule approved Tuesday.


Jeff Brownfield, director of an organization representing civil service employees, fielded questions from a trio of lawmakers all asking the same thing: What about the labor unions? After the meeting, Brownfield repeated his answer.


Flickr user Adikos / "Female Typing" (CC BY 2.0)

Three school districts are going into their second year for a three-year state e-learning day trial program. But they ran into an obstacle in monitoring the progress of the program.

All three districts participating in the trial program have not been able to use any e-learning days. That’s because superintendents from Gurnee School District 56, Community High School District 94 in West Chicago, and Leyden High School District 212 in Franklin Park say they didn’t use any snow days last school year.