Politics

Political news

Senate Approves Aid For Low-Income College Students

Aug 20, 2015
Brian Mackey / WUIS

Among the casualties of the Illinois budget impasse are grants that help low-income students pay for college. On Wednesday, Democrats in the state Senate voted to address that.

Thousands of students take advantage of the so-called MAP grants to attend everything from community colleges to the U. of I.

Randy Dunn, the president of Southern Illinois University, says two-thirds of students at the Carbondale campus get help from the program.

"The average award for our students is significant," Dunn told a Senate committee. "This is not something that's chicken feed."

Amanda Vinicky / WUIS

Gov. Bruce Rauner's November election victory landed his party a summer prize Illinois Republicans haven't had in dozen years --- the pride of having Governor's Day at the Illinois State Fair. But Rauner's day of political revelry Wednesday ended with a stinging defeat.

Rauner didn't miss the opportunity to make a grand entrance to his first Governor's Day at the fairgrounds. He rode in on his black Harley.

Full Court Won't Rehear Blagojevich Appeal

Aug 19, 2015
U.S. Government

A full appellate court in Chicago will not rehear the appeal of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's corruption convictions.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals posted a notice Wednesday indicating there would be no rehearing for the imprisoned Democrat.

Blagojevich had hoped the full court might overturn more of his 18 convictions than the five counts a three-judge panel tossed in July.

Blagojevich's only remaining option for more counts to be overturned is an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The top Democrat in the Illinois state senate says Governor Bruce Rauner’s latest all-in-one proposal won’t pass.

Governor Rauner wants Democrats to at least hold a vote on his package of policy ideas, which limit collective bargaining and workers compensation:

So he’s put all those ideas in one bill.

But Democratic Senate President John Cullerton says Rauner needs to be practical.

“There’s Republicans who don’t want to vote for those collective bargaining provisions in the Senate,” Cullerton said. “We’ve got two senators who are in union!”

Carl Nelson / WNIJ

At least a dozen Republicans are chasing the party's presidential nomination. But which of them will get a boost from Illinois' new, and privately wealthy, Republican governor?

During his campaign for the governor's mansion, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner kept bringing one well-known Republican in for help: New Jersey's Gov. Chris Christie.

Here's Christie a year ago, stumping for Rauner in Springfield:

"Well, I'm thrilled to be back in Illinois,” Christie said. “I'm going to be back a number of times over the course of the next 55 days."

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

A recent analysis found that both the budget proposal from Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and the one approved by Democratic lawmakers would leave the state with a more than $9 billion deficit. 

Ralph Martire, executive director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, says that neither plan takes into account the shortfall from last fiscal year. 

"The budget deficit carry forward from 2015 into 2016 is going to be $5.9 billion,” Martire said. “That will appear nowhere on state financial records. They won't have a balanced budget. Let's just be honest."

Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin provided a fairly blunt reply to the proposition that the War on Drugs failed.

“By some measure, it has failed,” said Durbin, D-Ill. “If the measure is the cost of drugs on the street, it has failed. But when we look at the individual lives saved, there are certainly heroic great stories to be told. But we have to be honest about what works and what doesn’t.”

Vijay Kumar Koulampet, CC BY-SA 3.0 / via Wikimedia Commons

Wisconsin may ban research on aborted fetal tissue. A bill moving through the legislature would outlaw selling, donating, and experimenting with fetal body parts in Wisconsin. Republican lawmakers behind the measure say it wouldn’t affect current research using existing cell lines.

  The Wisconsin Assembly’s criminal justice committee held a hearing Tuesday: supporters say they hope to have the votes lined up to pass the ban as early as next month.

Former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar has some advice for the man currently in the job – fellow Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. Edgar says it might be time for Rauner to blink.

After more than five weeks working without a budget, Illinois leaders don't seem close to compromise. The two main players -- Rauner and Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan -- both say they could work together to pass a budget, but …

Rauner says he won't compromise his five pro-business initiatives in his "Turnaround Agenda." Madigan, on the other hand, calls Rauner's positions "extreme."

WUIS

State employees have begun receiving pink slips, as a budget impasse looms -- a total of 171 workers will lose their jobs. Workers have gotten notice that they'll be out of work by the end of September.

Those impacted are at the state's economic development and emergency management agencies, the commerce commission and the department of transportation. That also includes more than one hundred Dept. of Natural Resources employees.

The move comes as Gov. Bruce Rauner plans to close the Illinois State Museum and a shooting complex in Sparta.

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