Political news

state of Illinois

For the first time in three weeks, state representatives will convene Thursday in Springfield.

Not much has changed in those three weeks. There's still no agreement between Democratic legislators and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on a state budget.

But representatives are back anyway, and they do have some budget measures on the table.

For one, they're set to discuss Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's proposal to exempt some middle-class homeowners from paying higher property taxes.

Senator Dick Durbin is urging Congress to pass a long-term transportation plan. He used a bridge in Rockford to illustrate a problem plaguing the nation. Durbin and Rockford-area lawmakers held a news conference Monday under the Jefferson Street Bridge while it was getting some much-needed repairs.

Update: Wednesday 5:26 P.M. A federal judge has ruled that in-home services for senior citizens are covered by Medicaid and should be funded, despite the budget impasse.

Attorneys for the State of Illinois are expected back in federal court today. The state is being challenged for not funding in-home care for seniors during the budget impasse.

Congressman John Shimkus says he supports efforts in Washington to block federal funding to Planned Parenthood, but he doesn’t favor a government shutdown over the issue.

The fifteenth district Republican says voters have demanded de-funding after secretly-recorded videos surfaced of Planned Parenthood officials allegedly discussing selling fetal organs.

The organization has said those videos were heavily edited and denied it’s done anything illegal. 


Illinois's junior, Republican Senator Mark Kirk -- opposes the nuclear deal with Iran. But the state's senior U.S. Senator Democrat Dick Durbin, has been key in sheparding it through Congress. 

That's provided grist for the D.C. rumor mill.

Durbin is the Senate Democrats' No. 2, what's known as the minority whip -- a job at which Durbin excelled when it came to the nuclear agreement.

State of Illinois

State Senator Darin LaHood is expected to step down this week after winning election to Congress. That means the ten Republican Party chairs in the district have one month to review applications and pick a replacement.

Peoria County Republican Party chairwoman Katherine Coyle says four people are interested in the job so far.

“Many of those people have been making their way just to meet for coffee, meet all the county chairman, get to know them, talk to them, show them their resumes, that type of thing,” Coyle said.


Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker is calling for sweeping restrictions on organized labor in the U.S. He says he seeks to replicate nationwide his successful effort as Wisconsin's governor to curb the power of unions.

At a town hall meeting in Las Vegas today, Walker will propose eliminating unions for federal workers and making all workplaces right-to-work … unless individual states vote otherwise.

He also wants to scrap the federal agency that oversees unfair labor practices and make it more difficult for unions to organize.


Illinois repealed capital punishment in 2011. Four years later, a state lawmaker wants to bring it back.

Senator Bill Haine, an Alton Democrat, says some acts are so evil, they call for a special response.

"The law should be a force reckoned with,” Haine said. “And part of that is to have available, to a prosecutor and to a jury, the option of asking for the death penalty -- if someone forfeits one's life if they cross that line." 

Illinois’ top four legislative leaders used to hold marathon meetings with the governor to work out their differences. But that changed this year. The state’s top leaders haven’t met in months.

When is the last time House Speaker Michael Madigan met with Gov. Bruce Rauner?

"Last meeting with the governor? I don’t recall exactly when it was."

He said that Wednesday night. A few weeks earlier, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin on the same question:

“It was a month and a half ago."


A national survey conducted by the University of Illinois-Springfield shows growing positive attitudes toward the rights of transgendered people…but maybe not when it comes to their medical care.

The online survey shows 81 percent support those who are transgendered having the same rights as the rest of us. But only about half are for using public funds to help provide medical treatment for transgender people.