Political news


For the second time in two weeks, the Illinois House held a special committee hearing on part of Gov. Bruce Rauner's "Turnaround Agenda". This time, it's focused on what business interests call "tort reform." 

Critics say it's tort deform.

Gov. Rauner and his business allies say Illinois's legal system gives plaintiffs and the trial lawyers that profit when their clients win an unfair edge. They back Rauner's plan to prevent what's known as "venue shopping," or when lawsuits are filed somewhere lawyers expert will be friendly to their cause.

Loyola University

The Illinois senate recently passed a measure that would provide free GED tests and college tuition to people who have been wrongfully imprisoned. 

The grants would require legislative appropriation, and recipients would have to obtain a certificate of innocence from the circuit court. 

Dan Kotowski is a Chicago Democrat who sponsored the plan.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Local services such as police and fire are at risk if one of Governor Bruce Rauner’s budget proposals goes through. That’s the message from a group of northern Illinois mayors.

The governor wants to cut the Local Government Distributive Fund in half. That’s the portion of income taxes the state sends back to communities. Rockford would lose more than seven million dollars. Mayor Larry Morrissey says everyone is willing to share in the budget sacrifice…up to a point.

Some students at Northern Illinois University took a stand in light of Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed budget cuts to higher education. 

Rauner proposed a $400 million spending cut to state universities in February. NIU would have to take about a 31 percent cut as a result, which would amount to about $29 million. 

Lisa Ryan/WUIS

As Illinois faces major budget problems, everyone has a different answer for which services to cut and which taxes to raise.

Mike Nobis is worried. His commercial printing company has been in Quincy, Ill., for 108 years. He says he's struggling to compete with other companies, especially those across the border in Missouri.

The current Illinois sales tax does not cover most services. Nobis says that, if the sales tax is expanded to cover the printing industry, he might go out of business.

Lawmakers Hear Calls For Changes To Worker's Comp

May 5, 2015

The Illinois House continues to debate the state's workers' compensation system.

Businesses say workers' comp is one of their biggest competitive disadvantages compared with companies in neighboring states.

That's why it's at the top of Gov. Bruce Rauner's so-called Turnaround Agenda.

The Republican proposes narrowing who's eligible for workers' compensation benefits, and lowering what doctors get paid when taking on work comp cases.

Illinois law requires that a contribution worth $1,000 or more has to be reported to the State Board of Elections.  And if it's just before an election, it has to happen right away.

After spending nearly $65 million, Gov. Bruce Rauner's campaign has been assessed for a report that was received late, according to director Steve Sandvoss, who says he can't give details.

"In light of fairness to the respondent and due fairness principles, we don't comment publicly on the nature of an ongoing proceeding,” he said, “but rather, we'll let the process bear itself out.


Federal lawmakers from Illinois and Missouri want the Obama Administration to scrap a proposed rule defining so-called “Waters of the United States.” They say the proposal gives the federal government too much control over water in yards and on farms.

Missouri Republican Vicky Hartzler is one of several lawmakers co-sponsoring legislation to block the new rule. Illinois U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis also is a sponsor for the bill.


A group of social service advocates is out with a report looking at how northern Illinois would be affected by Governor Bruce Rauner’s proposed budget cuts. The RAMP Center for Independent Living is one of the agencies involved in the Responsible Budget Coalition’s analysis. 

It’s not a direct budget cut for RAMP; it’s a proposal to reduce the number of clients served by its Home Services Program by making it more difficult to qualify.

Where Is Ex-Rep. Aaron Schock?

May 1, 2015

An attorney pursuing a federal lawsuit against former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock of Peoria says he can’t find the beleaguered Republican ex-lawmaker to serve him in the civil case.

Daniel Kurowski filed the lawsuit on April 15 on behalf of Chicago resident Howard Foster, who donated $500 to Schock’s campaign in 2012. Kurowski told U.S. District Judge Andrea Wood that he has been unable to locate Schock to serve papers.