Political news


Five years ago,  the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) created its Public Agenda for College and Career Success, which sets a goal of having 60 percent of Illinois citizens obtain some education beyond high school.  

The ten-year initiative is reaching its halfway point, and Illinois State Rep. Bob Pritchard, a Republican who serves Illinois's 70th district, talked about what's in store. 

Amanda Vinicky / Illinois Public Radio

Illinois lawmakers say “no” to Governor Rauner’s union opt-out plan. Well, Democrats said “no.” Republicans, except for one “no” vote, opted to vote “present.”

Democrats in the Illinois House have voted down a plan similar to Governor Bruce Rauner's proposal to allow local governments to permit workers to opt out of unions. The entire Republican caucus -- with the exception of one member --- voted present because they said the vote was a “political sham.'' That's because Democrats pushed ahead with the vote, even though the Governor never even filed the bill.

state of Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner's right-to-work proposal will get a hearing today in the Illinois House. Unions are putting pressure on lawmakers to vote against the proposal.


The Illinois House is set to vote on the Republican governor's idea of local right-to-work zones, but it's not because Rauner's pushing for a vote. Gov. Rauner unveiled the concept in late January, during an appearance in Decatur, and has talked about it a lot since.

But no actual legislation's been introduced. There are only weeks left in the legislative session.


The U.S. Senate is scheduled to take up several measures today that could clear the way for the president to get his so-called fast-track trade authority. 

That’s according to Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin.

“Pro-Trade” Democrats broke ranks with the president this week and blocked his trade bill.  They say Republicans must give them the chance to add protections before they’ll consider allowing a vote on the bill. Those include provisions to enforce worker safety, block the use of child labor and address currency manipulation. 


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.