Political news

Controversial Indiana Law Could Be Revisited

Apr 2, 2015
State of Indiana

Indiana lawmakers could vote Thursday on amending a law that's caused a firestorm.

Republican lawmakers and Governor Mike Pence have faced widespread criticism over a religious freedom law. In fact, one northern Indiana pizzeria says it will not cater same-sex weddings on religious grounds.

Now lawmakers want to amend that law so that it cannot be used to discriminate against gays and lesbians. Democrats like State Senator Earline Rogers of Gary says there’s a simpler solution.


Illinois’s House speaker is staking an early claim in what may be a contentious budget battle. 

Billions of dollars in cuts proposed by Republican Governor Bruce Rauner already spurred rallies at the capitol. Groups foretell of grave consequences. 

House Speaker Michael Madigan says he acknowledges Illinois is in a difficult budget situation.

But there's one area he wants to spend more on: state crime labs.

Special Election Announced For Schock's Seat

Apr 1, 2015

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner called for a special election to fill Aaron Schock's vacant congressional seat. Rauner's office wants a special primary election held on June 8 and a special election on July 24.

Candidates will be able to file nominating papers with the state board of elections later this month. 

Rauner's office warned Tuesday the actual dates of the election will change in order to comply with federal voting law.

Indiana Public Media

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence wants legislators to fix a controversial law by the end of the week.

That comes as pressure continues to mount for an economic boycott of the state.

Pence continued to blame the media for spreading misinformation about a Religious Freedom law that he says cannot be used to discriminate against gay people.

He says he wants legislators to draft language to make that message clear and he wants it in two days just as the NCAA’s men's Final Four gets underway in Indianapolis.


Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth is standing by her statement that companies that leave the U.S. are deserting their country. 

Duckworth made the comments during Governor Bruce Rauner’s campaign. Rauner was accused of outsourcing jobs. 

"I feel very strongly that you have left your country behind when you do that and you should be -- your loyalty should be here. Pay your fair share. Because it's not fair for those working families that are working two jobs, sometimes three, trying to get by."

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Some of Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock's current and previous employees will appear before a federal grand jury next month, and a former State Representative from Quincy says she won't seek Schock’s open congressional seat. 

The government has been looking into Schock's House office expenses, his re-election campaign spending and his relationships with long-time political donors. The Justice Department issued subpoenas as part of the investigation. 

Schock, a Republican from Peoria, plans to step down today. 


Legislators are trying to protect kids from measles, without offending anti-vaccine parents.

The outbreak of measles at a Palatine learning center in February has lawmakers wanting to protect children, but it's a politically sensitive topic.

When Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno presented her proposal to a legislative committee, she was upfront about her desire to not step on the toes of parents who choose to not vaccinate their kids, while at the same time wanting to protect children.

Victor Yehling/WNIJ News

The report of the death of passenger rail service to Rockford, to paraphrase Mark Twain, was an exaggeration.

That’s the position Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey took at a news conference today to clarify a comment Wednesday by Amtrak Representative Ray Lang to an Illinois House committee.

Prison Reform Commission Holds First Meeting

Mar 26, 2015

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s prison reform commission has its first meeting today. 

Rauner tasked the group with finding a way to cut the state’s prison population by 25 percent over the next 10 years.

John Maki is one of the members.

"This commission is different and this commission is important because we’ve had this goal. No governor has been willing to say this is what I want. So Illinois is really … we’re gonna lead here." 

Maki says the group will be looking back to see how Illinois prisons got overcrowded in the first place.

More Illinois State Politicians Contemplate Schock's Seat

Mar 25, 2015

More Illinois politicians are eyeing Aaron Schock’s congressional seat after he leaves office next week. 

Republican former state representative Jil Tracy of Quincy is one of them. She served eight years in the legislature before making a failed bid for Lieutenant Governor last year. 

Tracy says she has experience with her family’s business, DOT foods, and would bring business savvy to the Congressional seat.