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senatorbarickman.com / Peoria Public Radio

Governor Rauner spent most of the past four months traveling around Illinois, touting his so-called "Turnaround Agenda."

Some of his requests, like allowing localities to create right-to-work zones, faced an uphill battle from the beginning. But other items, like term limits, have been popular with voters since the governor ran on them last year.

Now Democrats, who control the legislature, refuse to bring a term limit proposal to a vote. They say it's a distraction from passing a state budget before the weekend's deadline.

state of Illinois

The Illinois House overwhelmingly approved a plan that seeks to curb the abuse of heroin and painkilling drugs.

It's touted as a comprehensive package - though it was scaled back from its original version.

As painkillers are often seen as a gateway to heroin, the measure says doctors have to record the medical need when they prescribe narcotics for months at time. It enhances an electronic database that's used to make sure patients aren't doctor-shopping and stockpiling pills.

Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's office appears to be preparing in case there's a strike. The state's contract with its largest public employees' union, AFSCME, expires when the state's fiscal year ends on June 30.

Flickr user 401(K) 2012 / "Money" (CC v. 2.0)

The Illinois House approved major portions of a new state budget, despite Republican opposition.

The Democrats’ budget includes funding many programs Gov. Bruce Rauner planned to cut, even though the state is short about $3 billion to pay for that spending. They say finding the matching revenue is a work in progress.

Republicans like Representative David Leitch from Peoria say it's an unbalanced budget. 

state of Illinois

Illinois Democrats began to unveil their new state spending plan, which looks a lot like the current one. That's despite Illinois having billions of dollars less, thanks to a rollback of the income tax rate in January. 

Even before the details were made public, Gov. Bruce Rauner's office was out with a statement tearing into the proposal -- and its architect, House Speaker Michael Madigan.

housedem.state.il.us

Despite overall cuts to higher education, "MAP" grants could see an increase in the next fiscal year. The grants help Illinois students -- especially ones from low-income families -- pay for college. 

Democratic Rep. Christian Mitchell from Chicago says this will help get rid of the barrier of access for some students. He says those who qualify and are able to get into college should have the money to go so that they can “be productive citizens.”

Police Body Cameras On Lawmakers' List

May 25, 2015
Chris McDaniel/St. Louis Public Radio

In the wake of officer-involved deaths in Ferguson, Baltimore and New York City, Illinois lawmakers are looking at how to change state laws regarding police officers.

In the final days of the General Assembly's session, Rep. Elgie Sims, Jr., D-Chicago, says he'll sponsor legislation that would require police to wear body cameras. He says the package also would ban law enforcement officers from using chokeholds.

Legislation To Tax Illinois Millionaires Stalls

May 22, 2015
Flickr user 401(K) 2012 / "Money" (CC v. 2.0)

As Illinois lawmakers grapple with a budget shortfall, a measure to impose a tax on millionaires' income stalled.

Adding a surcharge to income over a million dollars to raise more money for Illinois schools was a concept Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan introduced last year, but there wasn't enough support. Now, as Illinois faces a $6 billion budget gap, he brought it back.

"We're simply asking those that have done well in life to help our educational system," Madigan said.

Illinois Public Radio

By the end of this month, Illinois legislators are supposed to be finished with their work. That includes passing a new budget. And lawmakers are complaining that Gov. Bruce Rauner isn’t helping them move that process forward.

Rauner has spent a lot of time since he was sworn in traveling the state selling what he calls his "Turnaround" agenda, with statements like:

"You know we've got a mess on our hands, we've got a financial crisis. But we're going to get through it. We're going to restructure the government."

Flickr user Parker Knight / "Chopperz 10" (CC BY 2.0)

Two tax policy organizations with distinct views released a joint report about Illinois revenue. 

It outlines how taxing services, such as haircuts and pet grooming, could generate up to two point one billion dollars in new annual revenue.

Ralph Martire, who is from the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, says Illinois has one of the most narrow tax bases in the country.

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