Political news

Pill Lock Bill Awaits Gov. Rauner's Signature

Jun 19, 2015

Prescription drug overdoses have tripled since 1990. Legislation aimed at reducing that problem in Illinois is awaiting the governor’s signature.

The bill that cleared the Illinois House this week creates a one-year pilot program of locking caps on prescription opioid painkillers. The locks will be similar to common gym locks.

If Governor Bruce Rauner signs the bill, the state Department of Financial and Professional Regulation will supervise the program with participating pharmacies throughout the state.

The President of the Illinois Senate says he's pretty sure the budget showdown can be resolved before state services are affected. 

Illinois's current spending plan expires at the end of this month, but there's no deal on a new one. Governor Bruce Rauner is still pushing his agenda, which includes pro-business laws and forcing legislators to limit their terms in office.

The Republican's ideas were not well-received in the Democratic-led General Assembly. Despite their differences, Senate President John Cullerton says progress is being made. 

Rachel Scaman / WNIJ

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner continues to meet with legislative leaders to try to hammer out a state budget before the end of the month. Meanwhile, state lawmakers continue to meet with constituents who will be most affected by budget cuts.

Rockford Democrats gathered a crowd of people at a Milestone, Inc. facility north of Rockford. Their causes ranged from breast cancer screenings to home health care assistance.


There’s still no budget after the Illinois General Assembly’s summer session meeting Tuesday. But Governor Bruce Rauner is trying to reach Illinois voters through their TVs to earn their support for his Turnaround Agenda.

One of Rauner’s ads makes this accusation:

"Mike Madigan and the politicians he controls refuse to change. They're saying 'no' to spending discipline."

House Speaker Mike Madigan had a measured response rather than a heated one to that accusation.

Turnaround TV Ads By Rauner Set To Air

Jun 16, 2015
Brian Mackey/WUIS

If you thought you could go one summer without political ads interrupting your Judge Judy or your Big Bang Theory reruns -- there's some bad news for you.

Federal records show that Illinois television stations will begin to air ads tomorrow, paid for by Governor Bruce Rauner's political action committee.

“Since we won the election, there have been many donors both in Illinois and around the United States who believe strongly in the vision that we have for turning Illinois around,” Rauner said while explaining the political group behind the ads last month.

WUIS/Peoria Public Radio

Republican Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has been critical of the Democrats he’s negotiating with, saying they have profited off of insider deals.

But he hasn’t said how -- specifically.

Rauner has to negotiate with Democratic leadership in the legislature to get his agenda approved. He’s calling out House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton for personally benefitting from their positions of power.

They’re both also Chicago attorneys for separate law firms.

Regardless Of Budget, WIU Workers Get Paychecks

Jun 15, 2015
Tim Schroll/WIU

Employees of Western Illinois University will receive paychecks next month whether the state has approved a new budget or not. 

The board of trustees held its quarterly meeting on the Quad Cities campus in Moline on Friday.

The fiscal year begins July 1, and budget director Matt Bierman says WIU has enough money to get by for several months.

“We’ll be okay for most of the fall semester, because of tuition dollars,” Bierman said. “We’ll be fine through November. We’ll see how it goes after that.”

Without a budget agreement in Springfield, a possible government shutdown gets closer. And for already cash-strapped schools, it's not just state money that's at stake, but federal money, too.

Schools have three major sources of funding: Local property taxes, state money and federal dollars. Depending on how wealthy or poor an area is, those three sources vary in weight.

But schools in high-poverty areas tend to need extra educational mediation...that's where federal money comes in.

Rauner: More Cuts On The Way

Jun 15, 2015
Brian Mackey/Illinois Public Radio

Another swath of programs could get the axe. Governor Bruce Rauner released a second round of cuts Friday due to the uncertainty over a new state budget. 

There's no deal, with the new fiscal year beginning July 1.

At the start of this month, Rauner -- a Republican -- announced he's closing a downstate prison work camp, the State Museum in Springfield, and cutting off funding of a program that helps low-income people pay their electric bills.

That list has grown.

Hannah Meisel/WILL

At a stop Wednesday in Decatur, Gov. Bruce Rauner indicated he'd let the state go without a budget if Democratic leaders don't bend to his wishes...and he’ll blame it on the Democrats, too.

Last month, Democrats pushed through a budget that spends $4 billion more than the state has. Rauner says he won't sign it -- or talk revenue -- until his pro-business ideas are also passed. The governor told the crowd outside Decatur's Beach House Restaurant getting the five items on his agenda passed shouldn't be a big deal.