Political news

Northern Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock (R-18) reimbursed the federal government more than $1,200 for a flight to a Chicago Bears football game last November.

The Peoria Republican had charged the private air travel to his House office account, which is funded by taxpayers. A spokesman says Schock wrote a check to cover the costs of the trip.

Newly released congressional reports show Schock charged more than $14,000 in private air travel last fall. Those costs add to a list of flights he took on planes owned by donors.

Chicago Mayor Faces Runoff In April

Feb 25, 2015

Chicago’s race for mayor is going to a runoff.  Mayor Rahm Emanuel didn’t get enough votes to win Tuesday’s race. 

Emanuel faced four challengers and now he’s running against Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia in the April seventh election. 

President Obama made a last minute campaign stop in Chicago for his former White House aide, but Emanuel got about 45% of the vote in his run for a second term.  That fell short of the more than 50% needed to win Tuesday’s election.  Garcia received almost 34%. 

Lucas Koprowski / The Courier

Illinois Republican Governor Bruce Rauner will present his budget for the financially struggling state this week. Many Democrats are concerned he will propose big cuts to social service agencies. 

Greg Harris is a Chicago-based state Representative. He heads a committee that appropriates money to agencies that manage public health, child welfare, and mental health programs.

"All that takes revenue and right now the state is facing a $6 billion dollar loss of revenue next year and I just don’t think that’s sustainable."

Flickr user Marcin Wichary / "...and this time we mean it" (CC BY 2.0)

Some Illinois lawmakers are pushing to ban red-light cameras across the state. 

Towns carry the cameras as a way to make intersections safer, but opponents say the cameras are easy money-makers for communities and can cause more crashes in some cases with shortened yellow light times. 

Another measure introduced by state Representative La Shawn Ford would halt Chicago’s red-light camera system until officials submit a report to the General Assembly. It would detail how Congress would address red light safety problems, including shortened yellow light times.

A new plan to change the school funding formula is emerging in the legislature. Jason Barickman, a Republican state senator from Bloomington, plans to introduce a bill, which he believes will be supported by Governor Bruce Rauner.

“Think about something else he said yesterday, in the context of his criminal justice reforms. In announcing those reforms, the governor embraced an evidence-based model, and that’s what this is.”

twitter.com/DixonPolice / Dixon Police

A police shooting-death in Ferguson, Missouri is the motivation behind a northern Illinois police chief's desire to put body cameras on his officers. Dixon police Chief Danny Langloss requested money from the city to buy eight cameras for the department. 

Langloss says he wanted the cameras after the August 20-14 death of Michael Brown. Brown's death sparked protests across the country and raised questions about increased oversight of police. As more cities consider the use of body cameras, a proposed Illinois law would establish guidelines for their use.

Julio Cortez/AP


NBC announced late today that it has suspended Brian Williams. The anchor and managing editor of the "NBC Nightly News" will be off the job for six months without pay. In less than one week, Williams has gone from apologizing for a misleading news report to being sidelined from the most watched evening newscast in the country. NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik has been covering this story for us, and he joins us now. And David, first briefly remind us how we got here.


Next week, Governor Bruce Rauner will introduce a new spending plan for Illinois. But that’s supposed to focus on the next fiscal year; he also has to worry about the current budget.

State agencies are supposed to be running out of money at the end of the fiscal year, in June. Today, there’s no more money for a subsidized day care program or to pay prison guards. The budget lawmakers passed last spring–when Rauner was still a candidate–was intentionally incomplete.

Illinois Legislature Forms Prayer Caucus

Feb 9, 2015
State of Illinois

Illinois has become the 15th state to form a Legislative Prayer Caucus, similar to one already in place in Congress.  Its members will work on issues of religious freedom.  

Republican Senator Sam McCann of Carlinville says he heard from voters who wanted it.

“It was really due to the diligence of the constituents of the people. It didn't start with either congress or me or the statehouse it started because the constituents of the people were engaged.”


A company proposing to run power lines through Illinois wants to be declared a utility. 

Clean Line Energy Partners wants to build transmission lines to carry wind energy from the plains states to Illinois. If they are granted utility status, they would have a shot at eminent domain powers along the route of the so called "Grain Belt Express" in west central and southern Illinois. 

The company's Mark Lawler says they'd prefer to acquire the land in negotiations, but eminent domain helps with the planning: