Politics

Political news

A panel of lawmakers will weigh in Wednesday on the planned closure of two state facilities. But the final decision rests with the governor. 

Governor Bruce Rauner has proposed closing the state museum in Springfield and the Hardin County Work Camp to save money.  But many disagree, including central Illinois state Senator Andy Manar.

"I think the governor is correct in pointing out that operating a museum and preserving history comes at a cost.  But I, like thousands of others across the state, believe the cost is worth it," Manar said.

A Chicago alderman has proposed a penny-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks in that city.  There is also an effort to make that happen statewide.

Elissa Bassler says this idea can both bring in revenue and improve health.  She's the CEO of the Illinois Public Health Institute and head of the Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity.

The definition of sugary drink would of course include soda.  But also juice and even teas and coffees that have sugar added. 

Legislation signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner would provide up to four years of college for people who have served time in an Illinois prison due to a wrongful conviction.

Exonerees who have obtained a certificate of innocence from the court, or a pardon based on actual innocence from the Illinois governor, now qualify for tuition grants. Those who didn't graduate from high school can also get grants to pay for GED testing.

State Senator Dan Kotowski, a Democrat from Park Ridge, sponsored the legislation.

St. Louis Public Radio

The U.S. Senate is scheduled to take a procedural vote today on whether to strip funding from Planned Parenthood. Upset by undercover videos released by an anti-abortion group, Republicans say they want to shift more than $500 million from Planned Parenthood to other clinics. 

Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill says the move could endanger women’s access to birth control, likely resulting in more abortions. Missouri Republican Roy Blunt disagrees and says he’s confident women will still find those services.

photo: wikipedia

The defense attorney for Rod Blagojevich says he will ask a full appellate court in Chicago to re-hear the imprisoned former governor's appeal.

That’s after a panel of three judges tossed out five of 18 corruption convictions.

The appellate panel threw out convictions linked to Blagojevich's attempt to land a post in President Barack Obama's Cabinet by appointing an Obama adviser to the president's old U.S. Senate seat.

The panel also ordered the trial judge to re-sentence Blagojevich, factoring in the overturned counts.

No Pay Increase For U Of I Employees Until Budget Deal

Jul 30, 2015
WUIS

University of Illinois employees won't see pay raises, at least until a state budget is finalized. 

Nearly a month into the new fiscal year, the university is still waiting to see the impact of budget negotiations.

Without a budget in place, President Timothy Killeen sent a letter to the campuses that says the U of I is temporarily deferring consideration of a salary program.   Usually, those pay increases kick in around the time classes start in August.  Killeen says the decision will impact all personnel.

WUIS

You’ll be able to get your fill of corn dogs and lemon shakeups as usual when state fairs get underway next month. 

Democratic House Speaker Mike Madigan said that without a budget, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner does not have the power to spend on Illinois’ two state fairs.  But both events are moving forward.

Without a state budget, funding has halted for social services and other programs. Rauner’s administration has not made clear how it intends to pay for fair expenses.

Brian Mackey/WUIS

Governor Bruce Rauner has vetoed legislation that would have blocked public-employee strikes and management lockouts of those workers. He vetoed the bill in part because it was based on what he called the false premise he has been unreasonable in negotiating with state workers.

The governor also complained about the measure's plan to resolve contract-negotiation impasses with binding arbitration. 

Flickr user Daniel Borman / "Money, Money, Money" (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois state lawmakers are warning key figures in Chicago and Cook County governments to draft back-up plans for their underfunded pensions.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle are both trying to approve changes to the retirement benefits their government workers receive because the funds are running out of money.

But that comes after the state Supreme Court called reductions in benefits to State of Illinois employees’ pensions unconstitutional.

Political Leaders Urge Rauner To Backtrack On Amtrak Cuts

Jul 29, 2015
Brian Mackey / WUIS

A group of downstate political leaders is urging Governor Bruce Rauner to backtrack on proposed cuts to Amtrak.

Members of the Midwest High Speed Rail Association held a news conference in Springfield to warn of possible cuts. Joining them was State Representative Don Moffitt, whose district includes the Amtrak line through Princeton, Galesburg and Macomb. 

Moffitt says Amtrak currently serves a lot of college students in western Illinois and across the state. He says if passenger rail service is ever going to be self-supporting, it must be on-time and provide options. 

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