Political news

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Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s administration says it reached tentative agreements on new labor contracts with several Teamsters Union groups representing almost five thousand workers.

The administration reached agreements with Local 916, which represents professional and technical workers at IDOT, and the negotiating committee representing highway maintenance workers.

Both groups must still vote to ratify the agreements. They call for a four-year wage freeze, continuation of a 40-hour work week before overtime is paid and a reduction in payouts for unused vacation days.


Candidates with political ambitions both high and low in Illinois have one thing in common today: They can start collecting signatures to get on the 2016 ballot.

Collecting signatures is the kind of thing that can end a candidacy if they aren’t valid.

Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin hopes to win the Democratic nomination to run against Republican U.S. Senator Mark Kirk. He says a candidate collecting thousands of signatures has to do three things:


A key vote in the standoff between Gov. Bruce Rauner and labor is expected in the Illinois House this week, as early as Wednesday.

Rauner has been trying to convince legislators to let him keep his power to negotiate with the AFSCME union, even if it results in a lockout or strike -- though Rauner has vowed he won't call for the former.

At the same time, AFSCME leaders are asking state representatives to stick with them.


Candidates seeking Illinois's 18th Congressional District seat vacated by Aaron Schock reiterated their positions during a second debate this week.  

State Senator Darin LaHood and Rob Mellon also talked about campaign finance reform.  

Mellon, a Democrat from Quincy, says the way districts are drawn helped LaHood raise $1.5 million in campaign donations.

“And so they create these very safe districts, and they’re money making schemes,” Mellon said.

That charge was dismissed by LaHood, a Peoria Republican.

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

The portion of the gas tax collected when you fuel your car is supposed to be forwarded to Illinois municipalities. They use it to fill potholes, or buy road salt.

Instead, that money is trapped in the budget stalemate.

Macomb Mayor Michael Inman says this month's skipped payment is preventing cities from repairing roads.

"Mayors find themselves in a holding pattern as we wait for the state to take action,” Inman said. “Winter is fast approaching, and time is not on our side."


The Democratic Party of Illinois isn't officially backing any one candidate for U.S. Senate. That has leading Democrats going their own separate ways when it comes to endorsements.

Nationally, Democrats hope their chances of winning back control of the Senate begin in Illinois next year, when Republican U.S. Senator Mark Kirk faces re-election.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says Democrats' best shot rests with Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth. But state Sen. Kwame Raoul says Andrea Zopp is the best qualified for this race.

Amanda Vinicky / WUIS

Illinois Democrats say their party is strong and more energized than ever, thanks to Republican Governor Bruce Rauner.

The day after Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner accused them of holding up progress, hundreds of Democrats packed into a ballroom rose to their feet and clapped when Senate President John Cullerton said this:

"We are willing to work with Gov. Rauner, but we don't work for Gov. Rauner, okay?"

Secretary Of State Jesse White Announces He Will Not Seek Re-Election

Aug 21, 2015

For the first time in 20 years, Jesse White says he will not be seeking re-election as Illinois’s Secretary of State.

Jesse White’s storied career has taken him from playing for the Chicago Cubs to the U-S Army to the Jesse White Tumblers.

Even though he isn’t up for election for another 3 years, White announced at the State Fair Thursday he won’t be running again.

White has already appointed his political protégé Alderman Walter Burnett Jr to fill his spot as Democratic Committeeman.

Brian Mackey / WUIS

The Illinois Senate on Wednesday rebuked Governor Bruce Rauner in his labor negotiations with the state's biggest government-employee union.

Unions and Democrats say it would even the playing field for state workers negotiating a new contract with Gov. Bruce Rauner. Rauner and Republicans say it would unnecessarily tie his hands.

After months of negotiations have failed to reach an agreement, unions want legislation that would let an arbitrator resolve intractable disputes.

Rauner vetoed it, saying it would tie his hands. He also promised not to lock workers out.

Senate Approves Aid For Low-Income College Students

Aug 20, 2015
Brian Mackey / WUIS

Among the casualties of the Illinois budget impasse are grants that help low-income students pay for college. On Wednesday, Democrats in the state Senate voted to address that.

Thousands of students take advantage of the so-called MAP grants to attend everything from community colleges to the U. of I.

Randy Dunn, the president of Southern Illinois University, says two-thirds of students at the Carbondale campus get help from the program.

"The average award for our students is significant," Dunn told a Senate committee. "This is not something that's chicken feed."