Political news

WUIS/Illinois Issues

It seems familiar: Illinois government enters a new fiscal year without a budget, and those who get state money start to worry. But the government never stopped running before, so why would it shut down this time?

After all, things worked out in 2007 when then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich couldn't agree with fellow Democrats who controlled the General Assembly. Budget negotiations took until mid-September, but state government remained open.

Wisconsin Public Radio

  Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says 9,500 people plan to attend his rally tonight in Madison, Wis.

The Vermont senator says he will draw on the state's long progressive political history during the event. Sanders says he believes the progressive movement that existed for years in Wisconsin is now spreading throughout the country.


Among the new Illinois laws taking effect tomorrow is one aimed at improving air quality and people's health.

Effective Wednesday, smoking anywhere on public university campuses in Illinois will be prohibited.

The Smoke-Free Campus Act prohibits smoking in all areas of campus, including all buildings and facilities on the main campus, open spaces, stadiums and parking lots. Smoking inside private vehicles passing through campus is the only exception to this policy.

Brian Mackey / Illinois Public Radio

Illinois legislators return to Springfield Tuesday, leaving them one last day to get a budget deal in order. This year's spending plan expires at midnight on June 30. 

Not only is there no long-term agreement, but there's no sign of a provisional one, either.

Democrats say they did their part: they passed a spending plan before the end of May, when the legislative session was originally scheduled to end. But last week Gov. Bruce Rauner rejected nearly all of it, citing that it was nearly $4 billion out of balance. 

It's the deadline day in Illinois. If a meeting yesterday between Governor Bruce Rauner and legislative leaders is any indication, they're most likely not going to make it.

It's been weeks since Rauner, a Republican, meet with all four of the legislative leaders. Since the last time it was believed they were all together, the governor began airing ads that attack Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan. 

The state also got a lot closer to a partial shutdown since then.

Yes For Independent Maps / independentmaps.org

Supporters of a drive to change how Illinois’ political maps are drawn are celebrating Monday’s Supreme Court decision on gerrymandering.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states can remove partisan politics from redistricting. The justices upheld the constitutionality of Arizona’s independent redistricting commission: Arizona and California have created the commissions by voter referendum. They are independent groups tasked with redrawing Congressional boundaries, a job usually left to the political party in charge in each state.

Brian Mackey/Illinois Public Radio

Even as Illinois heads toward a partial government shutdown, Governor Bruce Rauner has largely stayed out of the public eye.

If you watch TV at all, it probably doesn't seem like it's been a long time since you heard from Gov. Rauner.

He's got a campaign-style ad running statewide.

"With your help, I'm going to keep fightin' to grow our economy and fix our broken state government," Rauner said in his ad.

In Rauner’s opinion piece within the Chicago Tribune, he updated what he wants legislators to do before he'll negotiate on revenue for the state budget.

Gov. Rauner Outlines What He Wants In Negotiations

Jun 29, 2015
Rachel Otwell

Illinois begins this week without a new budget --- though one is due by Wednesday.

Last week, Governor Bruce Rauner revised his plan. He's now offering Chicago and other municipalities some pension relief.

The Illinois House rejected a plan to let Chicago Public Schools wait 40 days to make a $634 million pension payment for teachers due next week. Now, Rauner proposed a swap, or having the state start paying the costs of Chicago teacher pensions going forward, in a Chicago Tribune editorial.

Flickr user Brad Flickinger / "student_ipad_school - 038" (CC BY 2.0)

Virtual learning days -- that's what snow days could turn into for three Illinois school districts if Gov. Bruce Rauner signs a bill to begin that trial program. 

The measure passed both state legislative houses but, even if Gov. Rauner signs the bill this week, the virtual learning test run would not begin for the three districts until the 2017-2018 school year.

Illinois Reacts To Ruling On Same-Sex Marriage

Jun 26, 2015
Credit Elsie esq / Flickr/Creative Commons

Chicago's Pride Parade wasn't until Sunday, but crowds turned out before then to celebrate the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel got emotional while addressing a crowd and thanking them for speaking up and speaking out over the years. Emanuel calls the decision a "victory for America's true values of treating everyone equally under the law.''

Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois says the Supreme Court's ruling on gay marriage is "another step in the march toward equal rights.''