Political news

Illinois Public Radio

Illinois government is about to prove it can function at its most basic level without a budget, at least temporarily; the state will pay its workers on time, and in full, for work performed during the first two weeks of the fiscal year.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner said he wanted this to happen even after his June 25th rejection of most of the budget passed by Democrats. Then on July 9, a St. Clair County judge ordered Comptroller Leslie Munger to cut the paychecks.

State of Illinois

Illinois’s child welfare workers are getting caught up in the ongoing budget stalemate in Springfield.

While there’s no spending plan, a federal judge mandated Illinois government to keep funding child welfare. That’s including checking on allegations of child abuse or neglect.

Contractors have been told to keep doing that work at the same funding level.

In the meantime, the state’s Department of Children and Family Services is telling them to prepare for 10 percent cuts.

Illinois State Museum / state of Illinois

Supporters of the Illinois State Museum told state legislators Monday about a slew of reasons why it should remain open, but it doesn't appear like anyone who will make the decision on its future was there to hear much of it. 

Gov. Bruce Rauner targeted the museum and its collections center. But advocates told lawmakers at a public hearing that shutting down the museum would open the door to lawsuits.

Rauner's Dept. of Natural Resources Director Wayne Rosenthal was the first to testify.


Illinois's high court has been asked to decide once and for all whether Illinois can pay government workers when there's no state budget.

Despite the budget impasse, state employees are getting their paychecks for July. The Comptroller's office says that's thanks to a decision from a St. Clair County judge.

But a Cook County judge had the opposite take, and ruled that without a budget, Illinois loses authority to pay all workers.

Illinois Public Radio

The legal dispute continues this week over what Illinois state workers should be paid.

It’s the latest issue to be caught in the wide-ranging web of consequences resulting from having no state budget.

While dozens of human service providers are left hanging in the wind -- unsure what kind of state support they’ll get -- state employees find themselves in a similar boat. Last week, a Cook County judge said employees shouldn’t get a salary since the state doesn’t have a spending plan.

An appeal to that ruling is quickly moving forward.

Flickr user 401(K) 2012 / "Money" (CC v. 2.0)

A published report says roughly one-third of Republican legislators haven't cashed checks given to them from Gov. Bruce Rauner's campaign fund in the waning days of the legislative session.

The first-term Republican gave about $400,000 to all 67 Republican House and Senate members in May. Several Republicans say they felt it was inappropriate while issues were being debated.

The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises reports that as of last week 22 lawmakers hadn't cashed the checks totaling about $119,000.

Illinois Issues / WUIS

Even as Gov. Bruce Rauner pushes for legislators to authorize a new way of drawing the state’s political map, a citizen-driven initiative is underway.

As part of the bargain Rauner is trying to make with Democrats, he wants the legislature to agree to give up control for drawing district boundaries.

Cindi Canary isn’t waiting around.

Vijay Kumar Koulampet, CC BY-SA 3.0 / via Wikimedia Commons

The Wisconsin State Assembly has passed a bill banning non-emergency abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. 

The Republican-controlled chamber approved the bill 61-34 Thursday. The Senate passed the measure in June. It now goes to Governor Scott Walker, who has said he will sign it into law. 

Under the proposal, doctors who perform a non-emergency abortion after 20 weeks could be punished by up to $10,000 in fines and 3 1/2 years in prison. The bill doesn't provide exceptions for pregnancies resulting from sexual assault or incest.  

House Approves Temporary Budget; Senate OK Needed

Jul 9, 2015
state of Illinois

A stopgap Illinois budget padded with guaranteed state-employee paychecks for July has won House approval, but the change delays its delivery to the governor.  

The $2.3 billion plan that Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner opposes was endorsed 71-19 Thursday.

The previous version included just emergency expenses, so the current bill must return to the Senate for concurrence because of the pay provision. The Senate is not scheduled to convene until 4 p.m. next Tuesday.

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

Several attorneys are vowing to appeal a judge’s decision that would force the state to pay Illinois workers minimum wage instead of their normal salary.

A Cook County judge ruled that if state lawmakers can’t agree on a spending plan - then the person who signs the paychecks lacks the authority to do her job.

That would be Comptroller Leslie Munger, and her office is appealing the ruling.

The agency that processes pay says it’ll take up to a year to change all the employees’ salaries in the state’s outdated computer accounting systems.