Politics

Political news

Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin provided a fairly blunt reply to the proposition that the War on Drugs failed.

“By some measure, it has failed,” said Durbin, D-Ill. “If the measure is the cost of drugs on the street, it has failed. But when we look at the individual lives saved, there are certainly heroic great stories to be told. But we have to be honest about what works and what doesn’t.”

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

Wisconsin may ban research on aborted fetal tissue. A bill moving through the legislature would outlaw selling, donating, and experimenting with fetal body parts in Wisconsin. Republican lawmakers behind the measure say it wouldn’t affect current research using existing cell lines.

  The Wisconsin Assembly’s criminal justice committee held a hearing Tuesday: supporters say they hope to have the votes lined up to pass the ban as early as next month.

Former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar has some advice for the man currently in the job – fellow Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. Edgar says it might be time for Rauner to blink.

After more than five weeks working without a budget, Illinois leaders don't seem close to compromise. The two main players -- Rauner and Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan -- both say they could work together to pass a budget, but …

Rauner says he won't compromise his five pro-business initiatives in his "Turnaround Agenda." Madigan, on the other hand, calls Rauner's positions "extreme."

WUIS

State employees have begun receiving pink slips, as a budget impasse looms -- a total of 171 workers will lose their jobs. Workers have gotten notice that they'll be out of work by the end of September.

Those impacted are at the state's economic development and emergency management agencies, the commerce commission and the department of transportation. That also includes more than one hundred Dept. of Natural Resources employees.

The move comes as Gov. Bruce Rauner plans to close the Illinois State Museum and a shooting complex in Sparta.

Christopher Voss

Here's another way to think of the budget standoff: a prison siege.

Christopher Voss is familiar with this scenario, having been a chief negotiator for the FBI. He says inmate rebellions offer lessons for sparring politicians.

"Behind each leader are groups of unruly inmates that are trying to decide who they're going to follow," Voss says.

Brian Mackey / WUIS

Non-profit groups say the ongoing fight over the state budget could lead to tragic consequences for thousands of Illinoisans.

The agencies have state contracts for everything from taking care of people with disabilities to placing children in foster care. But the partisan fight over state spending means they're not being paid.

Al Riddley, on the board of the Illinois Partners for Human Service, says the groups are being led on a "death march."

"Perhaps it's time to change our state motto from 'Land of Lincoln' to 'We Don't Care,'" Riddley says.

Senate Passes Property Tax Freeze, School Funding Redo

Aug 5, 2015
Amanda Vinicky / WUIS

Local property taxes would be frozen for two years under a measure approved Tuesday by the Illinois Senate. That's on Gov. Bruce Rauner's wish-list, but Republicans are still against the plan.

After a failed attempt last month, Democratic Senate President John Cullerton shepherded his proposal through.

How much money local governments could ask taxpayers for would be stuck for a couple years -- something Rauner, a Republican, insists happen before he'll negotiate with Democrats on the budget.

Cullerton characterizes the effort as a sort of olive branch.

Amanda Vinicky

The governor and Democratic legislators yesterday came to a budget agreement, but only a minor one. A broader stalemate continues.

Anything to do with state spending this year has pretty much been split down party lines. Democrats passed a spending plan, Republican Gov. Bruce Raunervetoed almost all of it.

That's what has Illinois into its second month without a budget.

Then there was a thaw yesterday. Senators from both parties voted to spend $5 billion of federal money -- the state just serves as a pass through.

Rauner Issues State Disaster Proclamation For 23 Counties

Aug 4, 2015

Gov. Bruce Rauner has issued a state disaster proclamation for 23 counties devastated by severe storms this summer and has asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help assess the damages there.

Rauner on Monday said a series of storms in June and July caused heavy rainfall, flash and river flooding, tornadoes and straight-line winds in the 23 counties stretching from Alexander County on the Ohio River to Grundy County in north central Illinois.

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.

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