Political news

It turns out, the State of Illinois has limited spending authority even without a budget; a pair of judges said so in separate rulings.

In one case, a federal judge ruled the Department of Children and Family Services must continue to serve abused and neglected kids who've been removed from their homes -- despite the deadlock between Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic leaders of the General Assembly.

Brian Mackey / Illinois Public Radio

A Cook County judge has ruled Illinois may not continue to pay state workers in full during an ongoing budget impasse. Now the state comptroller says she will appeal the decision.

Today, voters in Illinois' 18th Congressional District choose a Democrat and a Republican for the race to replace former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock.

Only a small number of voters will go to the polls, according to Matt Streb, who chairs the political science department at Northern Illinois University.


UPDATE, 11:15 am

A federal judge says Illinois must keep funding child-protection services while the governor and lawmakers haggle over the budget. The ACLU went to court to ask the judge to keep money available for for the Department of Children and Family Services, regardless of the ruling on paychecks for other state employees.


Two key court hearings are happening in Chicago today that could shape how the Illinois state government shutdown plays out. 

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

State employees can expect to get paychecks through July. That's for work performed before the new fiscal year began.

After that, will they get paid if a budget impasse continues? A court hearing this morning could help decide.

Talk to Illinois' Attorney General, Lisa Madigan, a Democrat, and it sounds simple. Without a budget, Illinois has lost much of its authority to spend money.

"In order for all employees to be paid their full amount of pay, a budget needs to be passed by the legislature and approved by the governor,” Madigan said.


A former U.S. congressman has failed to appear at a scheduled arraignment to enter a plea on federal tax charges.  

Mel Reynolds' lawyer explained Monday that his client traveled overseas in early June and couldn't return for his arraignment because his daughter fell ill.  

Monday's hearing in federal court in Chicago was supposed to be the Democrat's first court appearance since his indictment two weeks ago for allegedly not filing income tax returns for four straight years.  

state of Illinois

The new fiscal year began Wednesday, and Illinois has no new spending plan in place. It could be a while before there is one, but Illinois isn't alone.

Across the border in Wisconsin, lawmakers can't reach a spending deal.

Over on the east coast, North Carolina is in budgetary flux. Pennsylvania's negotiations are dragging on, and New Hampshire and Alabama are also facing similar issues.

National Conference of State Legislatures' fiscal analyst Arturo Perez says more states than usual have unfinished budgets.

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

Doctors who care for patients on Medicaid, drug treatment counselors and probation officers could all go without pay because Illinois is without a new budget. 

But elected officials will keep getting their paychecks.

Without a budget, Illinois loses its spending authority. Much of it anyway. Some spending is built in, automatic: like paying off debt, sending municipalities their cut of the income tax and lawmakers' pay.

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.