Political news

Illinois Public Radio

By the end of this month, Illinois legislators are supposed to be finished with their work. That includes passing a new budget. And lawmakers are complaining that Gov. Bruce Rauner isn’t helping them move that process forward.

Rauner has spent a lot of time since he was sworn in traveling the state selling what he calls his "Turnaround" agenda, with statements like:

"You know we've got a mess on our hands, we've got a financial crisis. But we're going to get through it. We're going to restructure the government."

Flickr user Parker Knight / "Chopperz 10" (CC BY 2.0)

Two tax policy organizations with distinct views released a joint report about Illinois revenue. 

It outlines how taxing services, such as haircuts and pet grooming, could generate up to two point one billion dollars in new annual revenue.

Ralph Martire, who is from the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, says Illinois has one of the most narrow tax bases in the country.


Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has stayed out of the public eye for the past couple of days. But he's making his feelings on the budget known in an article published late Wednesday night.

The Illinois legislative session is scheduled to end  May 31, but Rauner is signaling he's prepared to keep it going much longer. Rauner -- the first Republican governor Illinois has had in a dozen years -- wrote a first-person opinion piece for The State Journal-Register in Springfield.

State Higher Education Budget Remains In ‘Balancing Act’

May 19, 2015
state of Illinois

Illinois lawmakers get back to work this week, with about two weeks left in their spring session to finalize a budget. 

The budget was also on Governor Bruce Rauner’s mind when he visited Southern Illinois University’s Carbondale campus last weekend to deliver a graduation speech.

"We are in that balancing act right now,” Rauner said. “Everybody's going to have to give a little bit. And that's the way the political process should work. We'll come up with bipartisan solutions that are really a compromise."

Sen. Kirk Wants Tougher Authority Against Iran

May 18, 2015

U.S. Senator Mark Kirk wants President Barack Obama to introduce stronger sanctions against Iran. 

The House approved a new bill last week which gives lawmakers the power to review -- and potentially reject -- a nuclear deal with Iran.

Meanwhile, the U.S. and five other nations are currently trying to reach a deal to curb the nuclear program before Iranian officials return to Tehran on June 31.

But Kirk does not think talks with Iran will go anywhere.


Five years ago,  the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) created its Public Agenda for College and Career Success, which sets a goal of having 60 percent of Illinois citizens obtain some education beyond high school.  

The ten-year initiative is reaching its halfway point, and Illinois State Rep. Bob Pritchard, a Republican who serves Illinois's 70th district, talked about what's in store. 

Amanda Vinicky / Illinois Public Radio

Illinois lawmakers say “no” to Governor Rauner’s union opt-out plan. Well, Democrats said “no.” Republicans, except for one “no” vote, opted to vote “present.”

Democrats in the Illinois House have voted down a plan similar to Governor Bruce Rauner's proposal to allow local governments to permit workers to opt out of unions. The entire Republican caucus -- with the exception of one member --- voted present because they said the vote was a “political sham.'' That's because Democrats pushed ahead with the vote, even though the Governor never even filed the bill.

state of Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner's right-to-work proposal will get a hearing today in the Illinois House. Unions are putting pressure on lawmakers to vote against the proposal.


The Illinois House is set to vote on the Republican governor's idea of local right-to-work zones, but it's not because Rauner's pushing for a vote. Gov. Rauner unveiled the concept in late January, during an appearance in Decatur, and has talked about it a lot since.

But no actual legislation's been introduced. There are only weeks left in the legislative session.


The U.S. Senate is scheduled to take up several measures today that could clear the way for the president to get his so-called fast-track trade authority. 

That’s according to Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin.

“Pro-Trade” Democrats broke ranks with the president this week and blocked his trade bill.  They say Republicans must give them the chance to add protections before they’ll consider allowing a vote on the bill. Those include provisions to enforce worker safety, block the use of child labor and address currency manipulation. 


For the second time in two weeks, the Illinois House held a special committee hearing on part of Gov. Bruce Rauner's "Turnaround Agenda". This time, it's focused on what business interests call "tort reform." 

Critics say it's tort deform.

Gov. Rauner and his business allies say Illinois's legal system gives plaintiffs and the trial lawyers that profit when their clients win an unfair edge. They back Rauner's plan to prevent what's known as "venue shopping," or when lawsuits are filed somewhere lawyers expert will be friendly to their cause.