State Sen. Daniel Biss

Jaclyn Driscoll/NPR Illinois

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful J.B. Pritzker  was selected to be first on the March primary ballot among the seven candidates running.

The State Board of Elections held a lottery on Wednesday to determine ballot position.  Those in line with nominating petitions on the first day of filing were entered into the lottery. Some studies suggest a candidate’s position on the ballot could earn them extra votes. In  tight primaries, that could mean winning the nomination.

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The Democratic candidates for Illinois Governor convened at a progressive forum yesterday to stake out the distinctions in their campaigns.

Evanston state Sen. Daniel Biss started with a question.

 

“Are we going to listen to the insiders and let it be all about billionaires again, or are we going to build a progressive movement to make transformational change that we have needed for so long?" he asked. 

 

Several Democrats running for governor of Illinois are proposing the state enact universal healthcare.

J.B. Pritzker is the latest to bring out a plan. He wants to let anyone buy into the Medicaid program, which is currently limited to the poor, elderly and disabled. 

However, two other Democratic candidates said Pritzker's plan doesn't go far enough. State Sen. Daniel Biss of Evanston and Chicago Ald. Ameya Pawar said Illinois should create its own single-payer plan. That’s where all healthcare is paid for by the government, instead of private insurance. 

"Money" by Flickr User 401(K) 2012 / (CC X 2.0)

Next year, Illinois could have one of the most expensive gubernatorial campaigns the country has ever seen.

Among Democrats, recent filings show that J.B. Pritzker spent more than $9 million in the last three months, much of it on media.  The candidate says he plans to spend only his own money on the campaign. By contrast, State Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Skokie, raised about $1 million from donors.

Chris Kennedy raised $700,000 and spent almost all of it. Chicago Ald. Ameya Pawar raised $139,000.  State Rep. Scott Drury, D-Highwood, raised $66,000.

A bill headed to the governor’s desk would help protect students who take out loans.

The “Student Loan Bill of Rights” requires lenders to explain repayment options to struggling borrowers as well as inform graduates how their loan could be forgiven under certain circumstances. It’s sponsored by Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Skokie, who says the bill also sets up a student-loan ombudsman in addition to a state licensing regime for student-loan servicers.

"If we see a servicer not doing what they ought to be doing, we can pull that license and send them out of business," he said.

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