The 21st Show

State Rep. Luis Arroyo Arrested; Illinois Tollway Data; ‘Red State Blues’ Book About U.S. Conservatism; Tech Superhero from Normal, IL


State Rep. Luis Arroyo has been indicted on public corruption charges. Now, his Democratic colleagues are taking steps to expel him from the General Assembly. Plus, the Illinois Tollway has a huge amount of data on who uses electronic I-Passes, and when it's used. Reporting from WBEZ shows that just about anyone can request that information. Also, author Matt Grossmann of "Red State Blues" joins us to talk about the "conservative revolution." And, a "ransomware superhero" in Normal has helped thousands of people across the country and around the world battle malicious software attacking their computers, all for free.

State Rep. Luis Arroyo Arrested On Corruption Charge

Federal authorities have been conducting a sprawling investigation into members of Illinois state and local government, and the companies that rely on the government for business. It also included raids on the office and home of a state lawmaker, State Senator Martin Sandoval.

Despite the scope of the federal probe, nobody had been charged with a crime until this week when Democratic State Representative Luis Arroyo was arrested on a federal corruption charge.

Peter Hancock is a statehouse reporter with Capitol News Illinois.

Illinois Tollway Data

If you’re driving down the interstate and pass a toll, there’s a good chance you’re not paying with cash anymore, thanks to the millions of transponders called I-Passes that have been issued by the Illinois Tollway.

All of those I-Passes mean that the Illinois Tollway has a lot of data on who drives where, and when. Thanks to reporting by WBEZ Chicago, we also know that data can actually be accessed by nearly anyone.

Tony Arnold reported on this for WBEZ and joined us on the show.

'Red State Blues' Book About U.S. Conservatism

In just over two decades, the Republican party has made unprecedented gains at the state politics level. They went from controlling just three states in 1992 to 26 as of last year. 

But what has that Republican “revolution” translated to in terms of actual policy implications? A new book called “Red State Blues: How the Conservative Revolution Stalled in the States” finds that contrary to fears from the other side of the aisle, conservative lawmakers have not been able to drastically change the nature or reach of government. 

Author Matt Grossmann is also an associate professor of political science and director of the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan State University.

Host Brian Mackey spoke with Matt Grossmann about his new book.

Tech Superhero from Normal, IL

Michael Gellespie has helped thousands of people around the country, and across the globe, win the battle against ransomware: a type of malicious software that extorts a person’s data in exchange for money. 

Gellespie was even honored by the FBI in 2017 for his extraordinary work, which he does for free when he’s not working his day job at the Nerds on Call store in Normal, Illinois. 

Renee Dudley is a technology reporter with ProPublica, a nonprofit newsroom based in New York that produces investigative journalism. She recently profiled Michael Gillespie in her story, “The Ransomware Superhero of Normal, Illinois.” 

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