Gov. Bruce Rauner and Illinois Senator Andy Manar
NPR Illinois
February 02, 2017

Education Desk: School Funding Inequity Needs $3.5 Billion Cure

A group of lawmakers has agreed on a framework for making the way Illinois funds its schools more equitable. But whether it will lead to a long-elusive legislative fix remains to be seen. That bipartisan commission produced a “framework” Wednesday, but no actual legislation. It would create funding targets for each district based on student population needs. It's estimated to cost an additional $3.5 billion to $6 billion.

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Senate President John Cullerton and Republican Leader Christine Radogno speak to reporters earlier this month.
Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois
January 26, 2017

Senate Leaders: Not Backing Off 'Grand Bargain'

The Illinois Senate left Springfield Thursday without voting on a bipartisan effort to end Illinois' budget stalemate. But hope springs eternal. The so-called grand bargain - devised earlier this month by the Senate's top leadership - was like a chili recipe where the cooks keep swapping ingredients. The latest version would increase the income tax by one-and-a-quarter percentage points, and further decrease government pensions.

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The Capitol is seen in overcast skies as the 115th Congress convenes in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017.
J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press
January 23, 2017

Illinois Asks Congress To Avoid Hasty 'Obamacare' Action

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration is urging congressional leaders to avoid "hasty" or "incomplete" action as they proceed with a planned repeal of the Affordable Care Act. A letter dated Jan. 17 signed by Acting Illinois Insurance Director Jennifer Hammer says Congress and the states "must work together" to achieve "important reforms" in health care policy.

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In this June 9, 2015 photo, members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees protest outside the in Chicago.
Christian K. Lee/Associated Press
January 13, 2017

AFSCME Members To Vote On Strike Authorization In Illinois

The largest public-employee union in Illinois will ask its members this month whether they'd support a strike in a contract dispute with Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration. The state council of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees told members Friday that they'll vote on authorizing the union's bargaining committee to call a strike.

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In this Nov. 30, 2016 file photo, Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, speaks to reporters in Springfield, Ill.
Seth Perlman/Assocated Press
January 10, 2017

When Republicans Voted For Speaker Madigan

State Rep. Michael Madigan on Wednesday will seek his 17th term as speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives. He's not expected to have any trouble winning. Gov. Bruce Rauner and his fellow Republicans have spent years vilifying Madigan. But lately the party has gone further, trying to sway House Democrats away from re-electing Madigan as their leader.

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From left: President-elect Donald Trump, Gov. Bruce Rauner, and House Speaker Michael Madigan
Trump by Michael Vadon/Flickr, Rauner and Madigan by Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois
December 30, 2016

Voices In the News 2016

As we get ready to welcome 2017, we thought we’d take a few minutes to listen back to another tough year in Illinois government and politics. We heard Republicans struggling to reckon with Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy, Democrats and Republicans engaging in another year of war over the soul of Illinois policy, and a growing list of everyday people being crushed by the budget standoff. Here now are some of the voices that made news in 2016.

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The Urbana City Building
Jeff Bossert/Illinois Public Media
December 11, 2016

Urbana City Council To Vote On Sanctuary City Resolution

Urbana aldermen will have their first opportunity Monday to consider making the community a "sanctuary city," protecting undocumented residents. Alderman Eric Jakobsson says he's behind the idea, but is opposed to the measure on the agenda for Monday night's City Council Committee of the Whole meeting, calling it "rhetoric" that doesn't address any real issues. Jakobsson says he instead favors an earlier draft resolution put together by a member of the city staff.

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State Board of Education Deputy Superintendent Jason Helfer leads the last meeting of the statewide ESSA listening tour at Decatur's Eisenhauer High School Thursday.
Jeff Bossert/Illinois Public Media
December 08, 2016

State Board Of Ed Wraps Up Listening Tour On New Education Law

Illinois’ State Board of Education has wrapped up three rounds of listening tours as the state and country prepares to replace the No Child Left Behind Law with legislation signed by President Obama a year ago. About 40 administrators, teachers, librarians, and others in education were among those at the last stop in the tour in Decatur Thursday, providing feedback on Illinois’ Every Student Succeeds Act State Plan, or ESSA.

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Exelon Corp. logo
Wikimedia Commons
December 07, 2016

Gov. Rauner Signs Bill Providing Subsidies To Exelon

Governor Bruce Rauner has signed legislation providing billions of dollars in subsidies to Exelon to save two struggling nuclear plants saving 1400 jobs at the two facilities. The Future Energy Jobs Bill provides a $235 million annual subsidy to Exelon, and ensures the plants will stay open the next ten years.

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