Brian Mackey

Brian Mackey covers state government and politics for WUIS and a dozen other public radio stations across Illinois. He was previously A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. He can be reached at (217) 206-6412.

Subscribe to Brian Mackey's State of the State podcast on WUIS' podcast page, or by copying this URL into iTunes or any other podcast app.

Both the Illinois House and Senate return to work in Springfield today. Just over two weeks remain before the annual legislative session is scheduled to end.

Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin is putting his heart into attacking the Republican health care bill — literally.

Durbin is citing his own recent cardiac procedure to point out what he and other Democrats say are flaws in the legislation.

The Illinois General Assembly is considering legislation meant to expand privacy rights on the Internet. Two of the bills cleared procedural hurdles Thursday in the House, but they both have powerful opponents.

If you’ve spent any amount of time online, chances are you’ve been confronted with a long privacy policy. And if you’re like most people, you scroll to the bottom and click “accept” — without reading it.

It’s been two years since Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner unveiled his Republican “Turnaround Agenda.” On Wednesday, a group of rank-and-file Democratic legislators responded with their own “Comeback Agenda.”

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan says Gov. Bruce Rauner is making “false statements” about the speaker’s position on selling a state building in Chicago.

On Tuesday, Rauner repeatedly declined opportunities to refute Madigan’s allegations.

The Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday decided not to answer a question about whether non-profit hospitals must pay property taxes. The case began with Carle Hospital in Urbana, but has implications across Illinois.

Ten Republican senators voted for at least one bill in the grand bargain. We asked all of them about Gov. Bruce Rauner's role in stopping them from going further.

Governor Bruce Rauner is accusing three of Illinois’ top Democrats of “coordinating” to shut down state government. All three deny the charge.

A court order revealed late last week makes it much less likely state employees will go on strike anytime soon.

City governments across Illinois are asking to have their state funding passed along automatically. It’s the latest consequence of Illinois’ 20-month budget stalemate.

A group of Illinois legislators are pushing an agenda intended to help farmers who sell at local markets.

The Illinois House is set to return to Springfield this week. Meanwhile, policymakers are still puzzling through last week's budget proposal by Gov, Bruce Rauner, partly because his administration made a significant break with tradition in rolling it out.

The immediate reaction to the governor’s proposal included confusion. Typically, the top budget aides to the governor meet with their counterparts in the legislature before the big speech. But not the Rauner administration.

State Rep. Greg Harris, a Democrat from Chicago, says this is “unprecedented territory.”

Democrats say no. Rauner says yes. Brian Mackey tries to figure out who's right.

A report says the outlook for the Illinois economy is bleak.

Illinois legislators return to Springfield Monday. Disagreements between Democrats and Republicans have left state government without a full budget for more than 18 months — though Senate leaders are now said be trying to hammer out a compromise.

Former Congressman Aaron Schock is due to be arraigned in a Springfield courtroom Monday afternoon.

Our two-part series looks at where Sen. Mark Kirk and U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth are on a few key issues, and why the politics of 2016 mean those policy positions may not have much effect on the outcome.

Several downstate mass transit districts say they are on the verge of shutdown — or have already shut down.

Thousands of people rely on the services to get to medical appointments, the grocery store, or even work. And in turn the services rely on the state of Illinois for their funding.

A key source of funding for the Department of Natural Resources could be blocked. Or maybe not.

Before he ran for governor, Bruce Rauner described a plan to use funding for social services as a “wedge” issue to persuade Democrats to support anti-union proposals. The fact that lawmakers did nothing to address the rollback of the temporary income tax increase, which was passed in 2011, set the stage for him to try out his strategy.

We’re just over a month away from the election of 2016. It’s a season of campaign advertising, speeches, debates, and of course polling.

Every election cycle, Illinois voters are asked their opinions on a range of issues by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at SIU Carbondale.

This year, they weighed in on elections for president and U.S. Senate, the popularity state government leaders, and whether Illinois ought to amend its constitution to lock in road-building money.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library digitized a rare copy of a 1956 presidential primary debate. What does it have to say about American politics today?

A federal judge has blocked an Illinois law that had been aimed at making it easier to vote this fall.

The law required the state’s biggest cities and counties to let citizens register to vote on election day and at their local polling place. It did not impose the same requirement on smaller election authorities.

Even at this time of economic anxiety, America's system of organized labor is so convoluted, it’s no wonder unions are so unpopular.

In an era of political gridlock, one of the few topics on which there's been hope of bipartisan cooperation is on the issues of crime and punishment.

Politicians have traditionally been averse to doing anything that could get them painted as being "soft on crime."

It's an easy attack, and one that's been frequently deployed in the past. But this year, criminal justice reform advocates are fighting back.

The Illinois Department of Public Health recently reported the state is aware of 47 cases of Zika virus, including at least three pregnant women. Meanwhile, officials in Florida are trying to contain the first known mosquito-borne outbreak of the disease in the continental U.S.

In an attempt to sort through the facts and fears about Zika, we spoke to Dr. Janak Koirala, division chief of infectious disease and a travel medicine specialist at the SIU School of Medicine in Springfield.

A number of Illinois politicians continue to push the issue of of term limits.

Gov. Bruce Rauner may be done with the presidential campaign, but the presidential campaign isn’t done with Gov. Rauner.

Gov. Bruce Rauner is apologizing for saying half of Chicago public school teachers are “virtually illiterate.”

(As state lawmakers consider another try at cutting pension benefits for government workers, we revisit this interview from 2016 with former Illinois Senate attorney Eric Madiar)

Illinois continues to have the worst funded government pension systems of all 50 states. Legislators have taken several swipes at reducing those costs. But so far they’ve all been batted away by the Illinois Supreme Court.

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