Jamey Dunn

Read Jamey's "Past Due" blog.

No other publication explains Illinois as well as Illinois Issues.  No other publication has the audience of Illinois Issues.

Illinois Issues magazine is dedicated to providing fresh, provocative analysis of public policy in Illinois. With a special focus on Illinois government and politics, the magazine pays close attention to current trends and legislative issues, and examines the state's quality of life.

The magazine also engages its readers in dialogue, enhancing the quality of public discourse in Illinois. A not-for-profit monthly magazine published by the University of Illinois at Springfield, Illinois Issues also sponsors and promotes other appropriate public affairs educational activities.

In continuous publication since 1975 by the University of Illinois at Springfield (formerly Sangamon State University), Illinois Issues monthly magazine is known as Illinois' leading public affairs periodical. We accept that honor, and we work hard with each issue to live up to it.

More than 15,000 Illinoisans read the magazine every month. Our readers tell us they rely on Illinois Issues to keep up with Illinois government and politics. Plus, we publish an annual up-to-date directory called the Roster of State Government Officials — a resource our readers find invaluable year-round.

Illinois Issues: New Laws In 2017

Jan 1, 2017

Nearly 200 new laws go into effect in Illinois on January 1.   

The state still doesn’t have a budget. A stopgap spending plan, which was approved over the summer, will end on January 1, leaving social service agencies, institutions of higher education and others in the lurch.

But, in the past year, legislators did approve hundreds of pieces of legislation, which the governor signed. Nearly 200 laws will go into effect at the start of the new year — close to the number that went into effect at the start of each of the past three years.

New members of the General Assembly will be take office in January. We plan to catch up with them to see why they want the job and what they hope to accomplish.

The presidential election highlighted a divide that is so deep, citizens in Illinois and across the country can’t even agree on the same set of facts.

Several long-serving lawmakers are retiring from the General Assembly when their terms end in January.  

Between now and the time they leave office, Illinois Issues editor Jamey Dunn will catch up with some of them for exit interviews reflecting on the time they spent as legislators.

At many polling places across the state Tuesday, citizens will watch to make sure the process is handled in a legal way.

The political spotlight has shifted to the election, but the state budget crisis continues to cost the people of Illinois. 

Illinois Issues: Legislative Checklist

Sep 18, 2016

Gov. Bruce Rauner has taken action on hundreds of bills over the summer. He signed most of them into law, but he also made some high-profile vetoes. 

Last month, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill into law that will allow high school or middle school students excused absences from school for playing the song Taps at military funerals in the state.

Rep. Don Moffitt, a Republican from Gilson, sponsored the legislation. Illinois Issues editor Jamey Dunn sat down with him to talk about it.

The Illinois Teachers Retirement System voted last week to reduce the amount of money it assumes it will make from its investments. The board revised this rate of assumption down to 7 percent from 7.5 percent.

This change means that as lawmakers and the governor are putting together a budget for next fiscal year, they will have to come up with a projected $420 million more than what they might have expected to pay into the retirement system for teachers outside of Chicago. Illinois' total unfunded liability for all its pension funds is pegged at $111 billion. 

In 2008, the Great Recession helped to tip Illinois into a fiscal crisis it still hasn't recovered from. A new report from Standard & Poor's found that another even moderate recession would mean big trouble for the state's budget. ​

The governor describes the stopgap budget as a bridge to reform. But it could also be called an excavator — digging the state’s fiscal hole deeper.

Illinois Issues: Shredding Lincoln

Jun 11, 2016

 Power struggles and a loss of funding have put The Papers of Abraham Lincoln in peril.

This story is the product of a collaboration with Illinois Times, Springfield’s independent weekly, where Bruce Rushton is staff writer.

Bipartisan working groups are currently trying to find a way out of the budget impasse. But the crisis could have been prevented long before the battle between Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic leaders began.

Analysis — Last month, House Speaker Michael Madigan stood in his chamber and delivered a speech on his perspective of the budget impasse.

“The fact is, the current budget crisis was completely avoidable. While this crisis was avoidable, Gov. Rauner has refused to put an end to the crisis,” Madigan said.

Illinois is one of only eight states with a flat income tax. The reasons can be traced to the state’s first-ever successful attempt at putting an income tax in place.  

An effort to change the current tax structure is underway, but supporters face a fast-approaching deadline.  

As summer comes to the Midwest, it brings mosquitoes with it. This year, it also brings fears of the Zika virus, which has been linked to serious birth defects in South America. 

A couple of legislative primary races are serving as stand-ins for the political struggle between the governor and Democratic leaders. 

Chicago Public School's fiscal problems continue. Meanwhile, some universities are trying to figure out how to keep their doors open without state funding. 

For this week’s Past Due, Jamey Dunn sat down with Sean Crawford to give an update about the budget impact on education in Illinois. 

Gov. Bruce Rauner says he wants to get the state out of legal agreements called consent decrees. The deals are a big part of the reason the government is still operating without a budget; they also impact the lives of thousands of Illinois residents. But unless you are affected by one, you've probably never heard of them. 

  A new analysis found that Illinois lost out on millions of dollars when it sold bonds last week. 

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s budget office released three-year budget projections today. According to the estimate, if Illinois remains on its current fiscal path, the sate’s backlog of unpaid bills would swell to nearly $25 billion by Fiscal Year 2019.

Years of mismanagement led to the state’s current fiscal crisis. A recent report from the University of Illinois’ Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA) suggests changes to the budgeting process that could help prevent future disasters. 

When the state finally has a budget, who will be left out?

Many Illinois nurses are nearing retirement. Baby Boomers in the state are also aging and may need more care. Will there be enough nurses to meet the demand?

Public employee and retiree health care benefits may be the next casualty of the state budget impasse.

Illinois' leaders have yet to present a plan for a balanced budget. The longer they wait, the harder the task will be. 

Gov. Bruce Rauner is moving ahead with plans to hold the Illinois State Fair next month, despite the fact that there is no budget in place to pay for it.  

Almost every time House Speaker Michael Madigan speaks to the press lately, he says that the state's estimated $6 billion deficit cannot be addressed through cuts alone.

The spring legislative session ended without a budget deal between Democratic legislative leaders and Republican Governor Bruce Rauner.

The legislature plans to continue session into the summer. But what happens if a spending plan is not in place when the state’s fiscal year begins on July 1?