Illinois

When Al Bowman was president of Illinois State University, he liked the freedom and flexibility that he had to run his campus. Now that tables have turned.

In this week's On Topic, WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with Paul Simon Public Policy Institute Visiting Professor John Jackson about the just-finished Illinois Veto Session. Many of Gov. Bruce Rauner's vetoes were overridden, though he did have some success. Lawmakers also were forced to grapple with accusations of sexual harassment and legislative inaction.

Veterans Legal Aid Network Launches.

Nov 9, 2017
WSIU/Kevin Boucher

A new legal consortium has been launched in Illinois to help Illinois veterans with legal issues, as they transition from soldier to civilian.  The Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network is available to any Illinois veteran, active duty veteran, National Guard member , or Reservist.  The program also helps dependents.

As long as the applying veteran does not have a dishonorable discharge, they can call a special toll-free telephone number:   855-452-3526.  The toll-free hotline is staffed by attorneys Monday through Friday from 9:00AM to 4:30PM.

School Officials Pleased With Springfield.

Aug 30, 2017
WSIU/Kevin Boucher

Lawmakers in Springfield have passed a much-needed bill to fund K-12 Education in Illinois.  Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner will sign the bill into law on Thursday, August 31st, 2017.

History
Illinois Historic Preservation Agency

As Illinois begins its Bicentennial countdown Saturday, the co-chair of the bicentennial committee says the celebration of Illinois offers unique opportunities in this part of the state.

Gov. Bruce Rauner criticized Democrats' call Monday to borrow money to take a chunk out of a $14.4 billion pile of overdue bills.        

A website that popped up this month asks a question as its URL: arethereanywomenrunningforilgovernor.com. It then very simply answers it with a bright red "NO." A group of professional women in the state are behind the effort to draw attention to the issue.

The steel gray KC-135 Stratotankers are massive.

The Boeing jets, first deployed way back in 1956, can carry up to 83,000 pounds of cargo with the thrust of four turbofan engines.

The plane is also capable of carrying 33,000 gallons of fuel and off-loading it in mid-air.

That’s the primary mission of the Illinois Air National Guard’s 126th Air Refueling Wing, assigned to Scott Air Force Base, near Belleville.

A tax increase is not the only change coming for some Illinois residents as the new budget package is rolled out.  

The shakeup in Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office seems to signal a tougher stance on school funding. The state spending plan passed by the General Assembly requires adoption of a new funding formula, but Rauner has promised to veto the only school formula plan that got legislative approval. This standoff might make the lawsuit filed by 21 school superintendents more relevant.

 

The lawsuit, filed in April, demands that Illinois honor its constitutional obligation to provide a high quality education for all students.

Richland County Health Office Coping With No Budget.

Jul 5, 2017

Illinois is in the beginning of its third year without an agreed-upon spending plan.  One health provider, the Richland County Health Office, says it is coping with the stalemate.  And, to make matters worse, one State of Illinois Insurance Company is two years behind in paying the office for services rendered.

Higher Education and money
WSIU / WSIU

State legislators were called back to Springfield last week for a special session in a attempt to pass a budget.

It's the final week of the fiscal year and Illinois is still without a budget.

Principal Charley Cass is preparing for the start of his 7th year at Central Junior High School in West Frankfort.

It's a sentiment shared by Democratic politicians and liberal pundits: disgust over how Republicans drew up favorable (for them) legislative districts after the 2010 Census.

It's hard to find an issue that unites Illinois lawmakers, yet members of both political parties and Governor Bruce Rauner have consistently agreed the state needs to change the way it funds schools. Now, with the filing of two separate legislative plans, that once-unison chorus sounds out of tune. State Senator Jason Barickman is the author of one of those plans. Our education desk reporter Dusty Rhodes quizzed him on how he intends to fix the flaws in the state's current funding formula.

WSIU Television

Every day, Illinois adds another 11 million dollars in new debt.  In a state that has not had a full budget for almost two years it looks like lawmakers will work past the May 31st adjournment date.  Interim director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute Jak Tichenor says that not since the great depression has a state gone this far without a budget.  He says it won’t be a quick fix, because of all of the moving parts involved.  Tichenor says, for example, IF the Affordable Care Act is repealed in the future, Illinois will have to pick up the tab for those extra  650-thousand residents

WSIU/Kevin Boucher

In just over five weeks, the 100th Illinois General Assembly is scheduled adjourn and many educators are hoping that  House Bill 2808 will become passed.  The bill  seeks to change the state's 20 year old funding system for public schools.  Currently, local property taxes fund school districts.  Which means that wealthier districts can spend more money per student than less wealthy districts.  House Bill 2808 seeks to drastically alter the funding model by incorporating a new Evidence Based Model which looks at each individual school district's particular  needs to determine how much state

Illinois' population losses are frequently cited in debates over the state's tax rates and business laws.

Last year, Census figures show Illinois was tied for the greatest rate of people leaving the state.

A majority of state workers in Illinois' largest public employee union have voted to authorize a strike.

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

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with Paul Simon Public Policy Institute Analyst John Jackson about Gov. Bruce Rauner's 2017 Budget Address.

SIU President Randy Dunn says Governor Rauner's Budget Address gives him hope that a compromise may be on the horizon when it comes to a state spending plan.

People
Monica Tichenor / WSIU Public Broadcasting

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller interviews Paul Simon Public Policy Institute Interim Director and Illinois Lawmakers Host Jak Tichenor about Gov. Bruce Rauner's 2017 Budget Address.

Illinois State of the Budget Address (VIDEO)

Feb 15, 2017

Today at noon, Gov. Bruce Rauner will deliver his third annual State of the Budget Address to a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly.

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WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar, who is running for Illinois Governor on the Democratic ticket.

Missouri will no longer require workers who benefit from collective bargaining to pay union dues. That means Illinois is going to be surrounded by so-called right-to-work states.

A major credit rating agency has again downgraded Illinois' rating, citing the "unprecedented failure" to approve a state budget.

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.

A leader in the Illinois House says while he won't talk about specifics, he supports an expansion of gaming in the state - which could include a project in southern Illinois.

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with State Rep. Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) as the Illinois General Assembly begins its 100th session.

In the second part of the interview, Bryant goes on to say she's optimistic a compromise can be found on the state's budget crisis. She says she's encouraged by discussions on potential workers compensation reform, among others.

Conservationists working to make Cahokia Mounds in Collinsville a unit of the National Park Service say they will continue their efforts under the new administration of President Donald Trump.

Staffers with the nonprofit HeartLands Conservancy had hoped that former President Barack Obama would declare Cahokia Mounds a national monument before leaving office on Friday, but that didn't happen.

Ed Weilbacher, vice president of HeartLands, says an executive order by Obama would have fast-tracked the process, but he said the effort will continue. He noted that local congressional leaders support the possibility of legislative action to bring the site into the national park system.

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