News

As one statehouse reporter put it, the main headline from this week is "Something finally happens in Springfield." Democrats and Republicans came together to pass stop-gap funding for higher education in Illinois.

Sarah Mueller

Illinois lawmakers have approved a $600 million short-term funding infusion for higher education institutions that have been struggling financially due to not receiving state money during the state budget impasse. 

Illinois university presidents were stunned last night as the funding measure they thought would provide the first state funds in almost a year suddenly disappeared.

Sarah Mueller WUIS

Members of the Illinois House spent Thursday evening congratulating themselves thinking they were minutes from passing a bipartisan measure sending 600 million dollars in emergency funding to the state community colleges and public universities. But, the vote never happened.

Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois/Illinois Issues

Two buzzwords you hear a lot in any discussion of school funding are adequacy and equity. Adequacy is the notion of having enough money, like Governor Bruce Rauner has offered in his proposal to increase funding. Equity is the notion of giving every district its fair share, like another measure pending in the Senate aims to do.

This week we talk about an upcoming art show at The Pharmacy gallery in Springfield featuring the work of longtime friends and artists Wendy Allen & Carol Bridges who both create unique and colorful pieces using textiles. Both women are inspired in part by their own sense of spirituality... Tune in!

Claudia Quigg headshot
mattpenning.com / NPR | Illinois Public Radio

He refuses to brush his teeth, adamantly opposes wearing clothes, and falls to the floor with a tantrum when you ask him to pick up his backpack.

And that’s all before breakfast.

Some children experience everything in their lives with such intensity that their reactions understandably exhaust parents.

At the same time, other children move through their days with little reaction at all.  These easy-going kids take life as it comes and rarely throw a fit.

Sarah Mueller WUIS

Illinois colleges and universities have cut staff, eliminated programs and threatened to close … all because they've gone 9 months without money from state government. As people rallied in Springfield Wednesday to push for state cash, there was news of more possible layoffs.

Flickr user: TaxCredits.net

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.  

Harrison Chancy and Joseph Hurst
Illinois Department of Corrections

A Sangamon County judge has declined to give a group of Illinois prisoners a new parole hearing — at least for now.

The case has to do with a formal process for assessing how much of a risk certain prisoners pose. The Department of Corrections was supposed to have this risk-assessment tool in place by 2013. But three years later, it’s just now beginning to roll it out.

A pair of the state’s longest serving inmates have sued over the delays.

Layoffs On The Table For The University Of Illinois

Apr 20, 2016
University of Illinois Library

In a memo, Associate Provost for Human Resources Elyne Cole indicates that some jobs – including some in Civil Service --- could be cut, effective at the start of the fall semester. 

flickr/picturesofmoney

An attempt to add a surtax on Illinois millionaires failed in the Illinois House. 

House Speaker and Democrat Michael Madigan has backed the idea that would raise more money for schools.

SHG

Sacred Heart-Griffin High School's long time principal has announced her retirement.

United States Congress

Another Illinois politician is facing potential prison time. This time it's Dennis Hastert, a former Republican Illinois Representative who served as the US Speaker of the House from 1999 to 2007.  Hastert, now 74 years old, grew up in northern Illinois and spent time as a high school teacher and wrestling coach before making his way into politics. A hush money case that surfaced about a year ago and dredged up allegations of prior sexual abuse has him in the national spotlight.

BrettLevinPhotography / Flickr

A measure to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana passed the Illinois Senate Tuesday.

Gov. Pat Quinn
Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois' Auditor General Frank Mautino said millions of dollars meant for state anti-violence programs are unaccounted for. Gov. Bruce Rauner 's administration said the problem happened under former Gov. Pat Quinn and the state plans to recover the money.

Illinois colleges and universities have gone without state money since last summer.

flickr/Ben Salter

Sean Crawford talks with the State Journal-Register's Tim Landis:

House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Chicago Democrat, spoke about Medicaid on public television’s Illinois Lawmakers: “Boiling it down in more simple terms … who are the people that are eligible? How much of it will they get? How often will they get it?
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan wants to change the state constitution so it requires the state to foot the bill for the majority of school funding. House Republicans pushed back some at a Monday hearing over the potential cost.

Illinois Department of Revenue

Gov. Bruce Rauner says he isn't a billionaire, but he's not far off. Me? I'm Amanda Vinicky, statehouse bureau chief for Illinois Public Radio, and let's just say I've got a better chance of walking on the moon than ever making a billion bucks.

But both Rauner and I -- as does everyone else who lives in Illinois, no matter how rich or poor -- pay the same state income tax rate. The constitution requires a flat tax.

Some Illinois Democrats are moving to change that. 

Sean McMahon / The Field Museum

The Tully monster is Illinois' state fossil, but until recently scientists were not sure what kind of creature it was. A team of researchers compared thousands of specimens and were finally able to classify the Tully Monster.

Rachel Otwell

It's now close to a year since Illinois had a budget in place. The impasse has led to increased attention for what many consider a financial crisis. On Sunday, comptroller Leslie Munger announced pay for the legislature and its constitutional officers will be delayed, as have many payments for vendors and service-providers . The amount of unpaid bills is nearing $8 billion. Meanwhile, some members of the legislature are trying to pass a measure that would cease their pay as well - and make it contingent on passing a "balanced budget."

Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois legislators should expect a delay in their paychecks.

Comptroller Leslie Munger announced Sunday that elected officials' pay will wait in line, just like other bills.

Vendors and agencies that perform work for the state are waiting months to be paid. Until now, officials' paychecks were essentially given preferential treatment.

With a handful of Constitutional officers and 177 state legislators, the paychecks collectively total $1.3 million a month, or $15.6 for the year.

Illinois legislators should expect a delay in their paychecks.

Comptroller Leslie Munger announced yesterday  that elected officials' pay will wait in line, just like other bills. Vendors and agencies that perform work for the state are waiting months to be paid.

With a handful of Constitutional officers and 177 state legislators ... the paychecks total one point three million dollars a month.

Shakespeare400Chicago.com

William Shakespeare comes alive this year in Chicago, as the city celebrates the poet and playwright’s legacy, marking the four centuries since his death in 1616 with a fabulous international arts festival.  With more than 850 events in venues across the city, the Shakespeare 400 Chicago Festival offers exciting plays, operas, art exhibitions, dance and even cuisine that will make his works come to life. You’ll want to brush up on your Shakespeare and plan a Chicago visit this spring or summer, when many events are scheduled.

Scott Griessel/flickr, user: creatista & trailheadcenter.org

Welcome to the new podcast where we create conversations about spirituality and how it intersects with everyday life. Check out the program page for a little more info, if you wish - but for now, let's dive right in.

flickr/jmorgan

All Illinois residents -- no matter how rich, no matter how poor -- pay the same income tax rate. Now a plan is afoot to change that, with a constitutional amendment, and to have the wealthy pay more.

Sarah Mueller WUIS

An Illinois lawmaker want teenagers accused of murder to have a lawyer present when questioned by law enforcement. 

After months without meeting, the governor and legislative leaders gathered behind closed doors this week, with apparently no progress toward a budget agreement. Speculation continues the Attorney General might go to court to stop state workers from being paid without an appropriation. Some believe such a move could force the governor and leaders to reach a deal. Others aren't so sure.  The State Journal-Register's Doug Finke joins the panel.

epsom.bandcamp.com

This week we chat about upcoming arts shows and music shows, and we talk vinyl and the magic of listening to albums in their entirety because Saturday the 16th is Record Store Day! Tune in:

Events discussed this week include:

Pages