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Posts tagged with this author are either entirely or partially reported by the staff at WBEZ. If possible, the specific staff member who reported each story will be listed within the body of each corresponding post.

School Illustration
Illustration by Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Illinois' legislative leaders have reached a tentative agreement in the state's school funding fight, they said Thursday afternoon, but added that the details are still being worked out. 

The state has missed two payments to public schools since Gov. Bruce Rauner used an amendatory veto on the original school funding plan, which was meant to be more equitable. 

The Illinois State Capitol.
J. Stephen Conn | Flickr

Even though the Illinois House overrode Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s budget veto Thursday — leading to a budget for the first time in more than two years — the state’s schools may still be in a pickle.

The language of the legislation could effectively block schools from getting state funding because, while it appropriates money, there’s currently no legal roadmap for doling out the money.

Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

Gov. Bruce Rauner delivered his third budget address Wednesday at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield. There has been no state budget since July 2015. 

Reporters and editors from WBEZ, WTTW, and NPR Illinois annotated Rauner's address with fact-checks and analysis. 

The Illinois State Capitol in Springfield.
File photo | Seth Perlman | Associated Press

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner delivered his State of the State address Wednesday and said he was optimistic about Illinois’ future despite the historic budget impasse that has dragged on for more than a year. 

(Flickr/Charleston's TheDigitel)

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s proposal to give Illinois homeowners’ a guaranteed $500 property tax refund could leave most renters out in the cold, according to tax experts and renters’ rights groups.

Remko van Dokkum | Flickr

Tony Arnold contributed reporting from Chicago.

Some Illinois residents trying to sign up for health insurance through the new exchange program yesterday ran  into technical glitches.

Consumers reported waits of 20 minutes or more on the hotline, or errors while trying to access the website.

Gov. Pat Quinn called the glitches an expected part of rolling out a new program this large.

Flickr/Jason Dunnivant

Updated 4:25 p.m. with vote results  

Parents of two Sandy Hook elementary students killed by a Connecticut gunman last fall testified in favor of limiting high-capacity ammunition magazines in Illinois.

The Illinois Senate's Executive Committee voted 12-3 Monday to advance legislation banning magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.

Flickr/Jason Dunnivant

A new report shows nearly a quarter of Illinois' state spending plan for next year will go toward pension payments. The Illinois State House and the State Senate have so far disagreed on the best way to address the worst-funded pension system in the country.

Laurence Msall is with the Civic Federation - a budget watchdog group. He says the state used to spend about 7 percent of its budget on retirement benefits. Now it's closer to 25 percent.

"It effectively means that all new revenue, in order to keep up with that growth, has to go into the pension system," Msall said.

(Sean Powers/WILL)

Updated: 3:46 p.m., 5:54 p.m.

Republican Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois has released a statement today in support of same-sex marriage.

On his website, Kirk says "life comes down to who you love and who loves you back:"

When I climbed the Capitol steps in January, I promised myself that I would return to the Senate with an open mind and greater respect for others.

 

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

You'll also be able to hear the address in its entirety with analysis tonight on St. Louis Public Radio at 90.7 FM or online, beginning at 7 p.m. Join us!

Updated 3:43 p.m. with reporting from WBEZ's Tony Arnold.

Many Republicans are criticizing Illinois Governor Pat Quinn’s State of the State Address as being too vague.

Today Quinn outlined his priorities for the upcoming year - including raising the minimum wage and banning high capacity guns.

Wikimedia Commons

Reporting by WBEZ's Tony Arnold.

The bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois is advancing.

For the second time in a month - the Senate Executive Committee approved the legalization of same-sex marriage along party lines.

Lawmakers tried to pass a similar bill before the end of session last month - but failed to get the necessary support.

Today the votes against the measure centered around the same argument as last time: Would religious institutions have to host same-sex marriages on their properties?

Wikimedia Commons

Two Illinois lawmakers say they're within "striking distance" of getting legislative approval for gay marriage and hope to send a bill to Gov. Pat Quinn shortly after the new year.

Rep. Greg Harris and Sen. Heather Steans say they'll call for a vote on a gay marriage bill when the Legislature reconvenes in January. The Chicago Democrats say public opinion favoring equal rights for same-sex partners is moving rapidly. The fact that four states voted in favor of the issue or opposed a ban on it in November helps.

(via Flickr/neil conway)

Reporting from WBEZ's Robert Wildeboer.

Last week, the Illinois Department of Corrections broke a rather unenviable record. On Tuesday, the department housed 49,172 inmates. The previous record was sent in Oct. 2011 when the population hit 49,135.

The population has been steadily rising since Ill. Gov. Pat Quin suspended an early release program in the middle of a heated primary election against Dan Hynes two years ago. Quinn recently signed into law a new early release program that should help bring down the number but it hasn't yet been implemented.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Good morning! Here are some of today's starting headlines:

St. Louis County attitude survey results presented

Last night members of the St. Louis County Council heard the results of a survey that measured how the attitudes of residents have changed over the past five years. Many don't think the county is going in the right direction but don't place the blame on their county government.

Five years ago, a little over 60 percent of people thought the county was going in the right direction; today that number is 44 percent.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Romney distancing himself from Akin

Republican presidential Mitt Romney is distancing himself from Congressman Todd Akin after comments Akin made during an interview with a St. Louis television station.

During the interview on Fox 2's Jaco Report, Akin was asked if he would support abortion in cases when a woman was raped.

(via Flickr/ChrisEaves.com)

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation that extends the life span of a popular economic development tool in the state.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

McCaskill to launch TV ads ahead of Aug. 7 primary

For months, Missouri's Republican U.S. Senate candidates have been campaigning by criticizing Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. McCaskill has returned the fire during campaign events. Now McCaskill says she is launching TV ads individually targeting her potential Republican competitors - Congressman Todd Akin, former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman and businessman John Brunner.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Metro sees double-digit increase in bus passengers

St. Louis’ mass transit agency saw the biggest growth in bus ridership in the country during the first three months of the year.

(Official Department of Justice Photo/via Wikimedia Commons)

Reporting from WBEZ's Robert Wildeboer used in this report.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald says he will not run for elective office. That comes after the highly respected federal prosecutor announced yesterday that he'll step down at the end of June.

In a 35-minute press conference today the media-averse Fitzgerald talked to reporters about why he's stepping down.

(via Flickr/Shane Pope)

Reporting from WBEZ's Alex Keefe used in this report.

Lotto officials say Illinois is set to become the first state in the nation to sell lottery tickets over the Internet. Online ticket sales launch Sunday morning.

Lotto officials are betting online ticket sales could haul in up to $118 million per year in new revenue. Lottery superintendent Michael Jones is hoping to lure hundreds of thousands of new players to a highly secure website.

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