Illinois General Assembly

WBEZ's Tony Arnold explains the situation in the state legislature of the Land of Lincoln this election cycle.

(via Flickr/jglazer75)

For the first time in more than a century, the Illinois House has expelled one of its members.

Lawmakers voted 100-6 on Friday to expel Chicago Democratic state Rep. Derrick Smith. And as Amanda Vinicky reports via Twitter, House Speaker Michael Madigan asked that Smith's name be moved immediately from the chamber's roll.

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Lawmakers in Illinois went past their midnight deadline in Springfield on Thursday in an effort to finish their business before the campaign season. In a frenzied end, the General Assembly approved a new state budget and authorized a massive expansion of gambling.

But they're not finished.

The collapse of pension reform means lawmakers will probably return to Springfield this summer. This recap is from Amanda Vinicky in Springfield.

Illinois House of Representatives

Illinois lawmakers are scheduled to debate today a massive overhaul of the state’s pension system.

The measure’s revival was made possible last night by a surprise move from House Speaker Michael Madigan, who calls an overhaul necessary.

Madigan told Illinois Public Radio’s Amanda Vinicky he regrets his role in passing an early retirement package a decade ago that added to the state’s $83 billion unfunded pension liability – and what he wants to do about it now.

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Nixon to sign funding stream for Mo. veterans homes

Gov. Jay Nixon is set to sign legislation that provides a dedicated funding source for the state’s veterans homes.

The measure redirects casino fees that now benefit early childhood programs into a trust fund for the Missouri Veterans Commission. Those early childhood funds will be replaced with money from the state’s tobacco settlement.

(via Flickr/jglazer75)

Reporting from Rachel Otwell of WUIS used in this report.

More legislators are refusing to participate in Illinois' controversial General Assembly scholarship program. It's a program that allows legislators to give students living in their districts tuition waivers to for state-run universities.

Many lawmakers promise they hold little to no sway in the decision process of who wins a waiver.

But others are accused of ensuring the scholarships go to relatives or campaign supporters, making the program one more example of Illinois policy gone corrupt.