Illinois Issues Podcast | NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois Issues Podcast | NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

From NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Reporting and analysis taking you beyond the daily news and providing a deeper understanding of our state.More from Illinois Issues Podcast | NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS »

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Illinois Issues: Legislative Checklist

The spring legislative session is in full swing under the shadow of a failed Grand Bargain, which aimed to end a 20-month stretch without a budget. Bills proposed are diverse, including lobbyist ethics, an Obama holiday, wage theft and animal welfare. Revolving door Senate Bill 615 This bill would amend the Lobbyist Registration Act to require any former state employee or official to wait one year after leaving the job before lobbying in government. As a result, any current state employee could not negotiate employment or compensation from any lobbying entity. Chicago Democratic Sen. Heather Steans is the bill's sponsor. Abortion HB 40 This bill would make changes to the way State Employee Health Insurance and Medicaid cover abortions. Currently, Illinois law prohibits women from using Medicaid or State Employee Health Insurance to cover reproductive health care, including medically necessary abortions. In the case of Medicaid, the use of federal funds is restricted for abortion

Illinois Issues: The Real Chilling Effect Of A Property Tax Freeze

There are serious consequences under Gov, Bruce Rauner's tax proposal. Commentar y: At first blush, Gov. Bruce Rauner's property tax freeze seems like a great idea. What homeowner wouldn't want to know the next tax bill will never, ever be larger than the last one? Property taxes on my home last year went up $52.56, a 1.7 percent increase over my 2015 tax bill. If a freeze had been in place, I could have saved those dollars, or spent them on something else. What's not to like about that? Indeed, Illinoisans for decades have told pollsters that the property tax is the most hated of all taxes, largely because it's based neither on ability to pay nor on consumption. So let's slap a permanent lid on the dastardly levy! But like most things in government, freezing property taxes is not as simple as it sounds. For starters, none of the freeze legislation introduced over the last couple of years would guarantee that taxes never increased on a particular piece of property. Rather, like the

Illinois Issues: The Great Pension Chasm

Yet another proposal aims to get the state out of crisis. A 1917 report conducted on the Illinois pension system revealed bad news. After a pension-focused trip around the globe, with studies on such nations as Great Britain, New Zealand, and Austro-Hungary, it got to crux of the matter: "The general condition of the pensions operating under the laws of Illinois may be correctly described as one of insolvency. That is to say, viewed from the standpoint of sound finance and of having the necessary reserves to carry out the payment laws, there are immense deficiencies in the existing funds." Though the language would sooner be found in an episode of Downton Abbey , the reality for Gov. Bruce Rauner and the 100th General Assembly sounds much the same but is far worse now. Rauner has made pensions and other pro-business reforms so central to his administration, his critics say it's at the expense of a state budget. But some of those same critics, led by Senate President John Cullerton, are

Illinois Issues: Civil Asset Forfeiture Critics Complain Innocent People Pay

Disparate entities say laws in this area need to change at the state and national levels. The police took away a 70-year-old Moline woman's car when her grandson drove it with a revoked license. "Why am I being punished?" Judy Wiese asked a reporter last year at the Rock Island County courthouse. After the story made headlines, a lawyer stepped forward and helped her out, pro bono — and the grandmother got her Jeep back. "There's no way you can't hear those stories and think something's wrong with the system," says Rep. Will Guzzardi, a Chicago Democrat, who has introduced a bill in the Illinois House that would overhaul the state's civil asset forfeiture laws. Those laws let police confiscate people's vehicles, cash and other property when those assets are suspected of being used in crimes. The assets are then used to fund law enforcement. But critics say the laws often end up taking property away from innocent people. "There should be some sort of conviction before you take somebody

Illinois Issues: Civil Asset Forfeiture Critics Complain Innocent People Pay

Illinois Issues: Has The Managed Care Option Helped Medicaid Patients?

Medicaid Managed Care Is A Mixed Bag For Providers, Patients Y vonne Hardcastle was at her wit's end. Her son, Alfredo Mejia, was 7 years old. He was angry all the time and had been diagnosed with behavior problems and ADHD, but that didn't feel right. She didn't know what was wrong, but her mother's intuition kept pushing her to find help for her boy. She finally took him to Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. Doctors diagnosed Alfredo with hearing loss and enrolled him in a hospital pilot program serving about 2,000 children with complex medical issues, who were insured by Medicaid. It was called a coordinated care entity and as the title implies, offered services to coordinate care for children like Alfredo. "They picked us up at a very vulnerable time," Hardcastle, a Chicago resident, says. "I was clueless. I had no idea what was happening, what hearing loss was and the consequences. I was an emotional wreck." What followed were about three years of regular

Illinois Issues: Has The Managed Care Option Helped Medicaid Patients?

Illinois Issues: Left Behind

Who has been hurt the most by shifts in the Illinois economy? Chad Broughton, then a sociologist at Knox College, watched closely when Galesburg's major employer, Maytag, shuttered its factory in 2004, taking $61 million out of the western Illinois city's economy. He compares the impact to a circulatory system becoming anemic. "Restaurants and hotels and small businesses — really everything that is tax base — it starts to shrink, and it is diminished. And housing values go down, and people's equity shrinks." Many of the middle-skill earners halfway through — or near the end of — their careers are paid perhaps 50 percent or less of what they had earned in the factory, says Broughton, now a University of Chicago professor whose observations in Galesburg fed into his 2015 book, Boom, Bust, Exodus: The Rust Belt, the Maquilas, and a Tale of Two Cities . The situation in Galesburg in some ways is a microcosm of economic trends throughout the state and the nation. "That's a profound

Illinois Issues: Check The Facts Before Buying Into The King Madigan Storyline

Anti-Madigan effort fails to sway House members in speaker election. Commentary - Well! That was quite the anti-climax. After millions of Gov. Bruce Rauner's dollars and months of Republican vituperation spent demonizing Michael Madigan, the Illinois House voted 66 to 51 last week to make the veteran lawmaker from Chicago's southwest side speaker of the House for a 17th time. About all the anti-Madigan forces had to show for their week-long "countdown" to inauguration day was a "present" vote by Democratic Rep. Scott Drury of Highwood, who said later he was "confident that my vote represents the view of the vast majority of my constituents." Be that as it may. As the historic 100th General Assembly got under way, though, both Madigan — who chairs the Illinois Democratic Party — and re-elected House Republican Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs urged bipartisan cooperation. For the last two years, "we worked to find the worst in each other," Madigan said after taking the oath as

Illinois Issues: Check The Facts Before Buying Into The King Madigan Storyline

Illinois Issues: Editor Jamey Dunn Says Goodbye

Jamey Dunn is leaving the position of Illinois Issues editor. In this week 's Illinois Issues report , she reflects on her time working here and covering state government.

Illinois Issues: A Crash Course In Economics

Campus communities in the state feel the consequences of drastic higher education cuts.

Illinois Issues: New Laws In 2017

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

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