Governor’s Annual Budget Address: An Illinois Lawmakers Special Edition

Democratic Governor Pat Quinn called on the Illinois General Assembly to make the state’s temporary five percent income tax rate permanent to avoid what he said would be “hazardous” cuts to education, human services, and a host of other state services.

In exchange, he proposed offering homeowners $500 in yearly property tax relief.  This edition of Illinois Lawmakers includes the Governor’s address in its entirety, responses from the Democratic and Republican legislative leaders, and analysis from Capitolfax.com publisher and editor Rich Miller.  Hosted by Jak Tichenor.

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Governor Pat Quinn Delivers Fifth State of the State Address

Five years to the day when he was sworn in to replace ousted former Governor Rod Blagojevich, incumbent Governor Pat Quinn (D) Chicago, delivered his fifth State of the State message to the Illinois General Assembly.

This special edition of Illinois Lawmakers features the Governor’s entire 40-minute speech followed by the GOP response from Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno (R) Lemont and House Republican Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs. Analysis from Capitolfax.com editor & publisher Rich Miller and Amanda Vinicky, Illinois Public Radio Statehouse Bureau Chief.  Hosted by Jak Tichenor.

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Illinois General Assembly Approves Pension Reform Agreement

House Speaker Michael Madigan (D) Chicago, describes the shuttle diplomacy role he played in the final days and hours leading up to the vote in an exclusive newsmaker interview on the program.

Two of the conference committee members, Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D) Northbrook and Rep. Darlene Senger (R) Naperville provide an in-depth discussion of the agreement’s details.  Later, Sen. Daniel Biss (D) Evanston, a conference committee member and Sen. David Luechtefeld (R) Okawville, an Assistant Senate Republican Leader, explain the reasons for their votes.  Biss was one of 30 senators voting for the bill.  Luechtefeld was one of 24 senators voting “no.”  The House approved the bill 62-53.  Union officials representing state workers and retirees say the changes are unconstitutional and are planning a legal challenge.

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Same Sex Marriage Approved but More Work Remains on Pensions

Illinois Lawmakers approved same sex marriage during the fall veto session but may return to the Capitol after Thanksgiving if a compromise is reached on pension reform.  On this edition of Illinois Lawmakers, host Jak Tichenor talks with newly-elected House Republican Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs about his priorities after assuming the leadership of the 47-member House GOP caucus.

Next, we’ll examine the latest developments in efforts to resolve the state’s $100-billion public employee pension crisis with Pension Conference Committee Co-Chairman Senator Kwame Raoul (D) Chicago and Deputy Senate Republican Leader Matt Murphy of Palatine who also serves on the pension panel.  Later, a conversation with Representative Greg Harris (D) Chicago, the lead sponsor of the same sex marriage bill that won final passage during the veto session. Harris is joined by Representative Joe Sosnowski (R) Rockford, who voted against the measure.

NOTE:  Illinois Lawmakers may return with an update on the pension issue if an agreement is reached after the Thanksgiving holiday.  We’ll post updates here at illinoislawmakers.org.

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Spring Session Wrap-up

Illinois Lawmakers left Springfield on May 31 after passing a $35.4-billlion budget, concealed carry legislation, and expanding the state’s Medicaid system, but they’ll be back in town later this month after failing to solve the state’s nearly $100-billion public pension crisis.

On this special edition of Illinois Lawmakers, Jak Tichenor and his guests discuss what happens next with the pension issue, implementing concealed carry, and a host of other topics, including fracking, same-sex marriage, and casino gaming.

Guests include Assistant House Majority Leader Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion), Assistant Senate Republican Leader Sen. David Luechtefeld (R-Okawville), House Republican Caucus Chairman Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro), and Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg).

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General Assembly Adjourns

The Illinois General Assembly adjourned its spring session as scheduled on Friday, May 31st without finding a solution to the state’s nearly $100-billion public pension problem.

The Senate overwhelmingly defeated a measure backed by House Speaker Michael Madigan (D) Chicago that would have unilaterally forced state workers to work longer, pay more, and receive less in retirement benefits.  A union-backed Senate proposal offered by Senate President John Cullerton D-Chicago, that would have offered state employees and retirees a choice of options was not called for a vote in the House. 

Lawmakers passed concealed carry legislation, new “fracking” regulations for the state’s oil and gas industries, and an expansion of the state’s Medicaid program before leaving the Capitol.  A House vote on same-sex marriage failed to materialize in the final hours of the session nor was there any progress on a major gaming expansion proposal.  A Democrat-backed $35.4 billion general funds budget was approved on party line votes in the House and Senate.

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Final Session for Spring 2013: Pension Reform Still Elusive

The Illinois General Assembly headed into the final hours of the spring legislative session deeply divided over how to address the state’s nearly $100-billion pension crisis.

session deeply divided over how to address the state’s nearly $100-billion pension crisis.  On this edition of Illinois Lawmakers, Capitolfax.com editor and publisher Rich Miller leads off our coverage.  Host Jak Tichenor then talks one on one with House Speaker Michael Madigan D-Chicago about the showdown with Senate President John Cullerton D-Chicago on competing pension reform plans and concealed carry legislation.  Rounding out the program, veteran state Senators William Delgado D-Chicago and Kirk Dillard R-Hinsdale offer their insights into the battle over pension reform, concealed carry, and passing a new state budget for the fiscal year beginning July first.

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Pension Reform, Concealed Carry, and Budget Negotiations continue

On this week’s Illinois Lawmakers, Illinois Public Radio Statehouse Bureau chief Amanda Vinicky leads off our coverage with an update on the week’s news from Springfield.

Our exclusive newsmaker interview features Senate President John Cullerton D-Chicago who urges the House to pass the Senate’s version of pension reform because he believes the House approved version won’t withstand constitutional challenges.  Cullerton also pans the latest House version of concealed carry legislation for a provision wiping out local gun control measures across the state. 

Later, we hear the latest on budget negotiations from Senate Appropriations One Committee Chairwoman Heather Steans D-Chicago and Assistant House Republican Leader Patti Bellock R-Hinsdale, the House’s GOP’s top budget negotiator.

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Update on Pension Reform, Concealed Carry

Illinois Public Radio Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky leads off this week’s Illinois Lawmakers coverage with an update of the week’s news under the Capitol dome.

Host Jak Tichenor then talks with Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno (R) Lemont about the fate of pension reform, concealed carry, and a host of other issues still unresolved with only two weeks left in the spring session.  We’ll also hear from Senate concealed carry legislation negotiators Kwame Raoul (D) Chicago and Tim Bivins (R) Dixon about the upper chamber’s attempts to craft a new gun bill in the wake of a federal appeals court’s decision striking down the state’s concealed carry laws.  State Representative Brandon Phelps (D) Harrisburg rounds out the program with an update on his efforts to pass concealed carry in the House.

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Pension Reform Bill Update

The Illinois Senate this week passed a union-backed pension reform bill on a 40-16 vote but the measure’s fate is uncertain in the Illinois House where that chamber had earlier passed its own plan to solve the state’s public employee pension crisis.

The Illinois Senate this week passed a union-backed pension reform bill on a 40-16 vote but the measure’s fate is uncertain in the Illinois House where that chamber had earlier passed its own plan to solve the state’s public employee pension crisis.

Capitolfax editor and publisher Rich Miller leads of the program followed by a newmaker interview with House Republican Leader Tom Cross about the week’s headlines under the Capitol Dome.  Later, an in-depth discussion about the competing pension reform plans with Senator Linda Holmes (D) Aurora, who helped negotiate the Senate’s pension bill, Aurora and Rep. Darlene Senger (R) Naperville, the Republican Spokeswoman on the House Personnel and Pensions Committee.

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Illinois Lawmakers Make Progress on Pension Reform

The Illinois House has passed a comprehensive pension reform package sponsored by House Speaker Michael Madigan but the plan faces an uncertain fate in the Senate where President John Cullerton favors a different approach to solving the state’s nearly $100-billion pension problem.

Deputy House Majority Leader Lou Lang (D) Skokie and Assistant House Republican Floor Leader Dennis Reboletti (R) Elmhurst discuss pensions, a new gambling expansion plan, and medical marijuana legislation.  Later, Assistant Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady of Bloomington and Senate Appropriations II Committee Chairman Dan Kotowski (D) Park Ridge bring a Senate perspective to the pension issue and the budget making process.

Capitolfax editor and publisher Rich Miller leads off the program with analysis of the week’s events along with Illinois Lawmakers host Jak Tichenor.

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Governor’s Budget Message

Governor Pat Quinn delivered what he called “the most difficult budget Illinois has ever faced” to the Illinois General Assembly on March sixth, and warned the situation would only get worse unless they passed comprehensive pension reform this spring.

Quinn, a Chicago Democrat, outlined a $62.4 billion all-funds budget that included $400-million in education cuts the Governor said were necessary because the state’s nearly $97-billion unfunded pension liability grows $17-milllion every day that passes without a solution.

This edition of Illinois Lawmakers features the Governor’s speech in its entirety followed by in-depth interviews with Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno of Lemont, House Republican Leader Tom Cross of Oswego, and Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan of Chicago.  The program also features commentary by Capitolfax.com editor and publisher Rich Miller and Illinois Public Radio Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky.  Hosted by Illinois Lawmakers executive producer Jak Tichenor.

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State of the State 2013

Governor Pat Quinn presented his annual State of the State address on Wednesday, February 6, 2013.

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Illinois Lawmakers Fall Veto Session

All eyes are now on January’s “lame duck” session of the Illinois General Assembly now that lawmakers have adjourned the fall veto session one day early this week with lots of issues still unresolved.

On this edition of Illinois Lawmakers, host Jak Tichenor talks with House Revenue and Commerce Committee Chairman John Bradley (D-Marion) and Representative Darlene Senger (R-Naperville) about attempts to pay down billions in back bills owed by the state and a new push by House lawmakers to draft their own version of a pension reform plan to address the state’s estimated $95-billion unfunded pension liability.

Later, Senate Gaming Committee Chairman Terry Link (D-Waukegan) and Assistant Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) discuss the latest developments in trying to approve a major gaming expansion now that Governor Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel appear to have settled many of their differences over a proposed Chicago casino. Capitolfax.com editor and publisher Rich Miller leads off this week’s program with analysis of the veto session.

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Lawmakers pass budget, gaming expansion, but can’t agree on pension reforms

Illinois Lawmakers have adjourned their spring session but will likely return at to the Capitol sometime this summer after failing to reach agreement on solving the state’s $83-billion dollar pension problem.

House Republican leader Tom Crossaf decided not to call a bill to restructure the state’s five pension systems when it became clear that he would not have enough Democratic votes to pass the measure. 

Capitolfax editor Rich Miller leads off this week’s program with analysis of why the pension issue imploded in the last week of the spring session.  Next, we’ll examine pensions and other key issues this session in an exclusive “newsmaker” interview with Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan of Chicago.  Speaker Madigan tells Illinois Lawmakers’ Jak Tichenor he would not vote for the pension reform plan after it had been stripped of a measure to shift pension costs from the state to local districts, state universities, and community colleges.

Later, an in-depth discussion on pensions with House Personnel and Pensions Committee Chair Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D) Northbrook and Assistant Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady of Bloomington, both are members of the Governor’s pension working group.

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Lawmakers agree on Medicaid Reform Package

The Illinois House and Senate this week voted to cut Medicaid spending by $1.6-billion dollars as part of a plan to save an eventual $2.7-billion and save the program from financial collapse.

On this week’s Illinois Lawmakers, House Human Services Appropriations Chairperson Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D) Chicago and Rep. Patti Bellock (R) Hinsdale, the House GOP pointperson on Medicaid reform outline the bipartisan agreement to make deep cuts in the healthcare program for the poor to ensure its survival.  Passage of a dollar a pack increase in the state cigarette tax will be the next step in solving the Medicaid crisis.

Later, Senate Education Committee Vice Chairperson Kimberly Lightford (D) Maywood and Rep. Darlene Senger (R) Naperville discuss the funding outlook for the state’s elementary and secondary schools in the coming year.  Illinois Public Radio Statehouse Bureau chief Amanda Vinicky updates viewers on this week’s legislative news including House passage of a major gambling expansion and agreement on Medicaid reform.  Hosted by Jak Tichenor.

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Lawmakers Consider Gaming Expansion Proposal

The Illinois General Assembly may take another run at adding five new casino licenses to help ease the state budget crisis and create thousands of new jobs.

Capitolfax.com publisher Rich Miller leads off this week’s program with insights into recent discussions between lawmakers and the Governor’s office on casino gaming expansion and reforming the state’s Medicaid and pension systems.  Next, Senate President Cullerton (D) Chicago, in a newsmaker interview, tells Jak Tichenor lawmakers are putting the final touches on plans to rescue the state’s chronically underfunded pension systems and reduce Medicaid spending by $2.7 billion through program cuts and efficiencies while raising the state cigarette tax.  Cullerton also discusses new attempts to pass a gaming expansion package this session as well as creating the framework for Illinois to become a worldwide hub for internet gaming.  Later, State Rep. Lou Lang (D) Skokie and Sen. Darrin LaHood (R) Dunlap, debate the pros and cons of gaming expansion.  Lang, the House Democrats point person on gaming, says expanding gambling is the only realistic way to create new revenue for the state at this time while LaHood is concerned about the societal costs of additional gambling.

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Lawmakers Move to Cut Retirement Costs

The Illinois House and Senate have advanced legislation to end free health insurance premiums for most state retirees. Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno (R) Lemont discusses plans to have retirees pay for coverage based on the size of their retirement incomes and years of service.

Later, House Human Services Committee Chairman Rep. Greg Harris (D) Chicago and Deputy House Republican Leader David Leitch (R) Peoria describe the deep cuts that will have to be made to the state’s human services programs to save $2.7-billion dollars in Medicaid expenses in next year’s budget. Illinois Public Radio Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky leads off the program with analysis of this week’s news from the Capitol. Hosted by Illinois Lawmakers Statehouse Correspondent Jak Tichenor.

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House Republican Leader headlines this week’s Illinois Lawmakers

This week’s edition of Illinois Lawmakers features a “newsmaker” interview with House Republican Leader Tom Cross detailing the General Assembly’s most recent efforts to reign in spending on state employee pensions and retirement benefits.

Later, veteran state Senators Donne Trotter (D) Chicago and Dale Righter (R) Mattoon discuss why the state must act now to contain Medicaid and pension spending to preserve essential programs like education and public safety.  They also discuss this week’s Senate vote to eliminate the General Assembly’s controversial legislative scholarship program.  Capitolfax newsletter publisher Rich Miller leads off this week’s program with an update on the latest from the Illinois Statehouse.  Hosted by Jak Tichebnor.

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Governor Quinn proposes cuts, lawmakers nowhere near agreement

Governor Pat Quinn has rolled out a series of proposals to save Illinois billions of dollars in future Medicaid and public employee pension costs, but lawmakers are nowhere near agreement on what parts of the plans might eventually make it into legislation.

On the latest Illinois Lawmakers, we hear from Medicaid working group members Sen. Heather Steans (D) Chicago and Rep. Patti Bellock (R) Hinsdale, and Pension study group members Sen. Michael Noland (D) Elgin and Rep. Darlene Senger (R) Naperville, about what they think of what’s currently on the table. Illinois Public Radio Statehouse Bureau chief Amanda Vinicky joins host Jak Tichenor for analysis of the week’s events.

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Tough Budget Choices

The budget-making process is moving along in Springfield as lawmakers struggle with paying down billions of dollars in overdue bills while keeping state government afloat. Jak Tichenor talks with Illinois legislative leaders about the touch choices ahead during the countdown to adjournment on May 31st.

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