General Assembly

Fri, 02/24/2012
Lawmakers in the Illinois House earned an extra $661,000 last year for serving as committee officers, even though some committees met fewer than five times and a handful met once, a Chicago News Cooperative analysis found. The House paid members who serve as committee chairmen and spokesmen (Springfield’s term for ranking minority members) $10,326...
Wed, 02/01/2012
Illinois is so broke that virtually nothing is sacred: Even historic sites connected to Abraham Lincoln could face significant cuts in the upcoming state budget. State preservation officials warn that expected deep cuts, coming after reductions of 15 percent and 16 percent in the past two years, will risk shuttering some locations and...
Wed, 01/11/2012
Gov. Pat Quinn called for a “rendezvous with pension reality” and said the state must get its pension debt under control this year. At a news conference Tuesday, Quinn said pension reform would be one of his top priorities for the legislative session that starts January 31st. The state’s chronic inability to address its pension shortfall was a...
Tue, 01/10/2012
Four Cook County commissioners failed to take some or all of the required 10 days off without pay in the fiscal year that ended Nov. 30, 2011, according to a preliminary report by the county comptroller’s office. All 17 Cook County Commissioners approved last year’s budget, which called for most of the county’s 23,700 employees to take five...
Wed, 11/30/2011
Cuts to emergency aid for Chicago’s homeless were reversed late Tuesday after the Illinois General Assembly approved a measure to restore funding for state grants for emergency and transitional housing. The budget reallocation measure prevents the proposed $4.7 million reduction of state financing, a 52 percent cut, for emergency and transitional...
Mon, 10/17/2011
After months of indecision, Gov. Pat Quinn on Monday came out against a statewide gambling expansion bill, sending lawmakers scrambling to rework the controversial legislation. The governor did not reject the legislation outright, instead offering what he called a “framework” for a smaller expansion of gambling that he finds acceptable. Quinn’s...
Mon, 08/08/2011
Former Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis joined the chorus of opposition to the state’s gambling expansion bill last week, warning that if it is implemented, “political corruption and crime syndicate infiltration will follow.” Yet the concerns of Weis and other critics are largely addressed in the actual text of the legislation, a Chicago News...
Thu, 07/28/2011
Sweaty-shirted college students dawdled into a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University on a recent weekday, lugging water bottles to manage the heat blanketing the DeKalb campus like fleece. Mike Fortner yanked on a cord, pulling a screen from the ceiling for his presentation on amplifiers and generators. In a wrinkled shirt, loafers and wire...
Wed, 07/13/2011
On a sunny morning late last month, Noemi Donoso, Chicago Public Schools’ new chief education officer, organized a three-inch-thick binder stuffed with paperwork and district data at a table in her office. It was one of more than 20 such binders from CPS area offices Donoso has been studying since Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed her to oversee...
Tue, 07/12/2011
The state budget Gov. Pat Quinn signed June 30 is missing a key component for education advocates: money. Lawmakers stripped more than $500,000 from Quinn’s proposed budget that would have helped implement Senate Bill 7, a sweeping education reform bill lauded as a national model, partly because it eases the process of dumping poorly rated...