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Springfield

News from the Illinois state legislature, governor and lawmakers in Springfield.

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State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz eyeing appointment to Senate seat of mentor John Cullerton

Feigenholtz worked for the retiring Cullerton for years before joining him in Springfield.

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Cullerton escapes storm of federal investigations but clouds linger

Cullerton has always been a unique case study — an old-style Chicago Democratic Machine stalwart wrapped in a lakefront liberal veneer. That’s not all bad, and it’s not all good, either.

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Successor to former state Rep. Luis Arroyo chosen, but one Cook County Democrat says ‘the fix is in’

Using proxy votes of Arroyo, who resigned after he was charged with bribery, could set up a fight with Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, who had warned against any involvement by Arroyo in choosing his successor.

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Here are some of the contenders to replace Illinois Senate President John Cullerton

Kimberly Lightford, Heather Steans, Tony Munoz and others are among the candidates.

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In Chicago and across the Midwest, Trump’s EPA is inspecting polluters less, cutting staff

The number of people working in the federal environmental agency’s Chicago region has hit an all-time low. So has the number of inspections — down 60% since the president took office.

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Public weed consumption will be allowed only at dispensaries and smoke shops, not bars and restaurants

Backtracking on the law they passed last spring, Illinois lawmakers voted Thursday to sharply restrict where people will be able to consume cannabis once it becomes legal in January.

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Illinois Senate President John Cullerton to retire after decade as Dem leader

The Chicago Democrat told the Senate Democratic caucus on Thursday that he plans to retire next year.

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Senate President John Cullerton says plan to retire in January is a ‘promise kept’

"I promised my wife, Pam, I would retire a year ago to help her take care of our grandkids," said Cullerton, who made the surprise announcement Thursday.

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Chicago casino plan craps out in waning hours of veto session

The House "needs to stop the regionalism and take a leap of faith that will allow Chicago to move forward appropriately and responsibly with a casino," State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago said.

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Illinois Senate clears pension consolidation plan, landing Gov. Pritzker a big win

The governor unveiled the plan in October after a task force recommended consolidating the pension plans under two new statewide funds: one for police and one for fire.

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Clock ticking for Mayor Lightfoot to gain support on Chicago casino ‘compromise’

Changes in the language of Illinois’ new gambling law have mostly been agreed upon to lighten the tax burden on the big city casino to make it viable. But sources say Mayor Lori Lightfoot is struggling to gain support, even after deploying labor union forces to try to seal the deal in the waning hours of the fall veto session.

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Lightfoot lobbies Springfield for Chicago casino, with rare visit to Democratic caucus

With Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s legislative wish list still up in the air, the mayor took questions from a packed House Democratic caucus on Tuesday — reminding them a Chicago casino "benefits the entire state."

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SafeSpeed rep under federal scrutiny pushed Oak Lawn to issue more red-light-camera tickets

John O’Sullivan, who’s also a south suburban political operative, was part of an effort to pressure police to cite more drivers for violations, records and interviews show.

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Mayor Lightfoot heads to Springfield to push agenda — including Chicago casino

If Lightfoot does not get her preferred casino plan and the real estate transfer tax passed this week, it will once again spark talk of a much dreaded property tax hike for Chicagoans.

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Madigan: No role for Arroyo in picking his replacement

State Rep. Luis Arroyo planned a meeting to help pick his own successor. But Speaker Mike Madigan has warned the other precinct committeemen that Arroyo should stay out of the process.

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Smart money is on ethics, pension fix action during veto session — but no big bets placed on Chicago casino

State lawmakers are also poised to take up key measures such as a ban on flavored vapes and a cap on insulin prices at $100 a month when they return to Springfield on Tuesday.

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Clerk Yarbrough touts ‘method to her madness,’ says hiring criticism ‘is purely personal’  

Yarbrough sat down for a frank and free-wheeling interview to discuss her 11 months on the job, answering criticisms, touting accomplishments — and insisting she’s not eyeing a statewide run in the near future.

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Broken state lobbying laws won’t be fixed in a week

Some lobbyists for sweepstakes machines registered late — or not at all.

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Springfield is abuzz with talk of clamp down on lobbyists — if only it were that simple

Gov. Pritzker and others have publicly floated a plan to force Statehouse lobbyists to disclose how much their clients pay them.

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Police union now on board with Gov. Pritzker’s pension consolidation plan

On Friday, the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police said they now support the pension consolidation plan, signaling that there could be motion when lawmakers return to Springfield for the veto session next week.

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Real ID? Real pain in the neck for Illinois residents trying to get one

Secretary of State’s driver’s license facilities are facing a crush of people wanting the cards. That means longer waits and long lines for everyone. And you might not even need the new ID.

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‘Only in Illinois’? Criminally charged Luis Arroyo wants say in who succeeds him in House

Party leaders have asked Arroyo to relinquish his post as a Democratic ward committeeman. Instead, the Northwest Democrat is calling a meeting to choose his replacement.

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Fact-check: Pritzker’s muddled claim about Illinois’ population losses mixes metrics 

Has Illinois, which is still the nation’s sixth-largest state, lost population almost every year for most of the past century? And what, exactly, does Pritzker mean by "lost population?"

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Pritzker would consider ban on lawmaker-lobbyists, calling Arroyo’s roles ‘challenging and problematic’ 

As Gov. J.B. Pritzker joined Google to announce a second Chicago office, Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin held a press conference to announce an ethics reform package, with one measure outright banning all lawmakers from lobbying for any city or county.

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Illinois sportsbooks to get license applications in next six weeks — but still no timetable for launch

Casinos, horse racetracks and Chicago sports arenas are expected to jump on the applications upon release in December.

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Former Madigan consultant whose allegations rocked political landscape forms #MeToo support group

Alaina Hampton said she decided to form the support group after women reached out to her following an NPR story about her "experience with anxiety and lack of recovery options."

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Pritzker promises lobbying reforms as ‘small start’ to end corrupt ‘old way of doing politics’

After general vows to help "root" out illegal activity, Pritzker on Tuesday pledged to take the first step in next week’s fall veto session. He did not elaborate about his ethics proposal.

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Pritzker’s ‘fair tax’ dissected at Oak Park forum

At a forum hosted by the Chicago Sun-Times and the Illinois AARP in Oak Park, Adam Schuster of the Illinois Policy Institute and Greg Baise of the Coalition for Jobs, Growth & Prosperity argued against the ballot measure. Bob Gallo of AARP Illinois and Ralph Martire of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, meanwhile, advocated for its passage.

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Been busted for weed? That will actually help you land a job when it’s legalized

Having a pot-related arrest or conviction used to be a liability for Illinoisans seeking employment. Now, a criminal record might lead to a job in the cannabis industry.

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Luis Arroyo: the slow rise and sudden fall of a low-profile, clout-heavy state rep

Much like state Sen. Martin Sandoval, another Chicago legislator facing intense federal scrutiny though not yet charged, a common reaction to state Rep. Luis Arroyo’s arrest in political circles was: ‘What took them so long?’

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Berrios in-law pushes to legalize sweepstakes machines while running PAC tied to Madigan

James T. Weiss runs the Alliance of Illinois Taxpayers, which raises hundreds of thousands of dollars largely from law firms allied with the Illinois House speaker.

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Speaker Madigan’s son got Alsip business, hit up mayor for campaign cash for his dad

A fundraising invitation for an event benefiting Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan came as Andrew Madigan’s insurance firm was angling for business from the south suburb.