Stories by Andrew Adams — Capitol News Illinois

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks at G&W Electric Co. in Bolingbrook on April 15, 2024, to highlight its microgrid, which includes one of the largest batteries in the country. Also pictured (left to right): Bolingbrook Mayor Mary Alexander-Basta, Commonwealth Edison CEO Gil Quiniones and G&W chair and owner John Mueller. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)

Solar Investments Take Center Stage as Questions Loom on Illinois’ Renewable Future

Even as solar projects have boomed in Illinois in recent years, the head of the state agency responsible for approving renewable projects said changes to state law may be necessary to phase out fossil fuels by 2050.

The Michael A. Bilandic building, home to the offices of the Illinois Commerce Commission, is pictured in Chicago. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)

Regulators Weigh Future of Gas Industry in Illinois, While Clamping Down on Chicago Utility

Natural gas is fueling a fight between consumer advocates, a powerful utility company and the state. Amid competing advertising campaigns, accusations of mismanagement and state decarbonization efforts, the Illinois Commerce Commission is starting a process that will shape how the state regulates the increasingly controversial industry.

Illinois Commerce Commission Chair Doug Scott presides over a commission meeting in Chicago in late January. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)

After Being Rebuffed by Regulators, Illinois Utilities File Slimmed-Down Spending Plans

Consumers likely to pay more for infrastructure improvements

The plans propose billions of dollars in spending and lay out the companies’ plans for supporting the state’s climate goals, including the transition away from greenhouse gas emitting energy generation over the next 20 years. The ICC is now reviewing the plans in a process likely to last the rest of the year. 

The exterior of the Illinois State Capitol is pictured in Springfield. In 2024, nearly 90% of Statehouse primaries feature either one candidate or none at all. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)

Nearly 9 in 10 State-Level Primaries Give Illinois Voters No Choice in Candidates

Statewide, 88% of judicial and state legislative primaries feature either a single candidate or no one running at all. This is the highest number of uncompetitive primaries for those seats in at least 20 years, according to a Capitol News Illinois analysis of data going back to 2004.

(Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

In Illinois, Customers Pay for Utilities’ Lawyers and Corporate Donations. Advocates Want to Change That

Consumer advocates are pushing for a change to state law that would bar utilities from collecting money from customers for those expenditures, liability insurance covering executives and for the cost associated with filing rate cases. 

A file image of construction on the Jane Byrne Interchange. (WTTW News)

Teamsters Unions Representing 3,800 IDOT Workers Authorize Strike as Negotiations Continue

The eight local unions that authorized strikes are spread throughout Illinois and represent around 3,800 employees, including drivers, highway maintainers and bridge tenders. Negotiations between the state and the unions have lasted more than seven months. 

The Illinois Supreme Court building is pictured in Springfield. (Jerry Nowicki / Capitol News Illinois)

A Woman Reenacted Finding Her Dead Son. Now the Illinois Supreme Court Will Decide Whether That Video Should Have Been Used During Murder Trial

The video of that reenactment – which Jessica Logan’s lawyers maintain she was coerced into performing – was used as a key piece of evidence in her 2021 conviction on first-degree murder charges.

Valerie Goss, the head of the faculty union at Chicago State University, and Illinois Federation of Teachers President Daniel Montgomery embrace at an April 3, 2023, rally on the campus of Chicago State University. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)

Public University Unions in Illinois Look to State for Solutions After Year of Higher Education Labor Action

Report finds public university employees paid 21% less than state agency workers in similar jobs

At public universities across the state, staff and faculty unions have faced a contentious year of negotiations and, in some cases, strikes. Pay has been a major issue on several campuses and the unions are now looking to Springfield for potential reforms to the state’s higher education funding.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Sameer Vohra is pictured at a news conference in Springfield in May 2023. IDPH is warning Illinoisans to take precautions against the spread of respiratory viruses as hospitalizations rise. (Jerry Nowicki / Capitol News Illinois)

Illinois Public Health Officials Urge Caution Around Respiratory Illnesses

COVID-19 hospitalizations up in recent weeks, masks recommended in certain settings

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 were up 22% statewide last week compared to the week before.

Pastor and environmental activist Veronica Johnson speaks to protestors at an Oct. 19, 2023, rally to pressure the Illinois Commerce Commission into rejecting utilities’ requested gas rate increases. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)

Peoples Gas Pushes Back Against State Oversight, Asks for Further Rate Increase

Chicago utility Peoples Gas is requesting a multimillion-dollar bump to its already record-high rate increase approved by regulators last month. Consumer and environmental advocates have pushed back strongly against the request.

A map submitted to the Illinois Commerce Commission by Wolf Carbon Solutions showing their preferred route for a proposed carbon dioxide pipeline. (Photo taken from ICC testimony.)

Iowa-Illinois Carbon Dioxide Pipeline Application Withdrawn, Company ‘Remains Committed’

While portions of the pipeline’s plan have yet to be finalized, it was generally proposed to run from two ethanol production facilities owned by Archer Daniels Midland in Iowa and terminate near Decatur, home to ADM’s North American headquarters.

Illinois Commerce Commission member Michael Carrigan, Chair Doug Scott and member Ann McCabe are pictured at a commission meeting in Springfield earlier this month. (Jerry Nowicki / Capitol News Illinois)

Advocates Hail Regulatory ‘Earthquake’ as State Slashes Requested Gas Rate Increases

Regulators at the Illinois Commerce Commission unanimously approved rate hikes for four major natural gas utilities, but the little-known regulatory body’s decision was perhaps more notable for what it rejected. The board flexed its regulatory muscle, slashing the utilities’ requested rate increases by as much as 50 percent.

The proposed map shows the Illinois portion of the now-canceled Navigator Heartland Greenway pipeline. (Published by Navigator CO2 at

Controversial Pipeline Canceled Amid Safety Concerns, Regulatory Pushback

The plan included several hundred miles of pipeline in Illinois which terminated at sequestration sites designed to store carbon dioxide underground. The project was met with significant pushback from environmentalists and landowners.

Yessenia Balcazar of the Southeast Environmental Task Force holds a sign in downtown Chicago at a March 27, 2023, protest of Peoples Gas’ proposed rate increase. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)

Illinois Officials Recommend Gas Price Increase for 4.1M Consumers

Utility customers throughout Illinois will likely see higher natural gas bills beginning in January after staff at the state’s utility regulatory agency recommended rate increases for four gas companies.

Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Fellow Hope Burks presents her research into inflammation monitoring to Gov. J.B. Pritzker at a launch event for the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Chicago. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Launches New Biomedical Research Hub in Chicago

Biohub part of Facebook founder’s philanthropy

In addition to initial state funding, the center will receive $250 million from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative over 10 years to fund research into inflammation, part of the body’s innate response to irritation and disease.

(Matheus Ferrero / Pexels)

Illinois Secretary of State Wants Permanent Increase in Driving Test Age Requirement

Illinois is the only state in the country that has a driving test requirement for people over a certain age. Illinois also requires more frequent driver’s license renewals for people over age 80, something only 23 states require.

The Illinois Supreme Court chamber is pictured in Springfield. (Peter Hancock / Capitol News Illinois)

As Illinois Supreme Court Weighs Another Biometric Privacy Lawsuit, Lawmakers Consider Child Data Framework

The Illinois Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a pair of class action suits brought by two suburban nurses who allege their employers violated the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act, a landmark 2008 law that gives Illinois residents the ability to sue companies that misuse biometric data, such as fingerprints or facial scans.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, organizers of the Illinois State Fair and others cut the ribbon at the main gate of the Illinois State Fairgrounds last month. (Jerry Nowicki / Capitol News Illinois)

Illinois State Fair Reports 9-Year Attendance High of 708,000 People

Fair manager points to good weather, recent renovations

The state Department of Agriculture, which hosts the fair each year, reported on Tuesday that about 708,000 people attended the fair, an 11% increase from 2022.  

An electric vehicle is pictured charging in Chicago. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)

Battery Manufacturing Plant Coming to Illinois With $530M Incentive Deal

The roughly $2 billion project is set to create 2,600 jobs and begin production in 2024. The plant will produce battery cells, battery packs like the kinds used in electric vehicles and large-scale energy storage systems.

(Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

Complaint Alleges ComEd Violated State Law by Raising Fees on Customer Bills

A group of businesses filed a complaint with state regulators alleging that Chicago electric company Commonwealth Edison improperly raised customer bills this summer. The complaint claims the utility failed to follow proper regulatory channels.

(Chris_LeBoutillier / Pixabay)

Illinois Leaders Announce Mental Health Awareness Grant Program for Farmers and Rural Communities

Governor J.B. Pritzker announced Tuesday that chapters of FFA – the group once known as Future Farmers of America – will be eligible for $1,000 grants to fund mental health awareness programs in schools and rural communities.

Rep. Mary Beth Canty, D-Arlington Heights, is pictured during House floor debate.  (Jerry Nowicki / Capitol News Illinois)

Illinois to Put $20 Million Toward Grants for Grocers, Research Into Food Insecurity

New law aims to alleviate ‘food deserts’ throughout the state

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday signed a bill that sets up a program to distribute $20 million for grants and technical assistance for grocery stores as well as funding research into food insecurity.

State Rep. Larry Walsh, D-Elwood, is pictured in an Illinois House committee room earlier this year. He said he is going to try to override Gov. J.B. Pritzker's veto of a bill that would have granted existing utilities in downstate Illinois, notably Ameren Illinois, the “right of first refusal” for transmission line construction. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)

Pritzker Vetoes Measure Granting Ameren Authority Over Transmission Line Construction

The governor issued what’s called an amendatory veto, striking only the portion of House Bill 3445. He left the rest of the bill, which modifies a state grant program and requires several policy studies, untouched.

State Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, watches on May 19, 2023, as the Senate votes on her bill lifting the state’s moratorium on nuclear plant construction. (Capitol News Illinois photo by Andrew Adams)

Pritzker Vetoes Bill That Would Have Lifted 1980s Moratorium on New Nuclear Reactors in Illinois

The bill earned more votes than the three-fifths majority needed to override

The passed in May with three-fifths majorities in both legislative chambers, meaning that if all of the members that voted for it also support an override of the governor’s veto, it still could become law.

Illinois PIRG Director Abe Scarr offers public comment at a Tuesday Illinois Commerce Commission hearing on Peoples Gas’ requested utility rate increase. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)

Residents, Activists Ask State Regulators to Reject Utilities’ Rate Increases

The Illinois Commerce Commission is considering several rate hikes, including two sought by the utilities Peoples Gas and Ameren Illinois, who say they are needed to fund infrastructure improvements.

Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias speaks to reporters at a July 27, 2023, news conference announcing that several driver services facilities will begin requiring appointments in the fall. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)

Illinois Driver’s License Facilities to Require Appointments in More Than 40 Locations. Search for Yours.

Starting Sept. 1, 44 driver services facilities in medium- to large-sized cities around the state will require appointments for driver services.