Stories by Hannah Meisel — Capitol News Illinois

Capitol News Illinois file photo. (Capitol News Illinois)

Disparately Resourced Public Defenders Across the State Prepare for End of Cash Bail in Illinois

Illinois on Monday will become the first state to fully abolish cash bail through an act of the legislature — a major criminal justice overhaul spurred by the advocacy of a progressive faction of the Democratic Party that’s grown increasingly powerful in recent years.

Former House Speaker Michael Madigan (middle), confidant Mike McClain (left) and longtime chief of staff Tim Mapes are pictured in Capitol News Illinois file photos. (Capitol News Illinois photos by Andrew Adams and Jerry Nowicki)

Emails Shown at Mapes Trial Detail Madigan World’s Response to 2018 Sexual Harassment Scandal

The email was introduced as evidence in the trial of longtime Madigan chief of staff Tim Mapes, who was charged with perjury and obstruction of justice after allegedly lying to a grand jury investigating Madigan and his inner circle.

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul (Capitol News Illinois file photo)

Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks Illinois Law Subjecting ‘Crisis Pregnancy Centers’ to Civil Liability

A new law allowing Illinoisans to sue so-called crisis pregnancy centers under the state’s Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act is on hold after a federal judge late Thursday granted a preliminary injunction against it.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker takes questions on Monday after a news conference at which his administration announced a new interagency effort to ensure access to abortion care in Illinois. (Credit:

Illinois to Invest More Than $23M in Abortion Access, Reproductive Health Care Initiatives

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced several new programs to help address the influx of out-of-state abortion seekers the state has seen in the 13 months since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul stands with fellow abortion rights advocates on Thursday, July 27, 2023, to celebrate the signing of a bill allowing Illinoisans to sue crisis pregnancy centers that engage in “deceptive acts” aimed at deterring abortions. (Hannah Meisel / Capitol News Illinois)

‘Crisis Pregnancy Centers’ Could Face Lawsuits Under Illinois’ Expanded Consumer Fraud Act

Crisis pregnancy centers are facilities often affiliated with anti-abortion, usually religious, organizations. CPCs range from volunteer-run outfits that can’t offer much more than counseling to facilities with licensed medical professionals on staff who can perform exams.

A screenshot shows the main finding of a state audit of unemployment fraud that occurred amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Credit: Illinois Auditor General's Office)

COVID Unemployment Surge Led to $5.2B in Overpaid Benefits in Illinois, Including Fraud

Included in that sum was $6 million paid to 481 dead people and $40.5 million in unemployment checks written to incarcerated individuals. And, the audit warned, those numbers could be a significant undercount.

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza is pictured at a news conference in Gov. JB Pritzker's office earlier this year at the Illinois State Capitol. (Jerry Nowicki / Capitol News Illinois)

State’s ‘Rainy Day’ Fund Hits Record-High Balance at Start of New Fiscal Year

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza is ringing in fiscal year 2024 by celebrating a record-high $1.94 billion in Illinois’ “rainy day” fund and setting her sights on doubling that figure in the next decade.

The Dirksen Courthouse is pictured in Chicago. (Capitol News Illinois)

On the Witness Stand, Former State Sen. Terry Link Finally Acknowledges He Wore a Wire for FBI

Link, a Vernon Hills Democrat, has spent years denying news media reports that he was the legislator-turned-cooperating witness described in charging documents made public after the arrest of ex-state Rep. Luis Arroyo in October of 2019.

The Dirksen Courthouse is pictured in Chicago. (Capitol News Illinois)

As Trial Begins, Politically Connected Businessman Claims Feds Set Him Up to Bribe Illinois Legislator

James Weiss stands accused of bribing two Democratic lawmakers in an effort to shield his fledgling business from threatened bans at the state and local levels.