Stories by Jerry Nowicki — Capitol News Illinois

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is pictured in a July 2023 file photo. (Jerry Nowicki / Capitol News Illinois)

Pritzker Appoints Prisoner Review Board Director Following Controversy Over Release of Inmate Charged With Killing 11-Year-Old Boy

Appointee Jim Montgomery will be responsible for overseeing administrative board operations, including bolstering domestic violence prevention training and “other important equity-based trainings for board members,” according to the governor’s office. 

Illinois Department of Revenue Director David Harris, IDOR Chief Economist Rubina Hafeez and Governor’s Office of Management and Budget Director Alexis Sturm take questions from the House Revenue and Finance Committee in Springfield on Thursday. (Jerry Nowicki / Capitol News Illinois)

Pritzker’s Agency Heads Questioned by Lawmakers on $1.1 Billion Revenue Proposals

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed spending plan anticipates $52.9 billion in revenue, with new funds raised by increasing certain corporate tax rates, lowering personal and business income tax deductions and making other tax changes. 

Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability chief economist Ben Varner (left to right), revenue manager Eric Noggle and executive director Clayton Klenke testify at the commission’s annual revenue update meeting in Springfield Tuesday. (Jerry Nowicki / Capitol News Illinois)

With Recession Fears Subsiding, New State Economic Forecast Expects ‘Firm but Steady Growth’

The state’s two main fiscal forecasting agencies agree: Illinois’ finances will see a strong close in the final 3 ½ months of the fiscal year before things tighten a bit next year.

State Rep. Dan Caulkins is pictured at an Illinois State Capitol news conference last year. He was again rejected by the Illinois Supreme Court this week in a case against the state’s assault weapons ban. (Capitol News Illinois file photo)

Illinois Supreme Court Denies State Lawmaker’s Bid to Vacate Gun Ban Ruling

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the ban on the sale, possession and manufacture of a long list of firearms, high-capacity magazines and certain accessories in January 2023. State Rep. Dan Caulkins, R-Decatur, quickly challenged it. 

Medical equipment. (WTTW News)

Copays Take Effect for Illinois-Funded Immigrant Health Programs as Cost Estimates Continue to Decline

The Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults and Health Benefits for Immigrant Seniors programs provide state-funded Medicaid-like benefits to individuals aged 42 and over who would otherwise be eligible for the federal low-income health care program if not for their immigration status. 

While large-scale nuclear facilities like the Byron Generating Station won’t be allowed under a new law signed by Gov. JB Pritzker on Dec. 8, 2023, smaller-scale modular reactors are authorized under the plan. (Andrew Campbell / Capitol News Illinois)

Pritzker Signs Measure Allowing New Small-Scale Nuclear Technology in Illinois

The measure does not allow new large-scale power generation facilities like the six plants that are already operational in the state, but rather allows for new smaller-scale emergent technology.

Ray Marchiori, acting director of the Illinois Department of Employment Security, testifies before the Legislative Audit Commission on Nov. 7, 2023, about the agency’s handling of unemployment claims during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Jerry Nowicki / Capitol News Illinois)

Illinois Gets 9th Recent Credit Upgrade; Pritzker Administration Faces Scrutiny Over COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Claims

The upgrade came from Fitch Ratings, the last remaining holdout of the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies to advance the state’s status to “A” grade. Collectively, Fitch, S&P Global Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service have given the state nine credit upgrades since 2021.

Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias is pictured in a file photo. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)

Illinois Looks to Curb Vehicle Theft With Grants to Police Task Forces

Six interagency law enforcement task forces received grant funding this spring to combat car thefts through an initiative of Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias’ office.

State Senate Republican Leader John Curran, of Downers Grove, speaks to the crowd during Illinois State Fair Republican Day festivities in Springfield. (Jerry Nowicki / Capitol News Illinois)

Illinois Republicans Focus on Unity and Avoid Trump During GOP Day at State Fair

During Republican Day at the Illinois State Fair, state party leaders sought a message of unity ahead of the 2024 presidential election. While former President Donald Trump’s name and political slogans were visible on signage and clothing, the speakers generally kept their focus on Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks to the crowd at Governor’s Day at the Illinois State Fair. (Jerry Nowicki / Capitol News Illinois)

Trump, Rauner, Policy Wins on Democrats’ Minds During State Fair’s Political Festivities

Donald Trump and Bruce Rauner remained popular punching bags for Illinois Democrats as they rallied in Springfield Wednesday, while the party also touted a long list of recent policy wins. Republicans will have their own rally Thursday.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks at a news conference in Springfield on Wednesday before signing an order to rename McFarland Mental Health Center after Elizabeth Packard, a woman who was committed into an Illinois asylum against her will in 1860. (Capitol News Illinois)

160 Years Later, Activist Elizabeth Packard Honored in Place of Abusive Psychiatrist She Exposed

A state-run mental health center in Springfield is being renamed to honor the woman who publicized its former namesake’s abusive methods.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks at a news conference in Springfield Friday. (Jerry Nowicki / Capitol News Illinois)

State Ends Fiscal Year With Record $50.7 Billion in Base Revenue, Sparking Small Surplus

State revenues once again reached a record high in the fiscal year that ended June 30, creating what Gov. J.B. Pritzker called a “one-time” budget surplus of over $700 million.

(ElasticComputeFarm / Pixabay)

Expiring Tax Relief Measures Mean 1% Grocery Tax to Resume, Gas Tax to Increase in Illinois on July 1

Amid record-high inflation last spring, the General Assembly temporarily waived Illinois’ grocery tax for the coming fiscal year and delayed the annual increase in the state’s motor fuel tax for six months.

Former Gov. Bruce Rauner, now a Florida resident, unveils his official portrait before it is hung on the wall of the Illinois State Capitol on June 12, 2023. (Jerry Nowicki / Capitol News Illinois)

Former Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s Portrait Added to State Capitol’s ‘Hall of Governors’

The Winnetka Republican-turned-Florida resident on Monday unveiled the portrait painted by Chicago Artist Richard Halstead and privately funded by Rauner. He downplayed the artwork as “not that big a deal” and declined to stray far from a message of “thanks” to the people of Illinois.