Stories by Peter Hancock — Capitol News Illinois

A gun store display is pictured in a file photo. (WTTW News)

Illinois Gun Owners Who Want to Keep Now-Banned Assault Weapons Must Register Them

The law provides an exception for Illinoisans who already owned such items before it went into effect. Those people are required to submit an endorsement affidavit through their Firearm Owner’s Identification Card account before Jan. 1, 2024.

House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, is pictured at a news conference in the governor’s office earlier this year. (Jerry Nowicki / Capitol News Illinois)

Illinois House Speaker’s Staff Could Test Limits of Workers’ Rights Amendment

The Workers’ Rights Amendment provides, in part, that all employees have a “fundamental right” to organize and engage in collective bargaining over wages, hours and working conditions.

(WTTW News)

Copay Requirements Paused for Noncitizens on Illinois State Health Plan

The programs are for noncitizens over age 42 who would otherwise qualify for Medicaid if not for their immigration status.

Loretto Hospital workers and other union supporters picket in front of the hospital’s emergency wing in Austin during the first day of the strike on July 31, 2023. (Eunice Alpasan / WTTW News)

Surge in Organization Efforts Has Illinois Labor Leaders Optimistic for the Future

As workers in Illinois celebrate Labor Day, a new report shows there has been a surge in efforts to organize labor unions in workplaces throughout the state, while overall public approval of labor unions nationally is the highest in nearly six decades.

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul listens during a May 2023 House floor debate of a bill subjecting gun dealers and manufacturers to civil action if they use deceptive marketing practices. (Jerry Nowicki / Capitol News Illinois)

Days After Pritzker Signs Law, Gun Industry Group Challenges New Firearms Marketing Restrictions

The Connecticut-based National Shooting Sports Foundation filed the suit in the Southern District of Illinois on Monday, just two days after Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed it into law.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks at a bill signing ceremony in Chicago Aug. 4, 2023, before signing three measures extending cultural protections to Native Americans in Illinois and requiring the teaching of Native American history in public schools. (Credit:

Pritzker Signs Bills Expanding Cultural Protections for Native Americans and Mandating History Lessons

At a bill signing ceremony in Schaumburg, Pritzker highlighted three historic sites that were significant in Native American history in Illinois.

Gov. JB Pritzker signs a bill overhauling the state's mandatory supervised release program for former inmates who have completed their prison sentences. (Credit:

Pritzker Signs Bill Overhauling Mandatory Supervised Release

A new law in Illinois aims to give former inmates a better chance to succeed outside of prison and reduce the likelihood that they’ll be sent back.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker answers questions from reporters after signing legislation establishing a permanent Interagency Task Force on Homelessness on July 26, 2023. (Credit:

Pritzker Signs Bill Aimed at Ending Homelessness in Illinois by Bringing Agencies Together for Comprehensive Plan

House Bill 2831 codifies an executive order Pritzker signed in 2021 that established the Illinois Interagency Task Force on Homelessness and the Community Advisory Council on Homelessness. It centralizes programs across 17 state departments and agencies to develop and implement a comprehensive plan to combat homelessness. 

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 building is pictured in Springfield. (Peter Hancock / Capitol News Illinois)

AFSCME Ratifies New Contract With State That Includes Nearly 18% Pay Raise Over 4 Years

The governor’s office said the contract is projected to cost an additional $204 million in the first year and $625 million over four years.

: Gov. JB Pritzker speaks at the grand opening of a new Lion Electric assembly plant in Will County. The Canada-based company specializes in medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles, including electric school buses. (Credit:

Pritzker Focuses on Business Development, Clean Energy Jobs at Joliet Assembly Plant Opening

On Friday, Pritzker was in Joliet where he joined other elected officials and local dignitaries to celebrate the grand opening of a new Lion Electric assembly plant, the first new automotive factory in the greater Chicago area since 1965.

State Sen. Bill Cunningham, D-Chicago, speaks to members of the Illinois Pollution Control Board at the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules meeting on July 18, 2023. Cunningham is the co-chair of the bipartisan 12-member committee. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)

Changes to Illinois Air Pollution Rule Move forward, Preventing Sanctions from Federal Government

The change repeals existing language that allowed factories, refineries, power plants and other facilities to exceed their emission limits during shutdowns, startups, and malfunctions.

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency building. (Capitol News Illinois file photo)

Illinois Regulators Work to Avoid Federal Clean Air Act Sanctions by Tightening Industrial Air Pollution Rules

At issue is a policy Illinois has had since the 1970s that allows factories, power plants, and other industries with air pollution emission permits to exceed their emission limits during startups, shutdowns, or malfunctions.

Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Omer Osman is pictured at a news conference in Springfield Friday. He unveiled the state's latest six-year plan for infrastructure improvements. (Jerry Nowicki / Capitol News Illinois)

IDOT Unveils 6-Year, $41 Billion Plan for State Infrastructure Projects

The latest version of the plan is the largest multiyear plan in Illinois history. Nearly $41 billion in federal, state and local funds will go toward repairing and upgrading roads, bridges, airports, rail lines and other infrastructure.

Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias, pictured at a Capitol news conference, backed a measure to allow holders of a Temporary Visitor Driver’s License to be eligible for a standard license regardless of their immigration status. (Jerry Nowicki / Capitol News Illinois)

Illinois to Make Standard Driver’s Licenses Available to Noncitizens Regardless of Immigration Status

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday signed House Bill 3882, which will phase out the “Temporary Visitor Driver’s License,” or TVDL, which noncitizens currently use to drive legally in Illinois. The new law takes effect July 1, 2024.

The Dirksen Federal Courthouse in Chicago. (Hannah Meisel / Capitol News Illinois)

In Closely Watched Case, Federal Appeals Court Weighs Constitutionality of Illinois’ Assault Weapons Ban

The judges on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals are being asked to decide whether Illinois’ recently enacted assault weapons ban violates the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms. 

“Oh, I’m signed!” says state Sen. Laura Fine, D-Glenview, as she realizes that her bill giving the Department of Insurance new oversight authority had been approved by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on June 27, 2023. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)

Pritzker Signs Bills Altering Illinois’ Health Insurance Market by Establishing Rate Review, State-Based Marketplace

The measures establish a state-based exchange for policies sold under the Affordable Care Act and give the Illinois Department of Insurance the authority to modify or reject proposed rate increases.

Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias holds his daughter while brandishing a bill signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on June 12, 2023, that aims to discourage book bans at Illinois libraries. Bill sponsor Sen. Laura Murphy, D-Des Plaines, is pictured at left and Pritzker is pictured at right. (Capitol News Illinois photo by Andrew Adams)

Illinois Becomes First State to Enact Anti-Book Ban Legislation Tying Library Funding to Open Access Policies

The new law declares it to be the policy of Illinois to “encourage and protect the freedom of libraries and library systems to acquire materials without external limitation and to be protected against attempts to ban, remove, or otherwise restrict access to books or other materials.”

(WTTW News)

New State Law Limits Venue for Illinois Constitutional Lawsuits to Sangamon, Cook Counties

The bill came in response to a flurry of lawsuits filed in recent years in courthouses throughout the state challenging such things as Pritzker’s COVID-19 mitigation orders, a law that would end cash bail, and, most recently, the state’s ban on assault-style weapons and large-capacity magazines.