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The Rauner Play-by-play

Gov. Bruce Rauner says he’s going to remake Illinois: its taxes, unions, services, prisons, and finances, among many other things. It is a lot to keep track of. WBEZ is launching this site to record the governor’s term, and his battles, as time goes on. It’s designed to document the complicated pieces of Rauner’s story as it happens - to organize it, and help the people of Illinois follow it. This is the story of how the governor is changing our state.

• Curated by Tony Arnold

The Players

There are lots of lawmakers in the Illinois Statehouse, but these are the main characters you need to know as you follow Rauner’s story.
See the players
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Michael<br>Madigan

Michael
Madigan

House Speaker, Chairman of Illinois Democratic Party, often referred to as the most powerful politician in Illinois

Jim<br>Durkin

Jim
Durkin

House Republican Leader, oversees a super-minority of GOP representatives, says voters issued the governor a mandate by electing Rauner

Bruce<br>Rauner

Bruce
Rauner

Governor, Republican, background in private equity, critic of government unions, proponent of budget cuts

Christine<br>Radogno

Christine
Radogno

Senate Republican Leader, oversees super-minority of GOP senators, defends Rauner's proposed budget as a starting point in negotiations

John<br>Cullerton

John
Cullerton

Senate President, Democrat, critical of Rauner's "inexperience" with state government and budget negotiations

The Storylines

There are plenty of Rauner storylines to follow. Pick the ones you want – and the timeline below will remake itself, giving you just the things you’re interested in. Click a topic or tag to filter.
Finances
7/2/2015
Budget

Attorney General Lisa Madigan files a court motion, moving the battle over what Illinois state government can spend money on - and if government employees can get paid - into the hands of a Cook County judge

Finances Social Services
7/2/2015
Budget

The ACLU files a court motion asking a federal judge to mandate that the Dept. of Children and Family Services continue paying for services for vulnerable and foster youth even though no money has been authorized for the agency

Finances
7/1/2015
Budget

The Senate passes a short-term, one-month budget to fund some state services, but a separate plan fails in the House of Representatives

With no agreement on budget, Illinois state government loses its authority to spend money
Finances
7/1/2015
Turnaround Agenda, Chicago Public Schools

Senate Pres. Cullerton introduces a measure that includes an eventual two-year property tax freeze for Chicago in exchange for several financial changes to Chicago Public Schools. Republicans say it doesn't go far enough for Rauner's Turnaround Agenda

Finances
6/30/2015
Budget

Gov. Rauner tells state employees he thinks they should continue working and getting paid as the government begins to shut down

This is the final day of the spending plan from 2015, meaning the state loses its ability to spend money after today
Finances
6/26/2015
Budget, Pensions

In a sign continuing sign of the rivalry between Speaker Madigan and Gov. Rauner, a Madigan spokesman criticizes Rauner's idea of having the state pay Chicago Public Schools' teacher pensions, saying he wants local school districts across the state to pay for their own pensions, and not rely on the state

Finances
6/25/2015
Budget, Turnaround Agenda

After signing Democrats' budget plan for schools, Rauner vetoes their budget for the rest of state government, setting the stage for a government shut down

Finances
6/25/2015
Budget, Turnaround Agenda

A Democratic state senator says she's 'mad as hell' that Rauner vetoed the bduget, saying people will suffer if there's a government shut down


Finances
6/24/2015
Budget, Turnaround Agenda

Rauner signs the Democrats' spending plan for Illinois' schools, in effect keeping schools open if a budget impasse continues into the Fall

Finances
6/16/2015
Budget, Turnaround Agenda
A political group created by Gov. Rauner launches a statewide TV ad campagin criticizing House Speaker Michael Madigan. Madigan tells reporters the ad takes things to the extreme, and away from moderation.
Finances
6/10/2015
Budget

Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger says if there's no budget deal by July 1, new Medicaid provider payments will stop and nonprofits that depend on state money won't receive expedited payments

Finances
6/2/2015
Budget

Rauner's administration initiates about $400 million in cuts in response to the spending plan passed by Democrats, including suspending tax credits to companies, payments for low income people to keep their heat on and closing state museums

Finances
6/1/2015
Budget, Turnaround Agenda

As a stalemate over the state budget and Gov. Rauner's Turnaround Agenda policy items continues, both Republicans and Democrats frame the fight is over the quality of life for Illinois' middle class.

Finances
5/31/2015
Budget, Turnaround Agenda

He has chosen to hold the budget hostage.

– John Cullerton, criticizing Gov. Rauner for advocating for a property tax freeze and changes to workers compensation over a spending plan

Finances
5/31/2015
Budget, Turnaround Agenda

Speaker Madigan has been the one constant in Illinois politics for more than 30 years. We've been driven into the ditch.

– Bruce Rauner, addressing reporters on the final day of session after not reaching a deal with Democratic leadership

5/31/2015
Budget, Turnaround Agenda
Milestone

Final day scheduled for legislative session. Bills passed after May 31 require more votes to gain approval

Finances
5/28/2015
Turnaround Agenda, tort reform

Senate Democrats reject other elements of Gov. Rauner's policies about changing regulations over civil lawsuits, freezing property taxes and limiting collective bargaining. Republicans say Democrats aren't willing to compromise. Democrats say it's not that they aren't willing to compromise, but that they simply oppose the policies

Finances
5/28/2015
Turnaround Agenda

I fully anticipated that this would be a difficult and long process because again, it's not only difficult issues, but it's a complete change in dynamic that people need to get used to

– Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno, on Democrats and Gov. Rauner not agreeing on many issues

Finances
5/27/2015
Turnaround Agenda, workers compensation

Senate Democrats vote down Gov. Rauner's proposal to change workers compensation regulations

Finances
5/26/2015
Budget

Democrats begin passing their own spending plans for next year, over the objections of Republicans who say their budget runs an almost $4 billion deficit. Democrats say they will debate tax increases later to avoid massive cuts that Rauner proposed

Finances
5/21/2015
Taxes

The so-called "millionaire's tax," a proposed change to the Illinois state constitution that would raise taxes on income more than $1 million, falls three votes short to pass the Illinois House of Representatives. Democratic Speaker Michael Madigan supported the measure, and after the vote criticized "Rauner Republicans" for not voting in favor of it.

Unions
5/14/2015
Right to work, Empowerment

Democratic representatives call a bill calling for "right to work" laws in Illinois, even though they don't support it, since Gov. Rauner has advocated for "empowerment zones." Republican House Leader Jim Durkin called the process "Branson, Illinois," referring to the bill being a fake proposal. Zero representatives vote in favor of it.

Finances
5/14/2015
Campaign donations
Finances
5/8/2015
Pensions
Illinois has $100 billion in pension debt, the most of any state in the country.
Finances
5/8/2015
Pensions, Supreme Court

Crisis is not an excuse to abandon the rule of law. It is a summons to defend it.

– Illinois State Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier, in the opinion for all seven justices in striking down the pension law

Finances Unions
5/6/2015
Budget, Turnaround Agenda
Unions
4/20/2015
Fair Share Fees, Right To Work, Empowerment
Finances Unions
4/18/2015
Turnaround Agenda
Education
4/16/2015
Schools
Finances Social Services
4/15/2015
Budget, Turnaround Agenda

Some Senate Democrats tell Rauner's budget chief they felt like they were kicked in the gut when they found out Rauner froze grants to social service agencies. Sen. President Cullerton says he knew it was a possibility, but "that doesn't make them good ideas"


Education
4/15/2015
Chicago Public Schools
Education
4/14/2015
Chicago Public Schools, bankruptcy
Unions
4/10/2015
Fair Share Fees

A St. Clair County judge rules against Rauner and determines that the state must continue to collect fair share fees - at least temporarily - while the courts decide if Rauner's executive order is constitutional

Ethics
4/7/2015
Supreme Court, Elections
Finances Social Services
4/6/2015
Budget

Gov. Rauner says the grant freezes he announced on April 3 don't necessarily have to be permanent

Finances Social Services
4/3/2015
Budget
Democrats later call this move a kick to the gut, and question the wisdom in doing this. One senator even says he wouldn't have voted in favor of the FY15 budget fix if he'd known Rauner was going to freeze these grants.
Finances Social Services
3/27/2015
Budget

Gov. Rauner signs the plan to fill the $1.6 billion shortfall in Fiscal Year 2015.

Finances Social Services
3/26/2015
Budget

The Illinois Senate approves the fund sweeps and 2.25% cuts to fix the $1.6 billion shortfall passed by the House two days earlier

Finances Social Services
3/24/2015
Budget

The Illinois House of Representatives approves legislation to fill an estimated $1.6 billion budget hole in the budget for Fiscal Year 2015. The plan takes $1.3 billion that went unspent in various funds, in addition to a 2.25% cut across almost all of state government except a select few programs that deal with mental health services, developmental disabilities, and autism.


Unions
3/23/2015
Fair Share Fees

A federal judge in Southern Illinois rules the issue over fair share fees should be decided in state court, not federal court, after unions sued Rauner over the issue. The case is moved to the courts in St. Clair County

Finances
3/21/2015
Michael Madigan, Budget, Taxes

House Speaker Michael Madigan tells reporters he's continuing his push for increasing income taxes solely on millionaires in Illinois, calling for a 3% surcharge on income that's more than $1 million

Finances Social Services
3/17/2015
Budget, DCFS

If they’re going to call us ward of the state - sorry, if you put your name on it, like, you kind of have to take care of it.

– 20-year-old Lauretta Schaefer in her testimony to state lawmakers about proposed cuts in services to 18-21 year olds who depend on the state to act as their parent

Finances Social Services
3/16/2015
Budget

A small group of Illinois state senators hold a hearing to listen to social service providers who would have their funding cut under Rauner's proposed budget


Finances
3/9/2015
John Cullerton, Budget

I’m not looking to start a fight with our new governor. I want to work with him. But I don’t work for him. And his budget doesn’t work for Illinois.

– John Cullerton

Unions
3/9/2015
Fair Share Fees
Unions
3/5/2015
Fair Share Fees

A group of unions sue Rauner in state court over his fair share fees executive order

Finances Unions
2/27/2015
Fair Share Fees

Gov. Rauner speaks to a small group of business leaders about why he's trying to end fair share fees and have local governments adopt right to work zones instead of first negotiating a budget with legislative leaders


Finances
2/27/2015
Budget
Finances
2/18/2015
Budget
Milestone

Gov. Rauner delivers the Budget Address

This is the first time lawmakers see very specific line item proposals of Rauner's priorities for state government.
Social Services
2/18/2015
Aging, Budget, seniors

Rauner's proposed budget highlights cuts to this agency that offers services to Illinios' elderly. One key program under the Dept. of Aging is its Community Care Program, which provides services to low income seniors in their home. Gov. Rauner proposes higher restrictions on who qualifies for this service, based partly on income, and reducing the average time spent serving these seniors by one hour each week

Social Services
2/18/2015
DCFS, Budget, Youth

Under Rauner’s proposed budget, the Department of Children and Family Services, which monitors parents and young people in foster care, would end government services and scholarships for young people between the ages of 18-21 who are not with their own families and have the state act as their parent

Finances Criminal Justice
2/18/2015
Budget, Crime, Youth

Gov. Rauner's budget recommends the state spend more on the Dept. of Juvenile Justice in Fiscal Year 2016 than the state had spent on the agency in 2014. Rauner's recommendation says the agency will spend more money on education of young people and on mental health services

Finances Criminal Justice
2/18/2015
Prisons, Budget

Gov. Rauner proposes spending more more money on Illinois' overcrowded prisons system. He says that money can be used to hire more correctional officers, so employees work less overtime. He's also counting on the state saving money later based on a restructuring of the state's sentencing guidelines for certain penalties, in a proposal that's to be outlined by a commission he created by executive order on Feb. 11.

Finances Social Services
2/18/2015
Budget, Mental Health, Addiction

Gov. Rauner is proposing the Deptartment of Human Services focus more of its attention on community organizations, rather than state institutions. He's proposed a reduction in state grants to organizations that work in those fields.

Finances Education
2/18/2015
Schools, Budget

Gov. Rauner proposes adding more cash into the main fund that distributes state money to primary education schools.

Finances Education
2/18/2015
Schools, Budget

Gov. Rauner proposes big cuts to the state's public universities. This affects all campuses of the University of Illinois, in addition to Illinois State and Chicago State Universities

Finances Social Services
2/18/2015
Medicaid, Budget

Gov. Rauner is proposing a large reduction in state spending on Medicaid, the health care program for those in poverty. He wants to achieve those savings in part by setting a higher bar for who's eligible to receive those benefits.

Finances
2/18/2015
Pensions, Budget

House Speaker Michael Madigan tells reporters he thinks Gov. Rauner's budget proposal is "reckless" because it calls for $2 billion in savings this year based on changes to pension benefits that would be difficult to pass through the legislature, and would likely be challenged in court - meaning the savings would not go into effect right away

Finances
2/18/2015
Budget

The budget outlined today is the budget Illinois can afford. And that in itself is an example of thinkin’ anew.

– Bruce Rauner

Finances
2/17/2015
Executive Order, Budget

Gov. Rauner signs executive order creating a committee that will look at ways to consolidate local governments, in addition to an analysis of "unfunded mandates" on schools

Finances Social Services
2/16/2015
DCFS, Budget
Unions
2/13/2015
Fair Share Fees
Criminal Justice
2/11/2015
Executive Order, Crime

Gov. Rauner signs executive order creating a committee that will look at the prison sentences for various types of crimes, and the relation between prison recidivism and length of time in prison

Criminal Justice
2/11/2015
Prisons
Unions
2/9/2015
Executive Order

Gov. Rauner signs executive order that ends state employee unions' ability to collect fair share fees

Unions
2/9/2015
Fair Share Fees

Gov. Rauner sues government unions over fair share fees in federal court in Northern Illinois

Rauner says he ultimately wants the U.S. Supreme Court to declare these fees unconstitutional
2/4/2015
State of the State
Milestone

Gov. Rauner delivers the State of the State Address

Criminal Justice
2/4/2015
Prisons, Budget
Unions
1/27/2015
Income
Finances
1/20/2015
Executive Order, Budget

Gov. Rauner signs executive order asking for a report into state hiring and training of veterans, along with the awarding of state contracts to veteran-owned businesses

Ethics
1/16/2015
Executive Order

Gov. Rauner signs executive order undoing seven executive orders that were signed in the final days of his predecessor's time as governor. Those orders that were reversed called for several actions, including a ban on law enforcement detaining someone based on their immigration detainer, a mandate that the governor release federal and state income tax returns, and that state contractors pay at least a $10 minimum wage

Ethics
1/15/2015
Executive Order

Gov. Rauner signs executive order mandating that a list of state employees who are hired in policy-making or management positions and are exempt from unions is published online

Ethics
1/13/2015
Executive Order

Gov. Rauner signs executive order banning any state employee from becoming a lobbyist within one year of quitting their state job

Finances
1/12/2015
Executive Order, Budget

Gov. Rauner signs executive order mandating a review of spending on contracts and grants entered into since his win in the November election, limited travel expenses, and watching out for energy waste in office buildings, like leaving the lights and air conditioning on

1/12/2015
Inauguration
Milestone

Bruce Rauner is sworn in as governor of Illinois

Finances
1/1/2015
Taxes

Income tax rates for Illinois residents and companies drop after Rauner campaigned on a lower tax platform

11/5/2014
Election
Milestone

Bruce Rauner wins the race for Illinois governor

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