Skip to main content
Illinois in Focus - Powered by TheCenterSquare.com

Illinois in Focus - Powered by TheCenterSquare.com

By The Center Square Illinois
A weekly feature of the top TheCenterSquare.com stories of the week, commentary from The Center Square Illinois' editors and more!
Listen on
Where to listen
Apple Podcasts Logo

Apple Podcasts

Breaker Logo

Breaker

Castbox Logo

Castbox

Google Podcasts Logo

Google Podcasts

Overcast Logo

Overcast

Pocket Casts Logo

Pocket Casts

RadioPublic Logo

RadioPublic

Spotify Logo

Spotify

Stitcher Logo

Stitcher

Episode 160: Pritzker seeks to change law which some have invoked to fight vaccine mandates
Gov. J.B. Pritzker has been working to change the Health Care Right of Conscience Act, which some have invoked in the fight against COVID-19 vaccine mandates. The 1998 Health Right of Conscience Act bans discrimination because of such persons' refusal to receive or participate in any way in any particular form of healthcare services contrary to his or her conscience. Some have said the law allows people to avoid getting the COVID-19 vaccine and evade Pritzker's executive order mandating vaccination or regularly testing for health care workers, educators and other state employees.
34:27
October 15, 2021
Episode 159: Pritzker still won't point to benchmark to end mask mandates
Gov. J.B. Pritzker had an indoor mask mandate in place for more than a year until he let the order expire in May. He then re-instituted a mask mandate in July for all indoor gatherings. On Monday, he couldn’t say what the benchmark would be to lift the mandate.
46:50
October 8, 2021
Episode 158: Illinois taxpayers see debt burden double in 12 years
Truth In Accounting (TIA) evaluates state governments for how much debt states have versus how much they bring in. For Illinois the amount owed per taxpayer went from about $30,000 in 2009 to $57,000 in the most recent report which released Tuesday. 
34:09
October 1, 2021
Episode 157: YouTube censors Springfield school board meeting over COVID comments
YouTube removed videos of an Illinois school board's meetings because of public comments challenging COVID-19 policies, a problem one state lawmaker wants to fix with a bill that he said would reduce social media censorship.
47:52
September 24, 2021
Episode 156: Judge says masks can’t be required without official quarantine order
Three children in Effingham County can’t be forced to wear masks without an official quarantine order from the county health department, a judge ruled Wednesday. Later in the day, a different judge enjoined an entire school district from requiring masks without a court order. The attorney who brought the cases anticipates more such cases across the state. Earlier this month, attorney Thomas DeVore won several cases on behalf of parents of school kids being kept from in-person learning because of possible COVID-19 exposure. Courts in multiple counties said only county health departments can issue quarantine orders.
53:38
September 17, 2021
Episode 155: Lawmaker asks Pritzker for clear goalposts on mask mandate
A state lawmaker says residents are demanding clear goalposts to aim for to relax COVID-19 mitigations such as mask mandates. Nearing 20 months into the COVID-19 pandemic, executive orders from Gov. J.B. Pritzker on a variety of things – ranging from economic restrictions to masks in schools – have gone unchecked by the Democrat-controlled General Assembly. Republican state Rep. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield, said that has to change.
46:22
September 10, 2021
Episode 154: Republicans ask Pritzker to veto legislative maps
Illinois Republicans want Gov. J.B. Pritzker to veto the legislative maps Democrats passed this week. Maps drafted in May were passed by majority Democrats at the statehouse.
36:49
September 3, 2021
Episode 153: Pritzker mandates vaccines and masks indoors
Pritzker mandates vaccines and masks indoors, state lawmakers prepare to revise maps and more
52:22
August 27, 2021
Episode 152: School board member's medical license threatened over mask stance
A school board member's medical license threatened over mask stance with sustained objections to the state's mask mandate in schools. There are also challenges to the state and federal eviction moratorium. And, the Illinois State Fair is ongoing. 
53:44
August 20, 2021
Episode 151: Private school punished for mask-optional policy
A private K-12 school that announced a mask-optional policy for a return to class had been sanctioned by the Illinois State Board of Education. ISBE says schools must require, not recommend, masks in schools. Amid concerns of COVID-19, Timothy Christian Schools in Elmhurst made the mask-optional announcement this week through a video from Superintendent Matthew Davidson. “It’s just worth noting that the issue of masks in schools is still categorically a recommendation, not a requirement from the [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention],” Davidson said. ISBE sent a letter to the district rescinding its nonpublic school recognition. That means high school diplomas won’t be recognized, children can't compete in organized sports and the school can’t receive Invest In Kids scholarship funds.
50:30
August 13, 2021
Episode 150: Pritzker mandates masks in schools
Weeks after some school districts decided to make masks optional to start the year, the CDC changed its guidance on mask use. Now Illinois’ governor is mandating masks for schools and daycares, and threatening action for those that don’t comply. Some state lawmakers say a year and a half in, they should be involved, but aren’t. Last month, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said masking requirements were up to schools. The Illinois State Board of Education said schools must be back to in-person learning after the COVID-19 remote learning and hybrid schooling through the last school year led to learning loss among many students. On Wednesday, Pritzker said schools must require masks. While there won’t be social distancing requirements, masks are mandated, even those playing sports, despite vaccination status, the governor announced Wednesday during a news conference in Chicago.
49:26
August 6, 2021
Episode 149: Pritzker, Lightfoot suggest COVID mitigations could return soon
Gov. J.B. Pritzker is evaluating whether to require state employees under his control to be vaccinated against COVID-19, but mandatory vaccinations are not politically popular. Since the state has been tracking the Delta variant in February, 716 cases have been reported. Pritzker said Wednesday he’s considering more COVID-19 mitigations.
36:21
July 30, 2021
Episode 148: Pritzker to seek second term as Governor
Gov J.B. Pritzker announced Monday that he will be running for re-election in 2022. Pritzker, 56, has been in office since January 2019. Pritzker defeated former Gov. Bruce Rauner, a wealthy Republican, to become Illinois' 43rd governor. So far, three Republicans have announced they are running for their party’s nomination to challenge Pritzker. Downstate state Sen. Darren Bailey, suburban Chicago businessman Gary Rabine, and former state Sen. Paul Schimpf have all announced plans to run for governor. The gubernatorial election will be held on Nov. 8, 2022.
43:32
July 23, 2021
Episode 147: School determining mask rules as parents prepare for checks
Illinois in Focus Ep 147: School determining mask rules as parents prepare for checks
42:20
July 16, 2021
Episode 146: Biden calls for taxpayer funded community college for all during Illinois visit
President Joe Biden called for investment in both people and infrastructure during a speech Wednesday at McHenry County College, his first visit to the state since taking office. He also called for higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations to fund two years of community college for all students. He said additional education was needed for the U.S. to compete with the rest of the world. Unveiled before an April 28 joint session of Congress, the $1.8 trillion American Families Plan sets forth $1 billion for child care, universal pre-K for all 3-4 year-olds, free community college, and paid family/medical leave initiatives and offers $800 million in tax cuts for families with children, including a “historic expansion” of the child tax credit which would be allocated monthly.
46:51
July 9, 2021
Episode 145: Illinois’ unemployment offices still closed to public
Those needing to speak in person with someone at the state’s unemployment offices haven’t been able to for well over a year and it’s still not clear when the offices will be open. Offices around the state for the Illinois Department of Employment Security have been closed since the spring of 2020. For months while unemployment claims spiked because of the governor’s COVID-19 restrictions closing businesses, backlogs grew and phone lines were flooded. IDES officials have said there are health and physical safety
49:23
July 2, 2021
Episode 144: Illinois gets gas tax hike next week
Illinois has some of the highest fuel gas prices in the country, and next week, taxes on fuel will increase. On July 1st, the tax will increase about a half-cent per gallon, depending on the blend. Gasoline prices are the highest they’ve been since July 2019, when the state gas tax doubled to 38 cents. At that time, lawmakers put in place an automatic gas tax hike tied to inflation.
58:40
June 25, 2021
Episode 143: Some question if it's a 'new day' following overtime session
Illinois in Focus Ep 143: Some question if it's a 'new day' following overtime session
53:10
June 18, 2021
Episode 142: Illinois reopens after 15 months of COVID-19 restrictions
As the state prepares to fully reopen for the first time in 15 months on Friday, the governor is giving Illinoisans a pat on the back. Starting Friday, there will be no capacity restrictions, but businesses can still require masks for unvaccinated people. There are also mask requirements for public transportation, medical facilities, correctional facilities, schools and day care centers. On Friday, the state will eliminate all capacity limits on businesses, large-scale events, conventions, amusement parks and other venues. Mask requirements for vaccinated and non-vaccinated people continue to align with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
59:28
June 11, 2021
Episode 141: Partisan politics on display as legislative session ends
Illinois in Focus Ep 141: Partisan politics on display as legislative session ends
41:47
June 4, 2021
Episode 140: Madigan's former chief of staff indicted on ComEd corruption probe
Tim Mapes served for years under former House Speaker Michael Madigan as the clerk of the Illinois House and as Madigan’s chief of staff. Now, Mapes has been indicted on a charge of lying to a grand jury in a federal bribery probe connected to the longtime former speaker. Last summer, federal prosecutors revealed a deferred prosecution agreement ComEd entered into where the utility admitted to paying associates of Madigan in money and jobs in order to curry favor from the then-speaker. Com-Ed agreed to pay a $200 million fine and cooperate in the investigation. Madigan has not been charged with a crime and has said he’s done nothing wrong. He is “Public Official A” in federal filings, a pseudonym that is used throughout the Mapes indictment documents and previous legal filings. Four others associated with Madigan, including longtime confidant Michael McClain, and two former ComEd officials, were indicted several months ago and have pleaded not guilty. One former ComEd official, Fidel Marquez, has pleaded guilty in the case. Wednesday, federal prosecutors released details about the indictment of Mapes.
52:17
May 28, 2021
Episode 139: Pritzker repeals mask mandate, leaves door open for vaccine checks at businesses
Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s emergency rule requiring businesses to mandate masks has been repealed and a leading retailers association says they are not being asked to check your vaccine status, but they could if they wanted. The latest order issued Monday says the governor’s “bridge” reopening plan does require retailers to “cap occupancy at 60 percent of store capacity, or, alternatively, at the occupancy limits based on store square footage,” though vaccinated individuals don’t count to that. Retailers must also “communicate with customers through in-store signage, and public service announcements and advertisements, about the social distancing and face-covering requirements,” the order says, but that doesn't impact vaccinated people.
01:05:20
May 21, 2021
Episode 138: Welcome to Illinois' Bridge Phase...now what?
Illinois is entering another COVID-19 reopening phase that was added by Gov. J.B. Pritzker in March. Capacity limits on a wide range of businesses and activities will be slightly loosened Friday as the state enters the next to last phase of the governor’s pandemic reopening plan. Pritzker announced last week that the state would enter the Bridge Phase of his plan, a final step before all restrictions are lifted, as the spread of COVID-19 has slowed and a large percentage of Illinoisans had received at least one dose of a vaccine. Reaching the next phase means 70% of Illinois residents 65 and older are vaccinated in addition to maintaining 20% ICU bed availability and holding positive cases, hospitalizations and mortality rates steady for a 28-day period.
50:48
May 14, 2021
Episode 137: Illinois could reopen as early as June 11
Pandemic restrictions in Illinois will be further loosened next week, and the state could reopen nearly fully as early as June 11. Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday the state will be entering the “Bridge Phase” on May 14, a transitional period between Phase 4 restrictions and fully opening in Phase 5. The bridge to Phase 5 expands capacity to 60% for theaters, gyms, spectator events, offices, museums, and amusement parks. Mask requirements would stay in place until the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises otherwise. Earlier this week, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city is looking to open things up fully by July 4. Lightfoot also announced that the Chicago Auto Show, which was cancelled last year, will be back at McCormick Place July 15 through 19. Attendees will have to register in advance and fill out a health survey, but vaccines won’t be required. Lightfoot said the goal is to have no capacity limits in the city by July 4.
48:18
May 7, 2021
Episode 136: Illinois set to lose Congressional seat due to population loss
Illinois will lose one member from the U.S. House of Representatives because of continued population declines. It was expected Illinois would lose representation, based on year-over-year annual Census estimates showing the state losing an estimated 253,000 residents over the past ten years. Illinois was one of seven states that will lose one seat for the Congress that will be seated in 2023. Illinois has lost ten seats in the U.S. House over the past 110 years, according to Census data. In 1910, Illinois had 27 members of the U.S. House. That dropped by one in 1940, another one in 1950, another in 1960 and then two in 1990 with one every ten years since then. Read more
43:08
April 30, 2021
Episode 135: No more Madigans? Lawmakers close in on term limits
Illinois lawmakers are poised to make leadership term limits of no more than ten consecutive years state law. Before he resigned from the House earlier this year, Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, served in the state legislature for more than 50 years. Madigan served as House Speaker for 24 consecutive years from 1997 to 2021. For two years when Republicans had the majority in the House, Madigan was the Minority Leader. Before that, he served as Speaker for 12 years from 1983 to 1995. House Bill 642 puts a limit of ten consecutive years on legislative leadership roles like the Illinois Senate President, Senate Minority Leader, House Speaker and House Minority Leader.
59:51
April 23, 2021
Episode 134: New bill ties state spending to income growth
With research showing state spending grew 30% faster than Illinois’ median household income over the past decade, a new bill would tie spending in Springfield to growth in household income. Senate Bill 589, introduced by state Sen. Suzy Glowiak-Hilton, D-Western Springs, was presented during a subject matter hearing Wednesday of the Senate Appropriations Revenue and Finance Committee. The bill would create a spending cap that ties general revenue appropriations to growth in the median household income. Thirty-three states have some form of tax or spending limits on the books, including all of Illinois’ neighbors.
56:34
April 16, 2021
Episode 133: Reopen by summer? Pritzker says not so fast
Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Wednesday clarified statements from his chief of staff, a day after she said the state was headed for a full reopening this summer. On Tuesday, Anne Caprara told a Senate committee she and the governor hoped to have restrictions lifted soon. “I think we both hope that we are going to be in a place to move to Phase 5 in the beginning of the summer,” Caprara said. “I always hesitate to say definitively where we are going to be because we have now ridden through several rises and falls of COVID cases.” During a news conference Wednesday in Rockford, Pritzker said not so fast. “I wouldn’t characterize it as saying that the reopening starts as the summer starts,” Pritzker said. Pritzker once again said there are metrics to meet, including about 5 million Illinoisans, or 50% of the state’s population older than 16, needing to be fully vaccinated. According to the New York Times Vaccine Tracker, 19% of people in Illinois are fully vaccinated.
49:59
April 9, 2021
Episode 132: Are vaccination passports coming to Illinois?
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Wednesday that vaccination passports could be useful in the coming weeks as more Illinoisans get vaccinated for COVID-19. As for a vaccination passport to prove a person has been inoculated against the coronavirus, Pritzker says a vaccination app would be useful, but should not be required to enter an event or facility. “As long as it is your choice,” Pritzker said. “If people ask you to show that for a particular venue or private venue, they have the ability and right to do that. You don’t have to show that to them. You don’t have to be to go to that venue or be engaged in that activity.” The U.S. is not distributing vaccination passports and there are concerns over falsified records and also potentially violating federal health care privacy laws.
01:03:30
April 2, 2021
Episode 131: Illinois inches its way toward reopening
Illinois is nearing another phase in the state’s reopening plan, but things won't open up all at once. Gov. J.B. Pritzker last week unveiled what he called his “Bridge Phase,” announcing new guidelines that will allow for higher capacity limits at public places such as spectator events. The guidelines also involved fewer restrictions on businesses during the transition between the current Phase 4 and a full reopening in Phase 5. To reach the Bridge phase, 70% of people 65 and older must have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Despite a cry by many to speed up the country’s vaccination drive to end the pandemic, the first few months of the rollout suggest faster may not be necessarily better. An analysis conducted by Surgo Ventures found that states such as Missouri and Florida that raced ahead of other states to offer the vaccine to a larger demographic of people have vaccinated smaller shares of their population than states that moved more slowly, such as Connecticut and Hawaii.
43:10
March 26, 2021
Episode 130: Coroner questions Illinois' COVID death count
State officials have recorded 21,000 confirmed COVID-19 deaths in Illinois since the outset of the pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed 19,893 deaths through the end of February in Illinois where COVID-19 was listed among multiple causes. Of those deaths, about 1,830, or 9.2%, had COVID-19 listed as the sole cause of death. That percentage is higher than it was in September 2020 when the rate was about 6%. Monroe County Coroner Bob Hill is calling for a full audit after reviewing some of the deaths in his county. 
48:55
March 19, 2021
Episode 129: More than 10 billion taxpayer dollars headed to Illinois
Despite being the highest taxed state in the nation, financially strapped Illinois is set to get more than $10 billion in federal tax dollars from the $1.9 trillion spending bill that passed the U.S. House Wednesday. Illinois’ Democratic leaders cheered the passage of the bill while Republicans were critical. 
51:30
March 12, 2021
Episode 128: Illinois in limbo as other states open up
There’s a growing chorus in Illinois urging Gov. J.B. Pritzker to provide the hospitality sector some clarity and certainty about when things will open more. Pritzker didn’t give specifics about when he would relax COVID-19 mitigation when asked on Wednesday. Texas is set to open up 100% March 10. The Illinois hospitality sector has seen a massive decline in revenue over the past year and the industry warns of long-term consequences for the state if clarity isn’t provided soon.
56:15
March 5, 2021
Episode 127: Madigan's replacement resigns after 2 days
Just days after his handpicked replacement to the Illinois House, state Rep. Edward Guerra Kodatt, stepped down, former state Rep. Michael Madigan is now backing Angelica Guerrero Cuellar. In a joint statement with Chicago Alderman Marty Quinn late Tuesday from a Madigan spokesperson, Madigan suggested Kodatt resign “after learning of alleged questionable conduct.” Madigan did not elaborate on the nature of the conduct. Madigan selected Kodatt on Sunday. Madigan has a weighted vote in the district that allowed him to select his replacement. The selection was not unanimous. There were two other candidates that were nominated Sunday by other Democratic party officials from the district.
48:04
February 26, 2021
Episode 126: Madigan calls it quits
Former House Speaker Michael Madigan, the longest serving statehouse speaker in the country, and the longest serving state legislator in Illinois, resigned Thursday. In a statement Thursday, Madigan thanked his family and touted his accomplishments over five decades in office. He leaves under a cloud of a federal corruption probe involving bribes utility ComEd admitted it paid to associates in an effort to influence Madigan.
43:23
February 19, 2021
Episode 125: Biden asks Madigan investigator to resign
Episode 125: Biden asks Madigan investigator to resign
58:07
February 12, 2021
Episode 124: Lawmakers cut the line for COVID vaccines
Episode 124: Lawmakers cut the line for COVID vaccines
58:23
February 5, 2021
Episode 123: High school sports return as new legislature remains absent in Springfield
Episode 123: High school sports return as new legislature remains absent in Springfield
45:44
January 29, 2021
Episode 122: Biden inaugurated while Illinois struggles to open schools
Episode 123: Biden inaugurated while Illinois struggles to open schools 
39:13
January 22, 2021
Episode 121: Madigan out as speaker after decades
Episode 121: Madigan out as speaker after decades
51:24
January 15, 2021
Episode 120: Riots in DC and lame ducks in Springfield
Episode 120: Riots in DC and lame ducks in Springfield 
43:10
January 8, 2021
Episode 119: 2020 Year In Review
A look back on the top news stories of 2020 
24:00
December 30, 2020
Episode 118: Illinois lost 253,000 residents in past decade
Episode 118: Illinois lost 253,000 residents in past decade
44:24
December 24, 2020
Episode 117: Vaccines arrive in Illinois while Pritzker announces $700 million in budget cuts
Episode 117: Vaccines arrive in Illinois while Pritzker announces $700 million in budget cuts 
47:56
December 18, 2020
Episode 116: Illinois prepares for the arrival of COVID vaccine
Ep 116: Illinois prepares for the arrival of COVID vaccine
54:25
December 11, 2020
Episode 115: COVID and ComEd continue to make headlines across Illinois
Episode 115: COVID and ComEd continue to make headlines across Illinois
57:16
December 4, 2020
Episode 114: Madigan investigation releases helpings of documents before Thanksgiving
Episode 114: Madigan investigation releases helpings of documents before Thanksgiving 
47:27
November 27, 2020
Episode 113: Feds issue more charges implicating Madigan
Ep 113: Feds issue more charges implicating Madigan
55:32
November 20, 2020
Episode 112: Pritzker threatens to lockdown Illinois again
Episode 112: Pritzker threatens to lockdown Illinois again
53:16
November 13, 2020
Episode 111: Illinois voters reject Pritzker's progressive income tax
Episode 111: Illinois voters reject Pritzker's progressive income tax
58:14
November 6, 2020
Episode 110: Bar and restaurant restrictions met with bipartisan pushback
Episode 110: Bar and Restaurant restrictions met with bipartisan pushback
49:20
October 30, 2020
Episode 109: Pritzker restricts businesses again with one week until Election Day
Ep 109: Pritzker restricts businesses again with one week until Election Day
49:41
October 23, 2020
Episode 108: Pritzker-backed group spends thousands to promote fake tweet
Illinois In Focus Episode 108: Pritzker-backed group spends thousands to promote fake tweet
51:44
October 16, 2020
Episode 107: Is the progressive tax coming for your retirement income?
Episode 107: Is the progressive tax coming for your retirement income?
58:39
October 9, 2020
Illinois In Focus Episode 106: Investigating Madigan bribery scandal, remote learning and more
Illinois In Focus Episode 106: Investigating Madigan bribery scandal, remote learning and more
53:08
October 2, 2020
Illinois In Focus Episode 105: Illinois' poor fiscal position continues
Illinois In Focus Episode 105: Illinois' poor fiscal position continues 
58:12
September 25, 2020
Illinois In Focus Episode 104: Gov. Pritzker sacks high school football in Illinois
Illinois In Focus Episode 104: Gov. Pritzker sacks high school football in Illinois
36:17
September 18, 2020
Illinois In Focus Episode 103: House begins investigation of House Speaker Mike Madigan
Illinois In Focus Episode 103: House begins investigation of House Speaker Mike Madigan 
01:00:42
September 11, 2020
Illinois In Focus Episode 102: House to investigating Madigan, COVID-19-related death totals and more
Illinois In Focus Episode 102: House to investigating Madigan, COVID-19-related death totals and more
47:50
September 4, 2020
Illinois In Focus Episode 101: Exelon closing plants, the need for COVID-19 oversight and more
Illinois In Focus Episode 101: Exelon closing plants, the need for COVID-19 oversight and more
48:08
August 28, 2020
Illinois In Focus Episode 100: Still looking for ethics reforms at the statehouse
Illinois In Focus Episode 100: Still looking for ethics reforms at the statehouse
55:05
August 21, 2020
Illinois In Focus Episode 99: Madigan and ComEd hit with civil RICO lawsuit and the top stories of the week
Illinois In Focus Episode 99: Madigan and ComEd hit with civil RICO lawsuit and the top stories of the week
39:07
August 14, 2020
Illinois In Focus Episode 98: Continued pressure on Madigan, unemployment issues, schools amid COVID-19 and more
Illinois In Focus Episode 98: Continued pressure on Madigan, unemployment issues, schools amid COVID-19 and more
37:53
August 7, 2020
Illinois In Focus Episode 97: Pressure grows on Madigan to step aside admid patronage scnadal, schools scramble for plans to return amid COVID-19
Illinois In Focus Episode 97: Pressure grows on Madigan to step aside  admid patronage scnadal, schools scramble for plans to return amid  COVID-19
50:13
July 31, 2020
Illinois In Focus Episode 96: More fallout from ComEd patronage scandal that implicates Madigan
Illinois In Focus Episode 96: More fallout from ComEd patronage scandal that implicates Madigan 
50:21
July 24, 2020
Illinois In Focus 95: BREAKING NEWS: Michael Madigan implicated by feds in ComEd probe
This week's top news and commentary including new developments in the lengthy corruption investigation by federal prosecutors involving ComEd and other public officials with links to Illinois Speaker Michael Madigan.
59:46
July 17, 2020
Illinois In Focus 94: Governor's use of data and science during COVID-19 and more
Illinois In Focus 94: Governor's use of data and science during COVID-19 and more
55:16
July 10, 2020
Illinois In Focus Episode 93: COVID executive orders voided by court, and commentary about increased costs for businesses and drivers
Illinois In Focus Episode 93: COVID executive orders voided by court, and commentary about increased costs for businesses and drivers 
46:41
July 3, 2020
Illinois In Focus Episode 92: Illinois enters Phase 4 amid COVID-19
Illinois In Focus Episode 92: Illinois enters Phase 4 amid COVID-19
57:01
June 26, 2020
Illinois In Focus Episode 91: Illinois' handling of seniors with COVID-19
Illinois In Focus Episode 91: Illinois' handling of seniors with COVID-19
52:29
June 19, 2020
Illinois In Focus Episode 90: Pritzker elevates certain protests over others during COVID-19 crisis
Illinois In Focus Episode 90: Pritzker elevates certain protests over others during COVID-19 crisis
52:48
June 12, 2020
Illinois In Focus Episode 89: Civil unrest over police brutality as COVID restrictions linger   
Illinois In Focus Episode 89: Civil unrest over police brutality as COVID restrictions linger
40:24
June 5, 2020
Illinois In Focus Episode 88: Reviewing the pandemic special session
Illinois In Focus Episode 88: Reviewing the pandemic special session
41:58
May 29, 2020
Illinois In Focus Episode 87: Pandemic speical session, a controversial rule and plans to reopen
Illinois In Focus Episode 87: Pandemic speical session, a controversial rule and plans to reopen
42:22
May 22, 2020
Illinois In Focus Episode 86: Lawmakers set to return to Springfield and more challengers to Gov. Pritzker's stay-at-home Order
This week's top news and commentary including the latest in the fight against COVID-19 in Illinois. 
46:13
May 15, 2020
Illinois In Focus Episode 85: Statewide COVID-19 reopen plan released
Illinois In Focus Episode 85: Statewide COVID-19 reopen plan released
33:01
May 8, 2020
Illinois In Focus Episode 84: Challenging COVID-19 stay home orders
Illinois In Focus Episode 84: Challenging COVID-19 stay home orders
40:24
May 1, 2020
Illinois In Focus Episode 83: COVID-19 orders continue to impact Illinois
Illinois In Focus Episode 83: COVID-19 orders continue to impact Illinois 
41:24
April 24, 2020
Illinois In Focus Episode 82: Illinois endures another week of COVID-19
Gov. Pritzker's unprecedented stay-at-home order is nearly a month old as jobless claims in Illinois continue to rise.
45:50
April 17, 2020
Illinois In Focus Episode 81: COVID-19 continues to impact Illinois
Illinois In Focus Episode 81: COVID-19 continues to impact Illinois
31:55
April 10, 2020
Illinois In Focus Episode 80: How are states reacting to the COVID-19 pandemic
Illinois In Focus Episode 80: How are states reacting to the COVID-19 pandemic
34:57
April 3, 2020
Illinois In Focus Ep. 79: More impacts from the ongoing COVID-19 crisis
Illinois In Focus Ep. 79: More impacts from the ongoing COVID-19 crisis 
39:12
March 27, 2020
Illinois In Focus Ep. 78: COVID-19 changes life in Illinois
This week's top story is the worldwide pandemic of COVID-19 and how it continues to affect the lives of those living and working in Illinois.
30:29
March 20, 2020
Illinois In Focus Ep. 77: Illinois responds to COVID-19
Illinois In Focus Ep. 77: Illinois responds to COVID-19
33:15
March 13, 2020
Illinois In Focus Ep. 76: Gov. J.B. Pritzker's office attempts to interfere in freedom of the press
Illinois In Focus Ep. 76: Gov. J.B. Pritzker's office attempts to interfere in freedom of the press
38:24
March 6, 2020
Illinois In Focus Ep. 75: Illinois' second-highest property taxes and more
Illinois In Focus Ep. 75: Illinois' second-highest property taxes and more
42:12
February 28, 2020
Illinois In Focus Ep. 74: Blagojevich out of prison as Pritzker proposes his budget
Illinois In Focus Ep. 74: Blagojevich out of prison as Pritzker proposes his budget
36:03
February 21, 2020
Illinois In Focus Ep 73: Do lawmakers trust Illinoisans to pump their own gas?
This week's top news and commentary including one lawmaker's proposal to make it illegal to pump your own gas in Illinois, potential fingerprinting for FOID cards and a new report on Illinois' fiscal health.
37:50
February 14, 2020
Illinois In Focus Ep 72: More investigations and former Inspector General speaks
This week's top news and commentary including more fallout from House Speaker Mike Madigan's office being searched in a alleged sexual misconduct investigation involving a former State Rep.
39:17
February 7, 2020
Illinois In Focus Ep. 71: State of the State and Sandoval pleads guilty
Illinois In Focus Ep. 71: State of the State and Sandoval pleads guilty 
36:51
January 31, 2020
Illinois In Focus Ep. 70: New Illinois Senate President and automatic voter registration problems
Illinois In Focus Ep. 70: New Illinois Senate President and automatic voter registration problems
33:42
January 24, 2020
Illinois In Focus Ep. 69: More fallout from the 2012 email and increased pension debt
Illinois In Focus Ep. 69: More fallout from the 2012 email and increased pension debt
28:58
January 17, 2020
Illinois In Focus Ep. 68: 2012 email controversy and first week of legal pot
Illinois In Focus Ep. 68: 2012 email controversy and first week of legal pot
37:37
January 10, 2020
Illinois In Focus Ep. 67: Legal pot and population loss
Illinois In Focus Ep. 67: Legal pot and population loss
40:58
January 3, 2020
Illinois In Focus Ep. 66: Year In Review
Illinois In Focus Ep. 66: Year In Review 
28:27
December 27, 2019
Illinois in Focus Ep. 65
Greg Bishop takes you through the stories that lead the week and Publisher Chris Krug and Dan McCaleb offer commentary. 
38:07
December 20, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 64: The governor’s priorities for 2020 and addressing corruption
Illinois In Focus Ep. 64: The governor’s priorities for 2020 and addressing corruption
40:58
December 13, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 63: More corruption fallout
Illinois In Focus Ep. 63: More corruption fallout 
39:37
December 6, 2019
Illinois In Focus Episode 62: Giving thanks in Illinois
Illinois In Focus Episode 62: Giving thanks in Illinois 
32:53
November 29, 2019
Illinois In Focus Episode 61: Isolation rooms in public schools and pension reform
Illinois In Focus Episode 61: Isolation rooms in public schools and pension reform 
33:34
November 22, 2019
Illinois In Focus Episode 60: IL Senate President John Cullerton to retire
 This week's top news and commentary about Illinois Senate President John Cullerton's plans to retire and how it may reshape the power structure in Springfield.
40:20
November 15, 2019
Episode 59: Illinois' $10 billion pension bill, movement on ethics reform and something called a taxpayer bill of rights
This week's top news and commentary about Illinois' mounting annual pension bill, movement surrounding ethics reform in the statehouse and how Colorado is establishing a tax player bill of rights.
33:13
November 8, 2019
Episode 58: The top stories of the week, commentary about the latest allegations of corruption at the state capitol and more
Episode 58: The top stories of the week, commentary about the latest allegations of corruption at the state capitol and more
28:53
November 1, 2019
Episode 57: What's new with the progressive income tax, capital bill allocations and more
This week's top news and commentary about the latest on the proposed progressive income tax, certain legislative districts receiving more money than others and more!
37:46
October 25, 2019
Episode 56: More developments in the Sandoval case, the state of local pensions, and more
Episode 56: More developments in the Sandoval case, the state of local pensions, and more
33:56
October 18, 2019
Episode 55: Looming teachers strikes, a proposal to repeal the gas tax, and more people want to leave the state
Episode 55: Looming teachers strikes, a proposal to repeal the gas tax, and more people want to leave the state
24:05
October 11, 2019
Episode 54: More on the Sandoval raid, harassment inside the statehouse and more
Episode 54: More on the Sandoval raid, harassment inside the statehouse and more
30:34
October 4, 2019
Episode 53: FBI raids State Senator's home, pension struggles in East St. Louis
Episode 53: FBI raids State Senator's home, pension struggles in East St. Louis and
32:43
September 27, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 52
This week's top news and commentary about Illinois' pension debt, the state's high property taxes, an audit of Illinois' prison system and more.
28:31
September 20, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 51
This week's top news and commentary about Illinois' pension debt, an effort from Florida to attract Illinois businesses and more.
32:55
September 13, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 50
This week's top news and commentary about a new report on Illinois' outmigration, Gov. JB Pritzker's progressive income tax plan and more.
35:39
September 6, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 49
This week's top news and commentary about the cost of Illinois public education adminsitrators and a review of some of the hundreds of bills enacted into law
34:35
August 30, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 48
This week's top news and commentary about a report higlighting bullying and harassment in House Speaker Michael Madigan's statehouse operations and more.
24:30
August 23, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 47
 This week's top news and commentary about a feasibility study for a Chicago Casino, unfunded mandates for public schools and more. 
28:29
August 16, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 46
This week's top news and commentary about President Trump considering commuting disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's prison sentence, state Sen. Tom Cullerton's indictment on embezzlement charges and more.
28:26
August 9, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 45
This week's top news and commentary about expanded gambling and taxpayer savings from a pension buyout plan falling short
31:05
August 2, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 44
 This week's top news and commentary about federal investigations and heated political rhetoric  
33:25
July 26, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 43
This week's top news and commentary licensed gun dealers in Illinois and an expected task force to tackle the state's high property taxes
30:09
July 19, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 42
 This week's top news and commentary about controversies surrounding flags  
32:24
July 12, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 41
 This week's top news and commentary about pension debt in Chicago possibly impacting the entire state  
37:12
July 5, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 40
 This week's top news and commentary about the impact the U.S. Supreme Court has on Illinois 
28:19
June 28, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 39
This week's top news and commentary on the summer driving season with new texting and driving laws set to go into effect and Illinois' "balanced" budget.
33:15
June 21, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 38
This week's top news and commentary about the Reproductive Health Act, the proposed progressive income tax amendment and more 
27:31
June 14, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 37
 This week's top news and commentary about the new tax increases set to hit Illinois on July 1st, Illinois lawmakers giving themselves a raise and an unprecedented move by Springfield's Catholic Bishop.
24:15
June 7, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 36
 This week's top news and commentary about the progressive tax constitutional amendment passed by both the Illinois House and Senate and the final hours of the 2019 legislative session. 
24:27
May 31, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 35
This week's top news and commentary about a busy week at the statehouse as it enters the final week of legislative session and the anticipated votes on measures like the progressive tax, capital bill, legal marijuana and sports betting.
24:00
May 24, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 34
This week's top news and commentary about the final weeks of legislative session, an investigation into park district spending where taxpayers picked up the tab and the latest on a proposed gas tax in Illinois.
23:43
May 17, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 33
 This week's top news and commentary about the latest on the progressive income tax, increased gas tax and a new-found source of revenue for the state.
23:60
May 10, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 32
This week's top news and commentary about the proposed progressive tax rates, Illinois' GDP and more 
23:60
May 3, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 31
This week's top news stories, and commentary about the revelation Gov. J.B. Pritzker is under criminal investigation and what taxes taxpayers can expect to surface when lawmakers return next week  
24:19
April 26, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 30
 This week's top news and commentary about the declining population in Illinois, the growing costs of school administration in the state and the Illinois' mounting pension debt. 
23:60
April 20, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 29
This week's top news and commentary about a proposed progressive income tax, college tuition for undocumented immigrants and a proposed state law requiring presidential candidates to release their tax returns.
24:08
April 12, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 28
This week's top news stories and commentary about this week’s municipal elections, whether a progressive tax plan would cover proposed spending, a proposed business regulation that’s getting attention and more 
24:00
April 5, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 27
This week's top news and commentary about state lawmakers’ reactions to the case against Jussie Smollett being dropped, a proposal to increase the threshold for increasing taxes, and baseball 
23:60
March 29, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 26
This week's top news stories and commentary about what’s not being focused on at the statehouse, the problems facing the College Illinois program, sports betting proposals, and more 
24:00
March 22, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 25
 This week's top news stories and commentary about a proposed progressive tax, the gas tax, and more  
24:01
March 15, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 24
This week's top news and commentary about new polling data, Warren Buffett's warning about high public pension debt, the future of a private scholarship program and more 
24:00
March 8, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 23
This week's latest news and commentary about jobs leaving Illinois, credit rating agencies reviewing Illinois’ finances, Illinois’ continued population decline and more 
24:00
March 1, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 22
This week's top news stories and commentary about Gov. J.B. Pritkzer's budget proposal and more
24:12
February 22, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 21
The week's top news and commentary about the measure increasing the state’s minimum wage, Chicago’s impact on the rest of the state, and the governor’s private pay for his top staff 
24:00
February 15, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 20
The week's top news and commentary about the march toward a minimum wage increase, the outcome of state regulations on gun shops, and the latest in the cloud around Chicago city politics 
23:45
February 8, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 19
This week's top news and commentary about the FBI looking at corruption in Chicago, the minimum wage debate at the statehouse, and the march toward legalizing cannabis 
24:12
February 1, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 18
The week's top news stories and commentary about the new Pritzker’s administration’s budget challenges while promises continue to be made at taxpayer expense, and more 
24:00
January 25, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 17
This week's top stories and commentary about new taxpayer spending from new Gov. J.B. Pritzker, plus spending out of his own pocket and how Pritzker plans to address political opponents of a progressive tax 
24:00
January 18, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 16
The week's top stories and commentary about the new legislature with the same leaders, bills giving the incoming Pritzker administration more spending authority, and more 
24:14
January 11, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 15
The week's top stories and commentary about Chicago gun crimes, local taxpayers paying for city officials to go on a junket, an incoming Democrat’s spat with the party’s leader and more 
24:01
January 4, 2019
Illinois In Focus Ep. 14
Some of the top stories of 2018 and commentary from Illinois News Network Publisher Chris Krug and Executive Editor Dan McCaleb
24:03
December 28, 2018
Illinois In Focus Ep. 13
 This week's top news stories and commentary about Gov. Bruce Rauner’s revelation he sought others to take his place, the impacts on the GOP, and more 
23:58
December 21, 2018
Illinois In Focus Ep. 12
The top stories of the week and commentary from Illinois News Network Publisher Chris Krug and Executive Editor Dan McCaleb about pension reform, a proposed gas tax increase, the future of cannabis legalization and more.
23:56
December 14, 2018
Illinois In Focus Ep. 11
This week's top stories and commentary from Illinois News Network Publisher Chris Krug and Executive Editor Dan McCaleb about minimum wage, work requirements for food assistance, public retiree healthcare costs and more
24:09
December 7, 2018
Illinois In Focus Ep. 10
The week's top news and commentary from Illinois News Network Publisher Chris Krug and Executive Editor Dan McCaleb about veto session that just wrapped up, a heated exchange on the House floor, how Speaker Michael Madigan interacts with members of the media
24:14
November 30, 2018
Illinois In Focus Ep. 9
The top stories of the week, a look ahead to the final week of the 100th Illinois General Assembly and commentary from Publisher Chris Krug and Executive Editor Dan McCaleb about the state’s public universities’ budget requests, a Democrat who is saying no to House Speaker Michael Madigan, and more.
24:07
November 23, 2018
Illinois In Focus Ep. 8
Top news stories of the week and Illinois News Network Publisher Chris Krug and Executive Editor Dan McCaleb talk about Illinois getting passed over by Amazon, the ongoing fall veto session, a possible progressive tax, local pension costs and more
24:00
November 16, 2018
Illinois In Focus Ep. 7
Illinois News Network Publisher Chris Krug and Executive Editor Dan McCaleb discuss the election, and what the outcome could mean for taxpayers
23:20
November 9, 2018
Illinois In Focus Ep. 6
Illinois News Network Publisher Chris Krug and Executive Editor Dan McCaleb about next week’s election and what the outcome could mean to the state’s taxpayers, the impact of a proposed progressive tax, and a study about minimum wage.
23:29
November 2, 2018
Illinois In Focus Ep. 5
This week, Illinois News Network Publisher Chris Krug and Executive Editor Dan McCaleb talk zombie cities, an expired union contract, and a high profile bankruptcy for a company that got tax breaks.
23:31
October 26, 2018
Illinois In Focus Ep. 4
Episode 4 of Illinois News Network's Illinois In Focus with the week's top news stories and Illinois News Network’s Editor Dan McCaleb and News Editor Brett Rowland talk about the lawsuit minority field workers filed against Democratic candidate for governor J.B. Pritkzer, an estimate of how much more Pritzker’s proposals would cost the state, a high dollar school administrator, and more.
22:44
October 19, 2018
Illinois In Focus Ep. 3
Latest episode of Illinois In Focus from Illinois News Network
22:41
October 12, 2018
Illinois In Focus Ep. 2
Illinois News Network's Illinois In Focus featuring the top stories of the week, commentary and more
22:20
October 5, 2018
Illinois In Focus Ep. 1
Illinois News Network's premier of Illinois In Focus featuring the top stories of the week, commentary and more
22:03
September 28, 2018