Jamey Dunn

Read Jamey's "Past Due" blog.

No other publication explains Illinois as well as Illinois Issues.  No other publication has the audience of Illinois Issues.

Illinois Issues magazine is dedicated to providing fresh, provocative analysis of public policy in Illinois. With a special focus on Illinois government and politics, the magazine pays close attention to current trends and legislative issues, and examines the state's quality of life.

The magazine also engages its readers in dialogue, enhancing the quality of public discourse in Illinois. A not-for-profit monthly magazine published by the University of Illinois at Springfield, Illinois Issues also sponsors and promotes other appropriate public affairs educational activities.

In continuous publication since 1975 by the University of Illinois at Springfield (formerly Sangamon State University), Illinois Issues monthly magazine is known as Illinois' leading public affairs periodical. We accept that honor, and we work hard with each issue to live up to it.

More than 15,000 Illinoisans read the magazine every month. Our readers tell us they rely on Illinois Issues to keep up with Illinois government and politics. Plus, we publish an annual up-to-date directory called the Roster of State Government Officials — a resource our readers find invaluable year-round.

 Jamey Dunn is leaving the position of Illinois Issues editor. In this week’s Illinois Issues report, she reflects on her time working here and covering state government. 

Fish Cop / Flickr/Creative Commons

A new law that goes into effect in January is intended to ensure that residents who have had their license to own a gun in the state revoked don't have access to firearms.

VCU CNS / Flickr/Creative Commons

Starting in the new year, consumers in Illinois will no longer pay sales taxes on feminine hygiene products, such as tampons.

Those who work for Illinois organizations that provide services to survivors of domestic violence say the fact that there’s no funding for them in the soon-to-expire state spending plan was an unfortunate surprise.

New projections show nibbling around the edges of the state’s budget problems will get Illinois nowhere. 

Illinois spent last fiscal year without a budget. During that time, billions of dollars were cut from core services. The state also ran up billions of dollars in debt. A new report looks at how most of this was done without going through the normal Democratic process. 

The presidential race is capturing most voters' attention. But here in Illinois, there's record-breaking spending going into races for the General Assembly. Hanging in the balance is the state of Illinois, or at least its budget, anyway.

Even though it has lasted nearly a year and a half, most Illinois voters say they haven’t personally felt the effects of the state budget impasse. That’s according to a poll from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, which is based at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. 

A new report from the Chicago-based non-profit Truth in Accounting found it would cost taxpayers more than forty five thousand dollars each to cover the state’s unfunded debts.  

The political spotlight has shifted to the election, but the state budget crisis continues to cost the people of Illinois. 

A group of social service providers that sued the state over lack of payment are pushing forward with their case. But the coalition has shrunk. The Pay Now Coalition used to have nearly one hundred members. 

A law recently signed by Governor Bruce Rauner will make it easier for Illinois residents to access family members' social media accounts after they die.  The legislation requires that tech companies, such as Facebook, offer users a chance to name a beneficiary who would be given access to the account after they die or become incapacitated.  

The Illinois Teachers Retirement System voted last week to reduce the amount of money it assumes it will make from its investments. The board revised this rate of assumption down to 7 percent from 7.5 percent.

This change means that as lawmakers and the governor are putting together a budget for next fiscal year, they will have to come up with a projected $420 million more than what they might have expected to pay into the retirement system for teachers outside of Chicago. Illinois' total unfunded liability for all its pension funds is pegged at $111 billion. 

Armadillos are moving into the state, and some researchers believe they may make it as far north as the central Illinois area. 

Illinois Issues editor Jamey Dunn talked with F. Agustin Jimenez, a zoology professor at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, about armadillos and why they might one day be more prevalent in the state.   

In 2008, the Great Recession helped to tip Illinois into a fiscal crisis it still hasn't recovered from. A new report from Standard & Poor's found that another even moderate recession would mean big trouble for the state's budget. ​

After years of declining enrollment and a recent loss of funding under the state budget impasse, leaders of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale are considering the school's future.  

Molly Parker, a reporter with The Southern Illinoisan, is working on a series of stories focused on the university. Illinois Issues editor Jamey Dunn sat down with Parker to talk about SIUC.  

The governor describes the stopgap budget as a bridge to reform. But it could also be called an excavator — digging the state’s fiscal hole deeper.

Democratic leaders in the legislature and Gov. Bruce Rauner appear to be close to a deal to approve some funding for social service providers, higher education, capital construction and state operations. The proposal would also fund K-12 schools for all of next fiscal year.

But the plan can’t erase the destruction caused by the state going for a year without a budget.​​

 The United Way of Illinois surveyed social services providers in the state and found that during the budget impasse, about  1 million of their clients have lost services due to lack of funding. 

This week, NPR is focusing on voting across the country in a series of reports called A Nation Engaged. As part of the project, NPR Illinois took a look at issues affecting voters in our state.

Legislation that would automatically register Illinois residents to vote when they have interactions with the state — like renewing a drivers license — is  on the governor’s desk.

A program meant to rehabilitate juvenile offenders hasn’t seen state funding while Illinois has gone for almost a year without a budget. The program, called Redeploy Illinois, has had to make cutbacks, leaving more than 100 teens without services.

Gov. Bruce Rauner shuttered the Illinois State museum last fall, saying that the closure was a necessary cost-saving measure.

Earlier this week, his administration announced that the Springfield branch of the museum and the Dickson Mounds location will reopen on July 2 — that is if a legislative committee approves a plan to charge adults a five-dollar admission fee. 

Because of the lack of a budget, social services providers have not been getting paid for some of their work, even though they have contracts with state to continue providing these services. Some are now suing Illinois.

These organizations help the state's most vulnerable populations. But they are also businesses that have to make payroll, keep the lights on and balance their books for yearly audits. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recommended that the city of Galesburg offer residents bottled water or filters after tap water there tested for high levels of lead.  

Illinois is one of only eight states with a flat income tax. The reasons can be traced to the state’s first-ever successful attempt at putting an income tax in place.  

An effort to change the current tax structure is underway, but supporters face a fast-approaching deadline.  

This week, the Illinois General Assembly is considering several proposals related to the budget before both chambers go on a week-long break from session. Illinois Issues editor Jamey Dunn sat down with Illinois Public Radio's Rachel Otwell to talk about some of the budget issues that are in the mix. You will first hear Dunn describing a proposal to amend the state’s constitution to allow for a graduated income tax.

 

 

The Tully monster is Illinois' state fossil, but until recently scientists were not sure what kind of creature it was. A team of researchers compared thousands of specimens and were finally able to classify the Tully Monster.

The Illinois primary election is over — so will lawmakers and Gov. Bruce Rauner finally pass a budget?

Some who watch state government closely say chances aren't so great. 

The primary is over, so will Illinois lawmakers and Republican Governor Bruce Rauner finally agree on a budget?  Some who watch state government closely say chances aren't so great.  

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s plan for next fiscal year seeks to fix the foundation while the house is on fire.

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