Illinois Lawmakers
Airs on Various Times
Illinois Lawmakers is the longest-running public television series providing continuing coverage of the Illinois General Assembly.

Illinois Lawmakers is the longest-running public television series providing continuing coverage of the Illinois General Assembly. 

Launched in 1986, the program provides in-depth coverage and analysis of the General Assembly
by veteran Statehouse reporters, news features, and interviews with leading lawmakers
from both sides of the aisle. The program is broadcast during the spring session of the Illinois General Assembly and fall veto session. The series also provides live coverage and legislative reaction to the Governor’s State of the State and Budget Message speeches.

Illinois Lawmakers is produced in partnership by WSIU-TV Carbondale, WTVP-TV Peoria, and Illinois Public Media, Urbana.
Photo Above: Capitol Fax founder and publisher Rich Miller (left), WTTW Chicago Tonight correspondent Amanda Vinicky and Illinois Lawmakers host Jak Tichenor in the Illinois House of Representatives in Springfield. Photo: Todd Pilon, WTVP Peoria.


Episode #3401: Veto Session | Watch Online (aired 11/30)
Fall veto session coverage and spring preview when Democrats control the Governor's office and command supermajorities in the House and Senate. Guests: The Daily Line reporter Hannah Meisel, House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie (D) Chicago, Assistant House Republican Leader Tom Demmer of Dixon, Assistant House Majority Leader Greg Harris (D) Chicago, and Rep. Tim Butler (R) Springfield.


Episode #3307:
Illinois Lawmakers Approve FY 2019 Budget | Watch Online (aired 6/1)

Illinois Lawmakers send Governor $38.5 billion dollar budget on May 31st. Amanda Vinicky and host Jak Tichenor recap bipartisan budget agreement. Tichenor discusses budget passage with Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady of Bloomington, Sen. Heather Steans (D) Chicago, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs, and House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie (D) Chicago.

Episode #3306:
Budget Progress & Higher Education Reform | Watch Online (aired 5/25)'s Rich Miller leads off this week's Illinois Lawmakers with host Jak Tichenor as lawmakers appear closer to finalizing a budget for next fiscal year. Senate President Pro Tempore Don Harmon (D) Oak Park and Rep. Tim Butler (R) Springfield tell Tichenor they are optimistic the General Assembly can pass a balanced budget by the May 31st adjournment date. Later, House Higher Education Committee Chairman Emanuel Chris Welch (D) Hillside and Assistant Senate Republican Leader Chapin Rose (R) Mahomet discuss short and long-term plans for growing enrollment at Illinois public universities as part of a bipartisan, bicameral higher education working group.

Episode #3305:
Budget Progress & Quincy Veterans Home | Watch Online (aired 5/18)

Lawmakers report making progress in drafting a new budget for the state fiscal year beginning July 1. Statehouse reporter Hannah Meisel briefs host Jak Tichenor on the week's events at the Capitol. Tichenor then talks with house "budgeteers" Rep. Dan Brady (R) Bloomington and Rep. Fred Crespo (D) Hoffman Estates about budget negotiations. Sen. Jil Tracy (R) Quincy and Sen. Andy Manar (D) Bunker Hill tell Tichenor about the latest efforts to replace the Quincy Veterans Home where Legionnaires Disease outbreaks have claimed 13 lives since 2015.

Episode #3304:
Budget Negotiations | Watch Online (aired 5/11)

Illinois Lawmakers returns for weekly coverage of the final month of the General Assembly's spring session by focusing on budget negotiations for the state fiscal year that begins July first. publisher Rich Miller leads off this week's program with host Jak Tichenor on the latest from Springfield. Featured guests include House budget negotiators Rep. Greg Harris (D) Chicago and Rep. Tom Demmer (R) Dixon. Sen. Karen McConnaughey (R) St. Charles and Sen. Elgie Sims, Jr. (D) Chicago discuss the budget issue from the Senate perspective.


Episode #3209: Illinois Budget Enacted

Watch Online | (aired 7/7 @ 7:30pm)
The Illinois House and Senate have overridden Governor Bruce Rauner’s vetoes of a five-billion-dollar income tax hike to fund a $36-billion-dollar budget ending the state’s historic two-year budget impasse. On a special edition of Illinois Lawmakers, host Jak Tichenor talks with lawmakers from both side of the aisle in the House and Senate about how the stalemate finally ended and the work that remains to be done in the aftermath of the crisis. Guests include Rep. Will Davis (D) Chicago, Rep. Terri Bryant (R) Murphysboro, Rep. Greg Harris (D) Chicago, Sen. Republican Leader designate Bill Brady of Bloomington, Sen. Scott Bennett (D) Champaign, and Rep. Tom Demmer (R) Dixon.

Episode #3208: End of Scheduled Session Wrap-up
Watch Online | (aired 6/2 @ 7:30pm)
Illinois is entering its third year without a formal budget in place after the Illinois House adjourned without taking action on a new spending plan for the year that starts July first. On this edition of Illinois Lawmakers, host Jak Tichenor talks with John Jackson, visiting professor at the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at SIU Carbondale about the longest running budget crisis in U.S. history. Tichenor then talks with individual members of the four legislative caucuses about why the regular session ended in failure and what may happen next. Guests include Rep. Greg Harris (D) Chicago, Rep. Tom Demmer (R) Dixon, Senator Heather Steans (D) Chicago, and Senator Chapin Rose (R) Mahomet.

Episode #3207: Senate Democrats Approve Budget
Watch Online (aired 5/26 @ 7:30pm)
Senate Democrats have approved a $37.3 billion budget for FY 2018 and the taxes to fund it but its fate remains uncertain in the Illinois House. Amanda Vinicky from WTTW’s Chicago Tonight opens this week’s program with host Jak Tichenor. Sen. Iris Martinez (D) Chicago and Sen. Chris Nybo (R) Elmhurst debate the budget and property tax relief. Later, Rep. Grant Wehrli (R) Naperville and Rep. Carol Ammons (D) Urbana discuss prospects for pension reform in the Illinois House.

Episode #3206: Grand Bargain Inches Forward
Watch Online (aired 5/19 @ 7:30pm)
The Illinois Senate advanced parts of the so-called Grand Bargain in Springfield in hopes of ending the state’s nearly two-year old budget impasse, but a final agreement remains elusive. publisher Rich Miller leads off this week’s Illinois Lawmakers with an overview of the week’s news from the Capitol. Later, host Jak Tichenor talks with Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D) Northbrook and Rep. Terri Bryant (R) Murphysboro about bipartisan efforts by House members to encourage action on the Senate’s Grand Bargain. Later, Sen. Karen McConnaughay (R) St. Charles and Rep. Robyn Gabel (D) Evanston discuss the work of the state’s Human Trafficking Task Force.

Episode #3205: School Funding Reform & Budget Crisis Impacts
Watch Online  (aired 5/12 @ 7:30pm)
State Journal-Register political columnist Bernard Schoenburg updates the week's news at the Capitol with Illinois Lawmakers host Jak Tichenor. Also on this week's program, Assistant Senate Republican Leader Jason Barickman (R) Bloomington and House Appropriations (Elementary & Secondary Education) Chairman Will Davis (D) Homewood discuss progress on school funding reform. Later, Rep. Christian Mitchell (D) Chicago and Rep. Mike Fortner (R) West Chicago seek data on the impact of the state budget crisis on university cities around Illinois.

Episode #3204: No Clear Pathway Out
 Watch Online (aired 5/5 @ 7:30pm)
The Illinois General Assembly starts the countdown to adjournment on May 31st without a clear pathway to ending the state’s nearly two-year-old budget impasse. Rich Miller headlines this week’s program as Illinois Lawmakers begins weekly coverage during the month of May. Next, Senate Revenue Committee Chairwoman Toi Hutchinson (D) Chicago Heights talks with host Jak Tichenor about negotiations to create a “grand bargain” to end the stalemate. Later, Senator David Koehler (D) Peoria and Representative Tim Butler (R) Springfield describe how people in their districts are being harmed by the stand-off.

Illinois Budget Crisis Nears
Second Anniversary

Illinois Lawmakers is back to update viewers on efforts to end the state's nearly two-year-long budget crisis. "Illinois' fiscal house is teetering on the brink of insolvency and junk bond status as the fight between Governor Bruce Rauner and the Democratic leadership of the the General Assembly nears its second anniversary without a complete state budget," said host Jak Tichenor.

Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) and Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno of Lemont negotiated a "Grand Bargain" package of tax increase and reforms to break the impasse earlier this year, but it has not passed the Senate and faces an uncertain fate in the House.

ON THE STATE BUDGET STALEMATE"Finding a way out of this mess is made even harder by the fact that politicians from both parties are already setting their sights on next year's general election for statewide offices," - Jak Tichenor.

House Democrats approved a stopgap plan to help the state's financially struggling public universities and social safety net agencies on a party-line vote in April, but the Governor is threatening to veto the bill if it reaches his desk. The first-term Republican wants either a full-year's spending plan that contains parts of his business-friendly "Turnaround Agenda" in exchange for new revenues or to be given the authority to make cuts on his own to balance the budget without new taxes. "Finding a way out of this mess is made even harder by the fact that politicians from both parties are already setting their sights on next year's general election for statewide offices," said Tichenor.

Founded in 1986, Illinois Lawmakers is television's longest running continuing coverage of the Illinois General Assembly. It is a joint production of WSIU-TV, WTVP Peoria, and WILL Urbana-Champaign. publisher Rich Miller and WTTW Chicago Tonight correspondent Amanda Vinicky are regular contributors to the series, as are legislative leaders, lawmakers, and policy analysts