The cost of funding a college education continues to rise every year. Many Illinoisans cannot afford to pay out of pocket to attend a university and the options for funding that education can often be complicated.

Below you will find a great starter guide that breaks down different ways to fund a higher education along with various types of scholarships, grants, and loans that are available to Illinois families.

One of the hallmarks of a Democrat-built budget in the Illinois General Assembly is its passage in the dead of the night. The late night call for a vote seems fitting since the budget was crafted behind closed doors, another hallmark. Let’s face it, debating the budget in the light of day and inviting people with divergent views and experiences to provide input, would expose nuances in the budget they want to keep under wraps.

The “nuances” in the $50 billion state budget that passed very early this morning with only Democrat votes, will lead to Illinoisans paying more for gas, groceries and medicine, not to mention property taxes. At the same time lawmakers will get a second boost in pay this calendar year. 

The budget bill made its appearance in the House chamber just before midnight and minutes after passing out of the Senate. The timing of its arrival allowed the House clerk to read it into the record for the first of three days required by the Rules of the House of Representatives.

It is uncertain if additional amendments will be considered; nonetheless, the stage is set for the budget’s final passage tomorrow, likely in the wee hours of the morning. Republicans and most of the Democratic caucus have little time to comb through thousands of pages of the $50 billion budget before it is called for a vote.

Late Afternoon Update. As we approach the 4 o’clock hour in Springfield, there has been no movement on the budget.

It was announced yesterday that the House and Senate Democrats had agreed on the budget language, but it is apparent that is not the case. While a Senate appropriations committee held a subject matter hearing on the budget bill (SB250, Senate Amendment 1) this morning, a vote was not taken.

It is unclear if the budget bill will be assigned to a Senate standing committee for a public hearing since a subject matter hearing was held, or if the amendment will go directly to the Senate floor for final action. Ultimately there may be additional amendments to be considered. We anticipate learning more once the House Democrats return from their caucus meeting.


Morning Update

The much-anticipated state budget did not make its expected debut last night. 

Earlier on Wednesday, the Governor and Democratic leaders announced they had come to an agreement among themselves and planned to introduce the budget in the Senate that evening, after which it would pass over to the House. That late night move would have allowed the budget bill to be read a first time in the House and expedite its path through the General Assembly, for a possible final vote on Friday night. 

It appears rank and files members of the Democratic caucus had other thoughts. The Democratic Senate president finally announced at 11 p.m. last night that they would be unable to address the budget bill that evening and would try again in the morning. 

The Senate intends on presenting the budget bill in a Senate Appropriations Committee at 9 a.m. today.  Live audio of the hearing in Capitol Hearing Room 212 may be available here shortly before the start of committee. 

The Governor and Democratic leaders announced this afternoon that they have finally crafted a budget, patting themselves on the back for coming to an agreement with themselves six days after their own deadline.

The Senate President indicated the budget will be called in his chamber this evening and expects the House to take it up on Friday. They did not include specifics in their announcement but generally spoke about several expansive new programs that will be funded in their budget, neglecting to mention costs or revenue sources.

Democrats are finally addressing the budget and we are demanding a seat at the negotiating table. Democrats need to lift their moratorium and work with Republicans to ensure all Illinois families are considered in decisions that ultimately affect the pocketbooks of Illinois taxpayers.

From balancing your finances to succeeding academically, attending college can be an overwhelming experience as well as an exciting time for incoming college freshmen.

In an effort to provide guidance to those heading off to college for the first time,  Illinois lawmakers offer practical advice to help new students excel while in school. 

National Police Week is celebrated May 14th through May 20th to honor the dedication, bravery, and unwavering commitment of the men and women who wear the badge. This annual commemoration is a reminder of the sacrifices made by our law enforcement officers, who, day in and day out, stand as our communities' first line of defense.

Every police officer begins their day with the fact that they might be called upon to face danger, to protect a life, or to keep the peace. Their uniform isn't just a piece of clothing; it's a symbol of courage, service, and public trust. These individuals are our neighbors, friends, and family members and have chosen a profession that puts others' safety above their own. For that, they deserve the highest level of respect and gratitude. 

Illinois House Republicans: Democrats Must Act on Ethics. Just one week after guilty verdicts were handed down in federal court, sealing the fate of the ComEd Four for their corrupt actions, and following this week’s disclosure that former Democrat State Senator Tom Cullerton walked straight from his jail cell and into a lobbying firm, Illinois House Republicans sharpened their criticism on supermajority Democrats in Springfield for failing to clean up their own house and operating under the same corrupt Madigan rulebook. 

Just one week after guilty verdicts were handed down in federal court, sealing the fate of the ComEd Four for their corrupt actions, and following today’s disclosure of former Democrat State Senator Tom Cullerton walked straight from his jail cell and into a lobby firm, Illinois House Republicans sharpened their criticism on supermajority Democrats in Springfield for failing to clean up their own house and operating under the same corrupt Madigan rulebook.

In December 2020, Speaker Welch, acting as Madigan’s appointed Chairman of the Special Investigating Committee, shut down hearings after previously receiving testimony from ComEd’s compliance attorney. Despite repeated investigations, indictments, and arrests, Democrats have not acted on any meaningful anti-corruption reforms and have rarely called their colleagues out for wrongdoing. 

Artificial intelligence, or AI, is a hot topic of discussion across the world. What once started as programs made for basic functions, such as a simple yes or no prediction tool based on statistical data, has evolved into a technology that can hold a conversation while seeming almost human.

AI usage has become mainstream, with a variety of programs readily available on the Internet. With any new form of technology, it’s important to remain aware of what that technology entails, and how to keep yourself safe. 

‘ComEd Four’ found guilty on all counts in bribery trial tied to ex-Speaker Madigan. A federal jury on Tuesday convicted three ex-lobbyists and the former CEO of electric utility Commonwealth Edison for their involvement in an alleged bribery scheme aimed at longtime Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Former ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore and Mike McClain – the utility’s longtime contract lobbyist and close confidant of Madigan – were each found guilty of nine counts of conspiracy bribery and falsifying records. Former City Club of Chicago President Jay Doherty, who also served for decades as an external lobbyist for the utility, and John Hooker, a former ComEd executive turned contract lobbyist for the company, were each found guilty of six counts. 

Illinois House Republicans are calling on the Democratic Super Majority to join our efforts in eliminating the culture of corruption plaguing the state of Illinois. And, to make ethics reform a priority as we head into the final weeks of session.

The legislature needs to take bold steps to weed out the underlying causes of corruption in state government by:

  • Allowing for greater transparency in the budget-making and lawmaking processes.  
  • Changing the "Rules" set up by Mike Madigan (and that are still used today) that gives a handful of lawmakers the power to decide which bills get a hearing, including ethics bills.
  • Enacting stronger laws that prohibit lawmakers from serving as lobbyists, grants greater authority to the Legislative Inspector General and enacts Fair Maps to let voters select their elected officials.

We’d like to hear from you. Should Ethics reform be a priority? How can we restore your confidence in state government? Please take our survey to let us know what you think about the need for ethics reform in Illinois.

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In the last decade alone, ten sitting or former elected state officials have been charged in federal court with public corruption-related activities. This includes longtime Speaker of the House Michael Madigan who is awaiting trial on charges of racketeering, bribery, fraud and extortion.

Was it hubris or outright defiance of the law that played a role in the corrupt actions of these political leaders? Perhaps they just didn’t fear the consequences? What is not in question is the current Democratic leadership’s lack of will to take up ethics reform any time soon. 

With summer right around the corner, many families are planning their trips across the country. But why leave Illinois when you can spend your summer enjoying the beauty, thrills, and educational opportunities our state has to offer?

Below is an extensive list of activities that families can enjoy right here in the Land of Lincoln.