Year In Review: Top Illinois political stories of 2017

(Photo by Rachel Droze)

From a lockdown at the Capitol the day the historic budget impasse ended to the power of words changing the culture of sexual harassment; a lot was done under the dome in 2017.

Here’s a list of the stories we think make the top five:

5. Governor signs abortion funding bill

In a move that shook the state, Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) signed House Bill 40.

"I believe that a woman living with limited financial means should not be put in a position that's something different than a woman of higher income would be able to choose," Rauner said on September 28.

The law goes into effect Monday.

It expands abortion coverage for women insured by Medicaid and the State Employees Group Insurance.

4. Rauner not in charge

Earlier this month, Rauner said he's not the one running Illinois.

He claimed House Speaker Michael Madigan is.

A spokesman from the speaker's office said it's disturbing how the governor falsely accuses the speaker of criminal activities to mask his failings in office.

3. Education funding reform

In October, the General Assembly passed school funding reform.

"We have indeed reached a compromise,” said House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, on Aug. 28.

The vote comes weeks after schools missed state aid payments.

According to the Comptroller, it was the first time in history the state missed their General State Aid payment to schools.

2. Sexual harassment at the Statehouse

A #MeToo letter circulated in October claiming Illinois politicians have a history of sexually harassing women.

This led to the passage of a bill requiring sexual harassment training for legislators, lobbyists and state workers.

1. Lawmakers pass state budget

After 737 days without a complete state budget, the legislature overrode Rauner’s budget veto.

"The people in this chamber did not do what was easy today, but we did what was right for the future of our state," Madigan said on July 6.

Along with the budget, came an income tax hike.

Honorable mention: Capitol lockdown

An honorable mention goes to the hours-long lockdown at the Statehouse, which happened before the budget vote.

Crews were investigating a potential hazmat sitation.

It turns out, the white powder that was found was just table salt.

The House will be back for session on Jan. 23.

The Senate will be back a week later on Jan. 30.

The big story next year will be the election, with the governor’s race expected to be the most expensive in U.S. history.

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