Under the Dome

By GateHouse Media

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Brought to you by GateHouse Illinois and powered by The State Journal-Register in Springfield, Illinois, Under the Dome explores recent happenings in Illinois government and politics.

Episode Date
State rep's scandal, state worker back pay, state fair - Ep. 42

This week on the Under the Dome Podcast, we discuss:

* The departure of Nick Sauer from the Illinois House after allegations from an ex-girlfriend.

* State workers finally getting some back pay.

* Gov. Rauner signing an "offshoring" bill.

* A look ahead at the Illinois State Fair, including Democrats' plans to host former Vice President Joe Biden. 

Aug 03, 2018
Trump is coming to Illinois, Mark Janus' new job - Ep. 41

On this week's episode of Under the Dome, we preview President Trump's trip to the U.S. Steel plant (pictured) in Granite City, Illinois. Also, we discuss the controversy that arose when a Chicago mayoral candidate started handing out money at an event Gov. Bruce Rauner was attending. Plus, Mark Janus has a new job. 

Jul 26, 2018
Gun bills, Quincy, Trump-Putin reaction - Ep. 40

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has been busy this week signing bills related to gun control and the Quincy veterans' home. We also have reaction from the Trump-Putin meeting in Finland. All this and more on this week's episode of the Under the Dome podcast.

Jul 19, 2018
Sam McCann will be on the ballot for governor; Rauner apologizes to Champaign-Urbana - Ep. 39

With the July 4 holiday, it's a light-news week in Illinois government. Still, we learned that state Sen. Sam McCann's petitions to run for governor were not challenged, which means he, along with Gov. Bruce Rauner, J.B. Pritzker and Libertarian Kash Jackson will all be running for governor. Also, we talk about Rauner's recent trip to Champaign-Urbana to make up for unflattering comments he recently made about the region. 

Jul 05, 2018
Let's discuss Janus vs. AFSCME - Ep. 38

We're one day removed from the U.S. Supreme Court's big Janus vs. AFSCME decision that will have far-reaching consequences for unions in Illinois and beyond. Bernie, Doug and Angie break down the ruling. They also mention Sam McCann filing for governor as a third-party candidate and Joe Biden planning a trip to Springfield.

Jun 28, 2018
AFSCME lawsuits everywhere, #MeToo fallout, governor ad war - Ep. 37

On this week's episode of the Under the Dome Podcast, we discuss ...

* Numerous lawsuits involving AFSCME, state government's largest employee union.

* The latest #MeToo fallout that saw the resignation last week of a top aide to House Speaker Michael Madigan.

* The latest on the advertising war between Gov. Bruce Rauner and challenger J.B. Pritzker.

Jun 14, 2018
Madigan's chief of staff resigns, Trump and Durbin agree on Blagojevich - Ep. 36

On this week's episode of Under the Dome:

* Another associate of House Speaker Michael Madigan stepped down this week amid sexual harassment allegations.

* Should former Gov. Rod Blagojevich get out of prison early? President Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin actually agree on the answer.

Jun 07, 2018
They did it! They passed a budget on time! - Ep. 35

In a move not seen in many years in the Illinois General Assembly, lawmaker approved a state budget by the May 31 deadline. And they didn't even bicker about it too much. The Under the Dome Podcast crew marvels over this development and also talks about other Statehouse action over the past week, including:

* Allegations leveled against Rep. Lou Lang

* The approval of the Equal Rights Amendment

Jun 01, 2018
Cassidy vs. Madigan. Guns. Death Penalty. Ep. 34

On this week's episode of Under the Dome ...

* Guns and the death penalty are being hotly debated.

* Budget negotiations continue

* Rep. Kelly Cassidy (pictured) and House Speaker Michael Madigan are feuding.

May 24, 2018
Guns. Death penalty. ERA. Unified GOP? - Ep. 33

On this week's episode of Under the Dome, Bernie, Doug and Angie discuss the week that was in Illinois politics and government, including:

* Gov. Bruce Rauner's effort to bring back the death penalty to Illinois

* The various bills being introduced, vetoed and amended pertaining to gun control.

* The challenges of getting the Equal Rights Amendment ratified in the House

* The new-found unity in the Illinois Republican Party as two factions within the GOP forge a deal.

May 17, 2018
Selling off Lincoln? State budget fight. ERA. Ep. 32

Angie, Doug and Bernie talk about the week that was in Illinois government and politics in this week's episode of Under the Dome. Topics include:

* The ongoing state budget fight

* Officials criticized for how they handled the Legionnaires disease outbreak at the veterans home in Quincy.

* GOP infighting.

* The quest for the legislature to approve the federal Equal Rights Amendment.

* Talk of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum having to unload some of its artifacts to raise money.

May 11, 2018
The Republicans cut off Sam McCann, Quincy veterans home, the chances of passing a budget on time - Ep. 31

State Sen. Sam McCann has drawn the ire of Republicans for deciding to run for governor as a third-party candidate. Now, he's suing the GOP for cutting off his access to services normally provided to state senators. We also talk about plans to rebuild the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy, which has been plagued with outbreaks of Legionnaires' disease. Plus, will a state budget be approved on time this year?

May 03, 2018
Gun legislation showdown, Madigan, marijuana, Sam McCann - Ep. 30

There's a big showdown expected at the Capitol on Wednesday, April 25, 2018, as legislators decide whether to override Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto of a gun shop licensing bill, all while thousands of gun supporters converge on Springfield for their annual gun rights lobbying day. The Under the Dome crew discusses this topic — along with Michael Madigan's re-election as Illinois Democratic Party chairman, marijuana legalization and Sam McCann's entry into the governor's race — on this week's episode of the podcast. 

Apr 25, 2018
Equal Rights Amendment debate returns to the Illinois Capitol, budget negotiations - Ep. 29

The Equal Rights Amendment — an issue that prompted fierce debates and animal blood to be spilled on the floor of the Illinois Capitol in the 1980s — was up for discussion again at the Statehouse. 

Also, the spring legislative session has resumed after a break. Republicans and Democrats are already sparring over the budget.

We talk about it all on this week's episode of Under the Dome.

Apr 13, 2018
The governor's involvement in the YWCA block, Illinois' bad roads - Ep. 28

Springfield had debated for months on what should become of a downtown block that once contained a YWCA. Now, under a proposed lease, the governor would have to sign off on certain types of future development on the land. Is this right? Also, Illinois' terrible roads are cost drivers thousands each year in repairs costs and wasted gasoline. We discuss a new report on that topic.

Mar 29, 2018
It's Pritzker vs. Rauner — let the money flow - Ep. 27

The Under the Dome Podcast crew breaks down Tuesday's primary election, including the governor's race, which is now a battle between J.B. Pritzker and Gov. Bruce Rauner in what's expected to become the most expensive governor's race in U.S. history.

Mar 22, 2018
Schoenburg predicts Tuesday's primary election winners - Under the Dome EXTRA

SJ-R political writer Bernard Schoenburg explains his predictions (not endorsements!) for Tuesday's primary election. 

Mar 18, 2018
Guns and more guns, and we're really close to the election - Ep. 26

On this week's episode of Under the Dome, talk about gun control was front and center once again at the Illinois Statehouse this week as Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed a gun bill, senators passed other gun bills and lawmakers followed the lead of students throughout the country and conducted a walkout to call attention to the issue.

Plus, we're just days away from the March 20 primary election. We cover what the candidates for governor are doing and saying in these final days of campaigning.

Mar 15, 2018
Mendoza vs. Rauner, the campaign, Illinois' No. 1 movie - Ep. 25

This week on the Under the Dome Podcast, we cover state Comptroller Susana Mendoza's effort to highlight the "off-shoring" of the governor's staff and the latest on the campaign trail. And our podcast crew recites their favorite lines from the state's favorite movie, "The Blues Brothers."

Mar 09, 2018
Gun control, kid tackle football ban, recreational pot, Janus v. AFSCME - Ep. 24

On this week's action-packed episode of Under the Dome:

* Gun control: Lawmakers debated bill inside the Capitol and hundreds rallied in support outside this week.

* Should kids under 12 be allowed to play organized tackle football? A bill at the Statehouse says no.

* Some in Illinois want to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. We don't have a bill about that yet. But we do have a bill that would put a question on the November ballot to get voters' opinions.

* Mark Janus, the state worker who is fighting AFSCME over whether he should be forced to pay fair-share union dues, was in D.C. this week as the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the case.

Mar 02, 2018
Gun control in Illinois? Debate recap. Quincy Legionnaires' - Ep. 23

In wake of the tragic school shooting in Florida, gun control talk is beginning to re-emerge in the Illinois Capitol. Plus, we review last night's debate in Springfield featuring the Democratic candidates for governor. And we also talk about the state's ongoing challenges of dealing with Legionnaires disease at the Illinois Veterans' Home in Quincy. All this and more on this week's episode of Under the Dome, powered by The State Journal-Register.

Feb 22, 2018
Under the Dome EXTRA: Gov. Bruce's Rauner's story about no computers in a state agency office

The following recording is Gov. Bruce Rauner telling a story about visiting a state agency office that lacked computers. In the first part of this clip, he tells the story while appearing at a Citizens Club of Springfield meeting in April 2015.

Later in this clip, you’ll hear the governor telling the story again three years later, this time at an Illinois Bankers Assocation event in Springfield on Feb. 7, 2018.

In both cases, the governor’s office will not confirm what agency Rauner was talking about.

Read more in Bernard Schoenburg's column at http://bit.ly/2EPnS5Q.

Feb 17, 2018
More sexual harassment allegations in state government and Gov. Rauner's budget address - Ep. 22

This week on Under the Dome, we take a closer look at Gov. Bruce Rauner's budget address and the criticism that has followed. Plus, we talk about the allegations of sexual harassment in state government that surfaced again this week when a Democratic campaign staff member, Alaina Hampton (pictured), presented evidence that a supervisor, Kevin Quinn, harassed her.

Feb 15, 2018
Under the Dome EXTRA: Gov. Rauner speaks at Lincoln Day Dinner

Gov. Bruce Rauner made remarks at the Sangamon County Republican Party's annual Lincoln Day Dinner at the Bank of Springfield Center on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018.

Feb 09, 2018
"Thank you, Bruce Rauner" ad, Pritzker-Blago tapes, budget address - Ep. 21

On this week's episode of Under the Dome, we talk about:

* State Rep. Jeanne Ives' new controversial ad that has everyone talking.

* How the wiretapped conversations between J.B. Pritzker and Rod Blagojevich continues to be the gift that keeping on giving for Republicans (and Pritzker's Democratic opponents in the governor's race).

* Gov. Bruce Rauner's budget address set for Feb. 14.

Feb 08, 2018
East St. Louis is a what? State of the State review - Ep. 20

On this week's episode of the Under the Dome Podcast:

* The chairman of the Illinois Lottery Control Board gets in hot water for a tweet about East St. Louis. 

* We review Gov. Bruce Rauner's State of the State address.

* Rauner and Rep. Jeanne Ives had an interesting debate in Chicago.

Feb 02, 2018
'Sharknado' name-dropped in governor campaign; water concerns in Capitol? - Ep. 19

The cinematic classic "Sharknado" came up during the governor's campaign this week, and officials are testing whether the Capitol Complex water supply is infected with Legionella bacteria. All this and more on this week's episode of The Dome. ("Sharknado" movie poster credit: By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39940670

Jan 26, 2018
More Blago wiretapped conversations. Yes, Rauner says, David Duke is a racist - Ep. 18

This week on Under the Dome ... 

The Illinois State Board of Education has made a bold request for state funding. Will they get it?
Have plans for Valentine's Day? You might consider spending some quality time listening to Gov. Bruce Rauner's budget address on Feb. 14. We'll preview what he might say.
Also, Gov. Rauner is debuting a new, 15-minute campaign commercial featuring a wiretapped conversation between then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich and J.B. Pritzker. We'll talk about the strategy.
And finally, the governor's campaign this week made clear that Rauner thinks former KKK leader David Duke is a racist. We'll explain why that needed to be said.
All this and more coming up next on this week's episode of Under the Dome.
Jan 18, 2018
Missouri sex scandal and an Illinois TV ad, Rauner departs Quincy vets home - Ep. 17

This week on the Under the Dome Podcast: 

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has departed the state-run veterans home in Quincy after a weeklong stay. We'll talk about what he wants to do to the aging facility.

Education funding is back in the news after the governor issued an amendatory veto.
Plus, Rauner has a new TV ad that takes on J.B. Pritzker.
And finally, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (pictured) is entangled in a sex scandal today. We'll talk about how that affects an advertisement that was appearing on Illinois televisions.
All this and more on this week's episode of the Under the Dome Podcast.
Jan 11, 2018
The Quincy veterans home's newest resident, HB 40 and more - Ep. 16
We're back from our holiday break to cover the latest news at the Illinois Statehouse. This week we discuss efforts in the courtroom to stop a controversial abortion funding bill from being enacted. The campaign for governor is starting to heat up again as we get closer to the March 20 primary election. We talk about the Quincy veterans home's newest temporary resident — Gov. Bruce Rauner. And finally, we'll look at the lack of legislative action at the Statehouse over the next few months. All this and more on today's episode of Under the Dome.


Jan 04, 2018
Objection! (to nominating petitions), Pritzker endorsements - Ep. 15
Candidates have turned in their nominating petitions for the March 20 primary. Now, some of those petitions are being objected to. We talk about who might get kicked off the ballot.
Plus, Democratic candidate for governor J.B. Pritzker picked up some more high-profile endorsements last week. Is he going to run away with his party's nomination?
And we also talk about the property tax assessments process in Chicago and how it is playing into the increasingly contentious race for Illinois governor. 
All this and more coming up next on this week's episode of Under the Dome.


Dec 14, 2017
Rauner not in charge of Illinois? McCann abandons GOP. Franken quits - Ep. 14
Candidate filing for Illinois' March primary election ended earlier this week. And one state senator surprised people by saying he's out. Or is he? Gov. Bruce Rauner, the highest-ranking elected official in Illinois, declares he is not in charge of Illinois. And local members of Congress weigh in on the sexual misconduct controversy surrounding U.S. Senator Al Franken, who announced his resignation as we taped our podcast today. All this and more on Episode 14 of Under the Dome.


Dec 07, 2017
Ready, set, file. Is Illinois ready for recreational marijuana? - Ep. 13

On this week's episode of Under the Dome: Although you've been hearing about the election for weeks now, election season officially began this week as candidates began filing to get onto the ballot. In addition, questions swirl about how many billions the state will be spending to move Medicaid recipients into managed care. And recreational marijuana – is this something in Illinois' future?


Nov 30, 2017
Governor's race hits the road, sexual harassment at the Capitol, Rodney Davis - Ep. 12

On this week's episode of Under the Dome, we discuss the race for Illinois governor. The primary is just four months away and candidates -- including state Rep. Jeanne Ives (pictured), who is challenging Gov. Bruce Rauner for the Republican nomination -- are hitting the road. In addition, we update you on lawmakers' attempts to stop sexual harassment in state government. (While we taped this episode on Thursday morning, Rauner announced he signed two bills intended to combat harassment.) And finally, we look at the Twitter-based controversy surrounding what U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, said about sexual harassment and what his opponent did with a portion of the comments. 

Nov 16, 2017
Scrambling to address sexual harassment, veto overrides and Girl Scout cookies - Ep. 11

Illinois lawmakers spent the final days of the just-completed veto session scrambling to address the fallout of the sexual harassment allegations that have swirled around the Capitol. They also overturned a good amount of Gov. Bruce Rauner's vetoes. We talk it about all this and more -- including a mysterious stash of expired Girl Scout cookies that were found in the Capitol pressroom -- on this episode of the Under the Dome Podcast.

Nov 09, 2017
Sexual harassment at the Capitol and Gov. Rauner has a GOP challenger - Ep. 10

The explosive allegations about sexual harassment at the Illinois Capitol continued to grow this week with state Sen. Ira Silverstein (pictured) losing a leadership spot over accusations made against him. Plus, Gov. Bruce Rauner has a new Republican challenger for governor. Does state Rep. Jeanne Ives have a chance? And guess who's back in state politics? It's former Gov. Pat Quinn, who is now trying to become attorney general. The State Journal-Register's Angie Muhs, Bernard Schoenburg and Doug Finke talk about it all on this week's epsiode of Under the Dome.

Nov 02, 2017
Veto session recap: Bump stock ban fails, sexual harassment at the Capitol - Ep. 9

The first week of the Illinois General Assembly's fall veto session is in the books. We recap the action, including the House's defeat of a bill that would have banned bump stocks from being installed on firearms, the open letter circulating at the Capitol about sexual harassment within Illinois government, Gov. Bruce Rauner officially starting his re-election campaign and a new Rauner ad that features other states' governors "thanking" Speaker Michael Madigan for driving jobs and businesses to their states.

Oct 26, 2017
Veto session preview: Will state lawmakers take up gun control? Ep. 8

The Illinois General Assembly's veto session begins Tuesday, Oct. 24. In addition to taking votes on bills that Gov. Bruce Rauner has vetoed, state lawmakers also could dig into other issues, such as gun control, a topic that is in focus after the tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas. SJ-R Statehouse reporter Doug Finke and Executive Editor Angie Muhs talk about the veto session, Rauner's recent cuts to some state departments, Rauner's tax returns and Speaker Michael Madigan's new website and Facebook page that has him looking happy and relaxed.

Oct 18, 2017
The fallout after Gov. Rauner signed HB 40: Under the Dome, Ep. 7

This week, the SJ-R Under the Dome crew talks about Gov. Bruce Rauner's decision to sign House Bill 40, the abortion-rights bills, and the political fallout that is happening as a result.

Oct 04, 2017
The running mate roundup: Under the Dome, Ep. 6

This week, the SJ-R Under the Dome crew talks about the various lieutenant governor candidates that are emerging, Gov. Bruce Rauner's Asian trade mission and the departure of the state's education secretary and poet laureate. Yes, the state of Illinois has an (unpaid) poet laureate.

Sep 14, 2017
We have a school funding deal: Under the Dome, ep. 5

The Illinois General Assembly has finally reached a deal to fund public education in the state, which means we're out of the woods in terms of any immediate financial crises on the horizon. But will the relative peace last, especially considering that the campaign season is set to start in earnest in September? Listen as SJ-R editor Angie Muhs, statehouse reporter Doug Finke and political writer Bernie Schoenburg talk about all of that and more on this episode of Under the Dome.

Aug 31, 2017
Are we close to an education funding deal? Under the Dome - Ep. 4

Doug, Bernie and Angie talk about the latest Statehouse news, including some possible light at the end of the education funding tunnel, the state's bill backlog, Gov. Rauner's plan to sign an immigration-related bill, the Rauner administration's rough response to a cartoon that some said was racist and Rep. Sara Wojcicki Jimenez, R-Leland Grove, saying she's not running for re-election to the Illinois House.

Aug 23, 2017
Previewing today's school funding special session-SJ-R Under the Dome Ep. 3

A preview of today's school funding special session.

Aug 09, 2017
Will Illinois schools get state funding? SJ-R Under the Dome Ep. 2

Will Illinois schools get state funding.

Aug 09, 2017
We have a budget; now what -SJ-R Under the Dome Ep. 1

We have a budget; now what.

Aug 09, 2017