Covering Illinois state government may seem like a convoluted process when you don’t work in the State Capitol Press Corps. Yet you can get a lot of information right here to help you provide better coverage for your audience and ask better questions of your local lawmakers. In addition, it will help you find a trove of information that could lead to some great local news stories.
It can’t be said enough when covering the State of Illinois, No question is dumb! Everyone reading this has a different level of understanding of Illinois government. The purpose is to help someone new to reporting or new to Illinois along with veteran reporters. Please ask questions, and don’t be afraid of what you don’t know.
State government follows the models of the Executive, the Legislative and the Judicial Branches of government. This section will focus on the Executive and legislative including related branches and agencies that comprise them.
While Springfield is the State Capital, Chicago acts as a de-facto second capital with many agency heads and executives located there. In addition, there are regional offices for many divisions, especially for social service agencies, transportation and state police across the state.
A good reference source is the Illinois Handbook To Government. This includes a guide to Illinois lawmakers, members of Congress from Illinois, the state & US constitutions, a directory of agencies, constitutional officers and the judiciary along with legislative and judicial maps.
This annotated guide to the State Constitution is also helpful in better understanding how Illinois government operates.