Ben Szalinski

Bio

Ben is The Daily Line's legislative reporter covering Illinois state government. He came to The Daily Line in January 2022 from Shaw Media where he covered local government in McHenry County for the Northwest Herald. Ben is a graduate of the Public Affair
MAR 20, 2023

Former mayoral candidate U.S. Rep Jesús “Chuy” García (D-Ill.) has endorsed Cook County Comm. Brandon Johnson (D-1) in the runoff for Chicago mayor. And Gov. JB Pritzker announced record revenue from the state’s TV and film production industry.

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News in brief: Garcia endorses Johnson for mayor; State reports record revenue from film production industry

Former mayoral candidate U.S. Rep Jesús “Chuy” García (D-Ill.) has endorsed Cook County Comm. Bra...
MAR 03, 2022
Then-House Speaker Mike Madigan during a floor session in 2020. [Justin Fowler/pool/SJ-R]

Former House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) was indicted Wednesday on 22 counts of bribery, racketeering and wire fraud in the culmination of a multi-year federal corruption probe that has already ensnared multiple people in his inner circle.

The 106-page indictment handed down by U.S. Attorney John Lausch described details of an intricate "enterprise" through which Madigan used his powers as speaker and 13th Ward Democratic committeeperson to dole out personal favors to allies.

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Indictment details 'Madigan enterprise' devoted to paying off former speaker and his allies

Then-House Speaker Mike Madigan during a floor session in 2020. [Justin Fowler/pool/SJ-R] Former ...
MAY 29, 2024
Members of the House Democratic staff huddle to discuss a motion to suspend House rules around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday. [Ben Szalinski/The Daily Line] 

House Democrats’ plan to pass budget bills early Wednesday nearly exploded into disaster around 4 a.m. after multiple failed attempts to pass a $1.1 billion revenue package featuring numerous new tax hikes on largely on businesses to fund the budget.

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Rebellious House Dems force 3 attempts to pass $1.1B tax hike plan overnight

Members of the House Democratic staff huddle to discuss a motion to suspend House rules around 4...
MAY 29, 2024
The Illinois Capitol 

The House adjourned Wednesday morning without advancing a measure that would heavily regulate hemp to the point where those in the industry believed their products would be effectively banned.  

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House kills hemp regulation many viewed as ban   

The Illinois Capitol    The House adjourned Wednesday morning without advancing a measure that ...
OCT 23, 2023
Rep. Adam Niemerg (R-Dieterich), left, and Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet), right, speak at a news conference in Montrose, Illinois on Friday. [Blue Room Stream] 

Three weeks after a truck crash and ammonia leak killed five people and injured five others in Teutopolis, located near Effingham, local lawmakers have filed legislation they hope will keep drivers detouring around crashes inside construction zones safer.  

   

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Lawmakers propose legislation after slew of summer crashes in Effingham area turn deadly

Rep. Adam Niemerg (R-Dieterich), left, and Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet), right, speak at a news ...
OCT 23, 2023
The Illinois Capitol 

With anxiety high in Jewish and Muslim communities as war rages between Israel and Hamas, two Illinois lawmakers who represent districts with a high concentration of members of both faiths are pushing the state to get grant funding out the door to help secure houses of worship.

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Lawmakers pushing to make grant available for religious organizations to provide security at houses of worship  

The Illinois Capitol  With anxiety high in Jewish and Muslim communities as war rages between I...
JUN 23, 2023
Gov. JB Pritzker makes a campaign stop at Planned Parenthood’s Chicago office in August 2022. [Ben Szalinski/The Daily Line] 

When the U.S. Supreme Court dropped the expected end of Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022 in the Dobbs v. Jackson ruling, it was a call to action for Illinois Democrats who spent the next year crafting and passing bills to protect and expand access to abortion in Illinois.  

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Illinois legislature spends year since Dobbs ruling preserving and boosting access to abortion

Gov. JB Pritzker makes a campaign stop at Planned Parenthood’s Chicago office in August 2022. [B...
MAR 16, 2023

The Department of Healthcare and Family Services is launching a "Ready to Renew" public awareness campaign to ensure Illinois residents keep their health care when pandemic protections on health insurance coverage end this spring. The campaign will use public advertising to ensure Medicaid recipients renew their coverage. 

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Springfield Announcement March 16, 2023

The Department of Healthcare and Family Services is launching a "Ready to Renew" public awareness...
FEB 16, 2023

Speaker Chris Welch (D-Hillside) tweeted, "It was an honor to have Governor Pritzker in the House Chamber for this year's State of the State. I look forward to continuing the work to deliver for Illinois families."

Sen. Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago) tweeted, "I am thrilled that @GovPritzker's budget proposal invests $250 million in early childhood education and care, $100 million to expand childcare facilities and $1.6 million to launch a statewide literacy program"

Rep. Kam Buckner (D-Chicago) tweeted, "We spend more to house a person a year in IL prisons than we do to educate a young person for a year at Chicago Public Schools. But nowhere is the school to prison to death pipeline more evident than in the same sub-standard food in prisons that we also serve in our schools."

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District Dispatches February 16, 2023

Speaker Chris Welch (D-Hillside) tweeted, "It was an honor to have Governor Pritzker in the House...
JAN 06, 2023
House Speaker Chris Welch (D-Hillside) presents a bill to ban “assault weapons” in Illinois with Gov. JB Pritzker seated next to him on the House floor. [Blue Room Stream] 

The Illinois House took a historic step Friday morning passing a bill that would make Illinois the ninth state to ban “assault weapons.” The bill’s passage came nearly six months to the day since a gunman killed seven people at Highland Park’s Independence Day parade and injured dozens of others with a Smith & Wesson M&P15 semi-automatic rifle and 30-round clips.  

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House passes ‘assault weapon’ ban, sending bill to Senate after making some revisions; Durkin votes ‘yes’

House Speaker Chris Welch (D-Hillside) presents a bill to ban “assault weapons” in Illinois with...
JAN 06, 2023
Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) speaks at a news conference Thursday night. [Ben Szalinski/The Daily Line] 

The House passed a bill late Thursday night making several changes to Illinois’ abortion law as a response to last year’s end of Roe v. Wade, but it’s not clear where the Senate stands on the proposed legislation.  

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House advances abortion bill in response to end of Roe, but differences with Senate still to be ironed out  

Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) speaks at a news conference Thursday night. [Ben Szalinski/The Da...
DEC 09, 2022
Sen. Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) speaks on the Senate floor on Dec. 1. [Ben Szalinski/The Daily Line] 

Sen. Scott Bennett, a Democrat from Champaign and an eight-year veteran of the Illinois Senate, died Friday at age 45, according to WCIA-TV. 

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Champaign Sen. Scott Bennett dies at 45

Sen. Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) speaks on the Senate floor on Dec. 1. [Ben Szalinski/The Daily L...
DEC 05, 2022
Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) speaks on the Senate floor Thursday. [Blue Room Stream]  

Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) announced Monday he would retire from the Illinois Senate at the conclusion of the 102nd General Assembly after a decade representing central Illinois.   

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Sen. Jason Barickman announces retirement, further shaking up Senate GOP

Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) speaks on the Senate floor Thursday. [Blue Room Stream]    ...
DEC 05, 2022

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported Friday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have classified 63 Illinois counties with an elevated risk for COVID-19, an increase from 46 last week. Twelve of the counties are considered high risk. The department is urging residents to get a COVID-19 booster shot, take a COVID-19 test before gathering for the holidays, and for everyone feeling symptoms of COVID-19 or other respiratory illnesses like the flu or RSV to stay home. 

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Springfield Announcement December 05, 2022

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported Friday that the Centers for Disease Control and...
DEC 05, 2022

Illinois lawmakers advanced a portion of Tuesday’s deal on paying down the unemployment insurance trust fund deficit. And lawmakers sent Gov. JB Pritzker a revenue bill that includes tax incentives for electronic vehicles.  

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News in brief: Unemployment debt payment deal partially advanced by lawmakers; More electric vehicle incentives in revenue bill 

Illinois lawmakers advanced a portion of Tuesday’s deal on paying down the unemployment insurance...
DEC 05, 2022

Sen. Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) tweeted, "HB4218 passed the Senate yesterday! Now it's on the way to the Governor's desk This bill guarantees access by requiring all Illinois corrections facilities and institutions to provide free menstrual products and underwear to all incarcerated individuals who menstruate!"

House Speaker Chris Welch (D-Hillside) tweeted, "Before leaving Springfield this week, I promised my friend Ella Jarmer, that I would visit her school. So it was an honor to stop by Grant Middle School and meet with 8th grade students and staff. The Generals were excited to learn about my journey and profession."

Sen. Robert Peters (D-Chicago) tweeted, "I was driving past Pontiac, Illinois when I started to realize how much I wish I could tell my dad, a civil rights lawyer, about this week. Miss you, old man."

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District Dispatches December 05, 2022

Sen. Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) tweeted, "HB4218 passed the Senate yesterday! Now it's on the ...
DEC 05, 2022
Rep. Bob Morgan (D-Highland Park) is pictured on July 5 after visiting the scene of the July 4 mass shooting with Vice President Kamala Harris. [Ben Szalinski/The Daily Line]  

Illinois lawmakers will consider a plan when they return to Springfield in January that could make Illinois the ninth state to ban assault weapons half a year after seven people were killed and dozens were injured from a mass shooting at the Highland Park Independence Day parade.  

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5 months after Highland Park shooting, Morgan introduces plan to ban ‘assault weapons’  

Rep. Bob Morgan (D-Highland Park) is pictured on July 5 after visiting the scene of the July 4 m...
NOV 18, 2022
House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) speaks at the Illinois State Fair in August. [Blue Room Stream]

House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) is not holding back on criticism of his own party as he gives up his leadership role. A week after his House Republican Caucus lost at least four seats, Durkin is offering a blunt assessment of where his party went wrong.

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‘King RINO’ Durkin rips party’s embrace of Trump, hopes to see his caucus take more moderate positions as he yields leadership role

House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) speaks at the Illinois State Fair in August....
NOV 17, 2022
Sen. John Curran (R-Downers Grove). [Senate Republican Caucus]

The Senate Republican Caucus will have a new leader in January when Sen. John Curran (R-Downers Grove) takes the helm from Senate Minority Leader Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods) after the caucus unanimously voted for Curran to be their leader at a closed-door meeting Tuesday night.

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Curran preparing to take over Senate Republicans, downplaying division within Republican Party

Sen. John Curran (R-Downers Grove). [Senate Republican Caucus] The Senate Republican Caucus will ...
NOV 17, 2022
Sen. Robert Peters (D-Chicago) speaks at a rally at the Illinois Capitol Wednesday. [Ben Szalinski/The Daily Line]

The first of two weeks of fall veto session wrapped up Wednesday without any changes to the SAFE-T Act and Democrats said little about what changes they are considering making to the law that received heavy criticism during the election season.

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SAFE-T Act supporters declare election shows support for law, but still offer few details about any changes

Sen. Robert Peters (D-Chicago) speaks at a rally at the Illinois Capitol Wednesday. [Ben Szalinsk...

Bio

Ben is The Daily Line's legislative reporter covering Illinois state government. He came to The Daily Line in January 2022 from Shaw Media where he covered local government in McHenry County for the Northwest Herald. Ben is a graduate of the Public Affair