A busy year ahead in Illinois politics - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

A busy year ahead in Illinois politics

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WSIL -- There's a busy year ahead for Illinois political leaders.

The state's two-year budget crisis finally ended, but lawmakers will once again find themselves tasked with putting together another budget in 2018.

A new southern Illinois lawmaker will join them in that effort.

In September, Democrat Natalie Phelps Finnie, of Elizabethtown, was selected to fill the remaining term of her cousin, former state Rep. Brandon Phelps.

Phelps Finnie says she'll focus on bringing jobs to southern Illinois.

Gov. Bruce Rauner will have several big fights on his hands.

The governor not only has to get his agenda through the Democratic-controlled legislature, he'll also have to respond to incoming attacks from Democrats running for governor, and face off with a Republican primary challenge from state Rep. Jeanne Ives.

"Illinois can do a lot better with the right leadership. We have a very strong governorship. We happen to have a weak man in office right now," said Ives.

Though the governor's race and budget battle will most certainly dominate most political headlines in 2018, state leaders will also have to confront other issues plaguing the state, from prison overcrowding to the opioid crisis.

Lawmakers will return to Springfield in late January.

The governor is scheduled to give his state of the state address on January 31st, followed by his budget address on February 14th.

The Republican and Democratic primaries will be held on March 20th.

The general election is in November. 

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