Government and politics
The dome of the Illinois State Capitol, in Springfield, with a height greater than that of the United States Capitol.
The government of the state of Illinois is an adaptation of the federal government of the United States and, as described in its constitution, has a division of powers: executive, legislative and judicial.
- The top executive branch official in Illinois is the governor. He is elected by the electors of the State for a term of up to four years, and can be reelected as many times as he wants. Other government officials, such as the lieutenant governor, are also elected by the population for a four-year term. The governor elects a Secretary of State and the majority of the officers of the different councils of the country. The chambers of the Legislative Power elect a treasurer for a term of 4 years.
- The Legislative Branch of Illinois – officially called the General Assembly – is made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate has a total of 59 members, while the House of Representatives has 118. Illinois is divided into 59 senatorial districts. The electors of each district elect a senator, who will represent that district in the Senate. Illinois is also divided into 118 representative districts, where the population of each elects a representative, who will represent them in the House of Representatives. Senators have a term of up to four years, while the term of the representatives’ term is at most two years.
- The highest court in the Illinois Judiciary is the Illinois Supreme Court. All judges in the Illinois Judiciary are elected by the population, for terms of up to four years, and can be re-elected as many times as they want.
The current Illinois Constitution was adopted in 1970. Other, older Constitutions were adopted in 1818, 1848, and 1870. The Legislative Branch can propose amendments to the Constitution, and to be approved they need at least 67% of the votes of both Chambers of the Legislature, and then be ratified by at least 51% of the electoral population of the state, through a referendum.
About 60% of Illinois government budgets are generated by state taxes, with the remainder coming from federally supplied budgets and loans. In 2002, the state government spent 49,131 million dollars, having generated another 41,095 million. Illinois’ public debt is $ 34,761 million. Per capita debt is $ 2,762, per capita state tax value $ 1,786, and per capita government spending value $ 3,904.
According to a2zdirectory, Illinois is divided into 102 counties. Most of these counties are, in turn, divided into municipalities. All counties with townships – with the exception of Cook County – are managed by a board of supervisors. These counties are divided into different constituencies (the most voted person in a certain constituency becomes the representative of that constituency on the county council). The remaining counties are governed by councils of supervisors, elected by the general county population. Illinois has about 1,287 cities and towns, more than any other American state. Most cities are governed by a mayor and a council.
Illinois has traditionally been a battleground between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. Since 1992, he has gradually become more Democratic at the national and state levels. It is the most Democratic state in the Midwest (Illinois voted for Democratic candidates in the last four presidential elections). John Kerry easily won the state’s 21 electoral votes in 2004, by a margin of 11 percentage points, with 54.8% of the votes cast. Traditionally, central cities, especially in Cook County and St. Clair counties, have been Democratic centers, while Chicago’s suburbs have historically been Republican. However, Lake and DuPage counties, while still majority Republican, tend to lean toward Democrats. Small towns and villages are typically republican centers, except for the old mining and milling towns. Rural districts in the northern third of the state have historically been Republican, while those in the central and southern third have been Democratic. In 2002 and 2006, they were won by the Democratic Party.
The first school in Illinois was founded in 1784. In 1825, the state government authorized the founding of a public education system, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).
Currently, all educational institutions in Illinois must follow certain rules and patterns dictated by the Illinois State Board of Education. This council directly controls the State’s public school system, which is divided into several school districts. The council is composed of nine members elected by the governor and approved by the state, for a term of up to six years. Each main city (city), several secondary cities (towns) and each county, consists of at least one school district. In Illinois, a given school district often operates in several cities at the same time, even if it is centered in another given city. In cities, the responsibility for managing schools lies with the municipal school district, while in less densely populated regions, this responsibility is borne by the school districts operating in the county. Illinois allows the existence of “charter schools” (independent public schools), which are not run by school districts, but which depend on public budgets for their support. Schooling is compulsory for all children and adolescents over seven years of age, until the completion of secondary education or up to sixteen years of age.
In 1999, the state’s public schools served about 2,028,000 students, employing approximately 124,800 teachers. For their part, private schools served about 299,900 students, employing approximately 19,600 teachers. The state’s public school system used about $ 13,603 million, and public school spending was about $ 7,700 per student. About 85.9% of the state’s residents over the age of 25 have a high school diploma to their credit.
The first state library was founded in 1804, in Albion. Currently, Illinois has thousands of libraries, administered by 629 different public library systems, which annually move an average of 7.4 books per resident.
Illinois’ first institution of higher education, the College of Illinois, was founded in Jacksonville in 1809. Currently, the state has 175 institutions of higher education, of which 60 are public and 115 are private. The largest institution of higher education in the state is the Illinois University System.