Politics and Government

WGLT

Democratic candidate for governor Daniel Biss took aim at Gov. Bruce Rauner on Tuesday for trying to “drive a wedge in the middle of Illinois” over school funding and urged his own party to avoid nominating its own billionaire to challenge Rauner next November.

Associated Press

Illinois is once again in the spotlight as advocates seek to revive efforts to pass an Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution after it narrowly missed being ratified in the 1970s.

Staff / WGLT

Another evaluation of City Manager David Hales' status is likely this fall, Bloomington's mayor said Tuesday.

WGLT

The Unit 5 school board and Normal Town Council plan a rare joint meeting Wednesday to share information and possibly set up a new liaison committee.

Merlin Mather

State Rep. Carol Ammons has announced that she will not run for Congress.

Jenn speaks to crowd
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Local civil rights leaders claimed victory Monday as the Bloomington City Council voted to create a new civilian board to advise the police chief—a step that supporters hope will improve how the city deals with complaints against its officers.

Bruce Rauner speaks at event
G-Jun Yam / The Associated Press

Illinois students are set to return to the classroom within a matter of weeks, but the state can’t send money to schools until a new funding plan gets signed into law.

Courtesy

A seventh Democrat has announced plans to challenge Republican Rodney Davis in the 13th Congressional District.

Brad Basham Photography / bbasham.com and Town of Normal

Budget pressures faced by the Town of Normal could result in the leanest budget in a decade.

G-Jun Yam / The Associated Press

Unit 5 in Bloomington-Normal has enough money to stay open around 70 days this coming school year—maybe less—if lawmakers and Gov. Bruce Rauner can’t reach an agreement on school funding.

Ralph Weisheit

Dividing Downtown Bloomington into three zoning areas—instead of only one—could increase the area's walkability, leading people to spend more time and maybe money there, according to Bloomington's community development director.

Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

A task force looking for ways to reinvigorate downtown Bloomington is circling a bold idea—closing off a portion of Main Street and making it for pedestrians only.

Seth Perlman / The Associated Press

The new state budget will fund Illinois colleges and universities at the level of funding they received in 2015—minus 10 percent. But there’s one area of higher education that got a boost.

Baylee Steelman / WGLT

Heartland Community College now knows what the state will give to operate in the current fiscal year, but questions remain about the cost-shifting of employee pensions.

Staff / WGLT

McLean County Board members disagreed Tuesday on how to fund a job supporting behavioral health services.

Elizabeth Guzaldo

The last municipal election in Bloomington-Normal was notable for the diversity of candidates. They included several women, African-Americans, a Muslim American, and an Illinois State University student. Among those elected were two openly gay women, married with children.

G-Jun Yam / The Associated Press

A new school funding plan designed to provide more state funds for low-income districts has cleared both chambers of the Illinois legislature, but Democrats haven't sent it to Gov. Bruce Rauner.

WGLT

The owners of the Hyatt hotel in Uptown Normal have withdrawn their request for a tax break that the Normal Town Council was expected to vote on Monday night.

Courtesy

A Democrat from Saybrook has announced plans to challenge McLean County Board vice chairman Jim Soeldner in next year's election.

Democrat David Siebert said in a Facebook post Tuesday that he plans to run for the McLean County Board District 2 seat currently held by Soeldner, a Republican from Ellsworth.

Lisa Madigan at podium
M. Spencer Green / The Associated Press

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan recently released guidelines on how law enforcement should reform their policies on sexual assault cases.

It follows enactment of the state Sexual Assault Incident Procedure Act, which is meant to improve law enforcement's response to these incidents through required specialized training and policies. Agencies must have written policies consistent with the guidelines in effect by Jan. 1.

Key requirements for law enforcement entities in Madigan's guidelines include:

Baylee Steelman / WGLT

Bloomington residents are providing scores of ideas to improve the city's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts programs. 

Howard Daughenbaugh of Bloomington said during a public input session Thursday that the city needs to invest in multicultural organizations. He said meetings like Thursday's should appeal to diverse residents. 

Rich Saal / The State Journal-Register/Pool

The shakeup in Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office could signal a tougher stance on school funding.

The state spending plan requires adoption of a new funding formula, but Rauner has promised to veto the plan that got legislative approval.

Green Top Grocery owners look at their new store
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Last week when lawmakers finally passed a state budget, their counterparts in local government cheered.

A day or two later, mayors and city managers across the state got the bad news—that the hard-fought budget package included a sales tax surprise that will further strain municipalities.

Baylee Steelman / WGLT

Central Illinois lawmakers are viewing the newly passed budget as a temporary solution to the state's long-term issues.

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

UPDATED 10 a.m. | Bloomington City Manager David Hales is one of five finalists for a similar position in Topeka, Kansas.

Hales and the other four finalists will be in Topeka for interviews on July 21-22, according to a statement issued by Topeka on Friday.

Emma Shores / WGLT

Unit Five grade school enrollment will go down in Bloomington-Normal and high school enrollment will rise for the next few years.

That's according to a new demographic study presented to Unit Five school board members Wednesday night.

S&P Removes Illinois From Credit Watch With Budget In Place

Jul 12, 2017
Bruce Rauner speaks at event
G-Jun Yam / The Associated Press

A credit ratings agency has removed Illinois from a credit watch since legislators approved a budget and ended a more than two-year impasse.

S&P Global Ratings said Wednesday the outlook on debt ratings is stable.

Baylee Steelman / WGLT

Bloomington residents say they want a walking trail at O'Neil Park on the west side, concessions at the baseball field, and an extended swimming season.

Will Davis speaks
Seth Perlman / The Associated Press

In a maneuver some state lawmakers call a "booby trap," the spending plan approved last week says Illinois can't appropriate money for schools unless a new funding formula also wins approval.

Hockey player on skates
Courtesy / Bloomington Thunder

The city-owned arena in downtown Bloomington has new managers and a new name. Does it deserve a new chance to win over its critics?

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