Politics and Government

Obama waves
Achmad Ibrahim / The Associated Press

The Illinois General Assembly is honoring former President Barack Obama by naming part of a major highway after him.

Children smiling in a classroom
Courtesy / YWCA of McLean County

For the first time in a long time, Bloomington-Normal’s social service agencies have a reason to applaud state lawmakers. 

It's Over: Illinois Has First Budget Since 2015

Jul 6, 2017
Mike Madigan walks
Seth Perlman / The Associated Press

The Illinois House voted Thursday to override Gov. Bruce Rauner's vetoes of a budget package. The action gives Illinois its first annual spending plan since 2015.

Vote Delayed Amid Report of Hazardous Material

Jul 6, 2017
Illinois State Capitol exterior
Justin Brocke / Flickr

A critical override vote on a package of budget bills was delayed Thursday as authorities investigate a report of hazardous material in the Illinois Capitol.

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

The speaker of the Illinois House has scheduled a vote for Thursday to override the governor's veto of the budget package.

John Cullerton
Seth Perlman / Associated Press

The Illinois Senate is expected to vote on a full budget Tuesday after the House passed a spending plan and a tax increase over the weekend to try and end the two-year long impasse.

In the House, 15 Republicans went against Gov. Bruce Rauner and voted "yes" on Sunday. But it’s not a given that the Senate has the votes to pass it.

Senate Democrats already passed a budget. It included more spending than the plan they’re set to consider Tuesday.

Senate Republicans opposed that budget, and the question now is whether they’ll oppose this one too.

Colleen Reynolds

The Bloomington City Council is considering establishing a citizen-led police oversight board to receive complaints about police and offer citizens an a review process.  

Ralph Weisheit

The Bloomington City Council may vote on a civilian review board at their July 10 meeting, but action could also be delayed, according to a Bloomington Alderman.

WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff

The Town of Normal Council is expected to sign off on an option for pedestrians and people on bikes to traverse railroad tracks bisecting Uptown.

Staff / WGLT

The Illinois Attorney General has ruled the City of Bloomington violated the Open Meetings Act. Mayor Tari Renner said the city is likely to appeal the ruling.

Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

There's continuing forward momentum  in Bloomington-Normal toward creating a multi-sports complex. The idea could make good economic sense according to Town of Normal City Manager Mark Peterson. However, Peterson said he wouldn't use the term "public-private partnership" to describe the effort.

Judith Valente / GLT News

As part of their Social Work in Action class, a group of Illinois Wesleyan University students began interviewing people who have been arrested in McLean County.  

Ralph Weisheit

Editors note: This is the first of a series of interviews with newly elected council members in Bloomington and Normal. 

There are a "ton of details to work out," but a Bloomington Alderman is standing by campaign statements about a shared sales tax agreement between Bloomington and Normal. 

Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

(This story has been edited to include comments from Bloomington Police Chief Brendan Heffner and McLean County State's Attorney Jason Chambers.) 

What is it like to currently file a complaint of officer misconduct with the Bloomington Police Department?

Sophie Charles and Henry Dick, a couple from West Bloomington, did just that. They said they came away from the experience dissatisfied with the results and reluctant to approach the police in the future.

Sait Serkan Gurbuz / AP Photo

When asked to characterize the political savviness of the Trump-Pence administration, an ISU political scientist shot back during Sound Ideas with "there is no political savviness."

Staff / WGLT

Bloomington City Council members have signaled possible approval for a transportation commission. A final decision will come later this month.

A commission would give residents a bigger voice in traffic issues by creating or reviewing proposals, holding public hearings and discussing transportation issues with staff and the council.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

Progressives in Bloomington-Normal met outside of Congressman Rodney Davis' office Monday afternoon to protest his vote to approve the GOP healthcare repeal, or AHCA.

Many were shocked when the Taylorville Republican came outside to talk with them.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

Construction is finally underway for the highly anticipated McLean County Jail expansion. 

The McLean County Board held a groundbreaking ceremony for the $39 million project Monday morning. 

The three-story addition will have a first floor area for visitors and space on the second floor for inmates with mental health concerns.

Staff / WGLT

Bloomington Aldermen will consider initiating the rezoning process for several properties on the city's west side during Monday night's meeting.

The properties are single-family homes and a mixed use development with second floor apartments near the intersection of W. Washington and Allin Street.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

If you drove through Bloomington-Normal this week, you undoubtedly saw a large number of American flags in front of houses and on the side of roads.

Hundreds of people visited Eastview Christian Church Saturday morning to pay respects to the family of Army Ranger and Sergeant Josh Rodgers. 

Rodgers was killed from small-arms fire in Afghanistan last week. The 2013 Normal Community High School graduate and another soldier who died in the same battle were members of the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment based at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Staff / WGLT

While the Town of Normal has narrowed choices to connect Uptown Normal with future development south of the railroad tracks, construction of an underpass could still be years out. 

Cristian Jaramillo

Newly elected and reelected Bloomington aldermen and mayor were officially seated after taking the oath of office, officiated by City Clerk Cherry Lawson. Those sworn in were elected in the April 4 municipal election. 

Henri Huet / AP

As an expert in international affairs, Harvard University Professor Fredrik Logevall considers it crucial to study the Vietnam War, a complicated and controversial part of American history. 

Logevall was a child living in Canada when the United States pulled its combat forces from Vietnam in 1973.  He has since written widely about the war and shared his insights recently at Illinois State University as a guest of the History Department.

Julian Westerhout

The City of Bloomington will investigate repairing a 100-year-old section of Monroe Street with brick instead of paving it over. 

The Council agreed unanimously Monday night to direct staff to design, plan, and bid the repair of brick or replacing the street with new brick.  The move likely saved the 800 block of Monroe from being paved over with asphalt. 

GLT News

At a public forum last December sponsored by Black Lives Matter, several residents of the Bloomington's west side complained that their neighborhood is under a police microscope, with officers making unfair stops and arrests.

Bloomington Police Chief Brendan Heffner says  he sends additional patrols to areas of the city that have a higher rate of incidents. 

The practice is a  common one known as "hot spot policing."  It is used by departments across America in cities both large and small to address high crime areas. But does hot spot policing work?

Mike Miletich / WGLT

The longest serving Town of Normal council member says he was deeply troubled by the recent municipal election.

During a news conference at Uptown Station Wednesday morning, Councilman Jeff Fritzen said he believes Normal mayoral candidate Marc Tiritilli's campaign  was damaging to what many had worked on within the community.

Flickr

There's and old joke that goes like this: a prison guard asks an inmate what he's in for. "Talking," the inmate replies.

Law Professor James Duane says it's no laughing matter.  He's the author of the book "You Have The Right To Remain Innocent" and is featured in a video titled "Don't Talk to the Cops" that's garnered thousands of views on You Tube.

Duane says innocent people sometimes get convicted based on information they provide to police in an effort to be cooperative.

Koos and Tiritilli
Cristian Jaramillio / WGLT

Mayor Chris Koos is looking ahead to the next four years with continued vigor toward redevelopment. He won a fourth term after a count of absentee ballots on Tuesday widened his win margin to 11 votes.

Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

Residents in the Town of Normal will see a slight hike in their water bill next month. 

The council approved a two percent increase for the water rate in a 4-3 vote Monday night with council members Kevin McCarthy, Scott Preston, and Kathleen Lorenz voting "no." 

Staff

Longtime central Illinois State Representative Dan Brady says he's not ready to announce if he'll run for re-election next year.

During a Sound Ideas interview, the Bloomington Republican Brady acknowledged there's a renewed interest in running for office among progressives in the state. But he says that has nothing to do with whether he'll seek a tenth term in Springfield.

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