Politics and Government

Mike Miletich / WGLT

Members of the West Bloomington Housing Collaborative want to hear more from residents about a proposed police substation at 828 West Jefferson Street. 

Matt Drat is Director of Resource Development and Community Engagement for Mid Central Community Action, the collaborative's lead agency seeking input. 

He spoke at the regular Bloomington Police Chief focus meeting Wednesday night, and took questions from those opposed to using it as a substation. Drat said the agency is looking for more community input into what it refers to as the "Jefferson Street Community House."

Staff / WGLT

Normal residents will see Division Street reconstruction in the Spring. The Town Council has approved a $190,557 contract for Roe Construction to repair the road and sidewalk on Division Street between Lee and Adelaide streets. 

Staff / WGLT

Town of Normal staff are asking the Council to approve sidewalk and road construction along a stretch of Division Street. 

The Council will vote this evening on a $190,557 contract with Rowe Construction Company for Division Street roadway and sidewalk construction across the Main Street corridor. 

Staff / WGLT

The City of Bloomington is working with consultants Houseal Lavigne Associates to create a new playbook that governs the types of businesses and structures can be located in different parts of the city. The new rules would also govern the appearance of those buildings. Alderman approved a contract with the consultants in August.

Illinois Passes New Gun Ownership Law

Dec 28, 2016
Illinois State Police

A new law meant to clean up confusion about who is eligible to buy a gun in the state goes into effect in January.

The new law is meant to ensure that FOID cards are taken away from residents who have lost their firearm licenses because there is an order of protection against them.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Bloomington Ward 3 hopeful J Balmer said there are a number of disturbing things he found with the recent petition challenging process.

The Bloomington Election Commission dismissed all of the petition challenges earlier this week. 

Balmer said he thinks there is a concerted effort by a small group of people to subvert Bloomington elections.

Staff / WGLT

Skepticism and opposition surfaced quickly on social media after economic incentives were announced to attract Rivian Automotive to the former Mitsubishi auto manufacturing plant.  The Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council, the Town of Normal, and Mayor Chris Koos helped lead the effort to pass an incentive package which includes property tax abatements from area taxing bodies. 

Mike Miletich / WGLT

The McLean County Board will keep their monthly meetings scheduled at 9 a.m. despite multiple board members voting against it. 

District Nine Representative Erik Rankin said board members received a large number of phone calls and emails from constituents concerned about the meeting time. 

A petition from residents in the Spring Ridge subdivision influenced the Bloomington City Council to reduce the speed limit on a section of Hershey Road.

WGLT Staff

Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner believes the Twin Cities may work toward a shared tax agreement following the next mayoral election.

WGLT STAFF

The owner of a typical home in Normal will pay an extra $13 a year to the town of Normal next year.

That's an increase of less than 2 percent. The benchmark home has a value of $165,000.

WGLT Staff

District 87 is working to enhance the quality of education for students from all economic backgrounds. 

WGLT Staff

The $1.8 million tax rebate to developers of a popular Chicago-based restaurant is high, but reasonable for one projected to bring in $8 million in annual sales. 

Mike Miletich / WGLT

A hearing to review an objection to Mayor Tari Renner's nominating petitions has been delayed to later this week.

The original hearing Monday morning was stopped after multiple citizens called out the Bloomington Election Commission for violations of the Open Meetings Act.

WGLT Staff

McLean County Board Chairman John McIntyre said the selection of committee members is based on their experiences.

As Cuba moves on from the late dictator Fidel Castro, Illinois State University Professor of Languages, Literature, and Cultures Jim Pancrazio looks at events leading up to the Cuban Revolution to contextualize the how and why of Castro's rise to power.  

According to Pancrazio, Castro was an outgrowth of the 19th century nationalist leader Jose Marti', and the Castro-led revolution that toppled the government of President Fulgencio Batista on January 1, 1959, was a vindication of the struggle for independence began by Marti'.

City of Bloomington

Waste collected in Bloomington will need a new destination in the near future.State regulators expect the McLean County landfill to run out of space next year.

Brandon Hepner and Brian Taylor
Ryan Denham

Bloomington-Normal is a large metro area that’s home to several college campuses and plenty of Chicago transplants. So how did Republican Donald Trump still manage to win McLean County?

Staff / WGLT

A Bloomington Alderman believes road resurfacing overshadows the need to maintain and upgrade the City's water infrastructure.

Staff / WGLT

A Bloomington mayoral candidate thinks there's room in the budget to fund priorities such as infrastructure and public safety by cutting amenities.  Ward 1 Alderman and candidate for mayor Kevin Lower also is cool on raising fees or taxes during what he repeatedly called a recession. 

Staff / WGLT

Based on the number of people who didn't vote for President,  three community leaders representing people targeted by President-elect Trump are optimistic about a path toward healing divisions created by the campaign. 

IPR

Illinois lawmakers will attempt to override vetoes from Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner in the coming weeks during their brief, annual fall session.

One veto lawmakers are expected to try to overturn is legislation to automatically register eligible voters when they visit certain government agencies, like the Department of Human Services and the Secretary of State. The idea passed with overwhelming bipartisan support but Rauner vetoed it in August citing concerns about fraud.

Matt Turner / Flickr

For the first time since summer, Governor Bruce Rauner and the legislature's four top leaders got together Tuesday morning.  They're set to do it again Wednesday.

Tuesday's gathering didn't last long--roughly a half an hour.  House Speaker Michael Madigan characterized the tenor as "very respectful." But, Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno, had a different view.

"We listened to the Speaker's comments and we're frankly confused by them," she said.

Here's the confusion. Or the dispute, anyway.

Staff / WGLT

The Bloomington City Council is on record in support of continued state funding for Connect Transit. The Twin Cities' bus system faces a shutdown in January unless the Illinois Comptroller transfers funds appropriated earlier this year by the state legislature.

The $5 million owed to Connect Transit is part of a larger funding package for several downstate transit systems. Connect Transit's General Manager Andrew Johnson, who is President of the Illinois Public Transportation Association, spoke to council members about the state's legal authority to provide funding.

Staff / WGLT

Bloomington-Normal activists are worried about what Donald Trump will actually try to accomplish as President. Sonny Garcia and Bill Rau, both part of Illinois People's Action appeared on  Sound Ideas, and organized a protest in downtown Bloomington. Garcia said there is a lot of concern Trump will try to make good on promises to deport eleven million people...

Gov. Rauner's Income Triples In 2015

Nov 11, 2016
Illinois Lawmakers / Illinois Public Media

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner made $188 million last year. That’s according to tax returns released Friday.

Rauner’s income this year was more than 3 times the $58 million he made last year. He earned his fortune as a venture capitalist before taking office in 2014. When he became governor, he put his investments in a so-called blind trust. His 2015 tax returns show Rauner and his wife paid more than $50 million in federal and state taxes.

Emma Shores / WGLT

On Tuesday, November 8. Illinois State Students participated in the 2016 Presidential Election. Students engaged in the civic duty of voting and also attended a viewing party for the 2016 President Election results hosted by University Program Board. 

Mike Miletich / WGLT

Some members of minority groups in Bloomington-Normal said a Donald Trump presidency will undo several decades progress.

About 200 citizens joined together on the courthouse square in Bloomington Wednesday night in a demonstration organized by Illinois People's Action, to say they still feel a better America is worth fighting for.

Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

The Donald Trump presidential campaign was full of bold promises. Two Illinois State University political scientists said his supporters will hold him accountable if those promises are not met by the mid-term elections in two years or the next presidential race in four years.  Erik Rankin and Tom McClure regular political analysts for Sound Ideas

Matt Turner / Flickr

Illinois’ constitution has been amended for the 14th time since it was adopted in 1970.

Voters overwhelmingly approved what’s known as a “lockbox” for transportation dollars.

A well-funded alliance of business and labor organizations waged a campaign for the amendment, after lawmakers skimmed millions from Illinois’ road fund to pay for other needs.

Mike Sturino is the CEO of The Illinois Road and Transportation Builders.

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