Politics and Government

Town of Normal

The Normal Town Council will vote Tuesday on whether to take the next step in relocating four department offices to a new development in Uptown Normal. Engineering, Inspections, Planning, and Facilities Management are slated to move there in late summer or early fall 2017.

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The U.S. Supreme Court deadlocked on its consideration whether President Obama has authority to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation.

This leaves unresolved big questions whether states have standing to sue the administration and whether the administration has the authority to issue such broad executive orders.

Connect Transit Announces Fee Restructure

Jun 29, 2016
Michael Hill / WGLT

People in Bloomington are reacting to fee changes proposed by Connect Transit. Under the plan, fixed route fares for one way riders, people with disabilities and senior citizens would remain the same along with one way fares for the Connect Mobility door-to-door service.

Justin Brocke / Flickr

There's intense pressure on Illinois lawmakers to pass a budget before Friday, when a new fiscal year begins.  Governor Bruce Rauner spent hours meeting with legislative leaders Wednesday morning and negotiations are expected to continue throughout the day.  

After a year without a state budget, word is an agreement may be shaping up between the Republican governor and the Democrats who control the General Assembly.


A six-month pilot project that will test limited bus service in northern Normal and southwestern Bloomington was approved by the Connect Transit Board of Trustees. The plan is to provide morning and afternoon service in those areas beginning in mid-August. Those areas would have been cut off by the route restructure slated for the fall.

U.S. Rep. LaHood

There's a lot Donald Trump says and does with which Congressman Darin LaHood doesn't agree.  He said voters will have a stark choice this November.

When asked during GLT's Sound Ideas, about Trump's response to the Orlando shooting, statements about a federal judge of Mexican descent, and a ban of people of the Muslim faith from entering the U.S., the Illinois 18th District U.S. Representative said "all of those things you mentioned are not necessarily things I agree with, with Donald Trump."

Mike Miletich / WGLT

The human services sector makes a major contribution to Illinois' economy, but the current budget impasse is making that area suffer. Human services hire more than 1,000 workers in McLean County. With a loss of these jobs, there will be less income to the community through taxes and spending.

Richard Gillin / Creative Commons

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued its first major ruling in an abortion case in nine years. And ISU Political Scientist Meghan Leonard said five of the justices did not buy any of the argument from the state of Texas that a law regulating abortion clinics was intended to safeguard public health.

McLean County Health Department

The last several weeks have involved a great deal of public turmoil involving a strained relationship between the County Health Department and its Board of Health and the County Board. Investigative efforts by the Bloomington Pantagraph turned up thousands of e-mails among health board members, and Health Department Director Walt Howe with some members of the board scheming to elect their slate of officers friendly to Howe's position.

An early morning fire in Bloomington caused 125,000 dollars damage to a home on North Lee Street. One adult and five children escaped without injury about 1:40 a.m. Monday from the home in the 14-hundred block of North Lee.

Red Cross workers say they are helping the residents. Firefighters say they called in backup from Normal and an extra crew from Bloomington to help put out the flames. The fire began in the kitchen, but investigators have not yet determined the cause of the flames.

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Authorities in McLean County have found five malnourished horses, and one has been euthanized. Sheriff Jon Sandage says a neighbor tipped off deputies to the horses.

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Some $2 billion in road construction projects will be shut down July 1 in Illinois without a state budget agreement. An Associated Press analysis of Illinois Department of Transportation data shows that collectively work on the 19 largest projects is less than halfway done in terms of money spent.

Clinton Stumps In Chicago

Jun 27, 2016
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Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton wasted no time attacking her Republican rival Donald Trump during a speech in Chicago this afternoon at McCormick Place.

Clinton spoke before the Women’s Luncheon for the Rainbow Push Coalition.

VenuWorks Contract May Get Extension

Jun 26, 2016
Gemma Billings / Flickr

VenuWorks may manage the U.S. Cellular Coliseum for up to 5 years if a contract is approved by Bloomington Aldermen Monday. The company entered into a 90 day agreement with the city in April in an effort to make sure VenuWorks was a good fit.

Rep. Davis Reacts To Democratic Sit-in

Jun 23, 2016

Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis said the Democratic protest in the US House was a "publicity stunt." The nearly 26-hour sit-in by House Democrats ended earlier today, but the group vows to come back after a congressional recess "more determined than ever before."

Jesse Faber

Damage assessment and cleanup has begun in Pontiac after a tornado tore through the west and south parts of town Wednesday night. Mayor Robert Russell said the tornado clipped about two blocks of residential housing on the south end of the city, causing some injuries in a mobile home park.

"The good news is that nobody critical. Some broken bones and maybe a broken hip and some cuts and bruises, but if you saw the devastation that went through, we're very very fortunate," said the Mayor.

NOAA Archive / Creative Commons

Editor's Note: This story has been updated

At least one tornado struck Pontiac, Illinois Wednesday night causing heavy damage and at least three injuries. Information is still being collected by fire and law enforcement officials, though some reports indicate children were among those injured when a mobile home was destroyed. The Fire Department said overnight "some injuries appeared to be somewhat serious."

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Exelon Generation has taken the first step in closing the nuclear power plants in Clinton and the Quad Cities.

Melissa Schoper / WGLT

After 25 years of growth, Heartland Community College is pausing to rethink its mission. Academic Vice President Sarah Deil-Hunt said Heartland has begun what it calls a Continuous Improvement Initiative.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

With just over a week left before the start of the 2017 Fiscal Year, Illinois' Comptroller is warning that hardships caused by the state's budget impasse will grow significantly without further action in Springfield.

While court orders, consent decrees and statutory authorization of some payments will continue, Munger said that $23 billion in existing spending for schools, 911 call centers, domestic violence shelters, federally-funded social and human services and higher education will stop next month without new legislation.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

The McLean County Board has approved an additional 216,000 dollars for the County Clerk to cope with increased administrative demands caused by the same day voter registration law.

The move comes in response to three plus hour wait times at precincts on the campus of Illinois State University during primary voting in March.

Video gaming fees won't be coming to Bloomington businesses anytime soon- if ever. The Bloomington Council chose to table the discussion for at least a year. Details such as an exact cost of the fee were not finalized before the council chose to table the issue. Alderman David Sage said he doesn't see the issue resurfacing in the future.

  "If we can, more legitimately and more credibly say here are costs associated with the video gaming terminals, and therefore we have to recover additional money to address that, I mean I suppose that could be a scenario that would prompt a follow up conversation but, at this point I don't think there's much interest in bringing it back up" said Alderman Sage.

Normal Police Department

Police in Normal and Bloomington are looking for a man they believe has committed child sexual abuse. 24-year old Deondre A. Watts is believe to have left the state for now.

Friends of Riverfront Park / Facebook

On the 325-year anniversary of a settlement that was founded on the shores of Peoria Lake, a group of citizens is calling for the withdrawal of the City of Peoria's plan to sell Riverfront Park for an apartment development.

Dietz: ISU Enrollment Keeping Up With 2015

Jun 15, 2016
Michael Hill / WGLT

The continuing budget impasse in Springfield is not affecting fall enrollment at Illinois State University. During Sound Ideas, President Larry Dietz said ISU will have the same number of students as fall 2014, despite a decrease in the statewide high school graduation rate.

Ralph Weisheit

Bloomington's mayor said a sales tax sharing proposal is "dead, in the short term at least" after a majority of aldermen decided against further discussions. 

However, Mayor Tari Renner said the proposal could resurface after the April 2017 municipal elections.

Michael Hill / WGLT

Connect Transit is asking for feedback on a proposal that would provide limited service to people that will be cut off when new routes and schedules are put in place this August. The plan would provide morning and afternoon service during peak times in northern Normal and southwestern Bloomington.

McLean County Board Member Owens Resigns

Jun 14, 2016
Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

Republican Benjamin Owens will resign from his post at the McLean County Board. Owens has represented District 10 on the east side of Bloomington since 2000, but former county Republican Party Vice Chairman Josh Barnett defeated him with over 68% of the vote during the Illinois primary last March.

Owens is Chairman of the Finance Committee and also serves on the Executive and Property Committees. He submitted his Letter of Resignation during an Executive Committee meeting, with plans to leave office June 30.


After the attack in Orlando, the focus should not be exclusively on whether the shooter is Muslim or an Islamist, according to the Chair of the Illinois State University Politics and Government.

Dr. Ali Riaz says there are other factors that should be examined.