Politics and Government

NCHS teacher Patrick Lawler

A group of Normal Community High School students has tried their hands at breaking the budget deadlock.

A group led by Social Studies teacher Patrick Lawler drove to Springfield to meet with General Assembly members.

Empty field
Staff / WGLT

A potential multi-sports complex on Bloomington-Normal's west side could top $50 million in public-private investment.

In an interview  for GLT's Sound Ideas, Katie Kim of the Kim Group, a developer working with landowner Dave Stark on a multi-use sports complex in Bloomington-Normal, said she continues to meet with stakeholders.

Merlin Mather

Urbana State Representative Carol Ammons received a warm welcome in Normal from members of the Indivisible 13 group. She held a listening session at the Normal Public Library.

Ammons is a Democrat who has formed an exploratory committee to run for Congress.

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."

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Another in the rolling series of healthcare protests has happened in Bloomington.

Progressives held a "die-in" outside the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts.

Isabella Rodriguez / WGLT

The first day of a discovery recount for the Normal mayoral race revealed no dramatic change in the result.

Candidate Marc Tiritilli had requested a recount of a quarter of the precincts in the town after losing to incumbent Chris Koos by 11 votes. 6,336 voters went to the polls in the Mayoral race April 4, 2017.

David Stillman / Flickr

A nonpartisan research group said Illinois’ desperate financial condition is getting even worse.

The Civic Federation of Chicago said unless something is done soon, by next year the state’s pile of unpaid bills could consume half of all new tax revenue.

The group has published an 86-page report outlining where it thinks Illinois ought to go.

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.

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.

Home Is The Hero

May 5, 2017
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Hundreds of people gathered at the Central Illinois Regional Airport to welcome home the body of Army Ranger and Sergeant Josh Rodgers.

Rodgers was killed in Afghanistan last week. An honor guard escorted the casket from the aircraft that landed at the old section of the airport grounds.

Davis And LaHood Vote For Obamacare Repeal

May 4, 2017
Staff / WGLT

Both Central Illinois Congressman Darin LaHood and Rodney Davis voted for the bill to replace the Affordable Care Act.

This is not a complete repeal of Obamacare. But, Congressman Davis said it fixes health care to provide more affordable choices and more accessibility.

Jon Norton / WGLT

Progressives in Bloomington Normal made a point of going out in the rain to area Congressional offices to protest the House vote on the GOP healthcare repeal.

The measure passed the house and moves to the Senate, which has decided to work on its own bill and not take up the House version.

Staff / WGLT

61 social service agencies suing the State of Illinois over the budget impasse got their day in court on Thursday.

An attorney for the agencies told Illinois Appellate Court judges the agencies are political hostages because of the budget impasse. Those groups are suing the state to get paid what they’re owed.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

The State Board of Elections said hackers gained access to the information of 80,000 Illinois voters, including their Social Security numbers and driver’s licenses.

Elections officials said hackers had access to Illinois’ system for nearly three weeks before they were detected. They did get access to personal information, but officials said that’s about it.

Attorney General Office

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said it's particularly appropriate to highlight the fourteenth amendment in 2017

Madigan gave a Law Day speech to the McLean County Bar Association meeting at Illinois State University in Normal.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

The Mayor of Normal is not enthusiastic about a formal welcoming cities ordinance. Area groups marched on Bloomington City Hall this week asking for an ordinance to limit local government cooperation with federal immigration and customs enforcement, or ICE.

Mayor Chris Koos of Normal said he supports keeping immigrant families together, but not through that method.

Emma Shores / WGLT

Defeated Normal Mayoral Candidate Marc Tiritilli has begun examining voter registration rolls and comparing them to signatures of people who voted in seven precincts during the April municipal election. 

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Hundreds of demonstrators marched from the old courthouse building to Bloomington City hall singing and chanting.

"Ice in our drinks but nowhere else," and "Immigrants are welcome here. No hate. No fear," they called out.

Grumbling Normal Council Grants More Time To Africano

May 2, 2017
Emma Shores / WGLT

The Normal Town Council has decided to give the owner of a deteriorating building more time to tear it down.

Nicholas Africano is missing a Tuesday deadline to demolish the administration building of the old Illinois Soldiers and Sailors Children's School at One Normal Plaza.

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. 

woodleywonderworks / Flickr

An expert on the proposed revision to the school funding formula says educators are on board with the idea even if politicians aren't there yet.

LeRoy School Superintendent Gary Tipsord spoke during a recent Town Hall on school funding at Heartland Community Colege about the so-called evidence based funding model.

Justin Brocke / Flickr

Illinois legislators have voted against letting people with drug-related convictions receive welfare benefits.

Supporters said when drug offenders lose welfare benefits, it punishes their children, who did nothing wrong, but still rely on public assistance. Among those supporters was State Representative Carol Ammons of Urbana.

“This bill does change eligibility for those who come out of institutions with little to no resources or support,” said Ammons.
     
Despite the growing heroin epidemic in the state, members of both parties did not buy the argument.
     
Representative David Reis is a Republican from Willow Hill.

Clyde Robinson / Flickr

State Representative Dan Brady of Bloomington has honored a fallen soldier from Bloomington on the House floor in Springfield.

Brady spoke of 22-year old Joshua Rogers, a 2013 graduate of Normal Community High School, who became an Army Ranger Sergeant.

McLean County administrators say a mailing service messed up 4,000 property tax bills and sent them out a week ago.

Those bills went to the individuals or entities who own more than one piece of taxable land in the county.

Hastert To Lose Pension

Apr 26, 2017
Tannen Maury / EPA

An Illinois retirement board is terminating former U-S House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s state pension.

He’d been collecting about $28,000 a year for his service in the state legislature.

Jeff Bossert / Illinois Public Media

State Representative Carol Ammons says she’ll announce by late June if she’s running for Illinois’ 13th Congressional District in 2018.

For now the Urbana Democrat has formed an exploratory committee to help her decide whether to challenge Republican Congressman Rodney Davis of Taylorville.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Governor Bruce Rauner indicates a key difference in competing school funding bills is a bargaining chip.

Rauner said Chicago Schools should be treated the same as other districts by the state. That came during a tour of the Beer Nuts factory in Bloomington as WGLT asked Rauner about Senator Jason Barickman's school funding formula bill.

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. 

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