Politics and Government | WGLT

Politics and Government

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The Illinois State Board of Elections decided in favor of three presidential candidates, but the decision could be appealed in court. Board members dismissed an objection to the candidacy of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a Democrat. The board also ruled that Republican U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz can stay on the state ballot. Two Illinois residents separtely raised questions about the legality of Cruz and Rubio running for president. One of the objectors -- William Graham of Glen Ellyn -- says that while the senators are U.S.

Staff / WGLT

Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner says the nation's mayors are keenly interested in restoring trust in law enforcement. Speaking on GLT's Sound Ideas, Renner said the idea of community policing was a hot topic at last week's conference of U.S. Mayors, and it's important for the twin cities as well.

He says the community is becoming more diverse with a sizeable Indian population, a growing Latino sector, and a substantial African American part of the community.

Staff Sgt Lealan Bueher / Illinois Air National Guard

Wednesday Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner will deliver his second annual state of the state address. If you're curious about what Rauner will say, you're not alone. So is Senate President John Cullerton.

Staff / WGLT

Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner is commending 4th Ward Alderman Amelia Buragas for looking out for her constituents. She tabled an ordinance on December 21st prohibiting water well drilling because of a pollution plume near the corner of Linden and Emerson in order to learn more about the situation. The ordinance was approved last night. In this Sound Ideas interview excerpt, Tari Renner tells WGLT's Mike McCurdy the likelihood of further pollution is low.

Early Voting Pushed Back

Jan 25, 2016
Jim Browne / WGLT

Early voting for the Spring 2016 primary is scheduled to begin February 4th. It won't. In a joint announcment McLean County Clerk Kathy Michael and Bloomington City Election Commission Executive Director Paul Shannon say challenges to a number of presidential nominees means ballots won't be available until February 17, at the earliest. The challenges are against Democrats Hillary Clinton, Martin J. O’Malley, Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente, Larry (Lawrence) Cohen and Bernie Sanders. And Republicans Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.


Seven months into the year without an Illinois state budget, there's no sign things are changing. But, State Senator Bill Brady of Bloomington says in this conversation with Charlie Schlenker that after a year in office Brady's fellow Republican, Governor Bruce Rauner has taken the right course.


One of the many painful parts of the state budget deadlock has been the uncertainty over state support for low income people attending college, so called MAP funding. Universities have floated that commitment so far.  It's unclear whether that continue. Some colleges and universities have said it cannot.


Congressman Rodney Davis is back in the district campaigning before the March party primary. We start with a political discussion about the impact of Sarah Palin's endorsement of Donald Trump  on the Iowa Caucuses and New Hampshire Primary.

Niece of Angela Davis Bringing Memories To ISU

Jan 21, 2016
ISU School of Theatre and Dance

An Illinois State University audience will be able to get an idea of what it's like to grow up in the shadow of a 1960's activist. Eisa Davis is bring portions of her piece, "Angela's Mixtape," to the ISU Center for the Performing Arts Theater Friday at 1pm. The performance piece uses sets and music to put the audience into a particular time. Davis says having Angela Davis as an aunt in Berkley California as she was growing up provided her with a unique perspective.

Rauner Says CPS Should Consider Bankruptcy

Jan 21, 2016
Steven Vance / Flickr

Republican Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says Chicago Public Schools should look to bankruptcy court to solve its financial crisis. That’s drawing a strong rebuke from Chicago’s school and political leaders  Chicago Public Schools has been threatening to lay off teachers and staff.  It owes hundreds of millions of dollars it doesn’t have.  Governor Rauner says bankruptcy is not a dirty word.

“What it means is: Any organization, bankruptcy law is designed to protect an organization that has too much debt, that has too many liabilities.”

Michael Hill / WGLT

More than 300 college students and twin city residents took part in a watch party at Illinois State University for President Obama’s State of the Union Address. ISU became the national hub for a live webcast sent out to nearly 500 campuses in the United States. 

Heartland Community College Student Hetal Bhirawani says she is impressed with the younger generation. “We are all interested in politics, and we want to know where we are going, where our future is going, and what the people in authority are doing to secure our future.”

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

The Mayor is touting economic development, infrastructure improvements, and Downtown Bloomington in his annual State of the City address. Mayor Tari Renner joined Mike McCurdy during Sound Ideas to talk more about the State of the City, which he says “is strong.” He says one of two current downtown redevelopment proposals could be dead. However the other could bring more improvement to downtown. And despite Mitsubishi ceasing production, he says there was lots of other positive economic news in 2015.

The top Republican in the Illinois Senate says "it's possible" the standoff over a state budget could last for several years if Democrats aren't willing to compromise. She says if Illinois continues to spend money at current levels without raising taxes the state's backlog of unpaid bills could reach almost $25 billion in four years. That's based on a report from GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner's budget office. Radogno says "While I hope it doesn't happen, I think it's possible." Radogno says Democrats are too concerned with maintaining the status quo.

Flood waters are continuing to recede across Illinois as residents begin the recovery process after dealing with more than a week of high waters. Officials with the Illinois Department of Emergency Management say the agency has asked affected counties to provide it with initial damage assessments by Jan. 18.

Spokeswoman Patti Thompson says the agency will review the reports and could ask the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help with a more thorough assessment if it appears the state would meet federal disaster declaration thresholds.  

unknown / US Atomic Energy Commission

This weeks detonation of a nuclear device by North Korea is of immediate concern to the US. That's what Illinois State University professor of Politics and Government T. Y. Wang says. He says North Korea claims to have a missile that could cross the Pacific. He says combined with continued nuclear tests, it's disturbing.

ISU School of Communication

Illinois State University figures to be at ground zero when President Obama delivers his final State of the Union address next week. ISU's American Democracy Project will serve as the national collegiate hub for social media and other activity during the annual speech next Tuesday. WGLT's Willis Kern speaks with event coordinator Steve Hunt, Director of Illinois State's School of Communication.

BLDD Architects

Construction on a new Town of Normal fire station headquarters could begin in June and the project will cost nearly a million dollars more than originally projected. During a regular Sound Ideas appearance, Town Mayor Chris Koos explains to WGLT's Mike McCurdy the cost was creeping even higher.

Monday (today) is the first day presidential candidates can officially file to run in Illinois.

Duckworth Slams Kirk For Refugee Stance

Dec 31, 2015

It's been over a month since the terrorist attacks on Paris and the shooting in San Bernardino, California, sparked intense debate over how to handle Syrian refugees. Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth says she's angry about how her opponent for U.S. Senate, Republican Senator Mark Kirk, has characterized her position on refugees.

The state budget standoff has scared away at least one hot prospect to buy the Mitsubishi auto plant in Normal. That's according to State Senator Jason Barickman. Barickman says the serious lead was a large Illinois manufacturer looking to expand. But, The GOP Senator says Illinois does not have a state budget, does not know when a budget might happen, and has no idea what the tax rate will be.

"That lack of predictability, the lack of stability that's offered to the business community is, I think, in sum, very detrimental to our efforts to attract a new Mitsubishi buyer."

Michael Hill / WGLT

Bloomington Aldermen are considering several options to recover costs of providing additional police protection to serve the Downtown Bloomington bar district. Mayor Tari Renner and Alderman Scott Black spoke with WGLT's Mike McCurdy during Sound Ideas.

More Questions Than Answers Over Pollution

Dec 22, 2015
Staff / WGLT

Bloomington Aldermen are discussing a contamination problem in a four block area of Bloomington near the intersection of Linden and Emerson Streets. The source is a Freedom gas station, across from a child care facility, and within yards of Sugar Creek. As part of the consent agenda, the council was going to vote to prohibit water wells in the contaminated area, but Alderman Amelia Buragas, who represents the area, asked to table the issue. During GLT's Sound Ideas, Mayor Tari Renner says it was premature to have it on the consent agenda.

Jim Browne / WGLT

The growing shift to on-line shopping is hurting bricks and mortar stores as consumers buy on-line, in part, to avoid paying retail sales taxes. Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, says Congress should pass the Marketplace Fairness Act. The bill would give states the ability to collect sales taxes for on-line purchases.

PGVA Planners

The City of Bloomington is continuing to move forward on a TIF district for the Empire Street corridor. Alderman voted 8-1 to schedule a public hearing for the district on February 8th. Mayor Tari Renner joined Mike McCurdy to discuss the Tax Increment Finance district, a new contract with the police union, and divesting golf courses to close a budget gap.


The Not In Our Town Movement in Mclean County says enough with the anti-Muslim rhetoric already. Not In Our Town is sponsoring an interfaith community solidarity event. Reverend Kelley Becker of First Christian Church in Bloomington says God loves and accepts everyone of all faiths.

Becker says it is troubling to her that people are using fear to further political campaigns.

She says stereotyping of groups such as Muslims is not acceptable.

Donald Trump's remarks this week calling for banning Muslims from entry into the country has been widely denounced by both Democrats and Republicans. WGLT's Washington correspondent Hanna Gutmann reports some Republicans, including central Illinois' Rodney Davis, are worried about how it will impact the Republicans brand, and worried it could broad brush bigotry across all Republican candidates.

A year ago, Illinois' income tax rate fell by 25-percent. The top Democrat in the Illinois House is suggesting is go back up.  IPR's Amanda Vinicky reports.

Following a rare speech at the City Club of Chicago, longtime House Speaker Michael Madigan was asked this question about the state budget:

"How high do you think taxes need to go?"

Madigan tried to avoid getting specific, saying at first:

PATH and Collaborative Solutions Institute

The effect of the state budget deadlock has entered a new phase.

An Illinois State University expert on constitutional law says the Supreme Court's decision not to take the Highland Park gun control case is in part a political act. The court let stand a ban on semi automatic weapons and firearms with extended magazines in the Illinois village of Highland Park. ISU political scientist Meghan Leonard says the court did not want to be a part of the 2016 Presidential contest.

Leonard says the court takes very few gun cases.

Cars on Veterans Parkway
Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

The House has overwhelmingly approved a five-year, $305 billion transportation bill that boosts highway and transit spending. The measure assures states that federal aid will be available as they plan major projects. Congressman Rodney Davis touts the $7.5 billion dollars for Illinois and the $668 million increase for the state over the life of the bill. He's also pleased with efficiency measures in the legislation.