Politics and Government | WGLT

Politics and Government

Kennedy Slams Rauner For Intentional Damage To State

Jun 20, 2017
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

One of the Democratic Candidates for Governor is accusing Republican Governor Bruce Rauner of purposefully wrecking Illinois.

Speaking recently in Normal, Chris Kennedy said Governor Rauner intentionally used the budget deadlock to target social services.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

A slew of high ranking Democrats showed up in Bloomington Normal for a letter carriers union convention at the Uptown Marriot. They included the Senate President John Cullerton, Senator Dick Durbin, and businessman and Gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy.
     
Kennedy is taking aim at the state property tax system saying it's 'legalized extortion' when politically elected assessors elevate assessments and politically connected lawyers appeal them. Kennedy said this is not just a problem in Chicago, but everywhere in the state.

Staff / WGLT

In the wake of another spring legislative session that failed to produce a state budget, two ratings agencies have downgraded state universities including ISU.

Standard and Poor's recently chose not to downgrade ISU, but S and P has a rule that no public university can be more than three grades above the rating for its host state. And so when S and P downgraded Illinois, last week it also gave a technical downgrade to ISU to A minus.

Katherine Johnson / Wikimedia Commons

A new Pontiac Rail Station has opened to Amtrak service. State Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn said this is the latest of several station improvements on the Chicago to Saint Louis Corridor that will improve performance on the high speed rail corridor.   

“After years of construction along one of the busiest passenger rail corridors in the country, the benefits are beginning to show with beautiful new stations in our state’s great communities,” Secretary Blankenhorn said.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

There's another candidate in the Democratic race for Congress in the 13th District. He is Ben Webb, an English and Drama teacher at University High School in Normal. Webb said he has been frustrated at the lack of listening done by the current Congressman, Republican Rodney Davis, and believes he brings a different approach.

Webb said he sees a lack of attention to scientists, experts, and scholars in politics.

Merlin Mather

U.S. Representative Rodney Davis said the U.S. can still be a climate change leader without the Paris accords.

Critics of the idea of pulling out of the accords on limiting global emissions say they U.S. needs to be engaged with the international community on the issue.

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.

picture of a field
Cristian Jaramillo / 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.

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