All Politics and Government Content

All Politics and Government Content

Urbana council to decide on signs at auto park

URBANA – The Urbana City Council will consider Monday an agreement to allow the new O'Brien Auto Mall facility under construction to have two larger free-standing signs.

The auto park facility is nearing completion at the northwest corner of Interstate 74 and North Cunningham Avenue.

Bill in U.S. House challenges NCAA rule

WASHINGTON – A House bill introduced Thursday would allow the University of Illinois to sue the NCAA and seek damages for lost revenue if barred from hosting a championship game.

The legislation proposes to limit the NCAA's ability to apply sanctions on colleges or universities because of team name, symbol, emblem or mascot, according to a news release issued by one of the bill's sponsors, U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana.

Lawmakers pass budget, forward it to governor

SPRINGFIELD – Although four Hispanic state senators initially balked at voting for the new state budget, the Democrats eventually passed the spending plan and sent it to the governor's desk before adjourning for the summer on Thursday.

The four lawmakers' votes were crucial because Republicans refused to support the plan, which was crafted behind closed doors by House Speaker Michael Madigan, Senate President Emil Jones and Gov. Rod Blagojevich, all Chicago Democrats.

Pension rainy day fund clears House

SPRINGFIELD – After a fierce debate, the Illinois House on Tuesday approved state Rep. Naomi Jakobsson's bill to require extra state pension contributions in years with significant general revenue growth.

The measure, which now heads to the Senate, was suggested by the bipartisan Advisory Commission on Pension Benefits in a report issued in November.

Champaign council against zoning proposal for ethanol sites

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign City Council voted Tuesday, as the Urbana council did the night before, to formally protest a county zoning proposal that would allow ethanol manufacturing plants in some unincorporated areas of the county.

Council members voted 8-1 to protest the proposed zoning ordinance text amendment, with council member Giraldo Rosales opposed.

UI would get funding boost

SPRINGFIELD – The House is expected to vote today on a $48.6 billion state operating budget that will give the University of Illinois its first increase in state support in five years, expand Amtrak service through Champaign-Urbana, hire more corrections officers, increase funding for education and establish a new grant program to help middle-income students pay for college.

"This is a budget that reflects the state of Illinois," said state Sen. Donne Trotter, chief budget negotiator for the Senate Democrats.

State to submit power plant bid this week

TUSCOLA – The state of Illinois intends to nominate Tuscola and three other cities in its bid to land the world's first "zero emissions" power plant, according to local development officials.

"They've told us they're sending all four," said Angela Griffin, president and CEO of Coles Together in Mattoon.

Rally targets Johnson's office

CHAMPAIGN – More than 300 protesters visited U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson's Champaign office Monday to try to sway his vote on immigration bills.

A group in support of immigrant rights, La Colectiva, organized the event, which included a bus ride for students from the Illini Union to the office.

Urbana protests zoning for ethanol facility

URBANA – The Urbana City Council voted unanimously Monday to conditionally protest a county zoning proposal that would allow ethanol manufacturing plants to locate in unincorporated areas zoned heavy industrial.

The move by the city council means that – unless the changes suggested by the city are adopted by the Champaign County Board – it will take a three-quarters vote of the county board, 21 of 27 votes, to approve the proposed zoning ordinance amendment.

Consultant proposes higher water, sewage bills in Rantoul

RANTOUL – Rantoul residents can expect to pay higher water and sewer bills for each of the next three years under a proposal before the Rantoul Village Board.

Mark Beauchamp of Utility Financial Solutions, Holland, Mich., a utility consultant hired by the village to evaluate Rantoul's utility rates, is recommending raising water rates 8 percent and wastewater rates 9 percent for each of the next three years.