SPRINGFIELD – Same-sex domestic partners of most state employees will soon be eligible for benefits, including health insurance, dental and vision coverage, under an executive order the governor filed on Monday.
"This is about fairness and equality," the governor stated in a written release. "I want the people who work for me to have access to good benefits and good health care, and that's what this accomplishes."
CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign city administration doesn't want to see a new public access channel created, but does favor enacting a new 2 percent fee on cable bills to better support the city's government access channel.
Such a tax could generate $225,000 annually for the city.
RANTOUL – It could soon become more difficult for persons to establish adult-oriented businesses in Rantoul.
Under an ordinance being considered by the Rantoul Village Board, persons would be prohibited from establishing adult businesses within 400 feet of churches, schools, playgrounds, parks, day care centers and homes.
CHAMPAIGN – An update of Champaign's downtown plan calls for the continued remaking of the area.
Specifically, the plan calls for gradually replacing city parking lots with new buildings, construction of parking decks to meet demand, attracting more office, retail and residential uses to downtown and making intersections more pedestrian friendly.
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.
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.
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.
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 – 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.
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.