All Politics and Government Content

All Politics and Government Content

'Sad day' in state politics

SPRINGFIELD – Area lawmakers called Monday's guilty verdict for former Gov. George Ryan a low point in Illinois history, one that could affect both the upcoming elections and long-stalled ethics legislation.

"There's no question it's a disappointing day for the state and for state government," said state Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon. "This whole ordeal has been disappointing."

Rules for new billboards, cell towers not ready

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign City Council on Tuesday will consider a second six-month moratorium on new billboards and cellphone towers, to give officials more time to draw up new regulations.

The first moratorium took effect in November, and city planning staff needs more time, said Kevin Phillips, the city zoning administrator.

Bell won't challenge results in court

URBANA – Champaign County board candidate Lisa Bell said Wednesday that a desire for party unity will stop her from challenging Democratic primary results in court.

"We felt like we had some contestable issues concerning the election; however, I just feel like stepping aside at this point," she said. "I won 792 Democratic votes and I'm proud of that."

Village board approves $3.3 million deficit budget

RANTOUL – Village board members Tuesday night defended their decision to pass a $3.3 million deficit budget as a necessary evil in Rantoul's recovery from the closure of Chanute Air Force Base.

The board voted 4-1 to approve a budget that anticipates spending $44 million while receiving $40.7 million.

Recount brings same results in District 9 race

URBANA – A hand recount came up with the same tie Tuesday in the District 9 Democratic primary for Champaign County Board, meaning Barb Wysocki is the winner, barring a court challenge.

Lisa Bell, who tied with Wysocki then lost the county board seat by a toss of a coin last week, left before the results were announced. But she suggested she might not ask a court to order a recount of all the ballots from the March 21 primary.

Iraq war issues to be on ballots

Advisory referendums asking whether Champaign-Urbana residents support rapid withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney will appear on the Nov. 7 ballot.

Dozens of residents, many of them members of the anti-war group AWARE, packed the annual town meetings Tuesday night in Cunningham and City of Champaign townships. They had the votes to put both measures on the ballot in the townships, which are coterminous with Urbana and Champaign.

Jakobsson defends survey funded by state

SPRINGFIELD – State Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, D-Urbana, has come under fire for a survey she sent out recently using her state-funded district office allowance.

Her opponent, Urbana Republican Rex Bradfield, called the mailer "a thinly-disguised campaign piece" and "a waste of taxpayer dollars."

House GOPs behind anonymous, automated phone calls

SPRINGFIELD – Anonymous, automated phone calls some Champaign-Urbana residents received this week were part of an orchestrated effort by House Republicans that targeted state Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, D-Urbana, and at least a dozen of her Democrat colleagues.

The calls criticized the lawmakers by name for their support of a two-year reduction in state pension contributions, which was part of a law enacted last summer, and for other budget practices, like sweeping cash from dedicated state funds to pay for general operations.

Water system measure heads to governor's desk

SPRINGFIELD – With no debate, the Senate voted on Thursday to allow cities to take over their local water system without going through the Illinois Commerce Commission.

SB 3046, which was requested by Champaign, Urbana and a handful of other Illinois towns, is now headed to the governor's desk for his signature.

Duty winding down for Urbana National Guard

URBANA – Urbana National Guard troops have been pulling some of the most dangerous duty in Iraq, a general said Thursday, but they'll be coming home soon.

The clue: They're being kicked out of the air-conditioned trailers to make way for another unit, the state's adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Randal Thomas, said.