Is The DOJ Keeping Money From Illinois Over Immigration?; Local Murals; Illinois Politics

July 23, 2018

Ronald Woan, Daniel X. O’Neil (CC BY 2.0)

On the 21st: Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan says that the federal government is withholding money for local law enforcement because of the state's immigration policies. Plus, what some local towns are doing to encourage and maintain community murals.

As the country engages in its own debate over immigration policies, another debate is happening at the local level — that’s how and if those policies should be enforced. We’ve talked about the concept of sanctuary cities and welcoming cities. And one of the risks that local leaders face should they choose to pushback against the immigration crackdown is the loss of federal funding.

And we’re not just talking about small town mayors. After Rahm Emanuel committed Chicago’s status as a sanctuary city, the Trump administration, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, announced he would cut public safety grants. So the City of Chicago sued, and it won.

Now this battle is playing out in other parts of Illinois. Attorney General Lisa Madigan is suing the U.S. Department of Justice and Sessions for withholding more than 6.5 million dollars from local law enforcement agencies and other groups. The DOJ says that it’s because of state’s passage of The Trust Act.

Reporter Lee Gaines from the Illinois Newsroom and WILL was here to help explain what that is, what these grants are and more about this suit.

And we were also joined by Vikram Amar, constitutional law scholar and the Dean of the University of Illinois College of Law, and Urbana Mayor Diane Marlin, one of the places that has been affected by the withholding of federal funds.

Plus—

For many Illinois towns, murals are a way to keep local history alive. They’re a way to showcase local history while also making the town beautiful.

But, what do you do once those murals start to age? What is the best way to maintain murals and how can they be taken care of? What do towns do when they might not have the knowledge or funds to properly take care of them?

On the line with us was Janna Groharing. Janna is the Executive Director of Sterling Main Street, an organization working to preserve the historic murals in Sterling, Illinois. Sterling is on the Rock River, just about an hour south west of Rockford.

We were joined on the line by Tara Bedei. Tara is a city councilwoman in Streator, Illinois which is about an hour North of Bloomington. Just last month, Tara also helped organized  Streator’s 5 day mural painting festival called the Walldogs festival which brought 16 new murals to the city.

And—

While this year’s legislative session has been out for more than a month, it’s still a time when the governor can take action on bills sitting on his desk.

And last week, Governor Rauner signed two bills that will strengthen gun control in the state — and, vetoed one of them.

We have more on that story — and, all things state politics from the past week - with two reporters on the line. Dave McKinney is a political reporter with WBEZ. Hi Dave, good morning - welcome back to The 21st!

And joining us for the first time was Shia Kapos, she writes the Illinois Playbook for Politico.