The 21st Show

New Casinos Coming to Illinois; IL Museum Returns Objects To First Nations; The Ethical Conundrum of Anne and Ed Burke


Ted Murphy/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois approved six new casino licenses earlier this year and local leaders hope this will bring in more money for their communities. Today, what’s being planned in Rockford, Danville, and southern Illinois. Plus, the Illinois State Museum is part of a project to give Australian indigenous objects back to the first nations communities they came from. And, Anne and Ed Burke have had a lot of power in Illinois for a long time. We’ll talk about how the state Supreme Court justice and the Chicago alderman navigate possible conflicts of interest.

New Casinos Coming to Illinois

Earlier this year, Illinois passed a major gambling expansion. The state legalized sports betting and approved six new licenses for casinos. That’s on top of the video gambling machines that we’ve had in our state for nearly a decade.

Supporters of expanded gambling say that it’ll bring in lots of money for state and local governments. And this past summer, Governor J.B. Pritzker said that the proposals he signed into law would help fund state spending. 

Today, we talk about three of the six casinos that are being planned in Illinois. Starting with Danville, about a half hour east of Champaign and close to the Indiana border. 

Rickey Williams Junior is the Mayor of Danville, Illinois. Jennifer Fuller is a reporter for WSIU Public Radio. Chase Cavanaugh is a reporter with WNIJ. 

IL Museum Returns Objects To First Nations

In the 1920s and 30s, a University of Chicago anthropologist came back from his field work in Australia with objects from aboriginal communities. Those objects were added to the Illinois State Museum in Springfield’s collection.

Now, nearly 90 years later, they’ll return to Australia as a part of the Australian Government’s Return of Cultural Heritage Project. The Illinois State Museum is the first in the world to participate in the initiative to give Australian indigenous objects back to the first nations communities they came from. 

Brooke Morgan is the curator of Anthropology at the Illinois State Museum Research & Collections Center in Springfield. Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko is the museum’s director. Helen Robbins is the Repatriation Director at the Field Museum in Chicago.

The Ethical Conundrum of Anne and Ed Burke

For decades, Anne and Ed Burke have been one of the most politically powerful couples in Illinois. 

Later this month, Anne Burke will become the Illinois Supreme Court’s Chief Justice. Meanwhile, Ed is the longest-serving alderman in Chicago history. 

In February, Alderman Ed Burke was re-elected despite a federal charge of attempted extortion. And this summer, he was named in a 14-count federal racketeering and bribery indictment. 

Despite the Alderman’s legal trouble, Justice Burke’s time on the Supreme Court has been generally free of controversy. Now, a new investigation from WBEZ finds that Justice Burke heard several cases on the Supreme Court even though they involved clients of her husband’s law firm. 

State Politics Reporter Dave McKinney reported this story for WBEZ.  

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