News Local/State

News Around Illinois - February 27, 2020


Reginald Hardwick/Illinois Newsroom

Decatur Schools And Union Meet With Mediator

DECATUR - Negotiators for Decatur Public Schools and their teaching assistants union met with a federal mediator for about three hours on Wednesday. But talks ended without a settlement, and no date for another session has been set. A District 61 news release called the meeting “productive” and said another bargaining session would be held soon. Meanwhile, Decatur Federation of Teaching Assistants president Paula Busboom said in a statement that the Decatur School Board was refusing to budge from their positions and accused them of a “complete lack of understanding” of the needs of union members and students. Teaching assistants in the Decatur school district have spent the school year without a contract. But they have stayed on the job, except for a brief strike last October. - Jim Meadows, Illinois Newsroom

Lawmakers Considering Mandatory Sex Ed For Grades K-12

SPRINGFIELD - Illinois lawmakers are debating whether to join 29 other states that require sexual education in public schools. Legislation would mandate a curriculum that focuses on healthy relationships, consent, and sexual identity. Brigid Leahy of Planned Parenthood says the curriculum must also be medically accurate, culturally inclusive, and age appropriate. If approved, the requirement would be phased in so schools and teachers have time to prepare. Parents would still have the right to remove their children from sexual education classes. - Olivia Mitchell, NPR Illinois

House OKs Partial Red-Light Camera Ban, Part Of Fed Probe

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois House approved a ban Wednesday on some Chicago suburbs' red-light enforcement cameras, an unpopular program with motorists which is now part of a federal bribery investigation. Rep. David McSweeney's plan to ban red-light cameras in non-home rule cities where the Legislature has more power was OK'd 84-4. Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Martin Sandoval pleaded guilty last month in federal court to taking bribes  to be a “protector” of red-light programs in the Legislature. Critics say red-light cameras are a municipal money-grab. Advocates say they increase safety and free police for other duties. - Associated Press

Biden Looks Beyond Super Tuesday With Illinois Endorsements

CHICAGO — Former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and more than 80 other top Illinois Democrats are endorsing Joe Biden for president. Biden's campaign announced the endorsements on Wednesday. Biden is hoping to notch his first Democratic primary victory in South Carolina on Saturday and take that momentum into next week's Super Tuesday contests and beyond. Illinois' primary is on March 17, two weeks after Super Tuesday. Besides Quinn, the endorsement includes former Chicago Deputy Mayor Andrea Zopp, state Sen. Iris Martinez and Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering. Zopp says Biden knows the struggle working people go through to get out of poverty because of his own family's experience.- Associated Press

Illinois Lawyers Say Blagojevich Should Be Disbarred

CHICAGO — Government attorneys say former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich should be stripped of his law license. Lawyers for the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission urged a commission panel Tuesday to recommend that Blagojevich be disbarred because of all the corruption charges he was convicted of in 2011.  Blagojevich didn't attend the hearing, but his attorney, Sheldon Sorosky, told the panel that Blagojevich didn't break the law.  The panel is expected to issue its ruling within three months. A commission review board would then decide whether to recommend Blagojevich's disbarment to the state supreme court. - Associated Press