News Local/State

News Around Illinois - January 28, 2020


Supreme Court: Domestic Violence Survivor Can Own A Gun

SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Supreme Court says a woman once convicted of domestic violence is entitled to own a gun. At issue is a federal law meant to keep guns away from people convicted of domestic violence. The Illinois State Police used that to justify denying the woman’s application for a Firearm Owners’ Identification Card. But the Illinois Supreme Court essentially ruled that because the woman had done her time, the state had restored her civil rights — which includes the right to own a firearm. The woman's attorney, David Jensen, says this decision could influence other courts around the country. - Mike Smith, NPR Illinois

Illinois Students Following Impeachment In Classrooms

URBANA - As the Senate Impeachment trial of President Trump enters its second week, many students around Illinois are following along in their classrooms. Clinton Mathewson is a social studies teacher at Farmington Central High School, located west of Peoria. “We are living history, we are living government class right now. So obviously we were going to talk about the impeachment process in class, but why don’t we live it through our current events?," said Mathewson on WILL's The 21st show.  He says talking to students about impeachment is important because teaching current events is required by Illinois state law.  - Dana Cronin, Illinois Newsroom

Campaign To Save A County's Remaining Oak Woods Begins

DEKALB - Illinois has lost much of its original ecosystem to farming and development. That includes prairies, wetlands, and in some places, oak woods. Conservationists are trying to preserve what’s left. The Land Conservancy of McHenry County launched “The 5,000 Acre Challenge.” The group is educating landowners on how to best care for their oaks. It also encourages negotiating conservation easements-- voluntary, legal agreements that protect land. - Guy Stephens, WNIJ News

Illinois To Continue Voter Registration Program After Error

CHICAGO — Gov. J.B. Pritzker says there are no plans to suspend Illinois' automatic voter registration program as election officials work to contain the fallout from hundreds of mistaken registrations. The Democrat addressed the issue Monday at an election security news conference. Republicans and government watchdog groups say the mistake threatens the integrity of the voter rolls. A legislative hearing is planned for Thursday. A "programming error” by Secretary of State Jesse White's office led to 545 people who said they weren't U.S. citizens being registered to vote as they applied for drivers' licenses. Officials say 370 registrations have been canceled.  - Associated Press

Ex-Illinois Lawmaker Charged With Red-Light Camera Bribery

CHICAGO — The U.S. attorney's office in Chicago has filed bribery and tax charges against a former Illinois state senator and longtime chairman of the powerful transportation committee.  A two-page filing in U.S. District Court Monday says the allegations relate to former State Sen. Martin Sandoval's support for the installation of red-light cameras. It says the Chicago Democrat “corruptly solicited, demanded, agreed to accept and accepted” payments for “continued support for the operation of red-light cameras in the State of Illinois." Agents raided Sandoval's office in Springfield, his office in Chicago and his home on Sept. 24 amid still-active federal investigations of public corruption that have ensnared multiple Democrats. - Associated Press

Aurora Promotes New Hub For Non Profits And Entrepreneurs

AURORA — Officials in Illinois' second-largest city say a new center opening this month will be a gathering place for nonprofit groups, entrepreneurs and social innovators. Aurora officials say the Thrive Collaborative Center will provide low-cost space for groups and organizations to meet, along with workshops and training. Members of the center can rent a meeting room or get a day pass. Topics for upcoming workshops include fundraising for research and non-profit leadership. - Associated Press