Get the latest news from around Illinois.
Champaign News-Gazette: More pension problems
Some might assert that another domino — or two — has fallen, while others reply they don’t want to hear about it.
There were two more pension setbacks last week, this time associated with local communities’ often underfunded fire and police pensions. Slowly, the noose is tightening around the necks of taxpayers and public officials statewide, proving once again that ignoring pension woes won’t cause them to go away but, instead, to get worse.
For starters, the city of Peoria, being crushed under the pension costs for firefighters and police officers that are eating up virtually all of its property tax levy, passed a special three-year tax to raise money to cover pension costs. It’s akin to similar action taken in Danville.
Chicago Tribune: Time to start paying attention: Strike vote for Chicago Public Schools teachers begins today
Jesse Sharkey was second-in-command when he helped lead Chicago teachers off the job seven years ago. The first teachers strike in a quarter century lasted seven days and was widely viewed as a union win, with the city making more concessions than it agreed to in contract talks. The victory emboldened teachers and other union workers near and far to stage strikes of their own.
Chicago Teachers Union leaders are now asking their members: Can we do it again?
Chicago Tribune: Illinois AG Kwame Raoul backs flavored vape ban as lawmakers, industry reps clash over issue
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul told lawmakers at a hearing Monday that he backs a ban on flavored vaping products but thinks the state’s efforts to combat vaping-related health issues need to be more comprehensive.
Raoul said his office is undertaking a “comprehensive investigation” into the effects of vaping as a rash of related lung illnesses and deaths have heightened concern over e-cigarettes. Many of the people suffering a vaping-related illness have reported using THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis, so banning flavored products alone wouldn’t fully address the issue, Raoul noted.
Daily Southtown: State Sen. Michael Hastings sued by former chief of staff over claims of harassment, retaliation
A pair of formerly tight south suburban politicians who last year accused each other of ethics violations are now embroiled in a whistleblower lawsuit.
Olympia Fields trustee Cassandra Matz is suing State Sen. Michael Hastings, her former boss, and the Illinois State Senate, claiming the senator harassed her and then retaliated against her after she called him on it.
Daily Herald: Will Arlington Park have a 2020 season? Racing board vote expected today.
The short-term future of Arlington International Racecourse rests in the hands of the Illinois Racing Board, which on Tuesday plans to press parent company Churchill Downs for answers about its long-term plans for the storied racing mecca.
The nine-member state regulatory panel will gather at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the James R. Thompson Center in downtown Chicago to hear additional testimony from representatives of Arlington — whether they be management based at the Arlington Heights track or corporate brass from the Churchill offices in Louisville, Kentucky.
Daily Herald: Lisle could vote next month to prohibit recreational pot sales
Lisle is poised to become the latest suburban community to ban the sale of recreational cannabis.
The village board has directed staff members to prepare an ordinance to prohibit recreational marijuana dispensaries. A final vote is expected Oct. 7.
Bloomington Pantagraph: Bloomington council OKs cannabis task force; members promise diverse talks
Bloomington City Council signed off on 10 members for the city’s new cannabis task force Monday, defying concerns about diversity among members and how they were chosen but promising wide-ranging talks.
Members voted 7-2 for the appointments, who are expected to start meeting next week to discuss if and how Bloomington might allow and regulate recreational cannabis sales starting Jan. 1, with Ward 2’s Donna Boelen and Ward 9’s Kim Bray voting no.
State Journal-Register: City Council to consider changes to video gaming rules
The Springfield City Council is set to debate updates to the city’s video gaming ordinance Tuesday during its committee hearing.
The proposed changes come months after Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a massive gaming expansion bill into law that, among other things, authorized six new casinos across the state, legalized sports betting, OK’d 50 video gaming terminals at the Illinois State Fairgrounds for the duration of the annual fair and increased the number of video gaming terminals allowed per establishment from five to six.
Belleville News-Democrat: Collinsville estimates it could get $1 million a year from recreational weed sales
With recreational marijuana sales becoming legal in Illinois on Jan. 1, Collinsville is putting in a tax rate on weed that could bring in between $1 million and $1.3 million a year to the city.
The city council on Monday adopted a 3% tax on cannabis sales generated in the town. Collinsville is one of two communities in the metro-east that have an existing medical marijuana dispensary that will be allowed to sell cannabis for recreational purposes at the start of the new year under the state’s legalization law.
The Southern: Marion city council passes .75% sales tax
Marion city council took action on several items in the Mayor’s 2020 Vision proposal during its regular meeting Monday evening.
First, Mayor Mike Absher told those gathered at the meeting that he wanted to clarify some issues surrounding the proposed sales tax.