(Springfield-jm) -- It’s the end of an era in Illinois, as a new house speaker is elected. With the exception of just two years, Mike Madigan has served as Speaker of the Illinois House since 1983. That changes as House Democrats elect the first African American speaker, Representative Chris Welch of Hillside…



New House Speaker Chris Welch. In a written statement, Speaker Madigan said it’s time for new leadership in the House and that with such a diverse caucus full of young leaders, he’s confident Illinois remains in good hands.



(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 5,862 new Coronavirus cases and 97 additional deaths Wednesday. Locally McLean County reported 86 new cases and 3 additional deaths bringing their total number of cases to 12,797 and deaths to 134. Champaign County reported 108 new cases and 1 additional death bringing their total number of cases to 15,027 and deaths to 93. Livingston County reported 50 new cases bringing their total to 3,504. Ford County reported 2 new cases bringing their total to 1,358. Iroquois County reported 15 new cases bringing their total to 2,544. Kankakee County reported 44 new cases and 3 additional deaths bringing their total number of cases to 11,358 and deaths to 160. Vermilion County reported 69 new cases bringing their total to 6,743.


(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois lawmakers have approved an expansive criminal justice and police reform bill. The measure establishes statewide use of force standards and bans certain techniques. It eventually mandates the use of body cameras, lets suspects in custody make three phone calls and ends cash bail. It’s sponsored by Representative Justin Slaughter of Chicago…


State Representative Justin Slaughter of Chicago. Unlike previous version the legislation does not remove qualified immunity for police officers but does create a task force to study the issue. It now goes to the Governor’s desk.



(Springfield-jm) -- Local lawmakers are reacting to the criminal justice reform bill pushed through the lame duck session of the Illinois General Assembly. 105th District State Representative Dan Brady of Bloomington shares his thoughts…



105th District State Representative Dan Brady of Bloomington.



(Undated-jm) -- How does the weather look for the last few weeks of January? State Climatologist Trent Ford has those details…



State Climatologist Trent Ford.



(Champaign County-jm) -- There is a power struggle in Champaign County over who has the power to appoint replacements on the county board. County Executive Darlene Kloeppel filed a suit that she has the county’s ultimate authority not the county board chairman. A judge’s decision could have major implications after DeShawn Williams recently announced he was resigning from the board to become the county’s deputy treasurer.


(Roberts-jm) -- Roberts has a new ordinance enforcement officer. Sarah Meyer was hired to replace Janet Walker who stepped down late last year. Walker will help train Meyer in the position.


(Springfield-jm) -- After an exhausting lame duck session, a new Illinois General Assembly was sworn in Wednesday afternoon. The legislature faces a daunting year, with the pandemic continuing and a huge budget deficit looming. Senate President Don Harmon says there is much work to be done, such as passing ethics reforms…



Senate President Don Harmon. Democrats hold a supermajority in both the Senate and the House, where a new Speaker has been elected. Republicans say they want to work to improve the business climate in Illinois and get government spending under control.



(Undated-jm) -- Illinois now has 1 million 46 thousand 30 cases and 17,840 deaths. 384,658 doses of COVID vaccine have been distributed. As for local active and recovered cases, McLean County reported 11,778 have recovered, 862 are in isolation and 23 are hospitalized. Champaign County reported 14,067 have recovered, 867 are in isolation and 28 are hospitalized. Livingston County reported 3,209 have been removed from isolation and 233 cases are active. Iroquois County reported 2,381 have been released from isolation, 104 remain in isolation and 6 are hospitalized. Kankakee County reported 9,828 have recovered and 1,370 cases are active. Vermilion County reported 573 active cases with 18 hospitalized.


(Springfield-jm) -- A package of bills designed to reduce economic disparities in minority communities is headed to the Governor’s desk. The measures cap the interest rate for payday and car title loans at 36 percent, and require more diversity in awarding state contracts. Employers won’t be able to turn someone down for a job or a promotion solely based on their criminal record says Representative Sonya Harper of Chicago…



State Representative Sonya Harper of Chicago. Harper says that’s especially true for minorities. Other components address the wage gap for black women and housing for those with a criminal record


(Springfield-jm) -- Local lawmakers are reacting to the police reform bill pushed through the lame duck session of the General Assembly yesterday. One of those reacting is 104th District State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian…



104th District State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian.



(Paxton-cf)-- The COVID-19 vaccine has arrived in Illinois, as well as the WPXN listening area. There are certain phases of individuals that will be vaccinated first. Hudson Drug and Hallmark shop in Paxton owner, Andy Hudson, details the first recipients of the vaccine… 



Hudson Drug and Hallmark Owner Andy Hudson.



(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Supreme Court has appointed Carla Baines as an at-large judge in the 11th Judicial Circuit. Baines became the 1st African American judge to serve in the 11th Judicial Circuit. The 11th Judicial Circuit covers Ford, Livingston, Logan, McLean and Woodford Counties.



(Champaign-jm) -- Champaign County's Salvation Army is declaring this year's Red Kettle Campaign a success. The Salvation Army of Champaign County meet its 2020 Red Kettle fundraising goal of $158,000.


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