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Lawmakers from rural and urban Illinois separately discussed ways of evening out the power dynamic in the state Legislature

(Springfield-jm) – A proposal in Springfield aims to make voting more accessible for those with visual disabilities. However, some claim the measure could bring unwanted problems to Illinois' election systems. If passed, Senate Bill 282 would help the visually impaired by allowing qualified voters to accept and cast their votes electronically. There is a federal law requiring audio and visual voting tools, such as touchscreen voting units that allow visually impaired voters to hear the balloting instructions and will enable them to make their choices and cast their ballot by use of a handheld controller unit and headphones. The measure has yet to advance, but could be part of a larger election reform package lawmakers may take up before they adjourn May 19.


(Springfield-jm) – Advocates rallied at the State Capitol in support of the Governor’s “Smart Start” early childhood initiative. Groups like “Raising Illinois'' descended on the statehouse to push for higher wages for child care providers and an expansion of early intervention services and home visiting programs. Governor J-B Pritzker spoke to the crowd…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. “Smart Start” is part of the Governor’s proposed budget. He and lawmakers are working to come up with a final spending plan.


(Springfield-jm) – Lawmakers from rural and urban Illinois separately discussed ways of evening out the power dynamic in the state Legislature. Illinois is the sixth largest state in the nation, with the third largest city in Chicago. Some Republicans at the statehouse have long criticized policies passed by the Democratic majority.  The Illinois House currently has a Democratic supermajority with 78 Democrats to 40 Republicans, and the Illinois Senate shows a similar divide with 40 Democrats to 19 Republicans.


(Springfield-jm) – Chicago Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson visited the state capitol Wednesday where he addressed both chambers of the General Assembly. 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City shares his thoughts…



53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.


(Urbana-jm) – An Urbana nursing home and rehabilitation facility is shutting down as the owner loses millions of dollars running it. WCIA 3 reports Avi Rothner, owner of University Rehab, cited financial, census, regulatory and operational challenges as reasons for the decision. There are 80 patients in the 243-bed facility, and Rothner expects to have them moved out by mid-June.


(Paxton–jc)  National Drug Take Back Day is set for Saturday. In observance, the Ford County Public Health Department is hosting a drug gathering event on Friday in Gibson City. Ford County Public Health Department Community Health Educator Kami Garrison says its starts at noon on Friday at the Moyer District Library…



Ford County Public Health Department Community Health Educator Kami Garrison.


(Champaign-jm) – John Coleman will be the next vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, pending approval by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. Coleman is currently the dean of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. The appointment takes effect July 19, and his title will be vice chancellor designate until board approval.


(Champaign-jm) – State Senator Paul Faraci advanced a measure aimed at creating the hunger-free campus grant program. The purpose of the House Bill 2528 is to address student hunger by providing funding for grants to higher education institutions that have one or more campuses designated as hunger-free campuses. The grants will be used to leverage sustainable solutions, raise awareness of existing services on campus and build strategic partnerships to address food insecurity among students. The legislation also allows each institution to establish a hunger task force to determine strategies for achieving a hunger-free campus in order to be eligible for the grant. Representative Carol Ammons sponsored this measure in the House.


(Washington-jm) – What are some of the areas agricultural ministers within the G7 group of nations will focus on during their upcoming meeting this week? Rod Bain reports…



(Gilman–jc)  – Today’s WPXN Business of the Day is The Gathering in Gilman. What started over 24 years ago as a group of 9 crafters doing craft events has developed into a destination business in the city of Gilman. Co-owner Kathy Perzee says it has been a wonderful journey for The Gathering in Gilman…



Co-owner Kathy Perzee says the variety of items in the business ranges from clothes, to inspirational signs, to jewelry to pulled pork specials in the cafe and fudge too. Perzee says they are always getting new items and vendors at The Gathering in Gilman……



The Gathering in Gilman Co Owner Kathy Perzee

The Gathering in Gilman, The WPXN Business of the Day, today.


(Springfield-jm) – Lawmakers from an Illinois House committee hosted mayors from all over the state to discuss a possible increase in the Local Government Distributive Fund. Local Government Distributive Fund is a state and local funding partnership instituted as part of the state income tax. According to the Illinois Municipal League, as of 2011, 10% of total income tax collections were dedicated to Local Government Distributive Fund for distribution to municipalities and counties. The percentage share of state income tax revenue to local governments was then reduced to 6%.


(Springfield-jm) – This is Alzheimer’s Action Week at the State Capitol, where advocates and Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton are discussing the disease and needed resources. Illinois was the first state in the nation to require Alzheimer’s diagnosis training for healthcare workers. This was much needed says Lieutenant Governor Stratton, who cared for her mother with the disease…



Illinois Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton. The Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter is calling for state medicaid coverage of diagnosis and care planning services as well as funding for early detection outreach, especially in underserved and rural areas.


(Springfield-jm) – Illinois is known for having the strictest biometric privacy laws in the country, but that may change.  The Illinois Supreme Court ruled against the burger chain White Castle in February and said each time a person’s biometric data is collected, it is a violation of the Biometric Information Privacy Act. The company was using finger scans for employee time clocks. White Castle is facing potential lawsuit damages of up to $17 billion as a result of the ruling. The high court suggested the Illinois General Assembly may want to take up the issue for possible changes. 


(Springfield-jm) – Chicago Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson addressed both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly Wednesday. 51st District Chapin Rose of Mahomet shares his thoughts on the mayor-elects speech…



51st District Senator Chapin Rose of Mahomet.


(Urbana-jm) – A Champaign man has been sentenced to seven years in prison after he admitted to stealing packages from Campustown apartment buildings. Armenious Griham pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary. The charges stemmed from two separate incidents earlier this year in which he entered a building and either stole or tried to steal packages addressed to building tenants.


(Paxton–jc)  Property taxes will be due soon and several programs are available to homeowners that area senior citizens. Ford County Supervisor of Assessments Pam Bruens says some property tax relief is available for Seniors 65 years of age and older…



Ford County Supervisor of Assessments Pam Bruens. Bruens says information is available in your office at the Courthouse in Paxton and also on-line. She also encourages those wanting to take advantage of these two programs, by June Second.


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Parkland Motorsports will host cars and coffee at Parkland College Saturday, May 6. This free event will take place in the W2 parking lot on the west side of the college campus from 8 to 11 a.m.


(Urbana-jm) – A University of Illinois student is out of about $100 as a result of a new fraud ploy that police have not reported in the past. U of I Police said the student was in communication with someone posing as a leasing agent and facilitating an apartment showing. The supposed agent told the student that he needed to pay an application fee before the apartment could be shown, which the student paid. On the day of the showing, no one met the student at the apartment to be shown and he could not get a hold of the supposed agent. He eventually got a hold of the real leasing agent, who indicated that his accounts had been hacked.


(Washington-jm) – The first ever U.S. agricultural trade mission to the Netherlands is wrapping up. Gary Crawford reports…



WPXN News Notes…


The Danville Area Community College Business & Technology Division will host an Open House today from 2-5PM at the Technology Center building.


The Paxton Emergency Response Service will hold their final all you can eat chicken and noodle supper of the season this evening from 5-7 pm at their station located at 134 W. State Street. Cost is $10 for adults, $6 for kids 6-13. Deliveries are available in town by calling 217-202-6441.


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