One change removed a “good moral character” requirement for concealed-carry applicants. The other would require local law enforcement officials to assert applicants are dangerous before asking they be denied a carry permit.
Only two weeks remain before lawmakers are scheduled to leave for the summer. Raoul would not say when he plans to call his proposal.
Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton, standing at right, debates medical marijuana in the Illinois Senate on Friday. (Chris Slaby/WUIS)
The Illinois Senate approved legislation Friday that would legalize the medical use of marijuana. Brian Mackey has more:
In the end, the vote was not that close — 35 senators voted yes, 21 no.
Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton, sponsored the measure. He frequently reminds his colleagues he was once a prosecutor, and says the idea is to help people in pain find relief.
“It is not about recreational drug use,” Haine says. “It is not about using this substance to get ‘high,’ quote-unquote.”
But opponents say that’s just what they think will happen. “We’re making a decision today to say in our communities that marijuana use is OK,” says Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon.
Anyone wanting medical marijuana will have to prove they have one of several dozen listed conditions, ranging from cancer and HIV to a traumatic brain or spinal cord injury.
The measure now goes to Gov. Pat Quinn, who says he’s “open minded” on the idea.
JP Harris & the Tough Choices play at the Hoogland Center for the Arts in Springfield tonight (5/17) as part of WUIS’ Bedrock 66 Live Concert Series. Harris’s music has been called “real country” and Harris calls his music “Hank Williams with a Motorhead attitude.” The Alabama native and Nashville transplant recently spoke with WUIS’ Rachel Otwell about his music and what inspires it:
An Illinois Senate committee has approved legislation that would pave the way for concealed-carry of firearms in Illinois. But gun-rights advocates say it’s too restrictive, and the measure faces an uphill climb.
State Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, was trying to negotiate a compromise with gun-rights supporters. But ultimately he went his own way. His proposal would not allow guns in schools, day cares, casinos, and stadiums.
Gun owners would have to apply to the Illinois State Police, who would in turn ask local law enforcement whether there was a reason someone should not be licensed. It would also let Chicago police deny some individuals with concealed-carry permits from bringing weapons into the city.
Raoul says Chicago has things that make it different from the rest of Illinois — like a much higher population density. “So there’s a lot more opportunity for conflict,” Raoul says.
The difference here is the one at the heart of the gun debate: If you look at a city with a relatively high crime rate, do you say the answer lies in more guns or fewer? Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon, flipped Raoul’s argument about Chicago’s potential for conflict on its head.
“Isn’t that a reason to make sure it is just as east to carry a loaded firearm in the city of Chicago?” Raoul says.
Todd Vandermyde, a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, says it isn’t a “real” concealed-carry bill.
“This is a bill to discourage people and prevent people from carrying a firearm and exercising their constitutional, fundamental right to keep and bear arms for self-defense in the public,” Vandermyde says.
He says permit holders would have a hard time navigating the patchwork of restrictions that the legislation would allow. He and other pro-gun activists are pushing for a much less restrictive law.
A Senate committee approved the measure on a party-line vote. The legislation’s Democratic sponsor says he doesn’t know whether he has enough votes to get it through the full Senate, but he says he could try as early as Friday.
Illinois has until June 9 to meet a federal court decline to enact some form of concealed-carry.
Illinois universities and community colleges have signed on to a deal that would have them pick up the cost of their employees’ retirement benefits. It’s part of lawmakers’ ongoing efforts to reduce how much the state is spending on pensions.
Illinois has cut its spending on universities for years and even more reductions are expected next year.
School administrators say it’s forced them to hike tuition, and to leave positions unfilled.
And yet they’ve agreed to a plan that could collectively cost them hundreds of millions of dollars. Southern Illinois University Glenn Poshard explains why.
POSHARD: “We’re willing to do whatever it takes because this issue is the single greatest issue threatening our people over the long haul.”
University of Illinois President Robert Easter say he’s losing faculty because of uncertainty over what the state will do about workers’ retirement plans.
No official action was taken. But at a public hearing, Poshard and Easter signaled they’re on board with a plan that requires schools to begin gradually picking up employees’ retirement costs.
Negotiations are ongoing on similar efforts to transfer the tab for public school teachers’ benefits from the state to local school districts.
- Amanda Vinicky
This week parents are reminded that it’s important to play an active role as their children are learning to read.
During Children’s Book Week, Peter Gray spoke with Mandy Saia about her work as a librarian at Ball Charter School – and what she does to move kids’ eyes away from video screens and toward words on the page:
Teacher Carrie Howell with student George Farnsworth in her self-contained classroom
The State of Illinois caps the number of high needs learners who share the attention of a single special education teacher.
For the past decade, there has also been a limit on how many children with disabilities can be placed in what are known as “general education” public school classrooms.
But those rules could soon be repealed.
As Peter Gray reports from the WUIS Health Desk, the mother of a young man with autism has joined advocates for the disabled who say the proposed change has to do more with cost-savings than with properly educating kids.