* But it may need more time in the oven…
Despite the release of a highly favorable poll [this week by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute], one of the sponsors of a plan to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Illinois says she won’t press for a vote on the measure until at least next year.
“Our members need some time to get more comfortable with this,” said state Sen. Heather Steans, who last week along with Rep. Kelly Cassidy introduced legislation to allow those of at least 21 years of age to grow or buy up to an ounce of marijuana without legal sanction.
“(But) this [poll] will help,” Steans said. “Public sentiment has been moving pretty fast.” […]
Steans said she expects subject matter-only hearings to be held later this spring in both chambers. And while sponsors will consider accelerating their timetable, social questions such as this generally need some time, Steans said, pointing to years of intense debate before the state legalized same-sex marriage.
A Chicago legislator wants to link charter-school expansion to a school district’s ability to pay for them, an effort aimed at slowing the spread of the privately run, publicly funded schools in the city.
The bill introduced Friday by state Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago, would block the opening of any new charter campuses in any school districts with the Illinois State Board of Education’s two lowest financial ratings. The Chicago Public Schools system has been on that list for years.
“Our priority must be investing in the schools we have,“ Guzzardi said Monday outside Prosser Career Academy High School on the Northwest Side, where he was accompanied by other lawmakers, members of the Chicago Teachers Union and parents from the neighborhood.
“If your district is broke, take care of the schools you have before you open new schools,” Guzzardi said. “This isn’t about shutting down any charter schools that are already here.”
* Press release…
New legislation aimed at protecting the environment in rural Illinois was unveiled at the in the Illinois Senate today. State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) unveiled a package of legislation that would make changes to the regulations governing Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs.
CAFOs are farm facilities with a large concentration of animals such as hogs. Recently, a plan for a CAFO that would hold 20,000 head of hogs in rural Fulton County was withdrawn after a considerable pushback from the public.
Joined by farmers from all across the state, Koehler introduced the legislation to bring transparency to the process of planning and expanding hog farms.
“People in rural Illinois deserve to know what exactly is going to be built in their backyard,” Koehler said. “Registering these facilities and getting wastewater management on file are just of few of the steps we can take to make sure the public health of rural Illinoisans will be protected.”