A coalition of pro-Second Amendment groups rallied at the capitol Saturday afternoon. Despite the rain, more than 100 people attended the rally organized by the National Constitutional Coalition of Patriotic Americans (NCCPA). The Springfield rally was part of a nationwide event protesting recently proposed gun control legislation.
Tom Shafer and Corey Proctor spoke about three bills in particular that are especially worrying for gun owners, HB 1664, HB 1465, and HB 1469. HB 1664 would allow police to seize an individual’s guns based on an anonymous tip that the gun owner was a threat to themselves or others. Shafer described this as not only an attack on the Second Amendment, but also a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment which protects against unreasonable search and seizures. He laid out several cases where such a system could be easily abused by individuals with a grudge against a gun owner.
Other individuals from around the state spoke about their personal reasons for supporting gun rights and the Second Amendment. The need for self defense against random crime was a common theme, but the threat from a tyrannical government was also mentioned frequently. The Holodomor famines in the Soviet Union were mentioned, and Larry Williams from Peoria discussed examples far closer to home. You can watch his speech on the fate of Native Americans below:
The NCCPA event was the smaller of the two pro-Second Amendment rallies planned this week. In addition to the weather, Shafer blamed scaremongering in the local media for the lower turnout. He told me there was never any plan for open carry at this event, and no one did. The Illinois State Rifle Association’s (ISRA) Illinois Gun Owners Lobby Day (IGOLD) will be held at the Bank of Springfield Center this coming Wednesday, April 25th. Several thousand people are expected to attend IGOLD.
Springfield approves YMCA TIF, tavern rezoning
The Springfield YMCA’s upgrade took a step forward at tonight’s city council meeting. $5.9 million in TIF funding was approved for the new facility planned for Enos Park. TIF money will be drawn from both the Enos Park and Downtown TIF funds. This money is only a small portion of the nearly $35 million project. Representatives from the YMCA said that the project could not go forward without the TIF support from the city.
Although the aldermen stated their support for the upgrade, the use of TIF money raised some issues. Because the YMCA is a nonprofit, it will not directly provide any “increment” to the tax base. Even those who otherwise support nonprofits often consider it inappropriate to use TIF money in this way. However, aldermen pointed out that in addition to the $35 million construction project the YMCA is providing, the project should do other things to generate new growth. Hopefully, the new structure will foster development to itself, and better connect the medical districts with downtown.
The real benefit of TIF projects was also touched on in the discussion. Both Alderwoman Dicenso and Alderman McMenamin mentioned the Hy-Vee TIF project. While they both said that Hy-Vee itself was a boon to McArthur Boulevard, Dicenso had a less favorable characterization of how much additional activity that TIF generated.
The TIF funding for the YMCA was approved unanimously.
Rezoning Melrose St.
An old bar location may be getting a second life in Ward 2. 1510 Melrose St. was approved for rezoning to potentially allow a tavern to be opened in the old Sandtrap Bar location. Although the new owners are seeking a tavern license, their stated goal is to be more of a convince store with video gambling. Aldermen Senor supported the new endeavor. He said that if the council continued to vote down rezoning for businesses, it would be increasingly difficult to say Springfield is business friendly.
But several neighbors of the property were opposed to the project. Citing a lack of parking and increased noise, they felt the store would not be a good addition to their neighborhood. Opponents pointed out how close the location is to residential areas, and how many children live in the area. The location also has a bad reputation. Even the new owners admitted that there had been serious problem in the past. However, they said that the hyper focus they would be under would ensure they were a good neighbor.
The rezoning was approved 8-1-1, with McMenamin voting against and Fulgenzi voting present. This only changed the zoning of the location. They will still need to get a liquor and gaming license to actually operate the proposed business.
You can watch the full meeting in the player. The zoning hearing starts around the 15 minute mark, the YMCA TIF starts around the 70 minute mark.
What to expect from President Trump’s nominee
Two federal judges from Illinois’ northern district are on President Donald Trump’s shortlist to replace retiring U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Trump told reporters that he would announce his pick to replace the Kennedy on Monday evening. Kennedy was appointed by President Ronald Reagan.
Kennedy was often the swing vote that sided with the liberal end of the court on matters including “in particular, gay rights, and sometimes abortion and even more occasionally race,” said Carolyn Shapiro, associate law professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s College of Law.
Two judges from the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court in Chicago are reportedly being considered: Appellate Judges Amy Coney Barrett and Diane Sykes. Neither live in Illinois.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pointed to Judges Raymond Kethledge and Thomas Hardiman as two that “presented the fewest obvious obstacles to being confirmed,” according to a report from the New York Times.
The likely topic of questions that would come from the Senate for any nominee, Shapiro said, would be about their views on abortion due to a potential challenge to Roe v. Wade. Since Illinois passed House Bill 40, which contained a trigger that would make a national ruling on abortion less of a factor locally, it wouldn’t have near the effect that a ruling changing the legal status of abortion in the U.S. would elsewhere.
“[HB 40] has a lot of guarantees where, regardless of what happens to Roe v. Wade, women will still have access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare in the state,” she said.
Gov. Bruce Rauner shocked Republicans by signing the bill into law. The backlash against the bill was a factor in the freshman governor facing a hard-fought primary challenge in March.
As for the changing dynamic of the court, Shapiro said she expects more cases regarding free speech and its relation to regulation, akin to Janus v. AFSCME, to come before the court in the future.
Article by Cole Lauterbach with Illinois News Network. For more INN News visit ILnews.org
Project Mack hosts second “Take Back the City” weekend July 20-21
PRESS RELEASE | Project Mack will be hosting our 2nd Annual Take Back the City weekend to wrap up the summer, to be held July 20-21, 2018. In response to the recent violence in Springfield, Project Mack aims to inspire youth to make a positive difference in their lives. The events will bring together current and past students of the city throughout the weekend and allow them to showcase their talents.
The weekend will consist of benefit concert Friday night and our All-star Alumni basketball game on Saturday. All the artists performing at the concert are graduates from our area high schools and now are pursing musical careers. The alumni game will bring back all the best basketball players who’ve come from the Springfield area. Additionally, there will be vendor & organization information tables available on both days.
All proceeds from the event will go toward 3 scholarships created at SHS, LHS, and SSHS in memory of the innocent gun violence victims.