Singing and dancing to get out of gym


State Sen. Ron Sandack proposed legislation that would let high school show choir members, or the “Glee club,” opt out of gym class.

He said since show choir is as physically demanding as football and basketball (which are acceptable substitutions for gym class according to Illinois state law), those participants should be allowed to miss gym and focus on other things.

The Daily Herald has a suburban angle.

Sandack’s proposal would extend the law to cover all students in all high school sports, marching band and show choir. Currently, Illinois law only covers juniors and seniors in sports and band.


Lawmakers want to bail out Metra by hiking fees


Metra, the second largest commuter rail system, has billions it needs to fund with a freshman CEO at the helm.

Transportation money pit Metra is in the hole $9.7 billion, with a freshman CEO and the rest of the Regional Transportation Authority (CTA and Pace) ready to pick at what is left of the rail system. 

Lawmakers in Springfield had the first of several meetings to discuss the commuter rail’s future, and CEO Don Orseno stopped by to lobby for Metra last Thursday. 

One lawmaker, state Rep. Jeanne Ives said lawmakers have to “look at the fee structure in compared to the value that you’re getting.”

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Rauner Schocked by big labor


In the wake of the Illinois Education Association’s endorsement of Kirk Dillard, Bruce Rauner and the state labor unions have been tangled in a bloody bout. Rauner has the money on his side, so it appears the tilt is leaning his way, but while he tramples the working men and women of Illinois a third wrestler slides in under the ropes to try and is trying to close-line the venture capitalist.

Steven Shearer has created a political committee, the Republican Fund for Progress & Jobs to hit Rauner where it hurts. Shearer, former chief of staff for Peoria Republican U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, used his organization to attack Rauner in a statewide mailing campaign including a pamphlet that rips into his financial history, his relationship with former and current mayors of Chicago and his stance on abortion.

Shearer has blamed Rauner for thwarting Schock’s attempts to run for governor of Illinois in the past. He also is one of the first to point to Rauner’s Democratic history.

The Daily Herald has more.

State Rep says pay for heroin rehab with pot money

Long term effects of heroin use. (Wikipedia)

Long term effects of heroin use. (Wikipedia)

A new legislative proposal would tax medical marijuana in order to pay for heroin treatment programs across Illinois, according to state Rep. Dennis Reboletti.

“We need to stem the tide of the heroin epidemic today,” the Elmhurst Republican said.

The weed tax is part of a legislative package Reboletti is proposing in Springfield which is promoting awareness on the increase in heroin overdoses in DuPage county, which hit a record number of 46 this past year.

“Right now we are in ground-zero of heroin overdoses,” state Rep. Jim Durkin said.

Reboletti said he hates unpaid mandates in a press conference Thursday, and said if he is going to propose this heroin awareness program, he has to propose a way to pay for it.

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