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News Around Illinois – January 29, 2020

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Answers Demanded About DNA Testing Backlog

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois State Police are working their way through the backlog of DNA evidence, and have recently decreased the number of delayed cases by 16 percent. But the turnaround time is still, on average, 215 days. On Tuesday, Carrie Ward, Executive Director of the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault, told a panel of lawmakers that’s too long. “And when we consider reasons why victims may not report crimes, this waiting period has to be a factor,” said Ward. “Why report a crime when you know it may take years to slog through the system? Justice delayed is justice denied, especially for sexual assault survivors.” State Senator Patricia Van Pelt, chair of the Public Health Law committee, told state police she wants the turnaround time reduced to two months. – Olivia Mitchell, NPR Illinois

Lawmakers Propose Anti-Poaching Laws

SPRINGFIELD – A pair of Illinois lawmakers are taking on the practice of offering tax breaks to lure companies from other states. The legislation would have Illinois agree to stop trying to poach businesses from any state that made the same agreement with Illinois. Backers say similar legislation has been introduced in at least half-a-dozen other states this year — including Missouri, Iowa, Florida and New York. – Michael Smith, NPR Illinois 

Ex-Illinois Lawmaker Pleads Guilty In Red-Light Bribery Case

SPRINGFIELD — A former Illinois state senator has pleaded guilty to accepting around $250,000 in bribes for protecting the interests of a red-light camera company. Martin Sandoval entered the plea in an agreement with prosecutors during a hearing in Chicago Tuesday, a day after federal prosecutors listed charges against him. Under the plea deal, the 56-year-old promises to cooperate with federal prosecutors in ongoing public corruption investigations. Sandoval is well connected in the Illinois Democratic Party, and his decision to cooperate comes after more than a year of home and office raids against multiple Democrats, several of whom have been charged. – Associated Press

Autistic Futures Trader Who Triggered Crash Spared Prison


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Proposed Urbana City Council ward maps are available for review

The Urbana City Council is expected to review three proposed ward boundary maps at its June 3rd Committee of the Whole meeting. Meanwhile, the proposed maps are posted at the city’s website  for public review and comment. A link on the website’s front page takes users to information on ward redistricting. The map that wins council approval will replace Urbana’s current ward map.