News Around Illinois – December 4, 2019

University Of Illinois Will Change When It Asks About Student Criminal Histories

URBANA – The University of Illinois system will no longer ask prospective undergrads about their criminal histories as part of the application process. But the university’s three campuses will still ask provisionally admitted students about their records. The policy change comes in response to national and statewide movements urging universities and colleges to ban the box on applications. Research indicates the question may discourage people with convictions from applying.  University officials said the change balances the concerns of those who advocate for removing the question while also keeping campuses safe. The U of I system and other higher education institutions have opposed legislation that would remove the question altogether. – Lee Gaines, Illinois Newsroom

Parking Could Get More Expensive 

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois will soon tax certain parking spots. State lawmakers approved the parking tax as a way to generate money for Illinois’ new $45-billion infrastructure plan. Illinois Department of Revenue spokesman Sam Salustro said the tax will pay for public building construction. The tax rate will be 6-percent for hourly, daily and weekly parking — and 9-percent for monthly and annual rates. Parking spots owned and maintained by government entities, hospitals, and apartment complexes will be exempt from the new tax. It kicks in on January 1. – Sam Dunklau, NPR Illinois

Beatification For Fulton Sheen Delayed By Vatican

PEORIA — Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s journey to sainthood has been delayed as Vatican officials postponed this month’s scheduled beatification in Peoria. The Catholic Diocese of Peoria said in a news release Tuesday that Vatican officials postponed the ceremony that would have put Sheen one step from sainthood. No reason was given why Sheen, ordained in Peoria in 1919 and who died in 1979, will not be beatified this month or why a “few members of the Bishop’s Conference asked for further consideration.” Pope Francis notified the diocese last month that the beatification of Sheen had been approved and would take place on Dec. 21. No new date has been set for the beatification. – Associated Press

Chicago Police Blame Facebook For Illegal Gun, Drug Sales

CHICAGO — Chicago police said investigators have arrested more than 50 people accused of using private Facebook groups and messages to sell guns or drugs. The department’s new interim superintendent and other officials also blamed the social media company for complicating such cases by taking down investigators’ fake profiles during a Tuesday press conference announcing results of the two-year investigation. A message seeking comment from Facebook’s press office was not immediately returned Tuesday. – Associated Press

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