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News Around Illinois – March 2, 2020

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Bill Would Allow Parents To Opt Students Out of Shooter Drills

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois lawmakers are considering whether parents should be allowed to keep their children from participating in active shooter drills at school. Some parents and school personnel say the exercises have a negative effect on children. State Sen. Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) said he’s not against active shooter training, but he said it should be conducted with more sensitivity. Bennett said there are more effective ways to prepare students and administrators for drills, like practicing basic lock down procedures. Since 2013 Illinois law has required schools to conduct active shooter drills, but it was left up to the school district on whether or not to involve students. But in 2018, the state mandated that children participate in the exercises, which must be conducted within the first 90 days of the school year. – Olivia Mitchell, NPR Illinois

Illinois Bill Requires Rules For Native American Mascot Use

ROCKFORD — A Rockford lawmaker has proposed a bill requiring Illinois schools with Native American mascots and logos to meet certain requirements and failure to meet them would make the school ineligible to participate in playoff competitions. The Rockford Register Star reports state Rep. Maurice West pitched the amendment after students at Hononegah High School led a protest over the use of the Princess Hononegah Indian mascot and other Native American imagery and iconography. Hononegah students however, have asked the school board to completely end the school’s tradition of having a cheerleader dress as an Indian princess and dance at sporting events. – Associated Press

Former State Rep. Costello To Head Agriculture Department

SPRINGFIELD — Gov. J.B. Pritzker has tapped another former legislator to be director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Pritzker on Friday named Jerry Costello II as acting director, a job which pays $157,000 annually. The 51-year-old former state representative has been director of law enforcement for the Department of Natural Resources since leaving the General Assembly in May 2019. Costello replaces former state Sen. John Sullivan, who resigned as director Jan. 13. Expressing confidence in Costello’s appointment, Pritzker said agriculture drives the “state’s economy to the tune of $19 billion every year.” – Associated Press

Illinois Man Gets 30 Years For Methamphetamine Trafficking

URBANA — Federal prosecutors say a man had been sentenced to serve 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to distributing more than 45 pounds of methamphetamine in East Central Illinois. Travis Tuggle, a 38-year-old from Mattoon, pleaded guilty in September.  U.S. District Judge James E. Shadid sentenced him on Feb. 18. The office for U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois John Milhiser says Tuggle was at the center of a drug trafficking conspiracy selling methamphetamine in Coles County starting in 2013 and ending in 2016. – Associated Press

Voting Opens For ‘Coolest Thing Made in Illinois’

SPRINGFIELD — Voting has begun in the “Makers Madness” contest to determine the “Coolest Thing Made in Illinois.” The contest that’s sponsored by the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association is a bracket-style tournament to highlight many different products made in Illinois, from food to military flashlights. First-round online voting is open through March 8.  It includes 259 products which will be winnowed to 16. Voters may cast up to five votes per day in the first round as the field narrows. The Coolest Thing Made in Illinois will be crowned in an awards ceremony April 1 at the Governor’s Mansion.  – Associated Press

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