Judge Rejects Topless Activist's Free-Speech Argument

Feb 3, 2016
"Courtroom One Gavel" by Flickr User Beth Cortez-Neavel / (CC BY 2.0)

A federal judge rejected a "GoTopless Day'' activist of her core argument against a Chicago ordinance barring women from baring their chests in public.

Sonoko Tagami sued after police ticketed her in 2014 for violating the ordinance during an annual protest of such bans nationwide.

The protest was organized by the Las Vegas-based group GoTopless. The ticket cost Tagami $150. 

Tagami's lawsuit argues Chicago's ban infringes on her free-speech and other rights.

But the judge in Chicago rejected that in a Tuesday ruling.

A nonprofit research group says poverty rates in Illinois are up to three times higher for racial minorities.

The Chicago-based Heartland Alliance's research arm released a report outlining significant racial disparities for income, unemployment, birth rates and housing, among other things.

The 44-page document is called “Racism's Toll: Report on Illinois Poverty,'' and looks at institutional racism in the state.

The report says unemployment rates are 1.4 to 2.4 times higher for minorities than for whites.


Chicago school officials say they're ready to cut $100 million from school budgets and force teachers to pay more pension costs after the teachers' union rejected the latest offer in contentious contract negotiations that have lasted over a year.

Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool said yesterday the union's rejection was “disheartening'' and cost-cutting efforts were necessary without a deal.

He says bargaining continues.

The district faces a $1 billion shortfall and recently laid off hundreds of central office employees.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

There is increased attention on water quality across the nation as a result of elevated levels of lead in Flint, Michigan.

For the past several years, the unincorporated community of Wedron, in LaSalle County, has been dealing with its own water woes.

EPA: Wedron Groundwater Contamination Site

An Egyptian activist is touring the U.S., reminding people that the struggle in her country continues five years after the uprising.

Tuesday night, she spoke in Rockford. Salma Hussein is a human rights advocate and journalist from Cairo, Egypt. She says "it's hard to see people talking about it like it's history because the movement is still there. Even if it's not necessarily with the same momentum anymore, the movement is still alive and present."

GOP Lawmakers Introduce Procurement Reform Proposal

Feb 2, 2016

Republican state representatives Bob Pritchard of Hinckley and Dan Brady of Bloomington are among the GOP lawmakers promoting a simplified purchasing process for colleges and universities in Illinois.

It also is supported by Gov. Bruce Rauner, who says he wants to change the way the state buys goods and services to save taxpayers a half billion dollars a year. 

Phil Masterton / WNIJ

Illinois’ budget deficit is a billion dollars more than initially predicted.

Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger, who signs checks for the state government, announced Tuesday that Illinois will be more than $6.2 billion dollars in debt by June 30th.

That is, if the state continues its current rate of spending without a budget. 

"E-Cig Mod: iTaste 134" by Flickr User Lindsay Fox

Anyone under 18 who's caught with electronic cigarettes or other tobacco-free nicotine products would face a fine or community service under a new Illinois law.

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed legislation last week that imposes penalties for minors who possess e-cigarettes.

State Sen. Julie Morrison sponsored the measure. The Deerfield Democrat says it will protect young people “from the dangers of this increasingly popular product.''

Illinois law already prohibits selling e-cigarettes to anyone under 18.

League of Women Voters

A Democratic presidential candidate and two Republicans will stay on the Illinois ballot.


The State Board of Elections dismissed an objection to the candidacy of Democrat Hillary Clinton.

The board ruled Republican U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz can also stay on the ballot.

Two Illinois residents raised questions about the legality of Cruz and Rubio running for president. 

One of the objectors is William Graham of Glen Ellyn. He says the senators are U.S. citizens, but they are not natural-born citizens under the law.

Chicago's interim police superintendent says he doesn't know why homicides and shootings climbed so dramatically in January compared with the same month last year.

But John Escalante said Monday that one concern is the significant decrease in the number of investigatory stops in January that coincides with a change in the policy regarding such stops.

Officers now must fill out far lengthier documents than the brief “contact cards'' they previously used.