Government and Legislature

Rockford Police Chief Epperson To Retire

Oct 14, 2015
Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Rockford Police Chief Chet Epperson is retiring and moving to a new job in law enforcement. The 53-year-old has been with the department for 30 years and chief of police since 2006.

Epperson made the announcement Wednesday afternoon at Rockford City Hall. Earlier in the day, he told his officers and other police department employees about his decision. Epperson became eligible for retirement earlier this year. 

His retirement is effective November 13th. He'll receive 75% of his pay and full benefits.

Susan Stephens

Three local attorneys are expected to run for the State's Attorney seat for DeKalb County. They are former State's Attorney Clay Campbell, Hinckley attorney Charles Rea, and Sycamore attorney Rick Amato. Amato held the position in 2003 and Campbell in 2012.

The newcomer to the race is Charles Rea.  Current States Attorney Richard Schmack hasn't announced whether he will run in the Democratic primary. Campbell announced his bid earlier this year in May.

Beloit Police Chief Norm Jacobs and Deputy Chief Tom Dunkin should be fired for "gross misconduct, incompetence and failure to perform essential job duties," City Manager Lori Luther told a news conference this morning.

Flickr user Abulic Monkey / "that's methadone, not to be confused with the 'killer' drug mephedrone, got that kids?" (CC BY 2.0)

A Wisconsin legislative committee is poised to vote on three anti-heroin bills today.

The bill would require opiate dispensers to enter prescriptions in a statewide database within 24 hours. It would also create methadone and pain clinic registries.

Treatment programs using methadone would also be required to report the number of people receiving the medication, plans for tapering patients off it, and relapse rates.

State representative John Nygren, a Republican, introduced the bills. His daughter is struggling with heroin addiction.

Vijay Kumar Koulampet, CC BY-SA 3.0 / via Wikimedia Commons

The Wisconsin state Senate's health committee is set to vote today on a bill that would outlaw research using tissue obtained from aborted fetuses.

University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers and private scientists oppose the measure. They argue it could end ground-breaking medical research that relies on fetal tissue cells.

Republicans amended the bill to outlaw research on fetal tissue cell lines obtained from abortions after Jan. 1 this year, but the researchers say they need new lines.

It's unclear how much support the bill has in the Senate.

Beloit’s City Manager is expected to file charges against the police chief and deputy chief.

The men have been under investigation for several months. On Friday, the city’s interim police chief announced a series of overhauls to the department.

Dan Plutchak  is editor of Stateline News, a weekly newspaper that covers Beloit. He says city manager Lori Luther scheduled a press conference for Tuesday, which could tie up some loose ends in the investigation.

Illinois lawmakers are increasingly trying to make it easier for residents to be involved in politics.

There will be a hearing Tuesday in Chicago on automatic voter registration. Another proposal goes in the opposite direction. But its sponsor says, it's for good reason.

Illinois' next election isn't until March, but you can go ahead right now and register to vote in it. More the procrastinating type?

A new state law says you can now also register right up until, and on, the day of the election. At any precinct.

Nominating conventions for the 2016 presidential race are nearly a year away, but names of potential Illinois delegates to both the Republican and Democratic meetings are popping up.
The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports that presidential campaigns have begun putting together their delegate slates.
Republican State Rep. Raymond Poe of Springfield backs former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. So does former GOP Gov. Jim Edgar.

Amanda Vinicky

Another lawsuit over a pension law was filed this week in Illinois, this time seeking to strike a law that reduced Chicago Park District pensions. That could be significant for other local governments, and future negotiations.

When it first passed, the park district pension law was seen as a possible model for future ones. That's partially because it had been drafted in cooperation with SEIU, the union representing park district workers.

Interim Beloit Police Chief Announces Overhaul

Oct 9, 2015

Interim Beloit Police Chief David Zibolski released a letter announcing changes he has made in the past 120 days in the BPD.

An outside review of the Beloit Police Department was conducted and results came back questioning the “leadership and management.” The findings were so critical that Police Chief Norm Jacobs and Deputy Chief Tom Dunkin were promptly placed on paid administrative leave.

Zibolski was named Interim Police Chief while the city performed an internal investigation.