Mike Absher steps down as Watermark CEO as he prepares to become Marion’s next mayor

MARION — Watermark Auto Group announced Monday that Brad Poole, chief operations officer, has been named Watermark’s new president, effective immediately.

Here’s a link to the story at the Southern Illinoisan.

Bill would put fire departments staffed by part-timers on hook for pension costs

It’s on to the state House for legislation that would require towns that hire part-time firefighters to pay part of their full-time pensions.

Here’s a link to the story at Illinois News Network.

Lawmakers debate taxing, spending in Illinois

As Illinois lawmakers prepare to vote on a constitutional amendment to change the state’s flat income tax to a graduated one, debate on the topic continued Monday even with the legislature off for a two-week break.

Here’s a link to the story at Illinois News Network.

Rep. Ilhan Omar says she’s faced increased death threats since Trump’s tweet of 9/11 video

Rep. Ilhan Omar says she’s faced increased death threats since President Donald Trump spread around a video that purports to show her being dismissive of the 2001 terrorist attacks. “This is endangering lives,” she said, accusing Trump of fomenting right-wing extremism. “It has to stop.

Here’s a link to the story at the Chicago Tribune.

House passes measure to give tuition assistance to undocumented citizens, transgender students

Noncitizen students and transgender individuals not eligible for federal student loan aid because they’ve failed to register for the selective service would be able to access tuition assistance in Illinois under a plan passed by the House.

Here’s a link to the story at Illinois News Network.

Illinois homeowners pay nearly double the national average in property taxes

For all of the outcry and political promises to help property taxes, Illinoisans still pay the second highest rates in the nation.

Here’s a link to the story at Illinois News Network.

DHS seeks bigger budget, including $107 million for higher minimum wage

The Illinois Department of Human Services, which has one of the largest line items in the proposed budget for the coming fiscal year, is seeking additional money to cover the cost of the state’s new minimum wage and expand access to child care assistance.

Here’s a link to the story at Illinois News Network.

Republicans push back on progressive tax as debate heats up

The debate over how Illinois should tax income is getting heated amid reports that the Democrats, who control both chambers of the state legislature with supermajorities, may not have enough support to pass the graduated tax plan that Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s is counting on to stabilize the state’s finances and pay for the promises he made on the campaign trail.

Here’s a link to the story at Illinois News Network.

Chicago’s police union is ‘the sworn enemy of black people,’ Rep. Bobby Rush says after protest of Jussie Smollett case

After a week of heated protests and calls for her resignation, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and African-American leaders condemned Chicago’s police union and defended how the prosecutor’s office addressed an actor’s alleged hate crime hoax.

Here’s a link to the story at the Chicago Tribune.

As cold weather breaks, violence returns: 24 shot in 30 hours over warmest weekend this year

In a period of a little over 24 hours this weekend, 24 people were shot in Chicago, including three children under 13 — and three of the adults shot died from their injuries, according to police

Here’s a link to the story at the Chicago Tribune.