State roundup: National guardsman and cousin arrested in terror plot
From Illinois News Network
Two terrorism suspects, including an Illinois National Guardsman, are in custody facing charges.
A press release from Illinois Northern District U.S. Attorney’s office states the 22-year-old guardsman, Hasan Edmonds, was arrested without incident at Chicago Midway International Airport by the FBI Wednesday evening.
Edmonds was attempting to fly to Egypt to fight on behalf of ISIL, according to the release. Jonas Edmonds, a 29-year-old U.S. citizen and cousin of the guardsman, was arrested at his home in Aurora.
An FBI sting operation lead to the arrest of the guardsman and his cousin for alleged terrorist activities.
The complaint against the two says both had previously met with an undercover FBI agent to plan an attack on a U.S. military facility in northern Illinois. The suspects are charged and appeared in front of a judge Thursday afternoon.
Senate passes current FY budget fix
Money for child care programs, court reporters and prison operations is soon on it’s way with several measures Illinois’ Governor plans to sign.
After the budget fixes for the current fiscal year passed the House earlier this week the state Senate passed the measures Thursday. The bills allow for fund sweeps and cuts to fill the $1.6 billion hole in the current fiscal year budget.
Despite the twenty-six no votes, only one democratic senator stood up to voice opposition of the bills. Democratic State Senator John Sullivan says he’s worked with his republican colleagues in the past to keep from sweeping funds out of road projects. But, among other tweaks, the Road Fund is where the fix draws from.
“Our constituents pay gas taxes with the assumption the this money is used to repair and improve roads. This is not what this money is doing.”
Sullivan contends the sweeps will impact not only state highway projects but roads in cities, villages and townships. But reading from an Illinois Department of Transportation Memo Senator Heather Steans says IDOT’s various funds can handle the sweeps for the next few months.
“The results of the revised model show that while the projected available balances in the road and state construction account funds are lower than what the Department normally considers prudent, they are still positive.”
The memo goes on to say even with the fund sweeps IDOT will still be able to meet all the of the necessary funding matches for possible federal dollars and deliver the introduced level for the coming fiscal year that begins in July.
Governor willing to move mountains for criminal justice reforms
Governor Bruce Rauner says he’s willing to move mountains to help a commission reach his goal of reducing the state’s prison population by twenty-five percent in the next ten years.
During a visit to a meeting of the recently formed Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform Thursday Rauner says the state can start new.
“Start fresh. We can think outside the box. We can actually use data and real information, look at what other communities around America do and around the world, take the best ideas and customize them and make them better here, come up with our own ways of looking at this challenge in front of us.”
Rauner says the challenges are clear, including a recidivism rate that he says is tragically high.
“And we’ve got an overcrowded prison system that has had major management problems and management challenges and we’re not serving the people of the state appropriately.”
The Governor says the state can do better in keeping people out of the system that don’t deserve to be there. Rauner says he is willing to bring in private resources to work with government resources to better serve public safety.