Morning headlines: Monday, April 18, 2011
IL residents can weigh in on redistricting
Residents of the Metro East will have an opportunity to voice their opinions today on how state lawmakers should redraw Illinois' Congressional and state legislative districts.
Illinois is losing a seat in Congress, going from 19 to 18 Representatives. And with big population shifts in the state - for example, Chicago lost seven percent of its population in the last decade, while the Metro East grew - state House and Senate districts will also look much different.
This is the first time since Illinois adopted its new redistricting process in the 1970s that one party - Democrats - will control the entire process. One Metro East lawmaker is urging his colleagues to resist the urge to draw every district as "safe" for one party or the other.
Dispute over new Missouri map leads to day off for the state House
Disagreement over where to put Jefferson County in Missouri's newly-drawn legislative districts means some Missouri lawmakers don't need to be in Jefferson City today.
The map that passed the state House puts Jefferson County in a district that currently covers most of southeastern Missouri. Senators are displeased with that decision. The House had requested formal negotiations, but the Senate did not respond before adjourning last week.
Session ends May 13th, and lawmakers want to leave plenty of time to override a potential veto from Gov. Jay Nixon before September. When the General Assembly is in session, the governor has 15 days to sign or veto legislation. Once they leave, he has 45 days to act.
Missouri lawmakers could consider revised renewable energy standard
The Missouri General Assembly could vote this week on that would resolve a two-year-old dispute over the state's renewable energy standard.
Voters in 2008 passed a measure that requires large, investor-owned utilities like Ameren Missouri to generate 15 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2021 - all of which had to come from Missouri or neighboring states. Utilities successfully argued they could not abide by that provision and keep rate increases below one percent. That's kept implementation in limbo.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the new version reinstates the local purchase requirement, but cuts the renewable mandate in half. It passed a House committee last week without opposition, and could reach the full House this week, but its backers admit they’re not sure they have a shot in the Senate.