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Illinois lawmakers who represent Rockford have different opinions on whether it is in the best interest of residents for the city to return to home rule status. Voters will weigh in on the issue on the spring primary ballot. 

Home rule expands local control over taxing and borrowing beyond the laws passed in Springfield.

Rockford is one of just a few of the state’s larger municipalities that does not have that authority.  Voters stripped the city of home rule authority in 1983.

Jenna Dooley

Rockford citizens took time Thursday to remember the lives of homeless adults who died in 2017.

More than 40 homeless adults died in the area in 2017—an increase from previous years. They ranged in age from 26 to 67. The event was hosted by the Rock River Homeless Coalition.

Todd Kisner is chair of the group. He says a handful of social service providers worked in some capacity with the people who died. They communicate with each other throughout the year to track the deaths.

Chase Cavanaugh / WNIJ

 Four people were injured when a small plane crashed at the Chicago Rockford International Airport Monday evening.

Deputy Chief Brian Kunce with the airport fire department said the King Air C-90 twin-engine plane was about 200 yards from a runway when it stuck a ditch, bounced over a fence and came to rest on the airport grounds. Kunce says the plane didn't catch fire.  

The extent of the injuries was not immediately known. Two people -- one of whom was unconscious -- had to be extricated from the plane.  

The Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees could take another vote next week regarding Doug Baker's Presidential Transition Agreement.

A judge ruled last month that the university violated the Open Meetings Act when it approved Baker’s deal this summer soon after he announced his resignation.

DeKalb resident Misty Haji-Sheikh filed the lawsuit and could be entitled to having her legal fees covered. That decision will be made early next year.

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

The severance package for former Northern Illinois University president Doug Baker is now null and void, according to a court ruling Wednesday.

A DeKalb County judge ruled that the NIU Board of Trustees violated the Open Meetings Act. Judge Bradley Waller said in his decision that the board did not adequately notify the public of the terms of Baker’s more than $600,000 severance package.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Supporters of President Donald Trump held a rally and expo in Rockford Tuesday to celebrate the first year of his presidency.

Jenna Dooley

Rockford’s mayor is supporting an effort to return the city to home rule status.

Here’s an example: Since Rockford is not a home rule city, leaders can charge up to $50 in license fees for  video gaming in the city, and there are a lot. Home rule communities can charge into the thousands of dollars. That’s why some critics argue home rule can unfairly target business owners who may absorb extra taxes and fees.