A major issue the Decatur City Council will be dealing with in the near future is whether or not to “opt out” in allowing a recreational marijuana dispensary in the city limits of Decatur. Illinois’ new law that legalizes recreational marijuana use permits cities, villages and counties to “opt out” of allowing pot dispensaries within their jurisdictions. The Village of Forsyth Board recently voted to “opt out” and the elected leaders in other communties across the state have been, or will be, making that decision in the near future. Recreational marijuana becomes legal in Illinois on Jan. 1, 2020, so there is not a lot of time left.
My “Viewpoint” elsewhere on this site explains how I feel about retailing pot in Decatur. When HB 1438 for the legalization of marijuana passed in the General Assembly, 3 out of the 4 members that represent Decatur voted against it — Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet), Rep. Sue Scherer (D-Decatur) and Rep. Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur).
Much to my surprise, Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) voted in favor of the bill like the vast majority of Democrats. In fact, it passed the Illinois House by a 66-47 vote and the Senate passed the measure earlier by a vote of 38-17. The vote was largely party line with only seven Democratic representatives and two Democratic senators voting no. A handful of other Democrats in each chamber abstained. Only three Republican senators and three Republican representatives supported the measure.
Sen. Manar’s “yes” vote on legalizing recreational marijuana in Illinois, seemed to be against a lot of the good judgement he has been known for by both Democrats and Republicans during the years he has served in the senate. Rep. Sue Scherer, a former school teacher, deserves thanks for standing against the Democratic tide and voting against passing the “pot bill”.
• DONNA Lacox sent me an interesting email on shopping carts that stated: “This is not a complaint, just an observation. How come there are no cart corrals close to handicap parking? This is something I never noticed until I had to start using handicap parking. “After unloading your cart you have to either walk the cart back inside the store or farther down the parking aisle. Or you can leave it unsecured in the lot to run loose and damage someone’s car. Just curious!” Hmmm. She has a good point.
• AS I mentioned in last week’s column, with Macon County Circuit Clerk Lois Durbin not running for re-election in 2020, strong interest is being shown by candidates who have already announced they are running for the office. The first two to announce are present employees of the office. Sherry Doty announced first (story on page 13 of last week’s edition) and Jennifer Yborra is the second person to announce (see page 14 in this week’s edition).
The office of Macon County Circuit Clerk is one of the major offices in our county and, without an incumbent running for re-election, should generate a lot of interest in the months ahead.
• RECOUNT fundraiser is going to be held by Supporters of Jim Root for Sheriff at Coz’s Bar and Grill on Sept. 5, 2019, from 5:00 pm until 8:00 pm. Coz’s is located at 1405 East Village Parkway in Mt. Zion. Root and his supporters believe he won the Macon County Sheriff’s race by one vote, instead of Tony Brown, who was sworn in as sheriff following his one vote victory in the General Election. Two uncounted votes that were later found were both for Root, which Root and his supporters indicate would have given him a one vote victory over Brown. Although Brown was sworn in as sheriff, Root has been working to overturn the result of the election during the months since. Of course, his recount actions are expensive and the fundraiser is to help defray the costs.
Anyone who needs additional information about the fundraiser can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
* * *
Paul Osborne is on the City Hall Insider hour with Brian Byers on WSOY’s Byers & Co., 7:00 a.m. each Thursday.