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No Voting On Rock Island County Courthouse? Proposal Seeks To Change Law

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The push to build a new Rock Island County Courthouse is moving forward.

A county committee is close to picking a plan, setting the stage for another election on the courthouse in March.

Now, one Illinois lawmaker wants to change the rules.

Dropping voter input, to streamline the process to spend millions of taxpayer dollars.

When it comes to games, the rules keep everyone playing on the same board. When the game is Illinois politics though, different boards are standard procedure.

"It makes no sense to me, I don't know why, it's like that, it's the same state," says Rock Island Resident Joshua DeWilfond. He says a law requiring an election on a new courthouse is good enough for Rock Island County. He says it should be good enough for the rest of the state. Because he doesn't want the law changed to mimic Cook County rules.

"They just overlook us because we're smaller which they shouldn't at all," says DeWilfond.

There are lots of laws in Illinois that change the law depending on what size county you live in, whether it's Mercer County or Rock Island County. When it comes to courthouses Rock Island County wants to take a step to the big boys."

"If it gets to a point where they're just saying no to say no, and we're dealing with buildings that by law we have to keep up to a certain standard, we've really got to have some different options," says County Chairman Phil Banaszek.

He says different counties have different needs. They all need a courthouse up to standard though. Eliminating a step like a referendum gives the county more flexibility.

"Make it easier to address the issue when it does come up," says Banaszek.

"It should be out front to the people, they should be knowing what's going on, and they should be voting on it themselves," says Rock Island Resident Paul Inman.

He likes the current rules. Rock Island County lacks millions of people. Inman believes fewer people should get a louder voice.

"As opposed to having a group decide for us what is good then tell us its gotta be this, this, or this," says Inman.

No one wants to play a game like that.

Voters could still call for a referendum under the larger county rules in Illinois.

The county committee in charge of selecting a courthouse project meets again Tuesday afternoon.

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