Water Shortages Prompt New Illinois State Initiative
Chicago sits next to one of the largest sources of fresh water in the world, but water shortages in surrounding suburbs are so serious that Illinois legislators have carved $1 million out of the state budget to create the Illinois Water Supply Initiative.
The program, managed by the state's Department of Natural Resources, is Illinois' first concerted effort to develop statewide water management plans. Gov. Rod Blagojevich issued an executive order the day the Initiative was announced calling for scientific study of the state's water system and future water needs.
Chicago and several nearby suburbs are limited by federal law in the amount of water they can pump directly from Lake Michigan. Many outlying suburbs rely on deep aquifers for water, and those are being depleted faster than expected due to rapid demand growth, as operators in those areas are already learning.
Florida Gov. Bush Lets The Dogs Out
As expected, Florida Governor Jeb Bush has signed a bill that lets restaurant diners bring dogs along rather than take a doggie bag home.
Sort of. What the law actually creates is a three-year pilot program giving restaurants the option of allowing dogs in outdoor dining areas ififlocal or county health officials approve. The program will be evaluated at the end of that time.
Bush, who lost his own black Labrador to cancer days earlier, signed the bill with state Sen. Charlie Clary's dog Dixie Cup.
Strict Sign Laws Sign Of The Times
A proposed new sign ordinance in Columbia, Tenn., could soon put a crimp in your style there.
The ordinance would limit the size and height of signs in the city, and would prohibit banners and balloons. Proponents say they want a more uniform look to signage in town, and to level the playing field for all advertisers. As written, businesses would not have to tear down existing signs to comply with the ordinance. If replacing a sign, however, the new sign would have to conform.
Surrounding towns have implemented their own versions of sign laws. Most say the restrictions haven't prevented developers and retailers from opening new businesses.