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Rockford approves $120,000 lobbying contract, targets funding for new, mandatory police training

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — Rockford City Council renewed their contract with McGuire Woods Consulting for 2021 with the only 'no' vote coming for 13th Ward Alderman Linda McNeely.

The contract, according to the city's legal director Nicholas Meyer, gives the city a vital voice in Springfield.

"It's incredibly important that our interests are at the forefront, that we are as aggressive as possible down in Springfield," Meyer said. "Without a lobbyist and without someone down there on a daily basis, it's very difficult to do that."

Rockford already passed its lobbying goals for 2021. The top of that list advocates for more laws to protect domestic violence survivors and look for more funding for the Family Peace Center.

A new thing the city looks to push for in Springfield is funding for the new mandated police training. That mandate came from a police reform bill passed earlier this month.

While Meyer says the city supports the new training, he believes if the state wants to require the training, they should be the ones to pay.

"There's a lot in the bill about increasing various types of training," Meyer said. "We want to make sure that with those mandates also comes assistance with paying for them from the state. They're expensive to do."

Meyer added that if things like police training don't get some sort of funding from the state, more pressure will go on taxpayers and the city's funding sources.

Rockford will also look to lobby for direct COVID-19 relief funding.

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William Ingalls

William Ingalls is the weekend reporter at WREX. He joined the team in 2019 as a photographer after graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and English from Augustana College. William was born and raised in Rockford and went to high school at Christian Life.

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