When Illinoisans hit the polls in November, they will see a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot asking whether the state should put transportation funding in a "lockbox" so that it cannot be used for non-related spending.
If the amendment passes, the Illinois Constitution would be amended to ensure transportation funding is safeguarded from being spent on other purposes, like balancing the state budget.
Citizens to Protect Transportation Funding, a coalition of business, labor and construction groups, is leading the advocacy effort in support of the so-called "Safe Roads Amendment," which made it onto the November 8 ballot after strong bipartisan approval from the state legislature.
The U.S. Supreme Court announced a 4-4 split on the case challenging President Barack Obama's executive orders on immigration reform and Illinois advocates are expressing their dismay as they plan to press their efforts forward.
The deadlock vote means the president's November 2014 orders to expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and install the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) have been blocked for the time being.
The programs would have deferred deportation for three years for undocumented immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens and green card holders, while also expanding protections for people who were brought to the U.S. as minors and were not covered by the original DACA program. More than 4 million immigrants would have benefited from the orders, 280,000 people living in Illinois.
"This ruling is deeply frustrating and disappointing for all immigrant communities," said Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights CEO Lawrence Benito. "Instead of being able to move forward with our lives and contributing further to our entire community, immigrants remain vulnerable to the knock on the door that could separate them from their families and from the lives they have made in this country."
The Supreme Court's 4-4 split decision in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, which was issued today, upholds a lower court decision that permits public employee unions to assess fees on non-members who benefit from collective bargaining and union representation. The decision is a victory for working people, whose rights are protected by strong unions even if they themselves are not in a union.
It is also a reminder about the importance of the president's choice of the next Supreme Court justice, since the 4-4 split guarantees that another case attacking union security agreements will find its way to the Court before long.
Progress Illinois previews the Democratic primary race between Angelica Alfaro and Omar Aquino, who are competing for the Illinois Senate seat being vacated by retiring state Sen. William Delgado (D-Chicago).
Illinoisans with the statewide Protect Our Parks campaign are calling on U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) to publicly state his "active support" for two key U.S. conservation measures — the Land and Water Conservation Fund and Antiquities Act.