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Quick Hit
by La Risa Lynch
5:47pm
Tue Mar 24, 2015

Chicago West Side Residents Discuss Potential Impact Of Rauner's Budget

State Rep. Arthur Turner (D-Chicago) called Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed budget a "doomsday situation" that is compounded by a $1.6 billion shortfall from former Gov. Pat Quinn's underfunded FY2015 budget.

In February, Rauner proposed sweeping cuts to the state's Medicaid program, higher education, mass transit and government pensions to address the state's financial woes. The cuts aimed to combat a $6 billion deficit for fiscal year 2016, which begins in July 1, and the state's $111 billion pension crisis. But critics of Rauner's budget plan say those cuts adversely affect the poor and middle class families.

"It's gonna be tough," said Turner, who held a town hall meeting Monday night to discuss the impact Rauner's proposed cuts could have on the state. More than 30 residents attended the meeting held at Mt. Sinai Community Institute, 2653 W. Ogden Ave.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:21pm
Mon Mar 16, 2015

Illinoisans Speak Out Against Rauner's Proposed Human Services Budget Cuts

A few hundred Illinoisans attended a state Senate appropriations hearing in Chicago on Monday to discuss Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed budget cuts to Department of Human Services programs. Here's a breakdown of what happened at the hearing and what some audience members have to say about the governor's fiscal plan.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:19pm
Mon Mar 2, 2015

Durbin Calls For Reforms To Solitary Confinement In Prisons

new review of restrictive housing programs used by the Federal Bureau of Prisons makes the case for "meaningful" reforms to solitary confinement practices, says U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL).

"The fact remains that the United States holds more prisoners in solitary confinement than any other democratic nation in the world," the senator said in a statement Friday, when the independent report on U.S. prison segregation policies, conducted by CNA Analysis and Solutions, was released.  

"The findings and recommendations of this report provide further evidence that we must fundamentally reform our approach to solitary confinement," Durbin added.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
11:20am
Thu Jan 22, 2015

Advocates Urge Rauner, Illinois Legislature To Prioritize Mental Health Funding

As the Democrat-controlled Illinois legislature and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner gear up to tackle the state's fiscal problems, including a multi-billion budget deficit, mental health advocates are warning against further cuts to community-based services.

"Community mental health services have been cut to the core, and we're seeing a lot of the fallout," said Heather O'Donnell, vice president of public policy and advocacy for Chicago-based Thresholds, a recovery service provider for people with mental illness in Illinois.

Among other issues, O'Donnell noted that the Cook County Jail has about 2,000 inmates with some form of mental illness. And 22,000 people with mental illness in the state are living in nursing homes even though they "don't need that level of care." These people, she explained, would likely be homeless if they were not living in such facilities due to the lack of housing and other supports for them to live independently.

"We just need to make sure that we preserve every dollar, because we don't have anything else in the community mental health system that we can cut without costing the state far more than the cuts," O'Donnell stressed.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
11:10am
Wed Nov 26, 2014

Survey: Many Illinois LGBT Youth Face Combative School Environments

Many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) middle and high school students in Illinois face hostile school environments and lack access to important educational resources, according to state-level data from the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network's (GLSEN) "2013 National School Climate Survey."

The survey, taken in 2013 and released this October, included 7,989 LGBT students, including 279 from Illinois.

The 2013 snapshot for Illinois shows most LGBT students surveyed in the state have faced some form of victimization at school, with 7 in 10 students saying they have been verbally harassed based on their sexual orientation in the past year. Another 56 percent of Illinois respondents said they have faced verbal harassment at school due to their gender expression. 

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:39pm
Tue Nov 11, 2014

Chicagoans Rally For Economic Justice, Policies To Support Working Families (VIDEO)

Hundreds of Chicagoans hit the city's downtown streets Tuesday afternoon to rally for economic justice. Progress Illinois provides highlights from the "Take Back Chicago" march and rally.

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