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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:32pm
Tue Apr 12, 2016

On Equal Pay Day, Dems Slam Republicans Over Federal Inaction On Paycheck Fairness

Tuesday is Equal Pay Day, marking how far into 2016 women must work in order to earn what men made in 2015.

Women today still earn just 79 cents on average for every dollar paid to men. For African-American women and Latinas, the wage gap widens to 60 cents and 55 cents, respectively, according to an analysis by the National Partnership for Women & Families.

Equal pay advocates say it's time to end the gender wage gap, which could be closed in part by passage of the long-proposed federal Paycheck Fairness Act. Under the bill, employees could share salary information between co-workers without retaliation, among other provisions.

Some Democrats are using Equal Pay Day to slam Congressional Republicans over their repeated efforts against the legislation. 

U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL,8) is among the Democratic cosponsors of the Paycheck Fairness Act. Duckworth, who is running for incumbent Mark Kirk's (R-IL) Senate seat, is seeking to draw a contrast with her opponent on equal pay issues.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:31pm
Mon Apr 11, 2016

Illinois Lawmakers: Rank-And-File Legislators Key To Breaking Budget Impasse

State lawmakers on both sides of the aisle discussed the Illinois budget stalemate Monday, suggesting that rank-and-file legislators are key to breaking the monthslong impasse.

Four Democratic and four Republican state lawmakers participated in the talk, co-hosted by the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, CFA Society Chicago and Truth in Accounting.

One panelist was Rep. Robert Pritchard (R-Hinckley), who said rank-and-file lawmakers have been engaged in state budget talks.

"We've been working together. We've been actually talking in smaller groups and we've been talking in private. So saying what we've been offering, I think, would be a break in that confidence," Pritchard said at the event, held at the Union League Club of Chicago. "But the important point is that legislators do feel the pressure that you're putting on, and we are talking. We are looking for where there's compromise. And I think we're gonna see the fruits of that shortly."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:30pm
Thu Apr 7, 2016

Illinois Advocates Ask Business Leaders To Push For A 'Responsible' Budget (UPDATED)

Illinois advocates for seniors and people with disabilities are calling on local business owners to speak out against the long-running state budget impasse and the "dangerous" spending cuts proposed by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Representatives from the Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans and Citizen Action Illinois, a public interest organization and a progressive political coalition, are spearheading the campaign. They are targeting organizations with GOP connections and businesses that, they say, have donated to local Republican state lawmakers.

Advocates protested and passed out leaflets this week in front of the Downers Grove Economic Development Corporation -- for which Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) and other GOP legislators are board members -- and Cassens Transport Co. in Edwardsville. The activists rallied at the Firewater Saloon in Chicago's Edison Park neighborhood Thursday afternoon, and plan to visit a Joliet pizza parlor and the Park Ridge Community Bank next week.

Their campaign comes during the tenth month of the state budget impasse. Rauner's pro-business, anti-union policy agenda is at the center of the stalemate, which has created financial chaos for higher education institutions and a range of social service providers. Home health care service providers, for example, have yet to receive over $235 million in state payments owed to them, according to SEIU* Healthcare Illinois, the union representing home care workers.

The advocates are dropping off letters to Illinois business owners, urging them to ask their state lawmakers to "defend the home health care program and the home health providers our state's senior citizens and people with disabilities depend on, and pass a responsible budget that rejects Governor Rauner's dangerous cuts."

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