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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
10:16am
Thu Jul 21, 2016

Tyson Meat Company Ranked As Worst Illinois Water Polluter Among Agribusinesses

New research shows the Tyson Fresh Meats animal slaughtering facility in Hillsdale was the top water polluter in Illinois among major agribusiness operations in 2014.

That year, the Tyson Fresh Meats plant released over 2 million pounds of pollutants into the state's waterways, according to the Environment America Research & Education Center's report.

The environmental advocacy group examined the "water pollution footprints" of Tyson Foods and four other major agribusinesses, Cargill, JBS, Perdue and Smithfield, in Illinois and other states. Forty-four percent of the nation's pork, chicken and beef is produced by those five companies, according to the report.

Researchers analyzed the most recent 2014 data from the federal Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) on pollution discharges into waterways from the five major agribusinesses. Among the findings, Tyson's facilities released the most pollutants nationwide -- nearly 21 million pounds. 

That's more pollutants "by volume than even Exxon Mobil or DuPont," according to the environmental group.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:33pm
Tue Jul 19, 2016

Chicago Aldermen Call On Illinois Congressional Delegation To Oppose TPP

Chicago aldermen who oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will introduce a resolution at Wednesday's city council meeting urging the Illinois Congressional Delegation to reject the 12-nation trade agreement.

Alds. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th), David Moore (17th), Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) and Anthony Napolitano (41st) joined labor allies at City Hall Tuesday afternoon to announce the resolution, which is being proposed ahead of next week's Democratic National Convention.

"We're calling on the delegates at the Democratic National Convention to take this off part of their platform agenda so that they can look out for the working class, for the people that they are supposed to represent," Sadlowski Garza stressed.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
2:47pm
Mon Jul 18, 2016

Report: Legislative Advances, Setbacks For Progressives During 2016 Statehouse Sessions

A new report from the progressive State Innovation Exchange details some of the best and worst policies from this year's state legislative sessions.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:34pm
Thu Jul 14, 2016

Controversy Over Joe Walsh's Threatening Tweet Spills Over Into 66th House District Race

Controversy over former Illinois congressman Joe Walsh's incendiary tweets posted last Thursday after the deadly sniper attack on Dallas police officers has spilled over into the state's 66th House District race.

The Democrat in the race, Nancy Zettler, is calling on her Republican opponent, Allen Skillicorn, to disavow Walsh's "hate-filled statements."

Walsh has faced backlash for a now-deleted tweet that threatened "war" on President Barack Obama and the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:38pm
Wed Jul 13, 2016

Advocates Urge Gov. Rauner To Sign Illinois Domestic Workers Bill Of Rights

Illinois caregivers, housecleaners and their advocates rallied at the Thompson Center Wednesday, urging Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights.

The Illinois General Assembly approved the measure during the last legislative session and sent it to the governor on June 26.

Rauner has 60 days to take action on the legislation, which would ensure that domestic workers in Illinois are paid no less than the minimum wage, receive at least one day off a week and have protections against sexual harassment.

Magdalena Zylinska is among the 35,000 estimated domestic workers in Illinois. She's a housecleaner in Chicago who organizes domestic workers with the Arise Chicago worker center.

"Since the domestic work industry is rapidly growing, and it is a very critical part of our state, I think it is a matter of urgency for this bill to pass," she said. "Also, as domestic workers, we make all other work possible. We take care of children, aging loved ones, people living with disabilities and the homes of families. We want to be recognized as real workers, and we want to be treated with respect."

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