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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
7:13pm
Tue Apr 1, 2014

Race For Illinois Treasurer Heats Up

The General Election is not for another seven months, but the nominees for Illinois treasurer are wasting no time in taking jabs at each other. Progress Illinois takes a look at the race for treasurer that pits State Sen. Mike Frerichs (D-Champaign) against State Rep. Tom Cross (R-Oswego). 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:18pm
Mon Mar 31, 2014

Durbin, Quinn Join 'Give America A Raise' Bus Tour, Continue Call For Minimum Wage Hike (VIDEO)

Elected officials, low-wage workers and others are ramping up the pressure on Republicans in Congress to support a federal minimum wage hike.

The national “Give America A Raise” bus tour, which backs President Barack Obama’s call to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour, made its way to Illinois Monday. The effort piggybacks on Obama's call during his 2014 State of the Union address for Congress to "give America a raise." Obama has pressed Congress to take action after he announced an Executive Order to have federal contractors pay their employees $10.10 an hour.

The 11-state bus tour, spearheaded by Americans United for Change, stopped in Chicago Monday morning and saw support from Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and workers' right activists in the state, including members of the statewide coalition Raise Illinois as well as Citizen Action-Illinois

“If you work 40 hours a week and you do a good job, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty, and that’s what raising the minimum wage is all about,” said Quinn, who first called for bumping the state's current $8.25 minimum wage to at least $10 an hour during his 2013 State of the State address.

Quick Hit
by Aricka Flowers
9:42pm
Thu Mar 13, 2014

Schneider Pushes For Unemployment Benefits Vote In House, Senate Reaches Tentative Deal

U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL,10) has taken steps to push for the reactivation of long-term unemployment benefits in his chamber.

On Wednesday, Schneider introduced a discharge petition that could force the House to vote on an unemployment benefits extension package that would help the two million Americans who have seen their jobless insurance lapse since the December 28 expiration, which immediately affected 80,000 Illinoisans. An average of 72,000 Americans are losing their unemployment insurance each week as a result of the expiration of benefits for the long-term unemployed.

“Failing to extend unemployment insurance, a critical lifeline for many of our families, is shortsighted and hurts our communities and businesses,” Schneider said in a  release announcing his plans. “If my colleagues want to vote against the extension, I respect their right to disagree; but failing to even allow a vote goes against the very progress that families and our constituents demand. Partisan politics must not be allowed to get in the way of doing the right thing for our middle class families. That’s why I will file a measure to end the gridlock and force a vote on extending unemployment insurance.”

Quick Hit
by
2:08pm
Thu Feb 27, 2014

Guest Post: Tell Kirk, Other Senators: Support Unemployed Workers, Restore Jobless Benefits

This post is written by Mike Hall, senior writer with the AFL-CIO.

In the past few weeks, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) has shown a lot of love and respect for the 11 Illinois residents who recently competed for the United States at the Winter Olympic Games. Check out his Facebook page.  But, as many people who have left their comments there say, it’s time for Kirk to show some of the same respect and compassion for the state’s more than 99,000 jobless workers who lost their emergency unemployment benefits in December.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
4:49pm
Tue Feb 18, 2014

Illinois Elected Officials Discuss The Benefits Of Passing Immigration Reform (VIDEO)

Immigration reform is not dead, according to a group of elected officials who on Tuesday met in Chicago to discuss the benefits of providing a streamlined path to citizenship for America’s more than 11 million undocumented immigrants.

“So many people in America feel that comprehensive immigration reform is dead, that somehow it doesn’t have any possibility of being enacted into law. And I think, if anything, our presence here on this panel this morning, says that it’s alive and well,” said U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D, IL-4). “The conversation is continuing.”

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