AFSCME Council 31, the state’s main public employees union, and a
group of state lawmakers vowed today to undo Gov. Pat Quinn's closing of
corrections facilities, including Dwight women’s prison and Tamms
supermax prison, during the fall veto session.
decision requires 3/5 approval from the House and Senate. Any vote would
take place in November – after the scheduled closings of Tamms and
With that timetable in mind, Henry Bayer, executive
director of AFSCME Council 31, said in a press conference call today
that the union might take legal action.
An ordinance pushed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to make possession
of 15 grams or less of marijuana punishable by ticketed fines will
likely sail through city council tomorrow amid some concerns that the
$250 to $500 tickets are too steep a levy against the low-income, black
residents who are often targets of marijuana arrests.
Solis (25th), the ordinance's sponsor, is not currently considering any
amendments including changing the fine, according to Solis spokesman
Governor Pat Quinn’s decision to shutter Tamms Correctional Center, effective August 31, in order to save money is a landmark victory
for prison reform advocates who spent a decade fighting to close the facility that has held inmates for years in 24-hour solitary confinement.
are ending the era of solitary confinement,” says Laurie Jo Reynolds,
an organizer with the Tamms Year Ten coalition, which ran a legislative
campaign to close the prison. Reynolds noted that other states, such as
Mississippi and Maine, also recently shut down solitary confinement
facilities and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) conducted a
Senate hearing last week on solitary confinement.
unilateral action goes against the wishes of the Illinois
General Assembly. It also further alienates the governor from AFSCME Council
31, the union representing many of the state's public employees. The union is steadfastly against the closings and other Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) shut downs, even though the governor's office says the moves will result in no public employee layoffs.
The Chicago City Council committee on public safety voted 13-1 today
for an ordinance pushed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to change possession of
less than 15 grams of marijuana from a criminal offense to a civil
violation punishable by fine.
The committee hearing raised
questions about how fines would be implemented, particularly if they
might disproportionately hurt black residents in low-income
neighborhoods who make up about 75 percent of the of Chicago Police Department's pot arrests.
will raise dollars on the backs of poor people,” said Ald. Pat Dowell
(3rd) at the hearing. Dowell and other black caucus aldermen, such as
Ald. Willie Cochran (20th), raised these concerns, but did not vote
against the legislation.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today his support for a version of an
ordinance first introduced last year by Ald. Danny Solis (25th) that
would ticket, instead of arrest, people caught with 10 grams or less of