PI Original Aricka Flowers Friday June 28th, 2013, 7:47pm

The PI Week In Review

The week that was in Illinois and national news and politics (June 24, 2013 - June 28, 2013).

Chicago and Cook County News

Beginning this weekend, Chicago residents can take part in the "So Fresh Saturdays" initiative meant to create a safe space in Englewood community parks.

This past Monday, a Chicago workers' group supported a food runner at a downtown area restaurant claiming racial and sexual harassment along with wrongful dismissal.

With the potential sale of the Tribune Company looming, Ald. Joe Moore (49th) and other aldermen say they want the Chicago Tribune to be in the future hands of an owner that "gets the city" and will practice "fair, accurate, impartial and non-ideological reporting."

CPS parents and students held a vigil Monday for three of 20 schools that closed as part of the district's school closure plan.

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett asked the Chicago Board of Education at its meeting Wednesday to approve 19 new community-based vendors for the district's Safe Passage program.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel introduced an ordinance at Wednesday’s city council meeting that looks to ban the import, sale, transfer and possession of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in the city. We provided a recap on that proposal and the rest of the happenings at this week’s Chicago City Council meeting.

More than 200 protesters picketed outside the CPS headquarters Wednesday morning, condemning massive school closings and “devastating” proposed budget cuts derived from the district’s new per-student budgeting system. We did a write up covering the protest and the Board of Ed meeting.

Chicago Parking Meters, LLC has set all 4,400 parking meter boxes in the city for free Sunday parking, ahead of the July 1 deadline. Free parking will begin this Sunday, June 30.

Wednesday, the first of several public hearings on the proposed renovations for Wrigley Field began, with the focus being on pushing out the walls onto Sheffield and Waveland Aves. The meeting also discussed turning the Captain Morgan Club to a two-story building featuring a deck and signs.

The Chicago City Council Progressive Reform Caucus members released a statement Thursday in response to the news of massive cuts to Chicago Public School budgets across the city.

State News

Illinois Sen. Mike Frerichs (D-Champaign) has announced his intent to run for state treasurer.

Tuesday, Gov. Pat Quinn had an open letter to the people of Illinois published, focusing on the issue of immigration reform.

State Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) kicked off his campaign to be governor on Wednesday.

While Illinois may be ranked as 16th best for the well-being of all its residents, African Americans are not faring nearly as well.

Despite celebrations that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a portion of the federal 1996 Defense of Marriage Act Wednesday, activists in Illinois are calling the victory “bittersweet” and ramping up efforts to advocate for marriage equality in the state.

The Illinois General Assembly’s pension conference committee hosted its first public hearing Thursday in Chicago. The We Are One Coalition of Illinois labor unions say they still back the pension bill proposed by Senate President John Cullerton, who worked with the group to draft the legislation.

After more than four hours of discussion, the Illinois General Assembly’s pension conference committee concluded their first public hearing Thursday with no clear plan for resolving the state’s pension crisis.

The unemployment rate in the state's capitol has fallen to its lowest point in four years, according to new numbers from the Illinois Department of Unemployment Security (IDES). Meanwhile, the rate is fluctuating among the state's 12 metro areas.

While the U.S. Senate was voting in favor of an immigration reform package that could provide a pathway to citizenship for America’s 11 million undocumented immigrants, supporters of the legislation were targeting Illinois Republican leaders at a rally in downtown Chicago Thursday.

Illinois’ net costs to regulate and support the coal industry chipped away $19.8 million from the state’s budget in fiscal year 2011, a new report by the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability and Downstream Strategies shows.

National News

Bumping the minimum wage up to $10.10 an hour would lift nearly six million workers out of poverty, according to a new report.

By a 7-to-1 decision Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court sent a case involving race and the University of Texas at Austin's admissions program back to an appeals court for more review.

President Barack Obama has tapped Chicagoan James “Wally” Brewster Jr. for the roll of U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic.

Victims of workplace harassment and discrimination suffered a major setback Monday, according to critics of the U.S. Supreme Court decision to not hold Ball State University (BSU) responsible for racial discrimination and harassment of an African American kitchen worker in 2005.

The U.S. Supreme Court dealt a major blow to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 this week, striking down the criteria for determining which states and municipalities must seek federal permission before making changes to their voting system. We broke down the decision and detail reaction to the major decision.

The Gang of Eight’s comprehensive immigration reform package passed a significant hurdle Monday, as the Senate voted in favor of an amendment to strengthen the country’s border, boosting GOP support. The U.S. Senate passed the chamber's Gang Of Eight immigration reform bill Thursday afternoon.

The U.S. Supreme Court found a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional this week. The high court also punted on California's Prop 8, finding that the anti-marriage equality activists who put it on the ballot did not have the authority to do so. Therefore, the lower court's decision kicks in, which ruled that the state's same-sex marriage legislation is legal. We took a look at the decisions and reaction as well as what is next in the battle for marriage equality in 37 states.

The U.S. housing recovery is gaining traction due in part to an increase in multi-family housing construction and rising home prices, according to the annual State of the Nation’s Housing report released Wednesday by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

Disgraced former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., and his wife Sandi, who are scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday for their crimes, may be forced to forfeit their homes in Chicago and Washington D.C., as well as a $79,729 IRA.

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