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

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.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
2:22pm
Tue Jul 12

Illinoisans Protest Against Trump As He Visits Chicago To Fundraise (VIDEO)

A broad-based coalition of labor and advocacy groups railed against Donald Trump's "hateful" rhetoric Tuesday in Chicago as the presumptive GOP presidential nominee was in town for a pricey campaign fundraiser.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:04pm
Thu Aug 6, 2015

Illinois Legislature Recognized For Passing Key Progressive Policies In 2015 (UPDATED)

Illinois got a nod in a new top 10 list of progressive policies passed during state legislative sessions this year.

The State Innovation Exchange (SiX), a group working with state legislators to advance progressive policies across the country, compiled the list. SiX was formed in an effort to counter the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group that crafts and pushes conservative, corporate-friendly state legislation.

According to SiX's review, the top 10 state-level progressive measures approved thus far in 2015 involve the following: closing the wage gap for women and minorities; accommodating pregnant workers; implementing earned sick leave; expanding access to higher education; tackling the student debt crisis; reducing carbon emissions; modernizing voter registration; repealing the death penalty; increasing police accountability and public safety; and preventing abusers and stalkers from obtaining guns.

"We are convinced that progressives are right on the issues and the SiX review of the states bears that out. From advancing the economic security of working families to improving access to voting we saw that even in a map that is deeply red, progressives were able to achieve some important policy victories in 2015," SiX Executive Director Nick Rathod said in a statement. "I'm confident that as SiX grows and is able to better resource, train and organize legislators around the country, we can help to see that progressives are able to achieve more of the types of policy victories like those that made the list this year."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:19pm
Mon Mar 2, 2015

Durbin Calls For Reforms To Solitary Confinement In Prisons

new review of restrictive housing programs used by the Federal Bureau of Prisons makes the case for "meaningful" reforms to solitary confinement practices, says U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL).

"The fact remains that the United States holds more prisoners in solitary confinement than any other democratic nation in the world," the senator said in a statement Friday, when the independent report on U.S. prison segregation policies, conducted by CNA Analysis and Solutions, was released.  

"The findings and recommendations of this report provide further evidence that we must fundamentally reform our approach to solitary confinement," Durbin added.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:44pm
Mon Feb 2, 2015

Report: Immigration Reform Crucial To Midwest Agricultural Success

Current U.S. immigration policy fails to adequately address agricultural industry needs, and congressional reforms are required to strengthen immigrant-dependent farm and food sectors in the Midwest and elsewhere in the county, argues a recent report by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

The report, which says "immigration reform is urgently needed for a robust agricultural sector in the Midwest," followed President Barack Obama's executive orders on immigration announced late last year.

According to the council, Obama's executive orders fall short for agriculture in part because only 250,000 of the up to 5 million undocumented immigrants eligible for temporary relief from deportation under the plan will be farm workers.

"In November, President Obama announced long-awaited executive action on immigration policy, but the measure provides at best only minimal benefit to farm workers," Michele Wucker, vice president of studies at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, said in a statement. "At worst, it may actually worsen critical labor shortages at farms across the region."

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
5:35pm
Wed Jun 11, 2014

Human Rights Advocates File Complaint Alleging Abuse Of Unaccompanied Migrant Children At U.S. Border

Unaccompanied children migrating to the U.S. are suffering abuse at the hands of U.S. immigration officials, according to a formal complaint filed Wednesday with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by five civil and human rights organizations that are calling for reform to the agency’s immigrant detention policies.

The complaint was filed on behalf of 116 immigrant children—ages five to 17—who crossed into America alone within the last year. It was addressed to DHS Inspector General John Roth and DHS Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Megan Mack, and calls on the agency to “take significant affirmative steps to address the ongoing, systemic abuse” of unaccompanied migrant children being held in short-term holding facilities.

Quick Hit
by Anthony Burke Boylan
8:49pm
Wed Apr 23, 2014

Chicago Environmentalists Take Fight To Doorstep Of 'Worst Corporate Polluters'

Grassroots groups from all over Chicago’s progressive landscape came together for a Climate Convergence on Earth Day, chanting for environmental and economic justice. The activists marched to corporations they say are the worst environmental offenders to deliver cease-and-desist orders, including Boeing Co., JPMorgan Chase Bank, and the British Petroleum oil company.

“If we do not have immediate change, we will face climate catastrophe by 2050,’’ said Jackie Spreadbury, an organizer with Global Climate Convergence Chicago. She called for people, planets and peace over profits as the rally began in front of the State of Illinois Center Tuesday, The event included speeches and protest songs like “This Land is Your Land’’ and original songs tailored to the event.

“The forces against us are strong, so fight not just these ten days, but every day,’’ she said, referring to the 10 days of action GCC has scheduled through May 1, or May Day. The May Day event is a march from the historically significant Haymarket Square to the ICE building on Congress Street to fight for immigration rights. Click through for more details and check back with Progress Illinois for coverage of Chicago's May Day events.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:37pm
Tue Aug 27, 2013

Illinois Enacts Landmark Homeless Bill Of Rights

Homeless people in Illinois often run into roadblocks when they try to vote, apply for a job and access various public services due to their housing status.

But Illinois took a significant step earlier this month to help improve the situation of those without a roof over their heads by becoming the second U.S. state to enact a Homeless Bill of Rights.

Under the new state law, which took effect immediately, people cannot be discriminated against or denied basic equal rights merely because they lack a permanent address.

Bob Palmer, policy director at Housing Action Illinois, said the recent effort is also about ending the stigma associated with people who are experiencing homelessness.

“The one thing that everyone who is homeless has in common is that they can’t afford a home, and so homelessness is really an economic problem,” Palmer said. “To focus on somebody’s personal short comings is a diversion from the real problem.”

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