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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:58pm
Thu Jan 14

EPA Climate Regs To Be 'Big Fight' In State Legislatures This Year

As 2016 state legislative sessions gear up across the country, including in Illinois, expect new environmental regulations outlined under the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan to be a key issue debated in the nation's state houses this year.

The Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan, finalized in August, looks to slash carbon emissions from existing U.S. power plants. The goal is to reduce carbon emissions from the power sector to 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

States, which are given flexibility to meet the plan's carbon pollution standards, have to submit an implementation plan or request an extension by September.

"There's a range of actions that states will be considering to address the rule, including cap and trade, carbon taxes, renewable portfolio standards, scaling up solar energy use, amongst other things," said Nick Rathod, executive director of the State Innovation Exchange (SiX), a group working with state legislators to advance progressive policies across the country.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:32pm
Mon Oct 13, 2014

Chicagoans Push For Ward-Level Ballot Referendums On Elected School Board (VIDEO)

Although a citywide advisory referendum asking Chicagoans whether they support switching to an elected school board has been crowded off the ballot for a third time, education activists have a backup plan.

Parents, teachers and community groups are banding together to place a separate, non-binding question about an elected Chicago Board of Education on the February municipal ballot in each of the city's 50 wards. The coalition, which is unhappy with the policies endorsed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's handpicked school board, officially launched their ward-level referendum drive on Monday.

"While the mayor makes his moves by squashing democracy and disrespecting parents, we will make our moves by knocking on doors and by giving the people [the ability] to do the one thing the mayor's afraid of. We are going to give people the chance to vote for an elected school board," Action Now's Executive Director Katelyn Johnson said at the referendum drive's kick off, held in front of Ronald E. McNair Elementary School in the city's Austin neighborhood. (Back in April, the Chicago Board of Education voted to "turnaround" McNair, which involves firing and replacing all school staffers, to improve its academic performance.)

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
10:54am
Tue Sep 23, 2014

Karen Lewis Meets With Voters: ‘I’m Qualified To Be Mayor’ (VIDEO)

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis met with residents of the McKinley Park neighborhood on the Southwest Side Monday night and discussed how she would run City Hall if she were elected to be Chicago’s next mayor.

Lewis touched on a myriad of subjects ranging from budgeting, tax increment financing (TIF) and housing to confronting violence in Chicago at the Monday night forum, held at the New Era Windows Cooperative, 2600 W. 35th St., as part of the ongoing “Conversations with Karen” series.

“What qualifies me to be the mayor, is that I care deeply about this city and I care deeply about the entirety of the city,” she said.

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