U.S. House Democrats are set to hold a day of action Tuesday at the nation's Capitol to promote proposed policies important to working families.
Policy advocates hope the "Working Families Day of Action" will result in more bipartisan support for the legislative proposals, which center around paid sick days, paid family leave, work schedule flexibility, access to affordable child care and equal pay for equal work, among other issues.
As part of the effort, Democratic lawmakers are looking to secure more co-sponsors for the proposed legislation and advocate for a resolution in support of bringing the bills up for a vote.
As Illinois enters its third month without a budget, college student advocates want state funds freed up for the Monetary Award Program (MAP).
The need-based grant program helps low-income Illinois students pay for tuition at more than 130 colleges and universities in the state.
With college students gearing up for fall classes, MAP grants for up to 130,000 eligible applicants this school year are entangled in the Springfield budget standoff.
As a result, there is "a lot of confusion among students and a lot of uncertainly as to whether they'll be able to afford to return to school this fall," said Eve Rips, Midwest director at Young Invincibles, a Millennial research and advocacy group.
"These students who aren't getting MAP funding are all truly in a place where paying for college is going to be very difficult," she added.
Ahead of Women's Equality Day on Wednesday, a new study shows Illinois is the third most equal state for women. But don't get too cheery over the findings, independent experts say.
WalletHub, the personal finance website, ranked all 50 U.S. states on gender equality in three areas: education, political empowerment and workplace environment. Illinois had the third best overall ranking, behind New York at No.2 and Hawaii at No. 1. Utah earned the worst ranking.
A leader with the Chicago-based advocacy group Women Employed was pleased to see Illinois come in third for women's equality. However, the ranking "doesn't mean things are primarily good for women in Illinois," stressed Women Employed's Associate Director Jenny Wittner.
"It just means that by certain measures (conditions are) better than other states," she said.
Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's budget proposal seeking to slash higher education spending by $387 million next fiscal year "would have direct and devastating effects on individual campuses" and students, according to a new report.
The report by Young Invincibles, a Millennial research and advocacy group, notes that Illinois has already cut higher education funding spent directly on students by $500 million over the past five years.
If approved, Rauner's plan to further reduce higher education spending by 31 percent in the 2016 fiscal year, beginning July 1, "would be catastrophic" for the state's higher education system and Illinois students who have "already been pushed past the breaking point by disinvestment in higher education," the report reads.
The rollback of the state's temporary income tax hike could mean deep cuts to an Illinois college scholarship program for low-income students, a recent report shows.
Over 45,000 eligible Illinois students could be shut out of the state's Monetary Award Program (MAP) if cuts are made to offset the revenue losses associated with the phaseout of the higher income tax rates that began on January 1, according to the analysis by the Fiscal Policy Center at Voices for Illinois Children and Women Employed.