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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
11:18am
Tue May 13, 2014

Illinois Bill Looks To Ban Criminal History Questions From Private Employer Job Applications

Illinois could soon become the fifth U.S. state to "ban the box" that inquires about criminal history on initial applications for most private sector jobs.

The state House recently voted 63-53 to approve the "Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act," which would require private employers or employment agencies in Illinois with 15 or more employees to evaluate an applicant's skills and qualifications before asking about criminal history. Under the measure, sponsored by State Rep. Rita Mayfield (D-Waukegan), employers would be allowed to conduct background checks and request conviction information from applicants, but not until later in the interviewing process. 

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:58pm
Wed Apr 2, 2014

Chicago City Council Roundup: Emanuel Defends Pension Plan, Aldermen Call Mental Health Service Hearings

Progress Illinois provides some highlights from Wednesday's Chicago City Council meeting.

Quick Hit
by Aaron Cynic
5:02pm
Mon Jan 20, 2014

Chicagoans Hold MLK Day Rally, Discuss Socioeconomic Issues & Legislation

    Thousands gathered Sunday at St. Michael the Archangel church on the city's South Side to celebrate and pay tribute to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and also make a call for economic and racial equality. The two-hour-long rally saw dozens of speeches from community organizers, local politicians and others who tied Dr. King's legacy to today's struggles for economic justice.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:43pm
Fri Oct 4, 2013

Quinn Pulls Criminal Background Question From State Job Applications

Gov. Pat Quinn on Thursday issued an administrative order that "bans the box" on applications for state government jobs, requiring state agencies to evaluate an applicant's skills before asking about criminal history. 

Going forward, applicants will not have to check a box on state employment applications indicating whether or not they have pled guilty to or been convicted of any criminal offense other than a minor traffic violation. State agencies are still allowed to conduct background checks and request conviction information, but not until later in the interviewing process.

"It just removes that first hurdle," said DeAngelo Bester, co-executive director of the Chicago-based Workers Center For Racial Justice. "A lot of times when people apply for a job and check that box off, that application is thrown in the garbage. This will at least give them the opportunity to get an interview."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
5:13pm
Wed Aug 28, 2013

Local Police Chiefs Talk Gun Violence Prevention With Congressman Schneider, State Rep. Drury

Local law enforcement officials say gun violence is plaguing Cook and Cook counties, and they called upon U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider (D, IL-10) and State Rep. Scott Drury (D-Highwood) for help Wednesday at a roundtable discussion on the matter. Progress Illinois was there for the meeting.

Quick Hit
by
1:36pm
Wed Jul 17, 2013

Op-Ed: Urban Agenda, 'Now Go Out and Make Me Do It' - Facade of Recovery Hides Broad Failures in Urban Areas

The following was written by Dick Simpson, former Chicago alderman and professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

American cities and metropolitan regions are in crisis. Suburbs as well as inner cities.

At Operation PUSH’s International Convention on July 7th, scholars, pubic officials, civil rights leaders, and citizens met to hammer out a new urban and metropolitan agenda to meet this crisis. There has not been a national urban agenda since the Carter administration three decades ago. The Office of Urban Affairs that President Obama opened when he went to the White House has been impotent.

Consider the magnitude of our urban problems. 500 hospitals have closed in the last two decades while three out of four urban emergency rooms are at or over capacity. Our health is at stake.

Not only is Chicago closing 50 public schools but in 2010 public school districts across the country closed 1,929 schools. Charter and private schools are growing instead. Meanwhile, college student loan debts exceed $1 trillion; the average graduating student owes $27,000. Our education system is failing.

There are more African-American adult males in prison, jail, or on parole than were enslaved in 1850 before the Civil War. Prisons have been privatized and we have a now prison-industrial complex housing too many of our residents.

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