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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:02pm
Thu Apr 30

Economic Experts Make The Case For A $12 Federal Minimum Wage

Experts from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) argue that the U.S. economy could well afford a federal minimum wage increase to $12 an hour by 2020 -- a proposal that could impact nearly 38 million workers.

EPI researchers make their case for a $12 minimum wage in a report released Thursday, the same day the new "Raise the Wage Act" was introduced to Congress by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington) and U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA,3).

Under the Raise the Wage Act, the federal hourly minimum wage would go up gradually from the current figure of $7.25 to $12 by 2020. Raise the Wage Act proponents are taking to social media Thursday afternoon for a "Twitterstorm" using the hashtags #RaiseTheWage, #12by2020 and #1FairWage.

"If you go to work and work hard for 40 hours a week, you should not be living in poverty in America," said U.S. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), who joined Murray and Scott in introducing the bill. "The Raise the Wage Act will increase wages for 38 million workers -- more than one in four -- and lift millions out of poverty. In Illinois alone, 1.6 million workers -- 28 percent of the state's workforce -- will see an average increase in wages of $3,200 a year. That helps families get off government support programs and give them more money to spend and put back into our economy."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:39pm
Mon Nov 24, 2014

Lame Duck Congress Faces Tight Budget Deadline To Avert Government Shutdown

Federal lawmakers are up against a December 11 deadline to pass spending legislation to avert a government shutdown. Progress Illinois previews what's ahead for Congress in the remaining days of the lame duck session, including a possible budget showdown over President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
3:44pm
Mon Nov 24, 2014

Durbin On Immigration Reform Executive Orders: 'History Is Being Made' (VIDEO)

Immigration reform supporters gathered for a viewing party of President Barack Obama's executive order speech on Friday in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood.

"We're not a nation that kicks out strivers and dreamers who want to earn their piece of the American dream," Obama said during his speech at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas. "We didn't raise the Statute of Liberty with her back to the world, we did it with her light shining."

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), a staunch proponent of immigration reform and one of about two dozen attendees at the Casa Michoacan viewing party, said "history is being made."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
11:46am
Fri Nov 14, 2014

Union Partnerships With Progressive Groups Crucial To Labor Movement's Future, Experts Say

Labor leaders gathered to discuss the future of American unions and the critical keys to their survival at a University of Chicago panel discussion Thursday night. Progress Illinois details highlights from the talk.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
5:19pm
Thu Nov 6, 2014

GOP-Controlled Senate Spells Bad News For The Environment, Some Say

Progress Illinois takes a look at what the pending GOP majority in Congress could mean for climate action and other environmental issues.

Quick Hit
by La Risa Lynch
7:58pm
Wed Nov 5, 2014

Chicago West Side Voters React to Quinn's Gubernatorial Loss

Support for Gov. Quinn seemed strong among black voters in Chicago's Austin community on Tuesday, but that didn't translate into a win for the incumbent who was seeking his second full-term in office.

Quinn lost his re-election bid to Republican challenger Bruce Rauner, who dumped $27 million of his own money into his campaign war chest. 

Rauner and his running mate Evelyn Sanguinetti garnered 1,742,403 or 50.6 percent of the vote versus Quinn's 1,585,332 or 46 percent of the votes.

An early Rauner supporter, Rev. Marshall Hatch said he was not surprised by the election results. Hatch said Quinn's low approval rating signaled a pending change. Quinn, he added, made a major misstep by selecting Paul Vallas as his running mate as opposed to former city treasurer Stephanie Neely. That move, Hatch said, showed Quinn took the black community for granted.

"I think Quinn left the Republicans a major opening," said Hatch, pastor of New Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church in West Garfield Park.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
6:03pm
Wed Nov 5, 2014

Illinoisans Overwhelmingly Back Statewide Advisory Ballot Questions — Now What?

Progress Illinois chats with political scientists about the likelihood of Springfield lawmakers taking up the three statewide voter-backed advisory ballot questions.

Quick Hit
by Bob Skolnik
6:10pm
Tue Nov 4, 2014

Voters Offer Dueling Views On Governor's Race In Southwestern Suburbs

How one voted in the governor's race is not an infallible indication of how someone voted on the non-binding referendum to raise the minimum wage. At least that's the case at the polling place at the Crest Hill branch of the White Oak Library District, where subdivisions meet cornfields on the outskirts of Lockport and Joliet in Will County.

Michael Arbanas, a semi-retired iron worker and antiques dealer from Crest Hill, voted for Bruce Rauner for governor, but also voted in favor of raising the minimum wage.

"I believe that Pat Quinn, by raising taxes on big business, he drove business out of the state and I think it's time for a change," Arbanas said.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:48pm
Tue Oct 28, 2014

Election Preview: A Look At The 'Toss-Up' 12th Congressional District Race

Progress Illinois profiles the state's 12th congressional district race, which is considered to be a "toss-up."

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