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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:39pm
Tue Apr 22, 2014

Congresswoman Kelly Committed To Renewing Push For Federal Gun Control Legislation

Although gun-control legislation has stalled in Congress, "common-sense gun reform" remains one of U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly's top priorities, the Democratic congresswoman said at a Monday night event in East Hazel Crest to review her first year in the House.

Kelly, a former state representative, was elected last April to fill the 2nd congressional district seat left vacant by disgraced former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. after he resigned in 2012. The district covers Chicago’s far Southeast Side and a large swath of the southern suburbs.

While in Congress, Kelly introduced gun-control legislation meant to place stricter safety standards on guns and keep "violent, dangerous people" from being able to purchase firearms. But supporters of gun curbs simply cannot get gun-control legislation to the House floor for a vote, Kelly said. 

"There is gun legislation dealing with background checks, and there is about 180 to 190 bipartisan signatures, Democrats and Republicans," the congresswoman said. "But we cannot get it called to the floor, so what I tell people when people come and see me about the gun issue [is], 'I'm your choir.' So we need to call other people across the United States and call Speaker [John] Boehner [to] at least [bring] the bill to committee and to the floor and let it be voted up or down." 

Quick Hit
by Public News Service
12:57pm
Wed Apr 16, 2014

Analysis: 64,000 Long-Term Unemployed Illinoisans Still Without Work

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - New data shows how the reauthorization of federal unemployment assistance could help 64,000 Illinoisans.

When federal long-term unemployment benefits ended in December, according to the analysis from the Illinois Department of Employment Security, 74,000 Illinois workers immediately lost their temporary help. Jay Rowell, the department's director, said 86 percent of them still were without work one month later.

"This seriously undermines the idea that unemployment insurance discourages people from finding employment," Rowell said. "To get unemployment, you had to have been working and lost your job through no fault of their own. So these were people who were working before, have been looking for work, and just haven't been able to find it."
 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:18pm
Mon Mar 31, 2014

Durbin, Quinn Join 'Give America A Raise' Bus Tour, Continue Call For Minimum Wage Hike (VIDEO)

Elected officials, low-wage workers and others are ramping up the pressure on Republicans in Congress to support a federal minimum wage hike.

The national “Give America A Raise” bus tour, which backs President Barack Obama’s call to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour, made its way to Illinois Monday. The effort piggybacks on Obama's call during his 2014 State of the Union address for Congress to "give America a raise." Obama has pressed Congress to take action after he announced an Executive Order to have federal contractors pay their employees $10.10 an hour.

The 11-state bus tour, spearheaded by Americans United for Change, stopped in Chicago Monday morning and saw support from Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and workers' right activists in the state, including members of the statewide coalition Raise Illinois as well as Citizen Action-Illinois

“If you work 40 hours a week and you do a good job, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty, and that’s what raising the minimum wage is all about,” said Quinn, who first called for bumping the state's current $8.25 minimum wage to at least $10 an hour during his 2013 State of the State address.

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