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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
5:04pm
Tue Nov 18, 2014

Veto Session Preview: Will The Legislature Take Up A Minimum Wage Hike?

Progress Illinois previews what's ahead for lawmakers in the veto session, which starts this week.

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 Ellyn Fortino
2:22pm
Wed Oct 29, 2014

Report: Emanuel's $13 Minimum Wage Plan Would 'Shortchange' Women, Minority Workers

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's proposal to lift the city's hourly minimum wage to $13 would leave out approximately 65,000 low-wage workers who are mostly women and people of color.

That's according to a new Center for Popular Democracy report, which compared the potential impacts of the mayor's $13 minimum wage plan with a competing $15 minimum wage ordinance introduced in late May by a group of aldermen, including members of the council's Progressive Reform Caucus. 

The proposed $13 ordinance specifically "shortchanges" domestic and tipped workers, the majority of whom are women of color, according to the report.

The Raise Chicago coalition, which supports the $15 plan, released the report's findings at a City Hall press conference Wednesday morning. More low-wage Chicago workers would be covered by the $15 plan, which would also almost double the economic impact for the city compared to the $13 measure, the report found.

"With the opportunity to nearly double the economic growth of people across the city, our Raise Chicago ordinance would help propel people towards financial stability, help this city and state with tax revenues, and its effects would ripple through every community in Chicago," said Action Now Executive Director Katelyn Johnson, a Raise Chicago leader. "The mayor's proposal does not do enough to address the needs of Chicagoans and, in fact, will keep people living paycheck to paycheck."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
7:20pm
Mon Oct 27, 2014

Election Preview: A Look At The Expensive 55th District State Rep. Race

Progress Illinois takes a closer look at the state representative race in the 55th district.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:48pm
Tue Oct 14, 2014

Chicagoans Speak Out Against School Actions Cited In Federal Civil Rights Complaint

U.S. Department of Education officials heard first-hand stories about the impact public school closings and consolidations are having in Chicago at a South Side community meeting held Monday night with parents, students and their supporters.

The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights is currently looking into a complaint filed by education activists alleging "racially discriminatory" school actions and closings in Chicago. Organizers with the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO) and the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School spearheaded the town hall meeting, held at First Unitarian Church of Chicago in Hyde Park. The discussion was designed to allow education department reps to hear directly from the people affected by the school actions cited in the complaint. The two education department officials were at the meeting strictly to listen.

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.)

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
5:31pm
Wed Oct 8, 2014

Chicago Aldermen Approve IG Measure, Washington Park TIF; Elected School Board Referendum Gets Squeezed

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

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:17pm
Tue Oct 7, 2014

Workers' Rights Advocates Call For Paid Sick Leave As Chicago Aldermen Move Forward On Ballot Referendum

Chicago voters might have an opportunity during the February municipal election to weigh in on a non-binding ballot referendum about paid sick leave for workers in the city.

The council's Rules Committee passed a resolution at its Tuesday meeting calling for an advisory ballot question on whether employers in Chicago should be required to provide their employees with paid leave in the event of an "illness or public health emergency." The full council could consider the proposal at its meeting this Wednesday. 

Chicago Ald. Joe Moore (49th), one of the sponsors of the referendum resolution, discussed the measure at a forum on paid sick leave and other pro-worker initiatives held this morning at Roosevelt University.

"It's a great organizing tool for those who support paid sick leave," Moore said of the pending citywide referendum, also sponsored by Alds. Joe Moreno (1st) and Will Burns (4th). Moore said he is confident the measure will pass through the full council tomorrow.

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