PI Original Aricka Flowers Friday October 4th, 2013, 3:51pm

The PI Week In Review

The week that was in Illinois and national news and poilitics (September 30, 2013 - October 4, 2013).

Chicago and Cook County:

Albany Park students and parents who gathered for an education meeting late last week want their local aldermen to publicly oppose the Chicago Public Schools' (CPS) plan to expand charter schools on the Northwest Side.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart sat down with journalist Steve Kroft for a "60 Minutes" interview that aired Sunday about the issue of housing inmates at Cook County Jail who have some form of mental illness.

The longtime owner of several counterculture stores in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood says he plans to challenge Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) in 2015.

Chicago's far North Side residents brainstormed ways to spend $1 million of Ald. Joe Moore's (49th) “menu money” for infrastructure needs Tuesday night as part of the ward's first participatory budgeting neighborhood assembly for 2014.

Following the decision to embark on the nation's largest round of school closures at one time this academic year, the Chicago Public Schools have opened the door to the possibility of breaking the district's promised five-year moratorium on school closings.

Latinas in top state and local political positions are met Wednesday afternoon to discuss their roles in public policy.

The Emanuel administration has announced plans to take down 36 red-light cameras at 18 Chicago intersections, just as the city gears up to put speed cameras near schools and parks.

The Chicago Teachers Union delivered more than 5,000 books to four Chicago Public Schools without libraries Thursday as part of 'Operation Book Drop'.

The Cubs won't have to compensate the city, except for the $4.75 million already promised for Wrigleyville community improvements, for the $500 million Wrigley Field renovation, which will take up parts of public streets and sidewalks, City Hall officials said Wednesday.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's 2014 budget appears to include a 90-day hiring freeze as well as job cuts.

As part of the shift to the Ventra regional fare-payment system, Chicago public transit riders will not be able to add money to their Chicago Cards starting Monday, and magnetic stripe cards won't be available for sale.

The Chicago City Council’s Committee on Public Safety green-lighted a contentious ordinance Thursday that would stop businesses located in dry precincts from allowing customers to bring their own bottle of alcohol, or BYOB.

State News:

Two top officials with the Regional Transportation Authority are under investigation for sexual and racial harassment of agency employees; one of the executives is House Speaker Michael Madigan's son-in-law.

New federal protections for home health workers could help domestic workers gain more legally-binding rights and safeguards.

State officials from at least four Illinois agencies have come together in an effort to come up with draft medical marijuana rules, with the hope of presenting a final plan to state legislators in May.

Negotiations with a Colorado company to privatize the Illinois International Port District have been suspended, state officials confirmed Monday.

Tuesday marked the first day Illinois residents can shop on the state's new health insurance marketplace, a major provision of the Affordable Care Act. Also Tuesday, Illinois health care advocates lauded the start of the marketplace’s availability to the uninsured.

The Illinois Appellate Court ruled late last month that ComEd must pay its customers some $37 million in refunds following a rate dispute that began in 2007. Divided equally among its customers, the ruling would amount to a $10 refund to each ComEd consumer.

A former longtime employee of a small southern Illinois village has been charged with theft and misconduct.

A second former Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) official has been tapped to join Metra's board of directors.

Community organizers on Chicago's Southwest Side held an event on the Affordable Care Act Thursday evening as an attempt to educate area residents on what it takes to sign up for health insurance coverage under the "Get Covered Illinois" marketplace.

U.S. District Judge J. Phil Gilbert, who is celebrating his 21st year on the bench Thursday, has announced plans to retire next year.

State Treasurer and gubernatorial candidate Dan Rutherford went after fellow candidate Bruce Rauner in a recent interview for the influences of money and outsiders in the venture capitalist's run for the governor's mansion.

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton said he is looking to build momentum around a compromise pension reform proposal that would amount to $138 million in savings over three decades.

In an effort to encourage more young people to obtain health insurance as part of the Affordable Care Act, the Illinois PIRG Education Fund kicked off a statewide campaign Thursday meant to inform students about the law as well as provide tips on finding the right coverage.

Gov. Pat Quinn says he "will not consider" any measure that gives Archer Daniels Midland Co., or any other company, tax breaks until lawmakers pass legislation that solves the state's $100 billion pension crisis.

On Thursday, Quinn 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.

National News:

With the threat of a government shutdown getting closer, more than 60 federal civilian employees protested at Chicago’s Federal Plaza Monday, calling on Congress to “stop the lockout.” Progress Illinois attended the rally.

Before the government shutdown, the Senate voted (54 to 46) Monday to remove language from a House stopgap bill that would delay Obamacare, get rid of the medical device tax, and allow employers not to offer health insurance that covers contraception to employees if it goes against their moral or religious views.

After the U.S. House once again failed to pass the Senate's continuing resolution stripping language that delays the Affordable Care Act this evening and the two chambers remain at a stalemate, the U.S. government has shut down for the first time in 17 years.

Progress Illinois took a look at government shutdown as it began, discussing how we got here and what could happen over the next days as leaders in the House and Senate refuse to give in to the other's demands.

As promised, the Senate voted to reject the House's request for conference. Now, the GOP-led House is looking to fund the government in a piecemeal fashion.

House leaders' attempts to fund the government in a piecemeal fashion failed Tuesday night after Democrats refused to fund the government in a haphazard manner.

Two Illinois House members have plans for the salary they will earn during the government shutdown — and it's not to keep the funds.

A new Quinnipiac poll shows that not only do Americans oppose a government shutdown 3 to 1, but they are also thoroughly disillusioned with Republicans.

In the midst of a government shutdown, House Democrats on Wednesday introduced a comprehensive immigration reform bill that creates a pathway to citizenship for America's more than 11 million undocumented immigrants.

The rules imposed on mortgage lenders as a result of the national foreclosure settlement have been revised following ongoing criticism of the way in which the servicers were handling borrowers.

Gun shots were fired on Capitol Hill Thursday, according to police. We provided a report on the happenings throughout the day.

Labor leaders in Chicago held a press conference Thursday morning announcing plans to hold a massive march and rally to call for "an immediate end to deportations and immigration reform legislation which will protect workers’ rights and provide for legalization for all workers."

U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL,8) blasted the House's attempt to fund only parts of the government on the chamber floor Thursday, saying it "exploited" veterans.

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