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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
5:54pm
Tue Mar 3

Environmental, Maritime Industry Groups Sound Off On Federal Ballast Water Bill

Progress Illinois takes a look at the debate over pending federal legislation seeking to streamline regulations governing ballast water discharged by ships.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:38pm
Tue Feb 17

Gutierrez, Illinois Immigration Reformers Call Judge’s Ruling A ‘Temporary Setback’ (VIDEO)

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL,4) says educational outreach around President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration will press ahead, despite a federal judge’s ruling on Monday that temporarily stalled the administration’s deportation relief plans.

The Obama administration is expected to appeal the judge’s ruling, which comes in response to a lawsuit filed by a group of 26 mostly Republican-run states seeking to stop the president’s immigration directives. Illinois has not joined the lawsuit, which claims the two immigration executive orders signed by Obama in November are unconstitutional. The federal judge, Andrew Hanen of the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Texas, determined that the states met the minimum requirements needed to proceed with the lawsuit. 

Hanen’s temporary injunction blocks Obama’s two new immigration programs from taking effect before the case is decided. The application process for one of the new immigration policies was slated to launch Wednesday.

At a Tuesday morning press conference in Chicago, Gutierrez and leaders with SEIU* and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) called the judge’s decision a “temporary setback” that won’t derail their efforts to help immigrants prepare for administrative relief.

“This process can be delayed, but we as a community will not be deterred,” Gutierrez said, adding that he believes Obama’s new immigration policies will ultimately prevail after the legal process plays out. “Let’s make it absolutely clear that the president’s actions are well established in legal precedent.”

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:44pm
Mon Feb 2

Report: Immigration Reform Crucial To Midwest Agricultural Success

Current U.S. immigration policy fails to adequately address agricultural industry needs, and congressional reforms are required to strengthen immigrant-dependent farm and food sectors in the Midwest and elsewhere in the county, argues a recent report by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

The report, which says “immigration reform is urgently needed for a robust agricultural sector in the Midwest,” followed President Barack Obama’s executive orders on immigration announced late last year.

According to the council, Obama’s executive orders fall short for agriculture in part because only 250,000 of the up to 5 million undocumented immigrants eligible for temporary relief from deportation under the plan will be farm workers.

“In November, President Obama announced long-awaited executive action on immigration policy, but the measure provides at best only minimal benefit to farm workers,” Michele Wucker, vice president of studies at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, said in a statement. “At worst, it may actually worsen critical labor shortages at farms across the region.”

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:51pm
Thu Jan 29

Study: Several U.S. Corporations ‘Fleecing’ Uncle Sam, Spending More On CEOs

A number of large U.S. corporations spent more on executive compensation than federal income taxes in 2013, according to a recent analysis by the Institute for Policy Studies and the Center for Effective Government.

Seven out of the 30 largest U.S. corporations examined for the “Fleecing Uncle Sam” report — including Boeing Co., Ford Motor Co., Chevron Corporation, CitiGroup Inc., Verizon Communications, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and General Motors Co. — spent $121 million on total compensation for their seven CEOs in 2013. On average, that’s $17.3 million per CEO.

The seven firms reported over $74 billion in combined U.S. pre-tax income in 2013, but they collectively raked in nearly $1.9 billion in U.S. corporate income tax refunds that year. As such, the average effective tax rate in 2013 for the seven corporations was negative 2.5 percent, the analysis found.

“If the seven giant, highly-profitable corporations that paid their CEOs more than Uncle Sam had paid the full statutory corporate tax rate of 35 percent, they would’ve owed $25.9 billion in federal taxes,” the report states. “Instead they received $1.9 billion in refunds, for a total difference of $27.8 billion.”

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
6:41pm
Mon Jan 26

Activists Sound Off On Anti-Abortion Bill Passed By GOP-Led House

Last week, the Republican-controlled U.S. House passed legislation that would permanently block federal funds from being used to pay for abortions and health insurance plans that cover the procedure. Progress Illinois takes a closer look at the issue and rounds up some reaction to the measure, which was put forward after GOP leaders dropped a more restrictive bill seeking to ban abortions 20 weeks after conception. 

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:58pm
Fri Dec 19, 2014

Federal $10.10 Minimum Wage Would Benefit 25 Million Workers, Study Finds

More than 60 million people in working U.S. households rely on the income of a low-wage worker, 25 million of whom would benefit from a $10.10 an hour federal minimum wage, according to a new study. Progress Illinois takes a closer look at the report’s findings and who would be impacted by such a wage increase in Illinois.

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