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Kirk, Dold Push Immigration Reform; IL Unready if Recession Strikes; Manar Talks Poverty

Kirk, Dold Push Immigration Reform; IL Unready if Recession Strikes; Manar Talks Poverty

(Chicago) – The Illinois Business Immigration Coalition (IBIC) hosted a roundtable discussion on immigration reform in Chicago on Wednesday featuring prominent Illinois business leaders and Republican policymakers representing Illinois.

“The American dream unlocks human potential faster and better than any other,” said U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL). “I am committed to working across the aisle to reform our immigration policies and unlock the full potential of the men and women in our state who will build businesses and boost the Illinois economy.”

The group claims that immigration reform would reduce the federal deficit by nearly $900 billion and would strengthen Social Security by $700 billion.

“Although divisive, partisan rhetoric may make for better TV, today’s forum is proof that there is bipartisan support to move immigration reform forward,” said U.S. Rep. Bob Dold (R-10). “I am committed to working with lawmakers in both parties who are willing to put partisanship aside in favor of the challenging problem solving that is needed to fix our immigration system and move our country forward.”

Exelon’s former chief said that immigration reform is a “challenge” for the Republican Party.

“Let us return to basics.  All of our forefathers and mothers were immigrants at one time or another,” said John Rowe, Chairman Emeritus of Exelon Corporation and Co-Chairman of Illinois Business Immigration Coalition, “One of the greatest challenges for America and for the Republican Party is to make our melting pot work.  We have no other choice and we should not want another choice.”

DUH: ILLINOIS UNREADY FOR RECESSION STORM: Stephanie Kelly, Reuters… “Several U.S. states studied by S&P Global Ratings are ill-equipped to deal with an economic recession, hampered by the slow rebound in U.S. economic growth after the damage wrought by the Great Recession.

Fiscal imbalances, slower state tax revenue growth and increased spending on social services have contributed to a challenging economic landscape, as real GDP has only increased at 2.1 percent per year since 2009, S&P said in a report issued on Tuesday.


Of the 10 states studied, several have budget reserves that equal less than half of “potential revenue underperformance” in the first year of a moderate-intensity recession. These include Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut.” … Read more here…

MANAR PUSHES CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM AT MACON COUNTY POVERTY FORUM: Meredith Hackler, WAND-TV… “With a poverty rate of over 16 percent, public official, social workers and other community members gathered at the Decatur Public Library to discuss improving Macon County’s quality of life.

The public forum took place the evening of Wednesday, August 10, and focused on what the public and officials could do to help less fortunate individuals in Macon County live better lives.

Debbie Tindall, who is a homeless resident of Decatur, says there need to be better facilities.


State Senator Andy Manar, who also attended the public forum Wednesday evening, says it is more than housing that poses a problem.

“It’s not just housing. It’s expungement issues for non-violent felons, removing barriers in many cases to employment. Those are things we have to work on,” Manar explains.” … Read more here…

QUAD-CITY REPUBLICANS BOOST TERM LIMITS: Anthony Watt, Quad-City Online… “State Sen. Neil Anderson and Republican legislative candidates Tony McCombie and Daniel Swanson said Wednesday Illinois needs term limits and changes to how legislative districts are drawn.

Regardless of party, people want changes to the length of terms in office and to district mapping, Sen. Anderson, R-Rock Island, said during a morning news conference with Ms. McCombie, Republican challenger to Rep. Mike Smiddy, D-Hillsdale; and Mr. Swanson, Republican candidate to replace the retiring Rep. Don Moffitt, R-Gilson.

Sen. Anderson said a lack of such checks and balances allows corruption.” … Read more here…

WHY IS FLAILING TOWNSHIP STILL IN BUSINESS?: Editorial Board, St. Louis Post-Dispatch… “East St. Louis Township has the same boundaries as the city, so there are no roads to maintain and no real public functions other than to provide some aid to the poor. As the needy seniors in the township just found out, the township cannot even do that.

The township had a $300,000 grant to run the Meals on Wheels program, delivering hot meals to 200 frail older residents who cannot get out on their own or cannot readily prepare a meal for themselves. AgeSmart pulled the government grant because the township couldn’t handle the accounting duties associated with it.

So instead of fulfilling their duties until the end of July as they’d been paid to do, the township pulled the plug July 15. Seniors were going hungry.


So if East St. Louis Township’s only function is to aid the poor, and it no longer feeds the elderly residents, and it is massively inefficient as it spends $1 for every 18 cents of aid delivered, then exactly why does it exist at all?” … Read more here…


NEED MEDICAL MARIJUANA? OUT OF LUCK INDIANA RESIDENTS: Giles Bruce, The Times North West Indiana…Carla Wirick’s doctor says she would be a perfect candidate for medical marijuana.

It would alleviate the pain from her spinal injury, he told her. It would help her be more active. It would allow her to stop taking narcotic painkillers.

But despite the fact her doctor is a neurologist and rehabilitation specialist at a leading university medical center, he can’t prescribe her the drug. He practices in Chicago, where medical marijuana is legal, while she lives in Crown Point, where it is not.


“I feel like If I had the pain controlled, I could deal with the rest of it,” said Wirick, a 58-year-old grandmother who shakes from her condition. “I feel like medical marijuana would give me a chance at life.”

Since medical cannabis was legalized in Illinois three years ago this month, nearly 9,000 residents have received approval to use it. A total of 40 dispensaries have sold $16.3 million of the drug since sales began in November. Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner recently signed a law extending the pilot program until July 2020.

But none of that matters to people who live on the Indiana side of the Region.” … Read more here…

SUBURBAN HEROIN HOMICIDE: Associated Press… “Two suburban Chicago residents have received prison sentences after pleading guilty to giving a fatal dose of heroin in March 2015 to a man visiting their residence and then hiding the victim’s body.

Forty-five-year-old Hallie Manning and 45-year-old Anthony Brown, who shared an apartment in Hanover Park, pleaded to drug-induced homicide in DuPage County Circuit Court in the death of 32-year-old John Smrz of Bartlett.” … Read more here…

ACTIVISTS HAVE NO FAITH IN EMANUEL POLICE REFORM TASK FORCE: Linze Rice, DNAinfo.com… “Speaker after speaker lined up to share grievances with members of the City Council Tuesday night during a hearing over proposals to replace the Independent Police Review Authority and appoint a Public Safety Auditor.

In short, they weren’t buying it.

Dozens of residents across the North Side offered up personal stories of police misconduct, called for more independent police oversight and rejected the notion of any further police oversight-related appointees from Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Many residents repeated the council and the Police Accountability Task Force created by Emanuel had between “no” and “zero credibility” with them.” … Read more here…

PLAN TO PUSH SOME STASHED TIF CASH TO CPS: Fran Spielman, Chicago Sun-Times… “Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th) are joining forces on a new, locally-driven policy aimed at methodically phasing out some of the city’s 146 tax-increment-financing districts and funneling the money to the Chicago Public Schools.

Thirty-eight aldermen have demanded that TIF money “not pledged, earmarked or designated for payment and securing of TIF contractual obligations” be forwarded to CPS. The policy would continue during any year when the CPS bond rating is “below investment grade” and total operating expenses exceed operating revenue by “5 percent or more,” their ordinance states.

CPS GETS INCOMPLETE GRADE ON BUDGET PLAN: Editorial Board, Chicago Sun-Times… “The Chicago Public Schools’ $5.4 billion budget unveiled Monday has, as teachers say in algebra class, a couple of variables. Big variables.

It relies on the phasing out the 7 percent pension pickup, a concept the Chicago Teachers Union has rejected, or finding similar savings elsewhere. That’s one variable.

It also relies on Springfield — which can’t even pass its own budget — coming through with more than $200 million for the “normal costs” of Chicago teacher pensions. That’s another.” … Read more here…


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