WBEZ | Illinois Senate http://www.wbez.org/tags/illinois-senate Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Durbin defeats Oberweis, wins fourth term in Senate http://www.wbez.org/news/durbin-defeats-oberweis-wins-fourth-term-senate-111048 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Durbin AP.jpg" alt="" /><p><style type="text/css"> <!-- .audio { color: #000000; font: 11px Verdana, Geneva, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif } .body { color: #000000; font: 13px Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif } .byline { color: #003366; font: 12px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif } .bytitle { color: #003366; font: 10px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif } .byttl { color: #003366; font: bold 10px/12px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif } .headline { color: #000000; font: bold 20px Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif } .newlinkcolor { color: white } .photo { color: #696969; font: 9px Verdana, Geneva, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif } .storylink { color: #003366; font: bold 12px Verdana, Geneva, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif } .tabletitle { color: #663333; font: bold 11px Verdana, Geneva, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif } .textlabel { color: #663333; font: bold 11px Verdana, Geneva, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif } .video { color: #000000; font: 11px Verdana, Geneva, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif } p { color: #000000; font: 13px Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif }--> .eln-subhed-table { background-color: #fff; color:#333; font-family: "Raleway",Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; font-weight: bold; } .eln-state { display:none; } .eln-bodyregular, .eln-bodyreg-bar { color:#333; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; } .eln-bodyreg-bar { background-color: #f8f8f8; } .eln-office-name { font-family: "Raleway",Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; color:#444444; } .eln-date { color:#999; font-family: "Raleway",Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 11px; } span.eln-bodyregular { font-size: 12px; }</style> <p>U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin has defeated Republican state Sen. Jim Oberweis to win a fourth term.</p><p>The U.S. Senate&#39;s second-ranking Democrat had been expected to keep the seat he&#39;s held since 1997. During the campaign he pushed for a higher minimum wage and tax breaks for companies that keep jobs in the country. He&#39;s said he helped bring billions of dollars in federal funds back to Illinois.</p><p>A spokesman says he&#39;d address supporters later Tuesday.</p><p>During the campaign, Oberweis called Durbin a career politician and accused him of losing touch with voters. The Sugar Grove dairy entrepreneur said he had the business background to create jobs.</p><p>He told supporters Tuesday it was difficult to beat an incumbent in Democrat-heavy Illinois and he&#39;d continue working for Republicans in the state Senate.</p><p><strong style="font-size: 18.3999996185303px; text-align: center;">Election Results</strong><script language="JavaScript" src="http://hosted.ap.org/elections/2014/general/by_race/IL_15800.js?SITE=WBEZFMELN&SECTION=POLITICS"></script></p></p> Mon, 03 Nov 2014 11:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/durbin-defeats-oberweis-wins-fourth-term-senate-111048 Illinois Senate passes ride sharing rules http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-senate-passes-ride-sharing-rules-110191 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/1Lyft (AP Photo - Jeff Chiu).jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois senators have passed rules for the new, growing industry of &ldquo;ride sharing&rdquo; services, and they appear to be the strictest statewide regulations in the country so far. The package of regulations are contained in a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-house-moves-rein-ridesharing-110011">House bill</a> and a trailer amendment bill, the latter of which will have to go back to the House before both arrive on Gov. Pat Quinn&rsquo;s desk for signing. The rules were largely championed by a coalition of Chicago cab companies, who claim their business has suffered as a result of the proliferation of ride sharing activity.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re not trying to stop technology, and everyone that uses it,&rdquo; said Sen. Tony Munoz (D-Chicago), sponsor of HB4075 and its amendment trailer bill HB5331. &ldquo;The only thing we want to do is make it safer, regulate it fairly for everyone in the industry.&rdquo;</p><p>The rules would apply most immediately to services UberX, Lyft and Sidecar, which facilitate ride sharing primarily in the City of Chicago. The three California-based companies provide smartphone app technologies that allow people to use their personal vehicles for hire, much like taxis. So far, they have operated illegally, but a groundswell of consumer support and a fear of alienating technology companies has prompted local and state governments to consider ways to bring them into a regulatory framework.</p><p>Under the bills, commercial ride sharing companies would be required to carry primary commercial liability insurance equal to taxis, with a combined single limit per accident of $350,000. More critically, it eliminates <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/state-legislators-probe-rideshare-insurance-109857">concerns raised by several insurance associations in the state</a> over when that insurance policy would apply. Under the rules, the policies would be effective from the moment a ride share driver logs into the app to accept rides, until logging off. Previously, companies disputed whether their insurance policies should apply, or should apply at such a high level, during times that a driver may be logged onto their app, but not yet en route to or conducting a fare.</p><p>All ride share drivers would also have to carry distinctive registration plates and stickers on their vehicles.</p><p>More frequent drivers would be subject to additional rules, similar to taxi drivers. Those who offer ride sharing services more than 36 hours every two weeks, on average, would have to get public chauffeurs&nbsp; licenses, subjecting them to the same criminal background checks and drug testing as taxi drivers. The rules would allow a four-week grace period, during which these drivers may still offer ride shares while an application for a public chauffeur&rsquo;s license is pending.</p><p>Chicago drivers who average at least 36 hours every two weeks would also have to comply with the city&rsquo;s rules for taxis regarding the age of their vehicles. Currently, this means their cars could be no more than four years old, in most cases. These cars would also be subject to government safety inspections.</p><p>Despite fierce rivalry among ride share companies, they were united in their opposition to the Senate legislation.</p><p>&ldquo;The bill will prohibit insured and background-checked Lyft drivers with cars more than four years old, immediately eliminating 70% of Chicago&#39;s Lyft drivers,&rdquo; read an e-mail from Lyft. &ldquo;This will disproportionately affect low income drivers in the Lyft community who have come to rely on ridesharing as an important way to earn extra money to make ends meet.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Today&rsquo;s vote in the senate will hurt consumers and limit transportation options across the state,&rdquo; wrote Uber Midwest Regional Director Andrew MacDonald, in an e-mailed statement. Uber is the company behind UberX, the ride sharing platform.&nbsp; &ldquo;We will continue to work with state and city officials to ensure uberX has a permanent home in Illinois for consumers to benefit from competition and much needed transportation options,&rdquo; he continued.</p><p>&ldquo;I think it regulates too far, and I think it sends a message that innovation will be kneecapped in Illinois if you compete against a powerful monopoly,&rdquo; said Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Palatine), during the debate preceding the floor vote. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s not the kind of message we want to send right now.&rdquo;</p><p>The Senate rules still allow local municipalities authority to regulate fare structures for ride sharing services. In Chicago, aldermen are <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/city-moves-regulate-rideshare-companies-109639">considering an ordinance</a> that gives the city authority to cap so-called &ldquo;surge pricing&rdquo; among some of the ride sharing services. The concept allows them to charge passengers more than the usual amount during times of peak demand.</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/oyousef">@oyousef</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 16 May 2014 07:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-senate-passes-ride-sharing-rules-110191 Illinois Senate panel advances stricter gun-carry bill http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-senate-panel-advances-stricter-gun-carry-bill-107400 <p><p>An Illinois Senate committee has approved a Democratic plan to allow the public possession of firearms.</p><p>A majority of Democrats on the committee drove the 10-6 vote in favor of the bill by Sen. Kwame Raoul. Raoul said he doesn&#39;t know how many votes he has on the Senate floor or when he&#39;ll call it, but lawmakers are scheduled to end their legislative session Friday.</p><p>Raoul&rsquo;s concealed carry legislation doesn&#39;t include a provision that overrides all local ordinances on firearms, such as Chicago&#39;s assault weapons ban.</p><p>Instead, that idea is the hallmark of a proposal the House passed overwhelmingly last week. The Senate panel defeated that plan on Tuesday.</p><p>State Sen. Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat, said that preemption is &quot;a bridge too far.&quot;</p><p>Raoul&#39;s measure also prohibits carrying guns wherever alcohol is served for consumption.</p><p>Meantime, the National Rifle Association opposes Raoul&rsquo;s plan that was advanced by the Senate committee Tuesday. But the organization has taken a neutral stance on the bill passed by the House of Representatives last week that would preempt local gun ordinances.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re not for it. We&rsquo;re not against it. But given some of the other things that are out there, there&rsquo;s enough bread on this sandwich to make it choke down,&rdquo; Vandermyde said Tuesday.</p><p>It&rsquo;s not clear which of the two rival plans will pass both the House and the Senate. Gov. Pat Quinn has said the plan passed by the House that preempts cities gun ordinances is an &ldquo;overreach.&rdquo;</p></p> Tue, 28 May 2013 15:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-senate-panel-advances-stricter-gun-carry-bill-107400 Afternoon Shift: Khaled Hosseini, independent film and Illinois Senate deadlines http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2013-05-28/afternoon-shift-khaled-hosseini-independent-film-and-illinois <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/khaled.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Khaled Hosseini talks about the themes of morality and human relationships in his new book. How difficult is it to make an independent film in Chicago? Filmmaker Aemilia Scott and director of the Midwest Film Festival, Mike McNamara answer. WBEZ reporter Tony Arnold gives an update on Springfield.</p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/afternoon-shift-khaled-hosseini-independent-films.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/afternoon-shift-khaled-hosseini-independent-films" target="_blank">View the story "Afternoon Shift: Khaled Hosseini, independent film and Illinois Senate deadlines" on Storify</a>]</noscript></p> Tue, 28 May 2013 10:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2013-05-28/afternoon-shift-khaled-hosseini-independent-film-and-illinois Civic leaders urge Springfield: Don't forget about pensions http://www.wbez.org/news/civic-leaders-urge-springfield-dont-forget-about-pensions-104680 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/chalk_310_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>As Illinois&rsquo; lame duck legislature considers issues such as <a href="http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/lawmakers-close-debating-gay-marriage-104662">gay marriage</a> and <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/quinn-emanuel-back-senate-assault-weapons-moves-104664">gun regulation</a> this week, some Chicago civic groups are urging lawmakers not to forget about the state&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/politics/ghost-illinois-pensions-yet-come-104489">pension crisis</a>.</p><p>The Illinois Senate began its January session Wednesday, and the House is set to return to work Sunday. But several civic leaders say they&rsquo;re concerned no single plan to bolster Illinois&rsquo; five state pension systems has gained enough traction to pass.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re saying this is job No. 1. That other issues &mdash; doesn&rsquo;t matter if it&rsquo;s casinos or anything &mdash; should not be dealt with before pensions,&rdquo; said MarySue Barrett, president of the Metropolitan Planning Council, a non-profit regional planning group.</p><p>Much political and <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/modern-family-actor-pushes-gay-marriage-illinois-104653">media attention</a> over the holidays has swirled around legislation to legalize gay marriage in Illinois &mdash;&nbsp;a plan that could come up for a vote in the Senate over the next few days. Some state and local lawmakers have also pushed hard for a state-level assault weapons ban, following the grisly school shooting in Connecticut. Late Wednesday a committee moved that issue far enough that it could be considered by the full Senate. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>A comprehensive pension fix <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/ghosts-illinois-pensions-past-104467">remains elusive</a>, though, despite myriad proposals kicking around the state capital. Illinois state worker retirement systems are now underfunded by nearly $96 billion (according to the state), and some experts estimate the number could be even higher.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re very afraid that the General Assembly&rsquo;s not gonna act on pension reform,&rdquo; said Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation, a non-profit budget watchdog.</p><p>Msall said he&rsquo;s backing a plan proposed by a bi-partisan group of lawmakers that would have Illinois state pensions fully funded within 30 years. The proposal, championed by House Democrats Elaine Nekritz and Daniel Biss, would cap cost-of-living raises for retired workers, raise the retirement age for some workers and make local school districts contribute to their teachers&rsquo; pensions, instead of having the state pick up that tab.</p><p>But <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/unions-propose-paying-more-fix-pension-crisis-104472">labor unions</a> are promising to sue if such a plan passes, pointing to an Illinois constitutional provision that bars the state from taking away pension benefits it has already promised to workers.</p><p>But Illinois politicians should pass something now and worry about a court fight later, said Better Government Association President and CEO Andy Shaw.</p><p>&ldquo;Let&rsquo;s get something out there, implemented and in front of the courts, because until that happens, nothing will be able to go forward,&rdquo; Shaw said. &ldquo;So we need a first step.&rdquo;</p></p> Thu, 03 Jan 2013 13:02:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/civic-leaders-urge-springfield-dont-forget-about-pensions-104680 Cullerton tax transparency plan squeaks through Illinois Senate http://www.wbez.org/news/cullerton-tax-transparency-plan-squeaks-through-illinois-senate-104088 <p><p>SPRINGFIELD, Ill. &mdash;Illinois Senate President John Cullerton&#39;s plan to require corporations&#39; income tax bills to be made public has barely won approval.</p><p>The Senate voted 30-27 Wednesday to okay a proposal Cullerton says would help lawmakers plan tax policy.</p><p>Cullerton says it&rsquo;s hard to know how much in taxes companies like Sears or CME Group pay. So the Democrat says the proposal to make publicly traded companies share how much they pay in state taxes will create a more fair corporate tax system.</p><p>He says two-thirds of businesses doing work in Illinois pay no corporate income tax.</p><p>&quot;It&rsquo;s not a gotcha to the business community,&quot; Cullerton said from the floor of the Senate Wednesday. &quot;It&rsquo;s actually that (it) helps us have a better tax structure.&quot;</p><p>Republican State Sen. Chris Lauzen said it&rsquo;s a punishing bill that&rsquo;s anti-business and anti-employment, and it could drive companies away from the state.</p><p>&quot;There are other states that are alternatives for employers to go to,&quot; Lauzen said.</p><p>Cullerton amended the bill to prevent posting of federally prohibited tax information.</p><p>Business leaders say the legislation unfairly targets some businesses.</p><p>The bill moves to the House.</p></p> Wed, 28 Nov 2012 15:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/cullerton-tax-transparency-plan-squeaks-through-illinois-senate-104088 Backers of detention center bill race against clock http://www.wbez.org/news/backers-detention-center-bill-race-against-clock-99614 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Crete_protest_at_DAmico.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: left; width: 238px; height: 281px;" title="Protesters at the district office of Rep. John D’Amico, D-Chicago, demand that he back the measure. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" /></div><p>Supporters of an Illinois bill that would block a proposed Chicago-area immigrant detention center are racing against the clock as lawmakers try to adjourn for the summer by Thursday.</p><p>The measure, <a href="http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=1064&amp;GAID=11&amp;DocTypeID=SB&amp;SessionID=84&amp;GA=97">SB1064</a>, would ban government agencies at the local and state level from contracting with private firms to construct or run civil detention centers. It would broaden a decades-old Illinois ban on privately built or operated state prisons and county jails.</p><p>It would also scuttle a proposal for south suburban Crete to contract with Tennessee-based Corrections Corporation of America to build and run a 788-bed facility that would hold detainees for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.</p><p>The Senate approved the bill March 28. The House Executive Committee followed suit May 2. Gov. Pat Quinn&rsquo;s office said he would sign the measure if it reached his desk.</p><p>But the bill&rsquo;s House sponsors, led by Rep. Edward Acevedo (D-Chicago), have not lined up the 60 votes they would need to ensure a win on the floor of their chamber.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re close,&rdquo; said Fred Tsao, policy director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, who is lobbying for the measure.</p><p>The bill could get caught in a legislative logjam as lawmakers try to pass a state budget and get out of Springfield. The measure is also hitting some turbulence that crosses party lines. Some House members say they&rsquo;ll oppose anything in the way of tougher immigration enforcement. Others are wary of upsetting unions whose members could help build and operate the Crete facility.</p><p>John Scheidt, president of the Will and Grundy County Building Trades Council, testified before the House committee that the project would bring 200 permanent jobs. &ldquo;That would be almost $12 million in annual payroll that would be generated out of this facility,&rdquo; Scheidt said.</p><p>Tsao&rsquo;s group helped organize a protest late Friday at the district office of Rep. John D&rsquo;Amico (D-Chicago), who accepts a lot of campaign funding from building-trades unions. &ldquo;He told us in Springfield he opposes the bill because the project is a jobs generator,&rdquo; Tsao said.</p><p>D&rsquo;Amico did not return calls about the measure.</p><p>Crete officials have yet to approve the detention center but have touted the jobs as well as tax benefits and expected per-detainee payments to the village.</p><p>Those officials have gotten an earful from some Crete residents convinced that the facility would drag down their property values and stretch village resources. They&rsquo;ve aligned with immigrant advocates who say CCA treats its detainees and workers poorly &mdash; a claim disputed by the company. The immigrant advocates also see the detention center as part of an enforcement push that has led to record numbers of deportations.</p><p>Crete residents almost got a chance to question immigration officials at a town-hall meeting that Reps. Jesse Jackson Jr. and Luis Gutierrez were planning to host May 21 in a local school. But officials called off the gathering just hours in advance due to security concerns related to the NATO summit, they said. Rick Bryant, a Jackson aide, says the congressman&rsquo;s office is talking with ICE in hopes of setting a June date for the meeting.</p></p> Tue, 29 May 2012 12:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/backers-detention-center-bill-race-against-clock-99614 House committee passes bill blocking Crete detention center http://www.wbez.org/news/house-committee-passes-bill-blocking-crete-detention-center-98754 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Cretemarch3.jpg" style="float: left; width: 317px; height: 288px;" title="Village resident Dan Taylor stands on the site of the proposed facility, which would hold detainees for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. (WBEZ/Charlie Billups)"></div><p>A bill that would block a proposed immigrant detention center in south suburban Crete cleared another Illinois legislative hurdle Wednesday. The House Executive Committee approved the measure with a 7-4 vote, which could set up a debate on the House floor.</p><p>The bill, <a href="http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=1064&amp;GAID=11&amp;DocTypeID=SB&amp;SessionID=84&amp;GA=97">SB1064</a>, would make Illinois one of the nation’s first states to ban local governments and state agencies from contracting with private firms to build or run civil detention centers. Sponsored by Reps. Edward Acevedo (D-Chicago) and Elizabeth Hernandez (D-Cicero), it would broaden an Illinois law banning privately built or operated state prisons and county jails.</p><p>The committee vote followed about 15 minutes of discussion. Rep. Michael Tryon (R-Crystal Lake) said he supported the bill because of excess capacity in a few Illinois prisons and detention centers. “I feel that a good use of these facilities may in fact be a contract with the U.S. Marshals and [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] for a detainment center in communities that want them.” Tryon said. “I certainly would encourage our governor’s office to look at use of our facilities before we allow construction of a new facility.”</p><p>The only speaker who voiced opposition to the bill was John Scheidt, president of the Will and Grundy County Building Trades Council, who said the Crete project would bring 200 permanent jobs. “That would be almost $12 million in annual payroll that would be generated out of this facility,” Scheidt said.</p><p>The 788-bed center would hold ICE detainees. To build and run it, that federal agency would contract with Crete, which would contract with Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America. Village officials have touted the project’s expected jobs and tax benefits but have yet to approve the facility.</p><p>Some village residents say the detention center would hurt their community. They’re working with immigrant advocates who say CCA treats its detainees and workers poorly. The company disputes that claim.</p><p>The bill could become a model for opponents of privately run detention centers in other states. But supporters of the legislation acknowledge that Illinois could not stop the federal government from contracting directly with private entities to build or run a detention center in the state.</p><p>The Senate approved the bill in a 34-17 vote March 28. In the House, some Republicans who support tough immigration enforcement have vowed to fight the measure. Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) has not announced a position on it.</p></p> Wed, 02 May 2012 17:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/house-committee-passes-bill-blocking-crete-detention-center-98754 Bill would push breastfeeding in Illinois hospitals http://www.wbez.org/news/bill-would-push-breastfeeding-illinois-hospitals-98730 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Gabel.JPG" style="margin: 6px 0px 0px 15px; float: right; width: 265px; height: 372px;" title="The measure’s author, Rep. Robyn Gabel, D-Evanston, predicts an impact on mothers who envisioned using formula. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)"></div><p>A bill heading toward a final vote in Springfield would make Illinois one of the first states to require hospitals to adopt an infant feeding policy that promotes breast milk.</p><p>Under the measure, which passed a state Senate committee Tuesday, any hospital in Illinois that provides birthing services would develop its policy with guidance from the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, a pro-breastfeeding effort of the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund, better known as UNICEF. Hospitals would post the policy “in a conspicuous place” and “routinely communicate” it to all obstetric and neonatal staffers, beginning with their orientation, according to the bill.</p><p>The legislation, HB4968, would allow hospitals to help mothers use formula if medically necessary or if the women preferred it. But the bill’s author, Rep. Robyn Gabel, D-Evanston, predicts her measure would have an impact on mothers who had never envisioned breastfeeding.</p><p>“Once the nurses talk to them and explain the benefits to the children — how it prevents obesity, many acute chronic diseases, [sudden infant death syndrome], asthma and allergies — mothers may be much more likely to breastfeed than they were before,” said Gabel, who modeled the legislation on a California law that will take effect in 2014.</p><p>The Illinois Hospital Association helped craft the bill and supports its passage, according to Nichole Magalis, the group’s senior director of government relations.</p><p>The House approved the measure in a 107-0 vote March 21. Sponsored in the Senate by Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, the bill passed the Senate Public Health Committee in a 9-0 vote Tuesday. The timing of a Senate floor vote is unclear.</p><p>Gov. Pat Quinn has not taken a position on the bill, according to a spokeswoman. It would take effect January 1, 2013.</p></p> Tue, 01 May 2012 15:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/bill-would-push-breastfeeding-illinois-hospitals-98730 Crete leader slams Chicago immigrant activists http://www.wbez.org/eight-forty-eight/2012-04-12/crete-leader-slams-chicago-immigrant-activists-97809 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wbez.org/" alt="" /><p><div class="image-insert-image "><img class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/march_1.jpg" style="margin: 6px 0px 0px 1px; float: left; width: 228px; height: 343px;" title="Marchers arrive Sunday afternoon in Crete after a three-day trek from Chicago. (WBEZ/Charlie Billups)"></div><p><span style="font-size:11px;"><em>Listen to Chip Mitchell discuss this story on </em>Eight Forty-Eight</span></p><div class="mediaelement-audio"><audio class="mediaelement-formatter-identified-1333389318-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/120402%20a%20-%20chip.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The leader of a Chicago suburb where a private company wants to build an immigrant detention center says he and other town officials are having a hard time gauging public support for the plan because Chicago-based protesters have come in and whipped people “into a frenzy.”</p><p>“I’m not responsible to the people of Little Village,” said Crete President Michael Einhorn, referring to a heavily immigrant Chicago neighborhood where a three-day march against the proposal began Friday. “I’m not responsible for anybody else except the people who live inside the boundaries of this town.</p><p>“But the outside interference and the outside noise has made it extremely difficult for any municipal official to develop a clear and concise feeling for how the people we are responsible for are feeling because the people who are in favor of it are not beating my door down and putting signs in their yard,” Einhorn said.</p><p>The proposal is for Crete, a village 30 miles from downtown Chicago, to contract with Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America to build and run the detention center. The 788-bed facility would hold U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees awaiting deportation.</p><p>Einhorn and other village officials have talked up the project’s expected jobs and tax benefits as well as an opportunity for Crete to receive per-detainee payments. But the village has yet to negotiate a contract with the company or approve the facility.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/march_2_0.jpg" style="margin: 9px 0px 6px 1px; float: left; width: 228px; height: 293px;" title="Crete President Michael Einhorn talks up the proposal’s expected jobs and the payments the village would receive for each detainee. (WBEZ/Charlie Billups)"></div><p>The 40 marchers increased their numbers over the three days. By Sunday afternoon, when they reached a rural Crete parcel proposed for the project, their ranks had swelled to about 250. They ranged from seasoned immigrant advocates to youths donning handkerchief masks, self-described anarchists, Mexican-born mothers pushing strollers and longtime Crete residents fretting about their property values and whether the village would share liability for the facility’s operations.</p><p>Some Crete residents voiced concerns beyond their own interests. Warehouse company owner Thomas Tynan, 63, said the detention center proposal should call attention to a federal policy of deporting hundreds of thousands of immigrants a year. “There needs to be a way that people who come to this country and want to work and want to become citizens can do that,” he said.</p><p>Tynan even likened immigrant detention centers to concentration camps during World War II. “If I was living then, what would I do?” he asked. “This is an opportunity for people to show what they would do.”</p><p>The Crete proposal is part of an ICE push to improve conditions in immigrant detention centers. That push follows a series of alleged human rights abuses in ICE facilities, including some run by CCA, the Nashville company.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/march_3.jpg" style="margin: 0px 0px 0px 1px; float: left; width: 341px; height: 310px;" title="On the site of the proposed detention center, Crete resident Dan Taylor says the facility would hurt the village’s finances. (WBEZ/Charlie Billups)"></div><p>Illinois state senators last Wednesday approved a bill sponsored by Sen. Antonio Muñoz (D-Chicago) that aims to block the Crete plan. The measure, <a href="http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=1064&amp;GAID=11&amp;DocTypeID=SB&amp;SessionID=84&amp;GA=97">Senate Bill 1064</a>, would make Illinois one of the nation’s first states to ban local governments and state agencies from contracting with private companies to build or run civil detention centers. The bill would broaden an Illinois statute banning privately built or operated state prisons and county jails.</p><p>The bill’s supporters acknowledge that Illinois cannot stop the federal government from contracting directly with private entities to build or run a detention center in the state.</p><p>After the measure’s Senate approval, Reps. Edward Acevedo (D-Chicago) and Elizabeth Hernandez (D-Cicero) introduced the House version. Its supporters say they will push for quick passage when the legislature returns from a recess April 17.</p><p>Some House Republicans are vowing to oppose the measure. Neither House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) nor Gov. Pat Quinn has taken a stand on it.</p><p><em><strong>See many more images of the march to Crete and village President Michael Einhorn at photographer <a href="http://charliebillups.photoshelter.com/gallery/Crete-Illinois-detention-center-opposition-march/G0000t9QgeeLrqGA">Charlie Billups</a>’ site.</strong></em></p></p> Mon, 02 Apr 2012 07:57:55 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/eight-forty-eight/2012-04-12/crete-leader-slams-chicago-immigrant-activists-97809