WBEZ | Kwame Raoul http://www.wbez.org/tags/kwame-raoul Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en No criminal charges? Wipe that arrest record clean at 18 http://www.wbez.org/news/no-criminal-charges-wipe-arrest-record-clean-18-110164 <p><p>Tens of thousands of juveniles are arrested in Cook County each year. But many of them don&rsquo;t understand that they now have an arrest record that can linger like a digital ghost for decades to come.</p><p>Without question, there&rsquo;s a lot of misinformation about what happens to juvenile arrest records and juvenile court records. That&rsquo;s true even among young people who might otherwise be cynical about interaction with the police or the juvenile justice system.<br /><br />&ldquo;Even those young people will very frequently think that their juvenile record goes away automatically when they turn 18&mdash;or they think that no one can see them, &ldquo; Sharlyn Grace said.<br /><br />But that is wrong big-time, she says.</p><blockquote><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/no-criminal-charges-wipe-arrest-record-clean-18-110164#flowchart"><strong>Chart: When can a juvenile record be expunged?</strong></a></p></blockquote><p>Grace and fellow attorney Peter Hamann staff a free walk-in center that&rsquo;s like Cook County&rsquo;s &ldquo;Ground Zero&rdquo; for helping people figure out if and how they can clear their juvenile records. Their small, unobtrusive office is called the Juvenile Expungement Help Desk, and it&rsquo;s tucked into the Cook County Juvenile Center on Chicago&rsquo;s Near West Side.</p><p>Some kids say this white behemoth of a building looks like a friendly office building. That&rsquo;s until they find out it houses Cook County&rsquo;s jail for kids who&rsquo;re waiting for trial. The juvenile courts are in the building too, as are offices for the Public Defender, State&rsquo;s Attorney, Probation Department and Clerk of the Circuit Court.</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/Expungement%20team.jpeg" style="height: 263px; width: 350px; float: right;" title="Peter Hamann and Sharlyn Grace staff the Juvenile Expungement Help Desk, housed in the Cook County Juvenile Center on Chicago’s Near West Side. (WBEZ/Linda Paul)" /><strong>Kids in shock</strong></div><p>&ldquo;A great number of individuals who come into our Help Desk every day come in, in shock, when they&rsquo;ve just been denied from a job, or denied, you know, school applications.&nbsp; Guidance counselors letting them know that this arrest that may have happened quite a long time ago when they were a very young kid is coming back and it is presenting a barrier for them now,&rdquo; Hamann said.</p><p>Hamann and Grace are part of a partnership between their respective organizations, Cabrini Green Legal Aid and LAF, formerly known as Legal Assistance Foundation. The groups have several joint initiatives and one of them is to help people navigate an expungement process that can be lengthy and confusing.<br /><br />&ldquo;You can get arrested and go to court and a jury can find you &lsquo;not guilty&rsquo; and the court record and arrest record of that incident in which you were actually found &lsquo;not guilty&rsquo; is still going to be on your record until you exercise your rights to expungement and you clear the record through the court process,&rdquo; Grace said.</p><p>Under the Juvenile Court Act, both arrest and court records for juveniles in Illinois are confidential and sealed. That sounds pretty off-limits. So why should people have to spend time and money to expunge juvenile records, if they&rsquo;re already protected?</p><p><strong>Not so confidential</strong></p><p>Here&rsquo;s the thing: There are plenty of legal exceptions to all this so-called &ldquo;confidentiality.&rdquo;</p><p>Especially for jobs that require certification or licensing. And that covers a broad spectrum of professions including lawyers, doctors, nurses, school teachers, barbers, beauticians, security officers and more.</p><p>These are jobs in which the application form will typically include a request for authorization to run a background check. Once a prospective employer sees that, &ldquo;even while you may figure that these records are sealed and you don&rsquo;t have to worry about them,&rdquo; Hamann said, &ldquo;there&rsquo;s a whole number of exceptions where it&rsquo;s within their right and it&rsquo;s commonplace for them to consider juvenile arrest records.&quot;</p><p>He says that includes the Chicago Park District and many government jobs.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="250" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="http://cf.datawrapper.de/JkxOr/2/" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="620"></iframe></p><p>In 2013 there were about 26,000 juvenile arrests in Cook County. A little over 20,000 of those were arrests that never led to formal criminal charges. Now, bear in mind that juvenile records can&rsquo;t be expunged until a person turns 18. So each year you have people in the pipeline, coming of age, who are eligible for those expungements. But as you see in the chart above, in 2013, there were only 660 juvenile records expunged in all of Cook County.</p><p>These are the kinds of numbers that have caught the attention of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and others. And now there&rsquo;s a movement afoot to make certain kinds of expungements much easier. Illinois State Sen. Kwame Raoul and State Rep. Arthur Turner are sponsors of legislation called The Clean Slate Initiative.</p><p>Sen. Raoul explained that this bill is not designed for those juveniles who are arrested, formally charged and end up in court. Rather, he says, it&rsquo;s &ldquo;for a population of juveniles who are arrested, but the arrest and the alleged offense either not be deemed so serious as to refer to juvenile court, or it may be an assessment that the juvenile didn&rsquo;t even do what they were arrested for.&rdquo;</p><p>In instances like these, Raoul says, young people get what&rsquo;s called a station adjustment. That means the police send them home with a parent or guardian, maybe they have to do some community service work, or take a class. The case is not referred to prosecutors.<br /><br />When a juvenile in that circumstance moves on with his or her life, and remains law abiding, the senator says, then &ldquo;the burden ought not to be on that juvenile to file a petition and navigate the court process to get his arrest record expunged&mdash; it ought to be automatically expunged.&rdquo;<br /><br />If Raoul&rsquo;s legislation had been in place in 2013, the 20,000 or so juvenile arrests in the chart above&ndash; the ones that didn&rsquo;t result in criminal charges&ndash; those would&lsquo;ve been eligible for automatic expungement when the individuals turned 18. That would have happened if they avoided any more arrests in the 6-month period following the original arrest and had no new arrests that landed them in court.</p><p><strong>Serious juvenile charges that don&rsquo;t go to court</strong><br /><br />Vermilion County&nbsp;Sheriff Pat Hartshorn is not a fan of this proposed legislation.</p><p>&ldquo;You know, if the legislature spent as much time and concern on the honest citizens,&rdquo; he said, &ldquo;they wouldn&rsquo;t have time for this kind of thing.&rdquo;<br /><br />Sheriff Hartshorn is chairman of the legislative committee for the Illinois Sheriff&rsquo;s Association. He says what proponents of this legislation aren&rsquo;t taking into account is that many, many cases&mdash;including serious cases&mdash;are handled as a station adjustment. That means that intentionally, the case is not referred to court for formal court proceedings.<br /><br />&ldquo;And now they&rsquo;re going to turn around and say, &lsquo;Well look at all these cases where charges weren&rsquo;t filed,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;So on one hand they say &lsquo;don&rsquo;t file charges, handle it as a station adjustment&rsquo;&mdash;and then they turn around and say, &lsquo;Look at all these kids that are being arrested and nothing is ever filed against them. Those cases ought to be wiped out.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>They can&rsquo;t have it both ways, he says.</p><p>If supporters of Raoul&rsquo;s legislation want police to handle cases by diverting them from court, Hartshorn says, then they also have to acknowledge that these are legitimate, serious cases.</p><p>&ldquo;People have been injured and property has been taken and people have been shot and people have been robbed,&rdquo; Hartshorn said.&nbsp; &ldquo;And to just say, well, just because they were diverted from court means that it&rsquo;s not a serious case - I think that&rsquo;s wrong.&rdquo;</p><p>Raoul, a former juvenile prosecutor with the Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney&rsquo;s office, bristles at the critique.</p><p>&ldquo;If these are serious cases, you wouldn&rsquo;t be handling them with station adjustments in the first place,&rdquo; he said, &ldquo;because that would put the public at risk.&rdquo;</p><p>The whole point of the bill, Raoul says, is to automatically clear records for less serious, non-violent juvenile cases.<br /><br />&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think you hear too many of these advocates, including Mayor Emanuel, who&rsquo;s in support of this - I don&rsquo;t think you hear Mayor Emanuel saying, &lsquo;divert shooter cases.&rsquo; I don&rsquo;t think you hear Mayor Emanuel saying &lsquo;divert armed robbery cases.&rsquo; Nor do you hear me saying that. So I beg to differ with the sheriff.&rdquo;<br /><br />The Mayor&rsquo;s office reports that 98 percent of all the station adjustments done by Chicago police in 2013 were for misdemeanor offenses and that none included weapons or shooting offenses.<br /><br />Meanwhile, the &ldquo;clean slate&rdquo; bill has passed out of the Illinois Senate and is expected to go to the House floor for a vote sometime in the next few weeks. The Illinois Sheriffs&rsquo; Association is the only organization on record against the legislation, and even Sheriff Hartshorn says it may pass<a name="flowchart"></a>.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://llnw.wbez.org/Juvenile Expungement Eligibility Flowchart.pdf"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/flow%20juvenile.PNG" style="height: 805px; width: 620px;" title="" /></a></div></p> Mon, 12 May 2014 10:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/no-criminal-charges-wipe-arrest-record-clean-18-110164 Lawmakers: Federal involvement needed to curb illegal gun trafficking http://www.wbez.org/news/lawmakers-federal-involvement-needed-curb-illegal-gun-trafficking-108456 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Gun Checks_130819_AYC.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Lawmakers said Illinois&rsquo;s new gun law needs federal involvement to truly stop or even curb illegal gun trafficking.</p><p>Illinois Governor Pat Quinn this weekend signed a new law that requires gun owners to report within 72 hours any lost or stolen gun .</p><p>The law also requires background checks for all gun purchases, including private sales.</p><p>But State Senator Kwame Raoul said there&rsquo;s more to be done.</p><p>&ldquo;We can continue to do (more) at the state level, but the reality is a lot of the gun trafficking occurs across the state lines,&rdquo; Raoul said. &ldquo;Enacting law is only one measure that we can do to combat gun violence, but we also need the help from the federal level.&rdquo;</p><p>Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney Anita Alvarez said the new requirement gives police more control in keeping track of illegal firearms.</p><p>&ldquo;This lost or stolen requirement will help police identify suspicious patterns of behavior by persons who fail to file reports yet continually claim their guns were lost or stolen after they are recovered at a crime scene,&rdquo; she said in a press release.</p><p>Illinois is the 9th state to require the reporting of lost or stolen guns. Michigan and Ohio are the only two nearby states with the same requirement.</p><p>The reporting requirement takes effect immediately, and the new background check system will start in the beginning of next year.</p><p><em>Aimee Chen is a WBEZ business reporting intern. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/AimeeYuyiChen">@AimeeYuyiChen</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 19 Aug 2013 16:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/lawmakers-federal-involvement-needed-curb-illegal-gun-trafficking-108456 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 Illinois House formally enters redistricting game http://www.wbez.org/story/barbara-flynn-currie/illinois-house-formally-enters-redistricting-game-84549 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/statehouse-Flickr_2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated at 5:54 p.m.</em></p><p>The Illinois House has formed its own redistricting committee, a few days after its state Senate counterpart got started with public hearings. The committees are tasked with taking public input, and then drafting new boundaries for legislative and congressional districts based on the recently released Census data.</p><p>State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, a Chicago Democrat and House majority leader, will chair the panel. The other Democratic members include Reps. Frank Mautino of Spring Valley, Lou Lang of Skokie, Karen Yarbrough of Maywood, Marlow Colvin of Chicago and Edward Acevedo of Chicago. Mautino is the only Democrat on the committee who lives outside the Chicago area.</p><p>The Republican members are Reps. Mike Fortner of West Chicago, Jil Tracy of Quincy, Chapin Rose of Mahomet, Jim Durkin of Countryside and Tim Schmitz of Geneva.</p><p>Currie, who chaired a similar panel during the redistricting process ten years ago, said that 15 committee hearings are scheduled, with more likely to be added. The first three will take place on April 16th in Champaign, Cicero and McHenry.</p><p>At the meeting this week of the Senate's redistricting committee, several speakers argued there should be time allotted for public comment before the General Assembly signs off on a map proposal. They want a week delay between whenever the draft map is made public, and when lawmakers vote.</p><p>"That would be dandy if we have time to do that," Currie said. "A lot of people kind of work up to deadlines."</p><p>The deadline in this case is May 31, the last day Democrats will be able to pass new legislative and congressional maps without Republican votes. The vote threshold moves from a majority to a super-majority when June begins.</p><p>The <a href="http://www.ilhousedems.com/redistricting/">House committee</a>, like the <a href="http://ilsenateredistricting.com/">Senate</a> one, has set up a website for Illinoisans to check out the census data.</p><p>Democratic Sen. Kwame Raoul of Chicago chairs the Senate redistricting committee. That panel next meets on April 6 in Springfield.</p></p> Thu, 31 Mar 2011 18:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/barbara-flynn-currie/illinois-house-formally-enters-redistricting-game-84549 As Illinois redistricting begins, public gets say http://www.wbez.org/story/chinatown/illinois-redistricting-begins-public-gets-say-84382 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-March/2011-03-28/IMG_0008.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois state senators are hearing from Chicago area residents who want a say in redistricting, the once-a-decade, highly contentious and political process that determines boundaries for legislative districts. It is about power and influence, and on Monday afternoon dozens of people showed up to tell senators how they want the boundaries drawn.<br /> <br /> Kyle Hillman lives in Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood, and said the community is a poor fit for its current district.<br /> <br /> &quot;There's a high crime rate and it has one of the largest food kitchens in the metro area, and yet it is included in a district that is mostly consisting of lakefront homes in Evanston in New Trier,&quot; Hillman told the Senate Redistricting Committee.<br /> <br /> Others complained their neighborhoods span several districts, watering down the community's influence.<br /> <br /> &quot;The greater Chinatown community area is a vibrant and cohesive community. Its interests are not served by being split into multiple districts, as it is currently,&quot; said Bernie Wong of the Chinese American Service League.</p><p>C. Betty Magness with the group IVI-IPO urged the senators to ignore politicians' addresses when they draft the boundaries.<br /><br />&quot;Districts should not be drawn to favor or discriminate against incumbents, candidates or parties,&quot; Magness said.<br /><br />Another issue that came up Monday has to do with the addresses of prisoners. Right now, they are counted as residents where they are incarcerated, which is most often downstate.<br /><br />&quot;Prisoners should be counted where they originate from, instead of where they're currently housed,&quot; testified Lawrence Hill with the Cook County Bar Association.<br /><br />The Illinois House could actually vote to make that change as early as Tuesday, according to the bill's sponsor, state Rep. LaShawn Ford. But the Chicago Democrat said it would not take effect until the next redistricting - ten years from now.</p><p>Monday's hearing was the first of <a href="http://ilsenateredistricting.com/index.php?option=com_content&amp;view=article&amp;id=78&amp;Itemid=117">at least five public forums</a> for the Senate committee. Lawmakers have until the end of June to approve a new legislative map, or the process will be put in the hands of a <a href="http://www.ilga.gov/commission/lrb/con4.htm">special commission</a>.</p></p> Mon, 28 Mar 2011 21:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/chinatown/illinois-redistricting-begins-public-gets-say-84382 Illinois law aims to protect minority voter rights http://www.wbez.org/story/cw-chan/illinois-law-aims-protect-minority-voter-rights <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/quinn 001.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Minority group advocates say Illinois took a big step Monday toward protecting their political voices with the signing of the Illinois Voting Rights Act of 2011.</p><p>&ldquo;The rules in the districts are gerrymandered so they are rigged against anyone who may have a group in a particular area,&rdquo; said Governor Pat Quinn at the bill signing in Chicago&rsquo;s Chinatown. &ldquo;One of the purposes of the law is to make sure our racial minorities, our language minorities, our citizens who live in a particular area, get a fair chance to elect the person of their choice.&rdquo;</p><p>The law was introduced by State Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, after both Republicans and Democrats failed to rewrite the laws that govern legislative redistricting. Both parties proposed competing amendments to the state constitution to avoid what happened the last three times the lines were drawn: partisan deadlocks forced legislators to choose either a Democrat or a Republican from a hat, literally, and the winner drew the map.</p><p>Chinatown community leaders praised the new law, which they had lobbied for in Springfield. C.W. Chan of the Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community, said when Illinois redistricted in the past, Chinatown became a textbook case of how concentrated minority populations could be marginalized.</p><p>&ldquo;Despite meeting all criteria for inclusion in a single district, like compactness, contiguity, and being a community of interest,&rdquo; said Chan, &ldquo;we are nevertheless not protected by any law as we do not have the magic number of the voting age majority.&rdquo;</p><p>Chan hopes the new law will help Chinese-Americans on Chicago&rsquo;s South Side fall into fewer legislative and representative districts. Currently, they are divided between four wards, four state representative districts, three state senate districts, and three Congressional districts. Community leaders say that has made it difficult to lobby for the government services and resources that their immigrant community needs.</p><div style="background-color: transparent; ">&nbsp;</div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 07 Mar 2011 23:55:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/cw-chan/illinois-law-aims-protect-minority-voter-rights Bill abolishing death penalty passes legislature http://www.wbez.org/story/dave-syverson/bill-abolishing-death-penalty-passes-legislature <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/AP03012105006.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A bill abolishing Illinois' death penalty will soon be sent to Governor Pat Quinn. That's after the repeal passed the state Senate Tuesday afternoon in a 32-to-25 vote.</p><p>Quinn has not said whether he will sign the bill into law. His press secretary, Annie Thompson, said in an email that Quinn &quot;plans to review the bill when it lands on his desk.&quot;<span style="font-size: 11pt; color: rgb(31, 73, 125); font-family: 'Calibri','sans-serif';"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p>During the Senate debate, some lawmakers speaking out against abolishing the death penalty shared stories of vicious murders, many in which a child was killed. They said those situations warrant capital punishment.</p><p>&quot;In these most serious cases, we need this tool on behalf of the citizens and behalf of the people of Illinois,&quot; said state Sen. Dave Syverson, a Republican from Rockford.</p><p>&quot;You can name all of these horrific crimes. It's not about those. What about the ones who didn't do it?&quot; asked state Sen. Rickey Hendon, a Democrat from Chicago who has long supported abolishing the death penalty. &quot;Because when you put someone to death, it's too late.&quot;<br /> <br /> Illinois has had a moratorium on executions for the past eleven years, after more than a dozen death row inmates were exonerated. The measure passed Tuesday would eliminate the state's death penalty altogether.</p><p>Some opponents said the moratorium meant there was no reason to rush. Republican state Sens. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale&nbsp; and Linda Holmes of Aurora called for the issue to be decided directly by voters.</p><p>&quot;I would like to give the people of Illinois the opportunity to make this decision themselves,&quot; Holmes said on the Senate floor. &quot;Let's have them weigh-in on this. This could be put to referendum. Let's find out how they feel on this issue before we go ahead and make this decision for them.&quot;</p><p>&quot;We are a representative democracy. We have a responsibility,&quot; Democratic state Sen. Kwame Raoul of Chicago told his colleagues.</p><p>&quot;If you don't want to take responsibility in making these hard decisions, resign,&quot; said Raoul, who sponsored the legislation in the Senate.</p><p>The bill narrowly passed the Illinois House last week.</p></p> Tue, 11 Jan 2011 21:20:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/dave-syverson/bill-abolishing-death-penalty-passes-legislature Death penalty abolition could soon land on Quinn's desk http://www.wbez.org/story/death-penalty/death-penalty-abolishment-could-soon-land-quinns-desk <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/statehouse-Flickr_2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Illinois Senate this week could send a bill to the Gov. Pat Quinn's desk to abolish the state's death penalty.</p><p>For the past 11 years, Illinois has had a death penalty moratorium: People can be sentenced to death, but they haven't been put to death. A bill abolishing it for good narrowly passed the state House last week, and awaits action by the Senate.</p><p>Senator Kirk Dillard has worked on death penalty reforms in the past, but as of Friday, the Hinsdale Republican was not on board with the bill.</p><p>&quot;I clearly see problems with the death penalty. I've moved a great deal in the way I think about the issue,&quot; Dillard said. &quot;But I'm not sure I'm quite there yet to abolishing the entire death penalty system.&quot;</p><p>Dillard said he would rather limit capital punishment to those convicted of mass-murders, and police or child killings. He also said he believes the issue should go before voters in a statewide referendum.</p><p>The sponsor of the death penalty abolishment, Democratic state Sen. Kwame Raoul of Chicago, claimed Friday that enough senators have told him they support the bill to get it passed. It would still need the governor's signature, though. A spokeswoman for Quinn said the governor would take a &quot;careful look&quot; at the legislation.</p></p> Mon, 10 Jan 2011 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/death-penalty/death-penalty-abolishment-could-soon-land-quinns-desk Illinois loses a Congressional seat based on 2010 Census http://www.wbez.org/story/census/illinois-loses-congressional-seat-based-2010-census <p><p>Illinois will lose one of its Congressional seats because its population hasn&rsquo;t grown as fast as southern and western states. In the wake of that news, the redistricting battle begins. <br /><br />As early as next February, the census bureau will provide detailed population data for Illinois. Then the redistricting process can begin as legislators redraw political boundaries to reflect local population shifts. It&rsquo;s a process that has drawn a lot of criticism in the past for being overly protective of incumbents. <br /><br />Illinois State Senator Kwame Raoul chairs the Senate Redistricting Committee. He says he expects the coming redistricting negotiations to be contentious even though Democrats control both chambers of the legislature. <br /><br />&quot;Partisanship is not the only factor that comes in,&quot; Raoul said in an interview. &quot;Within party there can be dispute as well.&quot; <br /><br />Efforts to overhaul the redistricting process and provide more transparency failed earlier this year. The Illinois House is set to vote next month on a measure that would require four public hearings on redrawing boundaries. The state Senate has already passed that measure. <br />&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 21 Dec 2010 21:48:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/census/illinois-loses-congressional-seat-based-2010-census Census changes congressional districts http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/census-changes-congressional-districts <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/redistricting census.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated at 1:32 p.m. on 12/09/2010</em></p><p>Census figures due at the end of the month could mean one less seat for the Land of Lincoln in the U.S. House of Representatives. State-by-state population figures compiled by the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.census.gov/">U.S. Census Bureau</a>, by law, must be delivered to the president by month&rsquo;s end. The information is used to determine the distribution of 435 seats in the U.S. House.</p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/">Bloomberg News</a> and political consulting firm <a target="_blank" href="http://www.electiondataservices.com/">Election Data Services Inc</a>. both expect Illinois to lose a seat based on their analyses of available data from the census and the Internal Revenue Service. The state is no stranger to the wrath of numbers: Illinois lost a congressional seat 10 years ago and lost two seats the decade before that.</p><p>The prospective loss would wean Illinois&rsquo; 19 members of Congress to 18, slightly diminishing the state&rsquo;s voice in that chamber. WBEZ&rsquo;s Sam Hudzik told &ldquo;Eight Forty-Eight&rdquo; host Alison Cuddy that redistricting, or a re-map, is a very political and contentious process.</p><p>Democrats could target one of the four congressional districts&mdash;the 8th, 11th, 14th and 17th&mdash;that turned Republican after the November mid-term election. Hudzik says his research suggests Democrats could try to swallow up Republican Don Manzullo&rsquo;s seat in northwest Illinois&rsquo; 16th District.</p><p>The Democratic point-man on redistricting in the Senate, Kwame Raoul, says that members of Congress, like the public, should provide input, not a decision.</p><p>&ldquo;One of the many things that came out of the hearings over the course of the last year and a half is that you just don&rsquo;t want the process to be simply about self-preservation,&rdquo; Raoul told Hudzik.</p><p>A spokesman for Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan said the topic of who will take responsibility for the map has not yet been discussed.</p><p>But as more specific numbers roll out, you can bet Rand McNally won&rsquo;t be the only map maker in town. The state constitution dictates that a lottery&mdash;yes, like pulling a number from a hat&mdash;determines which party charts the new boundaries in the event of a disagreement.</p><p>Hudzik will continue his coverage as Magellan-enthusiasts and vulnerable members of Congress await action from the Illinois House.</p><p><em>Music Button: Matorralman, &quot;Lunatica&quot;, from the CD Guateque Estelar, (Nacional)</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 09 Dec 2010 14:59:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/census-changes-congressional-districts