Erin Allen: Good morning, Chicago. Welcome to Wednesday, I'm Erin Allen and this is The Rundown. The humanitarian crisis of migrants seeking asylum is escalating in Chicago right now. City officials are operating 10 temporary shelters and respite centers across the city, including as multiple outlets are reporting a new location at Wilbur Wright College in the Dunning neighborhood. The shelters are serving roughly 4 thousand migrants, but no single neighborhood is bearing the responsibility for housing them. From West Ridge to Roseland, Gold Coast to Streeterville, migrants are all around the city. And my colleague Indi Khera spoke to some folks in area's that either are were or will soon become temporary shelters. Their concerns are varied but there is one common theme. What about those who have been living here and been needing support services. Some residue in these areas don't really want this in there neighborhoods. They're saying resources should instead be poured into their own disinvested communities. You can hear more from some of these folks in Indi's full story at WBEZ.org.
Meanwhile today, the Chicago City Council is expected to take up a proposal that was previously punted to help mitigate the ongoing migrant crisis. I mentioned last week that the city was to spend $51 million of surplus funding set aside for quote "unanticipated emergencies." That money will pay for staffing food and other resources through the end of June at seven city shelters and three respite centers that are housing asylum seekers. Three members delayed the proposal last week because of similar concerns from residents that Indie talked to. I'll keep you posted on how that shakes out.
A couple updates from state lawmakers. First off, how do you accommodate the needs of the myriad of folks who end up in the prison system? Big question. No easy answer, but Illinois state lawmakers are looking at the faith aspect of this, at least. They passed two measures aimed at increasing religious equity in public institutions. My colleague Mawa Iqbal is reporting on the Faith By Plate Act which would require places like schools, hospitals and correctional facilities to offer kosher and halal meals. That will be foods that our prepared in accordance with Jewish and Islamic laws respectively. And it would be a misdemeanor for a vendor to falsely represent their food as kosher or halal. Democratic Senator Ron Villa volume spearheaded the effort. In a release, he said the legislature, it's quote, recognizing the cultural needs of our community. And the second proposal called The Faith Behind Bars Act would require correctional facilities to allow access to leaders of any faith to offer spiritual support. The facilities would also be required to provide items like reading materials and prayer matts. The bill is now headed to the governor.
State lawmakers are also looking at some controversial transportation legislation. Mawa is reporting on this too. She says lawmakers paved the way for a future expansion of the Stevenson Expressway. The legislation would allow the Illinois Department of Transportation to pursue private funding to add lanes to it. But environmental justice groups are concerned. They say that expanding the expressway would work against the state's goal of reducing carbon emissions.
Danny Robles: What we have been really trying to impress on the General Assembly is that projects that help connect communities without the dependence on cars is really going to be the final factor that's going to help us get there.
Erin Allen: That was Danny Robles with the Illinois Environmental Council. More traffic on the Stevenson would also impact the Southwest Side which Robles says already has heavy air pollution.
And a few quick hits before we get to the weather, Chicago city council members recently passed a resolution naming May Jewish American Heritage Month. All the person Deborah Silverstein who herself is Jewish says the resolution would help combat rising hate crimes. The anti defamation league says an anti Semitic incidents in Chicago increased from 15 in 2022 to 47 last year. And some national news from Reuters, the debt ceiling deals brokered by President Biden and House Speaker McCarthy is expected to get a vote on the house floor today and its essential that Democrats vote in favor of the plan in order to pass the bill in the house. Republicans have a slim margin in that chamber.
As for the weather, Memorial Day has come and gone, but summer is well on its way. Another nice day to day, partly cloudy, partly sunny and temperatures in the mid to high eighties. There is a slight chance of rain today too. And that's it for now, but later on this afternoon:
Chicago mother: I'm pumping. She's eating and I'm feeling really good guys. The only thing I forgot to do was eat today. That's it.
Erin Allen: May is a month of honoring mother's as well. So we're going to close it out, buy, focusing on one as a part of the 1st 12 weeks series. My colleagues created here at WBEZ, a new mom in West Englewood share's moments of joy and frustration from her first week of motherhood. That's today at 2 o'clock on the rundown. I'm Erin Allen. I'll talk to you then.
WBEZ transcripts are generated by an automatic speech recognition service. We do our best to edit for misspellings and typos, but mistakes do come through.