Illinois Senators approved a plan last night that would hike the state's minimum wage to eleven dollars an hour.
Jackie Collins, a Chicago Democrat, says that would improve quality of life for low-income workers, and reduce their need for government assistance.
"I believe that what we are doing here, we will send a message to those corporations - the multi-billionaire corporations, that no longer will we support sub-par wages, in the knowledge that the government will help their workers afford food, housing and healthcare."
Chicago aldermen are expected to vote on raising the minimum wage today. But Illinois lawmakers might not let Chicago go as high as it wants. The debate over the minimum wage in Springfield is two-fold. One - is what is the appropriate minimum wage for Illinois. And two - is whether the City of Chicago should have a higher minimum wage than the rest of the state. Steve Brown is a spokesman for the Democratic Speaker of the House. He says leaders are trying to see if there’s support for letting Chicago set its own rate. But for now - the Speaker isn’t showing his cards.
The Illinois House voted Tuesday to override Gov. Pat Quinn’s veto on a measure dealing with the Freedom of Information Act. The plan gives governments more time to respond to certain citizens' requests, and can charge them up to $100 for some information.
In his veto message, Quinn said the bill reduces government transparency. Now, the Senate will decide if they agree.
The General Assembly also began to advance one of Quinn's last requests--a minimum wage hike. A Senate committee passed a plan to bring it to $10 an hour beginning in July.
There are three statewide referenda on the ballot today in Illinois.
One asks if the Illinois minimum wage should be raised to 10 dollars an hour for adults. Another, if health insurance plans should be required to cover birth control. The final referendum is on the so-called millionaire’s tax, which would impose an additional three percent tax on income greater than a million dollars.
This week, Michelle Obama and Gloria Steinem are scheduled to campaign for Illinois Governor Pat Quinn. But over the weekend, actor Martin Sheen lent a hand.
According to the trade magazine "Variety," Sheen made as much as 300-thousand dollars an episode for his role as Democratic Pres. Jeb Bartlet in the show "West Wing." He says he was paid nothing fundraise for Quinn and call for an increase in minimum wage.
Despite Democratic majorities and a push from the governor, Illinois' legislative session adjourned without a bump in the minimum wage.
Lawmakers settled for putting a non-binding question on the November ballot asking if that's something voters want.
Part of the problem was that legislators from downstate -- from both parties -- were against a hike.
Andrew Biggs says it doesn't make sense to make sense to have a national, or even statewide, minimum wage. Biggs is a scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, a D.C. think tank that leans toward free enterprise.