Politics

Political news

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The Illinois General Assembly voted to make same-day voter registration a permanent feature of state elections. 

Democrats allowed it for the first time in this year’s election. As with most changes to election law, there was a fierce debate. Republicans charged Democrats rushed it through and the changes open the door to voter fraud.

But Barbara Flynn Currie, the Democratic Majority Leader, says that’s not true.

Illinois Lawmakers Say Wage Increase 'Unlikely'

Dec 3, 2014

Illinois lawmakers won't consider increasing the state's minimum wage to $11 as they wind down their fall session. 

The Associated Press reports the House Speaker’s spokesman Steve Brown said "complications" made it unlikely for a wage hike to be passed this year.

Sen. Kim Lightford, a Maywood Democrat, is the plan's sponsor.

"We're trying to find a balance to allow for a wage increase, to support the business community, and to keep the city of Chicago thriving."

Chicago passed its own $13-an-hour wage hike yesterday.

Flickr user / Images Money "Healthcare Costs" (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois may soon run its own healthcare marketplace under the Affordable Care Act. The General Assembly is working against a New Year's deadline to create its own exchange.  That, or risk losing millions of dollars from the federal government.  When the Affordable Care Act went into effect last year, Illinoisans began signing up for healthcare in a marketplace technically run by the federal government.

Chicago Aldermen Voting On City Minimum Wage

Dec 2, 2014

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. 

Same-Day Voter Registration May Stay

Dec 1, 2014
League of Women Voters

Lawmakers will consider keeping same-day voter registration for Illinois' general election. 

A bill sponsored by State Sen. Don Harmon is scheduled to be presented today in a House committee. It would make permanent a measure passed last spring that allowed same-day voting registration and extended early voting.

The original legislation made the changes effective only for the general election.

Harmon says same-day registration was a successful experiment that's worth continuing. Republicans argued the provisions were intended solely to boost Democratic turnout. 

Flickr user 401(K) 2012 / "Money" (CC v. 2.0)

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to pre-empt state action on local minimum wages. 

The City Council is planning special meetings to raise the city's minimum wage to 13 dollars an hour. A work force committee will meet today and a special council meeting is on Tuesday.

Officials are worried business groups will push for Springfield legislation that prohibits municipalities raising their minimum wage higher than the state's.

Wikipedia

Governor Pat Quinn granted clemency to 126 people Wednesday. Some of the crimes of those pardoned date back to the 1970s.

A number of them have been waiting for a decision for nearly a decade. A backlog of clemency requests built up under ex-governor Rod Blagojevich, who acted on very few appeals.

Ken Tupy serves with the Illinois Prisoner Review Board. He says the board makes recommendations on each case, but the governor doesn't have to follow it.

Rauner Gives Budget, Immigration Insight

Nov 26, 2014
www.twitter.com/brucerauner

The next Illinois governor is telling state agencies to prepare for budget cuts.

Republican Bruce Rauner is scheduled to be sworn in next month. That’s also when the state’s income tax is scheduled to drop - meaning less revenue. Rauner says he’s been meeting with the department heads who will present recommended cuts.

"We’ve had a budget that has been passed and is managed to that is nowhere near balanced. And we hope and believe that the department heads should be planning and preparing for a budget that actually is balanced."

Uber

Illinois lawmakers are writing a new bill to regulate rideshare companies.

Lawmakers passed a bill last spring that would require the most active rideshare drivers to be licensed and insured just like Chicago taxi drivers.

Bill sponsor Michael Zalewski says he reached a verbal compromise with Uber for a new bill to be considered in January. The compromise includes negotiations about background checks and licensing requirements for drivers.

State of Illinois

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.

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