February , 2019

(From New America Media) By Viji Sundaram   San Francisco — Christina didn’t think that getting pregnant would ...
Johnson Publishing Company Chairman Linda Johnson Rice Receives The Links Medal Washington, DC (BlackNews.com) -- Last ...
By slim margin, House fails to override veto after unprecedented threats to legislators Following ...
By William Spriggs The Chicago regional office of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ruled ...
      Statement by Jim Duffett, Executive Director, Campaign for Better Health Care   Hardworking Americans will no longer ...
SPRINGFIELD, IL - Legislation regulating high-risk residential mortgages and sponsored by State Senator Jacqueline Y. ...
The United States highlighted its continued commitment to Jordan with the announcement of a plan ...
Offender tried to rape 95-year-old woman Chicago, IL – Angry that an intruder broke into ...
Nationwide (BlackNews.com) -- February is here again, and Black History month is ...
(New America Media) By Earl Ofari Hutchinson   For a presidential candidate who claims race is meaningless when ...

Archive for July 26th, 2012

Madigan: New laws ban sending debtors to prison for debts, protect consumers from high costs of refund anticipation loans

Posted by Admin On July - 26 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

 Attorney General-Authored Bills Signed into Law


SPRINGFIELD, IL — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan commended Governor Pat Quinn’s enactment of two consumer-protection measures that she authored and negotiated: The Debtors’ Rights Act of 2012, which will prevent poor people from being jailed over unpaid debts, and an amendment to the Tax Refund Anticipation Loan Reform Act, a measure that will better protect consumers from the exceedingly high costs of refund anticipation loans and refund anticipation checks.

Madigan authored and negotiated the debtors’ rights bill to effectively bar creditors from abusing the court system to put debtors in jail to collect on a debt they justifiably cannot pay. The Attorney General sought the measure after learning that residents in roughly a third of Illinois’ counties commonly face incarceration when they fail to appear in court over a previously entered judgment to pay a debt. In many of these cases, notices of court hearings were mailed to addresses that were no longer valid, leaving many debtors unaware of the hearings. In spite of the failure to notify the debtors, courts have frequently issued warrants for their arrests.

Compounding the problem, according to the Attorney General’s office, is that many victims of these practices are living solely on income that is legally protected from being used to pay outstanding judgment debts, including Social Security, unemployment insurance or veterans’ benefits.

“It is outrageous to think in this day and age that creditors are manipulating the courts, even threatening jail time, to extract whatever they could from people who could least afford to pay—veterans, the unemployed, seniors who rely solely on their benefits to get by each month,” Madigan said. “This law corrects that gross oversight and puts a stop to throwing people in jail for being poor while still allowing fair debt collection when people have the means to pay their debts.”

The new law, which Gov. Pat Quinn signed today and becomes effective immediately, was sponsored by Rep. Ann Williams and Sen. William Haine. It also bans abusive and burdensome “pay or appear” orders that are routinely entered against debtors in some Illinois counties. These orders – which usually remain in effect for three years – require debtors to make a monthly payment or appear in court each month to explain why they are unable to pay, even if their financial circumstances have not improved. That means, if a debtor misses just one payment and court hearing, they can end up in jail. Debtors who have been victims of this practice typically owe outstanding medical bills, credit card debts or payday loans.

According to court documents obtained by Madigan’s office, one Illinois court entered a “pay or appear” order against a mentally disabled man living on legally protected disability benefits that provided him with $690 a month. Even though the man informed the court of his circumstances, he was still ordered to either pay $100 a month or appear in court once a month for a three-year period.

By amending the Code of Civil Procedure, the new law codifies and clarifies practices followed by attorneys, creditors and courts across Illinois to ensure that courts make a finding of a consumer’s ability to pay before entering a payment order, and it prohibits payment orders that rely on legally protected income and prevents arrest warrants from being issued unless the debtor was personally served with a hearing notice.

Stronger Protections for Refund Anticipation Loans

Madigan also applauded the Governor’s enactment of a bill she wrote and negotiated to better protect consumers from the excessive costs of tax refund anticipation loans and refund anticipation checks. Sen. Jacqueline Collins and Rep. Michael Zalewski sponsored the legislation.

These products are billed as a faster way to receive a refund around tax time, but in fact, they’re high-cost loans intended to siphon excessive fees from what taxpayers are actually owed based on their annual tax filings. The loans have interest rates running as high as 150 percent and can reduce a taxpayer’s refund by as much as 20 percent before they receive it. Refund anticipation checks, which are similarly riddled with exorbitant transaction fees, often are offered to taxpayers who do not qualify for a loan and simply allow the taxpayer to cash a refund – using a check or a pre-loaded debit card – after the IRS deposits it in a temporary bank account.   

“The only thing taxpayers should anticipate with these so-called ‘refund’ products is high fees and a smaller tax return,” Madigan said. “This new law will limit a loan’s excessive costs and better protect consumers in communities where these products are heavily marketed during tax season.”

In addition to limiting the costs and fees of refund anticipation products, the new law also requires increased disclosure, including information about fees and other costs, and adds additional protections for consumers who obtain refund anticipation loans from non-bank lenders, including payday lenders. The law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2013.

Street named in honor of Ed and Betty Gardner

Posted by Admin On July - 26 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS


Hundreds of admirers of Ed and Betty Gardner came out to praise them as entrepreneurs, humanitarians, political activists, arts advocates, anti-crime fighters and family role models during a ceremony where a street was named in their honor.  The official unveiling, which was sponsored by the Black on Black Love Organization, was held on July 12.  The street sign will be permanently placed at the corner of 87th and Dobson, former site of Soft Sheen Products, the multi-million dollar hair care firm that the couple founded.

According to Frances Wright, President and CEO, the celebration was an opportunity for a broad cross section of admirers to pay tribute to the Gardners in an event that was driven by the theme:  “Celebrating the Gardner legacy.”

Wright got the program underway by greeting the crowd and urging them to express self love, self respect and self discipline as a show of love to the Gardners, who practice this in their daily lives.

Following the special greeting, emcees Merri Dee and Reginald Mitchell, former Soft Sheen employee, praised the Gardners.

One by one, admirers offered words of love. The Rev. T.L. Barrett of Life Center Church called the couple his “god parents” and recalled their generosity.

Wright gave special acknowledgement to Alderman Michelle Harris for her hard work in making the event a success. In addressing the crowd, Harris held the couple up as the “epitome of what an African American entrepreneur is” and hailed them for being “leaders and examples of how we should lead our lives.”

Wright also recognized Melody Spann-Cooper of WVON for graciously donating studio time so fans could tape messages of invitation.

The tribute included a procession of praise.

oFormer Chicago Bulls player Sidney Green credited the Gardners for helping to secure his contract.

oLonnie Chambers, a student at Vanderpoel Elementary School, read his winning essay on the importance of promoting black on black love, a concept that the Gardners promote and live by daily.

oFather Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina Church hailed the couple as a “national treasure” and praised them for using their success “as a platform to make transformative change in America.”

Others who praised the Gardners were Spencer Leak, Sr., chairman of the board of Black on Black Love who asked the audience “Where’s the outrage” regarding the rampant killings.

Also speaking were Cook County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Evans who said the couple “symbolize compassion, integrity and love.”

Historian Dr. Timuel Black characterized them as “ordinary people doing extraordinary things.”

Speaking on behalf of the family, Gary Gardner, eldest son, said the Gardners’ approach to parenting was basic:  “They made us work, we had to be in the house before dark, and we ate together.  And, we always knew we were loved.”

In a special nod to Mrs. Gardner, daughter Terri declared that “she is the smartest woman I know who has her own swagger.”  Terri added that Betty created the structure for the company that allowed Soft Sheen to be successful.”

The grandchildren gave the ultimate tribute when they said their grandparents “have always been there for us.”

After the sign was unveiled, Mr. Gardner spoke to the admiring crowd.  He thanked Betty’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Gueno, for raising such a beautiful woman who became his wife.  He praised his beautiful children and those who came into his life, including educators and hair stylists.

He said that the family’s purpose was never to make money but was to “make life better for all human beings…especially African Americans – especially for those less fortunate than others.”

“We are the tools that God used to try to make life better for the African American family.”

On that note the ceremony ended and the crowd gathered around the Gardners as they continued to show love for this iconic couple.

The event was sponsored by Black on Black Love, which is devoted to promoting self-love, self-discipline and self-respect through a variety of programs.

For information, call Black on Black Love at 773-978-0868 or access the web site at www.bobl.org.

Photo Caption: Ed and Betty Gardner (seated) display the street sign named after them as friends and family surround them. Seated (far left) is daughter Terri and at far right is eighth ward Alderman Michelle Harris. Standing (l-r) are: Frances Wright, president/CEO Black on Black Love, children Tracy, Guy and Gary Gardner and grandchildren Kyle, Sara and Brandon Gardner.

State of the Black World Conference III to convene at Howard University November 14-18

Posted by Admin On July - 26 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

State of Emergency in Black America: Time to Heal Black Families and Communities


November 14-18, the Institute of the Black World 21st Century will convene State of the Black World Conference III at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Dedicated to the memory of Dr. Ronald Walters and featuring the launch of the Damu Smith Leadership Development and Organizer Training Institute, and organized around the theme State of Emergency in Black America: Time to Heal Black Families and Communities, the conference will address and seek to prescribe solutions for the alarming disinvestment, joblessness, gentrification, devastation, disorientation, crime violence, fratricide, racially biased drug and criminal justice policies and mass incarceration in America’s “dark ghettos”

Speakers, panelists, and resource people will present assessments of the “state of the race,” including the impact of the 2012 Presidential Election and offer suggestions/recommendations about how to move forward. Our goal is always to provide participants with analyses of the problems/issues we face as black people but, most importantly, useful information, strategies and models to address our condition and the inspiration to continue the struggle for Black progress. Resource people, panelists and participants will be asked to outline solutions/strategies for action to heal black families and communities in terms of what we as African people must do for ourselves, what we should demand of private sector institutions and what we should demand of government in critical areas , e.g., the Black family, education, economic/business development, health/environment, Black youth/young people, criminal justice, policy toward Africa and the Caribbean. The composite recommendations from the Working Sessions in these areas will comprise a Declaration of Intent to Heal Black Families and Communities, an action-agenda to be implemented collectivelyby organizations, institutions and agencies participating in this great gathering with IBW as the Resource Center.

A State of Emergency dictates that those who are affected act with a sense of urgency. It is with this sense of urgency that IBW calls upon our many friends, supporters and allies to join the mobilization to make this great gathering possible. IBW will not have large foundation grants or substantial corporation sponsorships to finance this effort. Achieving success will require the combined energy and effort of those who believe that there is a State of Emergency in Black America and are passionately committed to healing Black families and communities – a determined mobilization by like-minded people joining hands to ensure that “we shall overcome!” It is in that spirit and with that assurance, that we move forward, confident that State of the Black World Conference III will be one of the greatest gatherings of the 21st Century.

Yours in the struggle,

Dr. Ron Daniels          


Sec’y of State Jesse White’s legislation on distracted driving signed into law

Posted by Admin On July - 26 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Bans hand-held cell phone use by truck drivers; upgrades offense for texting while driving a commercial truck


Legislation proposed by Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White to further strengthen the laws on distracted driving was recently signed into law by Governor Pat Quinn. Effective January 1, 2013, this law will ban the use of hand-held cell phones by Commercial Drivers License (CDL) holders operating commercial motor vehicles and upgrades the offense to a serious violation for truck drivers ticketed for texting while driving.

“House Bill 5101 represents another important step in our efforts to combat distracted driving,” said White.  “With the increased use of technological devices, distracted driving continues to be a serious problem in our state and in the nation.  No driver has any business text messaging while they are driving, especially someone operating a commercial motor vehicle.  My goal as Secretary of State is to make the roads as safe as possible.”

House Bill 5101 was sponsored in the House by State Representative John D’Amico (D-Chicago) and in the Senate by Senator Martin Sandoval (D-Cicero). The bill was signed into law on July 20th. This law establishes both offenses as serious traffic violations; penalties for two serious violations received within a three year period may result in loss of CDL privileges for a two month period of time as set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

White has targeted distracted driving as a key element in his effort to improve road safety.  In 2008, White served as chairman of the state’s Distracted Driving Task Force.  He initiated a pair of key laws that took effect January 1, 2010 which banned texting while driving for all drivers and that banned hand-held cell phone usage for motorists driving in school and construction zones.

Beyond Sport Awards 2012 winners unveiled

Posted by Admin On July - 26 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

The winners of the Beyond Sport Awards 2012 were revealed in London on Wednesday (July 25th) bringing to an end the annual Beyond Sport Summit.

Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister and Chairman of the Beyond Sport Ambassadors, presented the award for Best New Project, supported by PwC to GOALS Haiti, which has used sport to mobilise communities in the country since the 2010 earthquake, empowering young people and adults to organise themselves to develop projects that improve shelter, leadership, and infrastructure.

The day’s other winners, with presenters including five-time Olympic champion Ian Thorpe, five-time ice skating world champion Michelle Kwan, Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) chairman Clarke Carlisle, NBA legend and activist John Amaechi and 1995 Rugby World Cup winning captain Francois Pienaar, included the Memphis Grizzlies picking up the global award for Sport Team of the Year and the Australian Rugby League Commission named Sport Federation or Governing Body of the Year, supported by SportAccord.

Wednesday’s other winners were Romania’s Sports for Education, Education for the Future (UNICEF Sport for Education Award); WASH United (Sport for Health Award); AMANDLA EduFootball (Sport for Conflict Resolution Award); Girls Kick It, Chicken House Project (Best Project for Social Inclusion, supported by Barclays Spaces for Sports); NRDC Sports Greening Project (Sport for the Environment Award, supported by NASCAR); Standard Chartered Bank (Corporate of the Year, supported by Fortune); and Skateistan (Innovation Through Sport Award, supported by StubHub).

They completed a 2012 line-up that also includes the Leadership in Sport Award, supported by P&G, which was awarded to Lord Seb Coe and Sir Keith Mills in June for their work with International Inspiration; and Street League, which won the P&G UK Impact Award in association with the Daily Telegraph. Meanwhile, on Tuesday night, 19-year-old Matiullah Haidar was presented with the Generation Ali Beyond Sport Award by sporting icons Muhammad Ali and David Beckham.

Each winning project will receive a bespoke package of support. All have received global recognition and will continue to benefit from in-depth profiling of their work through Beyond Sport’s channels and global network.

Nick Keller, the Founder of Beyond Sport, said: “These projects change lives and communities to an astonishing level. It is a privilege to meet, highlight and support the amazing leaders who drive them, and recognise the very best work in this hugely important sector.”

For more information on Beyond Sport and the Beyond Sport Awards, visit www.beyondsport.org.

A social justice fighter, Ora A. Higgins, dies at 101

Posted by Admin On July - 26 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

She was the great-great aunt of First Lady Michelle Obama


By Chinta Strausberg


Mrs. Ora A. Higgins, born on September 24, 1910 in Birmingham, Alabama, passed away on Wednesday, July 25, 2012, in Arizona at the age of 101 surrounding by her family. Mrs. Higgins was the first African American personnel director for Spiegel’s Inc. and served as a teacher for 31 years, at Dunbar Vocational Evening School. Mrs. Higgins was the great-great aunt of First Lady Michelle Obama.

Mrs. Higgins, founder of the Ora Higgins Youth Foundation, celebrated her 101st birthday at the 35th anniversary of the Ora Higgins Youth Scholarship Awards Dinner, on Saturday, October 8, 2011, at the Sabre Room in Hickory Hill, Illinois.

The Foundation’s 36th annual awards dinner will be held on Saturday, October 13, 2012 at the Sabre Room continuing the legacy of her work.

Over the years, more than $500,000 in scholarships has been awarded to high school graduates throughout the Chicago area. In addition, distinguished leadership awards were presented each year to outstanding community leaders.

Mrs. Higgins earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in personnel administration and a Master’s degree in business law from Northwestern University—two concentrations that literally opened the doors for African Americans to be hired in the work force. The Rev. Harold E. Bailey was one of the many who Mrs. Higgins encouraged to complete his education. Mrs. Higgins led a full life and was enriched by the many opportunities that she had to help people. She was an intergenerational blessing from elders to youth.

In 1945, armed with her degrees, Mrs. Higgins was asked to develop the plan for the integration of Spiegel’s Inc. workforce. She became the first African American woman to achieve this task that included giving educational programs to executives and their supervisors.

She taught them the value of diversity in the workforce and successfully broke down racial myths and barriers for people of color and insisted on equal pay and equal opportunities. In 1950, Mrs. Higgins’ talent was soon recognized by downtown department stores where she developed a similar program.

Education and employment were of primary concern to Mrs. Higgins, as well as the conditions of poor people and the status of peace. She made a speech before the U.S. Department of Labor on race, poverty, and a call for peace when Lyndon B. Johnson was President.

The Historymakers also chronicled Mrs. Higgins’ life.

Mrs. Higgins was a member of numerous organizations including being the national chairman of Women in Industry, a member of the Metropolitan YWCA’s executive board, a member of the National Conference of Christian and Jews’ Women’s Division, the Chicago Urban League and many other civil rights organizations. She also served as secretary of the board for the Joint Negro Appeal Office, served on the Chicago Commission on Human Relations Employment Committee, Chicago Guidance and Personnel Association, Board member of the Rehabilitation Workshop Association, secretary Board of directors of the Joint Negro Appeal, and personnel chairman at the Metropolitan YWCA.

Mrs. Higgins received numerous awards including the Chicago Association of Commerce and Industry and the Distinguished Service Award from Tuskegee Institute.

Mrs. Higgins is survived by two children, a daughter, Dr. Murrell Higgins Duster and a son, Rev. William “Chico” Higgins, 13 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren and 3 great great grandchildren.

Funeral services are pending.

For more information, contact Chinta Strausberg at 773-667-5165 or Chintabernie@aol.com

Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.

State Senator Collins’ protections for borrowers become law

Posted by Admin On July - 26 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

New restrictions enacted on refund anticipation loans, high-risk home loan terms


CHICAGO, IL – In a ceremony held at the Chicago Urban League, State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-16th) applauded as Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation she sponsored to protect borrowers from financial exploitation by both tax preparers who facilitate refund anticipation loans and mortgage lenders who burden low-income borrowers with unfair repayment terms. Senate Bill 1692 prohibits tax preparers from charging excess, hidden fees on refund anticipation loans (RALs) and also bans prepayment penalties, loan modification fees and balloon payments for high-risk home loans.

“This law represents yet another hard-won victory in the battle against all forms of financial exploitation, particularly those taking disproportionate advantage of low-income individuals and racial minorities,” said Sen. Collins, who chairs the Senate Financial Institutions Committee. “Through good times and bad, through booms and busts, the American dream remains just out of reach whenever people face discrimination, misinformation or predatory lending practices.”

RALs allow customers to get their tax refunds right away but often at extremely high interest rates. Although states cannot limit the interest rates banks charge, the new law does cap rates on RALs offered by payday lenders. It also prohibits tax preparation firms from charging higher fees to RAL customers than to customers who do not take out loans and requires them to disclose interest rates, terms and the fact that customers can receive their refunds from the IRS in eight to fifteen days, interest-free. Fulfilling last year’s promise of tax relief for the working poor, it makes it illegal to lend money at interest in anticipation of a state Earned Income Tax Credit refund.

“We’re making it clear that it was our intention to put extra spending money into the pockets of hard-working Illinoisans, not into the pockets of predatory lenders,” Sen. Collins said. “And by addressing the problem of prepayment penalties that can trap people in disadvantageous loans and balloon payments that make it harder for families to stay in their homes, we’re helping beleaguered households weather the storm of recession and avoid becoming another foreclosure statistic.”

SB 1692, which takes effect January 1, 2013, also harmonizes state law with the federal Dodd-Frank Act to eliminate confusion about the definition of a high-risk loan.

Recent Comments

Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

Recent Posts