February , 2019

[caption id="attachment_93265" align="alignleft" width="300"] Pictured above: Juanita Bratcher, Editor & Publisher, Copyline Magazine and Ashley ...
Illinois Jobs Decline Three Consecutive Months                                                                       CHICAGO, IL – The Illinois Department of Employment Security ...
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Judge Thomas E. Griffith of the Circuit Court of Macon County sentenced ...
Discuss DISGRACED and more at an October 6 conversation about identity and artistic representation, hosted ...
Community Groups Stand Behind Arrested Affordable Care Act Canvassers, Demand Protection of Constitutional Rights ...
Evanston, IL  -  Journalist Gwen Ifill, moderator and managing editor of “Washington Week” and senior correspondent for ...
New America Media By Andrew Lam Robin Williams once joked that death is “nature’s way ...
 Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch released the following statement today regarding the State Department email ...
 LOS ANGELES – A special agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security ...
By Marc H. Morial President & CEO, National Urban League Every Student Succeeds When Schools Are Funded ...

Archive for February 5th, 2015

“Today Marks a New Beginning for Illinois…”: Gov. Rauner Delivers State of the State Address

Posted by Admin On February - 5 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Full Text of Governor Bruce Rauner’s State of the State Address

Good Afternoon.

President Cullerton

Speaker Madigan

Leader Radogno

Leader Durkin

Lieutenant Governor Sanguinetti

Attorney General Madigan

Secretary White

Comptroller Munger

Treasurer Frerichs,

Members of the General Assembly,

Thank you for your service.

To our distinguished guests and to the media, thank you for attending today.

It is an honor to stand before you.

Today marks a new beginning for Illinois.

And a new partnership between the General Assembly and the governor.

Last November, voters made it clear they want bipartisan government. They want a government where people come together to solve problems and get things done.

They don’t want partisan bickering, political infighting or personal conflict to get in the way of serving the needs of the families of Illinois.

All of us were elected to do a job; to deliver real results; to serve the people of Illinois to the best of our ability.

All of us have a duty to serve ALL the people of Illinois, those who voted for us as well as those who did not vote for us.

The good Lord didn’t make us Republicans or Democrats. He made us in His image to do His work, to help each other, to make the world a better place.

We all have a moral duty to serve the long-term interests of the people of Illinois – to focus on the next generation, not the next election.

I am personally committed to working closely together with each and every one of you – meeting together, solving problems together, listening and learning from each other.

Together, we will do great things for the people of Illinois. We will once again make Illinois the greatest state in the greatest nation on earth.

The task ahead of us is daunting and we have no time to waste.

At the beginning of today’s session you should have received a copy of our policy agenda. It is bold, aggressive and comprehensive. It is both very necessary and very doable.

In our agenda, each of you will probably see some things you don’t like.

But each of you will certainly see many things that you like a lot.

We should consider it as a whole – not as a list of individual initiatives.

We must choose to see the big picture – an overall package – that will lift up all of the people we’ve been chosen to represent.

With that as our common goal, there is no doubt that we can, together, as partners, get big things done.

Let us commit to doing the people’s work.

Over the past dozen years, 275,000 more people decided to leave Illinois than chose to come here.

That’s like the cities of Springfield, Decatur and Champaign all completely disappearing.

And over that same time period, the states around us have been kicking our tails.

The WORST performing of our neighboring states has had 6 and a half times the job growth per 1,000 people as Illinois has had.

Iowa’s had more than 15 times the job growth that we’ve had.

Last summer, I met the Gryp family.

Michael, Andrea and their children are some of the luckier ones.

Michael lives in Illinois and wants to stay here, but after getting laid off couldn’t find a job near home. Now, he must commute one hour and twenty minutes to his office in Williamsburg, Iowa.

The Gryps’ loyalty and family roots have kept them in Illinois, but they wonder how much longer they can last, and whether their children can find good careers here.

And there are families like the Gryps in every community in Illinois.

It’s time to give them hope.

It’s time to give them the opportunity to stay.

Our top priority must be making Illinois competitive again, to grow more jobs here.

To become more competitive we must look to the structural impediments to our economic growth.

Our workers compensation, unemployment insurance and liability costs all rank among the worst in America.

Those costs add up to far more than just numbers on an accountant’s balance sheet.

They impact real people with real jobs and real families.

Onesimo Guiterrez is in the gallery today.

For 18 years, Onesimo has worked at the Sealy Mattress Factory in Batavia.

Recently he got a letter saying their plant is being moved to Indiana.

And the plant in Illinois is expected to close this Spring.

It is heartbreaking that what is happening to Onesimo is happening to countless others throughout the state.

Two and a half years ago, Modern Forge Company, a 100-year old, family-owned manufacturing business, began moving its operations to Indiana from Blue Island, Illinois.

Modern Forge employs 230 people. In Illinois, it paid between $700,000 and $1.5 million a year in workers’ comp premiums. In Indiana, the same premium is $250,000.

Modern Forge is competing with manufacturers across the country that don’t have Illinois’ costs.

Modern Forge needed to move to stay competitive.

Since then, they’ve hired 100 new Indiana workers, and today almost half of its workforce lives in Indiana.

Leaders in both political parties, including Attorney General Lisa Madigan, have advocated for much needed reforms that address the shortcomings of the workers compensation law that was passed in 2011.

Working together, we can create a common sense system that protects and fairly compensates those who are injured on the job, while also assuring that both public and private employers are not overburdened by an irrational system.

Too many people in our communities must overcome not only hurdles that state government has put in place, but also decades of hidden barriers that have caused their communities to suffer.

Approximately 80% of individuals in Illinois apprenticeship programs are white even though Caucasians make up fewer than 63% of our population.

Whatever the reason for this disparity, it has gone on for too long, and we must take specific, positive action to end this unfair situation.

We should require unions that contract with the state to have their apprenticeship programs reflect the demographics of Illinois communities, and to have their membership on public construction projects reflect the diversity in the surrounding area.

And we should create a Minority Enterprise Small Business Investment Program to assist minority entrepreneurs in startups throughout Illinois.

We must also help those workers who are barely getting by, by raising the minimum wage.

Our Economic Growth and Jobs Package increases the minimum wage to $10 an hour over the next 7 years.

Raising the minimum wage in conjunction with improving the overall jobs climate, will make Illinois more competitive and create a booming economy while increasing incomes for hardworking Illinoisans.

As we look to make Illinois more competitive, property tax relief is one of our most pressing challenges.

Our property tax burden is one of the biggest impediments to growth, and it hurts both businesses and middle class families.

The average homeowner in Illinois pays more than three times the amount of property taxes as a homeowner in Indiana – more than an additional $3,000 paid out of the family’s budget every single year.

Take for instance Christine Dolgopol, in the gallery today.

She bought her home in 1978. At the time her taxes were $1100. By 2013, her taxes were $4,797.

After accounting for inflation, Christine’s taxes have almost doubled, even after getting a senior exemption and almost yearly appeals.

She’s not alone.

Over the past decade, the average property tax bill has increased nearly 33 percent!

Meanwhile, real family incomes in Illinois have gone down… Families have been left with less income and more taxes.

Our property taxes are out-of-control and are crushing middle class families.

Illinois’ high property taxes have skyrocketed because state and local governments have been unable or unwilling to control their own spending.

We must empower taxpayers to take control of their property tax bills by giving them greater ability to control local government spending.

The time has come to give the people of Illinois the ability to drive value for their tax dollars.

Our agenda must be about empowerment, about empowering the people of Illinois to control their futures.

Empowerment means giving local voters the ability to control the collective bargaining issues in their local governments and take more responsibility for their employees’ benefits. Empowerment means giving local government employees the ability to decide for themselves whether they want to join a union. Empowerment means giving governments the ability to lower costs by reforming project labor agreements and prevailing wage requirements that block true competitive bidding.

These requirements can increase the cost of taxpayer-funded construction projects by 20 percent or more.

At the Illinois Tollway, uncompetitive bidding has cost toll payers over $1 billion since 2005.

At the Department of Transportation, uncompetitive bidding costs taxpayers more than $100 million per year.

Reforming the prevailing wage laws could save our schools nearly $160 million per year.

We must restructure bidding for construction projects at every level of government because reforms will save taxpayers billions – and we can reinvest these billions in even more capital projects.

Empowerment means giving taxpayers the ability to consolidate local governments to control costs.

Illinois has the most governments in the country – nearly 7,000 local units, and the taxpayers of Illinois can no longer afford all of them.

DuPage County Executive Dan Cronin is with us today. He has already achieved significant government consolidation. To date, his reforms have generated a projected $100 million in taxpayer savings through shared services, joint purchasing, employee benefit reforms and modifications to procurement practices.

Congratulations, Dan. You are a role model for all of us.

Empowerment means freeing local governments from unfunded mandates imposed by the state. We impose more than 280 unfunded mandates that cost local communities billions.

In the days ahead, I will be asking Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti to work with leaders like Dan Cronin on consolidation efforts as well as ways to reduce costs imposed on local governments.

We must also empower voters to decide for themselves whether they want their communities to become employee empowerment zones.

These zones will give employees the freedom to choose whether or not they want to join a union. Local communities – local voters – deserve this option so that they can compete with other states and other nations for new businesses and new investment.

Employee empowerment zones will increase jobs for residents, increase economic activity for local businesses and generate more tax dollars for local governments.

It’s a win-win-win proposal.

By implementing these reforms, we will give taxpayers and local governments the tools they need to freeze property taxes.

And it will allow us to begin reforming our out-of-date tax code.

We have an antiquated tax system whose base is too narrow, and that makes us uncompetitive.

Let’s work together to enact a competitive, 21st century tax system for a 21st century economy.

The best voter empowerment tool is term limits. Term limits overcome the power of incumbency and help bring fresh thinking to government.

Let’s finally give the people a chance to enact term limits by putting that constitutional amendment on the 2016 ballot, and let the voters decide.

At the start of this session, you received a summary of certain past conflicts of interest in Illinois state government. We must eliminate this sort of political dealing.

Government unions should not be allowed to influence the public officials they are lobbying and sitting across the bargaining table from through campaign donations and expenditures. That has been federal law since 1947.

Government must never force its employees to fund activities they do not support. President Jimmy Carter prohibited that at the federal level in 1978.

While we currently ban contributions from many businesses with state contracts, some of the largest recipients of taxpayer money, like hospitals that receive millions from Medicaid, are still able to funnel huge campaign donations to elected officials.

Let’s close the Special Interest Loophole, by extending the prohibition on political contributions for businesses with state contracts to all organizations with a state collective bargaining agreement, and organizations funded by entities receiving state Medicaid funds.

And, in time, we should take another step towards trustworthy government by prohibiting trial lawyer donations to elected judges, and move toward merit-based judicial reform as supported by the American Bar Association.

We will leave no stone unturned as we look to bring good government, good management practices, to Springfield. Over the past year, there has been discussion about reforming the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. To ensure the museum and library are the world-class institutions they deserve to be, our administration is working in partnership with Speaker Madigan on a reorganization plan, and we look to have a resolution during the Spring session.

And we’ve already spoken of the need to merge the Comptroller’s office with the Treasurer’s office.

Doing so would save taxpayers $12 million per year and would be a fitting tribute to Judy Baar Topinka’s legacy.

Let’s make Judy’s Amendment a reality.

Our state employees deserve fair, competitive wages – it’s time to revamp how compensation works in state government.

Let’s emphasize quality of work instead of simply longevity of work. Let’s pay great state employees more for their excellent performance.

And those who find innovative ways to save taxpayers money deserve to earn bonuses.

As we look further for government reform and to bring best management practices to our state, our criminal justice system is one area we MUST focus on.

We have to both prevent crime from occurring and reform the parole system and re-entry process so that the same people are not returning to prison over and over.

The conditions in our prisons are unacceptable. Inmates and corrections officers alike find themselves in an unsafe environment.

We will hire more correctional officers to improve safety in our prisons.

We will also continue to invest in Adult Redeploy.

Since its implementation in 2011, Adult Redeploy has diverted more than 1,900 offenders into community-based programming. Congratulations to all of you in the legislature who supported Adult Redeploy. Let’s continue to build on these corrections reforms.

Now, let’s talk about the most important thing we do as a community – education.

I promised to increase education funding and will keep that promise. We will increase k-12 education support, which will particularly help our most disadvantaged school districts.

And our budget will increase funding for early childhood education so that more at risk children can enter kindergarten ready to succeed.

From cradle to career, our children’s education needs to be our top priority.

That means we must also invest in technical and vocational training. We used to emphasize these programs in our high schools and community colleges, but those efforts have faded.

Let’s end the era of cutting funding for technical training and community colleges.

Every child deserves access to excellent schools, but that’s not what every child is getting in Illinois.

Too many students are trapped in failing schools or schools that are not a good fit for them.

We can give them better. We must give them better.

Lucy Reese is with us today. She lives in the Roseland neighborhood in Chicago and sends her children to public charter schools.

She made that decision because they offer longer school days, enhanced learning opportunities and variety for her kids.

Her youngest daughter has struggled in English and language arts. She currently attends Ralph Ellison Chicago Charter School, which makes sure she gets more attention in these subjects.

On the other hand, her son is a junior at Gary Comer College Prep. The high school offers a much more rigorous and disciplined curriculum – perfect for his accelerated learning style.

It’s time we give every child and parent in Illinois the same choices Lucy has been able to make for her children.

Our Student and Career Success Package will lift the cap on public charter schools and give parents and students more options.

Next to being a parent, teaching is the most important job in the world. We must support our many good teachers.

That means putting more resources directly into classrooms, reforming the education bureaucracy and rolling back costly mandates.

Our education bureaucracy stands between state resources and the classroom. We must find ways to reduce it.

Our students and teachers today are overwhelmed by too many tests. We must ensure that the amount of time we test our students doesn’t get in the way of high-quality instruction.

Much of the reform agenda we’re outlining today has been implemented in other states. The reforms are working so well in those states that they are causing US to become even less competitive.

We must avoid slipping further behind other states in the quality of our children’s education, the capacity of our economy to grow, and our ability to care for our state’s most vulnerable.

It’s now or never for Illinois. It’s time to act.

All of us in this chamber were elected to deliver results – make choices and cast votes that are in the best interest of the people of Illinois – choices about what’s best for the next generation, not the next election.

The time is NOW for all of us, Republicans and Democrats, to do big things – the right things – for the people of our Great State.

Now is the time for bold and decisive action! It is make or break time for the Land of Lincoln.

We can reclaim our proud history as a strong and vibrant state and fulfill our destiny as a beacon of the Midwest.

Illinois has a history of accomplishing big things. Yesterday, we marked the 150th anniversary of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which ended slavery. Illinois was the first state in the nation to ratify the amendment, put forward by our greatest statesman, Abraham Lincoln. When we believe in something, when we work together, we can change the course of history.

The year 2018 will mark Illinois’ 200th birthday. In the countdown to our Bicentennial, let’s come together- governor and legislators – to make the tough decisions that everyone from Chicago to Cairo and Rockford to Carbondale knows we must make.

This is our last best chance to get our house in order, to restore good government. Let’s approach our 200th Year as the Great State of Illinois… as a proud people, standing tall… with eyes focused on the future.

Competitiveness must become our watchword and opportunity and compassion our goals, so that we can once again become the place people want to come to build a better life for themselves and their families.

Today marks a new beginning. I’m excited and honored to work closely with you. Together, we will get great things done for the people of Illinois. Thank you, and God bless you.

Fair Economy Illinois Responds to Governor Rauner’s State of the State Address; Says His “Agenda Fails to Raise Adequate Revenue to Invest in the Critical Programs Illinois Needs in Order to be a Leading State in the Midwest”

Posted by Admin On February - 5 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Governor Rauner’s State of the State address outlined a platform that attacks the middle class and working families. His agenda fails to raise adequate revenue to invest in the critical programs Illinois needs in order to be a leading state in the Midwest.

“Illinois is in a revenue crisis,” said Brianna Tong, a student leader with the Illinois Indiana Regional Organizing Network, which is a member of Fair Economy Illinois. Governor Rauner said we need a “21st century tax system to reflect a 21st century economy.” A recent study by the Economic Policy Institute shows that between 2009 and 2012, the top 1% saw a 34.5% increase in income, while the bottom 99% has seen only a .2% increase in income. In addition, 97% of the total income gains Illinois saw in this period went to the top 1%. “We must upgrade our tax code by ensuring Big Corporations, LaSalle Street and the 1% pay their fair share. Then we can invest in public education, human services, health care and public safety to ensure Illinois is a truly great state.”

“Spending is not the problem in Illinois,” said Allen Wesolowski of ONE Northside, a member of Fair Economy Illinois. Illinois ranks the lowest in the nation in state employees per capita. According to the Fiscal Policy Center at Voices for Illinois Children, many human service programs have already sustained 23% cuts since 2009. “If Governor Rauner wants to ‘empower’ local communities, he and the legislature must boldly push for revenue from big corporations and the 1%. Our communities are under dire threat due to looming state budget cuts. We must take care of our people first, they’re our most valuable resource,” Wesolowski continued.

“Governor Rauner spent most of his speech attacking unions and public sector employees,” said Sonny Garcia, a public sector employee in Bloomington and leader of Illinois People’s Action, a member of Fair Economy Illinois. “Undermining workers’ rights to organize for safe working conditions and a living wage will further hurt Illinois’ middle class families. If we want Illinois to succeed, we must tax Big Corporations and the wealthy and invest in, instead of undermine the middle class.”

In November, Illinois voters overwhelmingly supported a referendum calling on Illinois legislators to raise the minimum wage to $10/hour by January 1, 2015. Today, Governor Rauner suggested raising the minimum wage to $10/hour over the next seven years. This guarantees that hardworking families working for the minimum wage will continue to earn poverty wages. Governor Rauner must work with the legislature to raise the minimum wage this session.

Fair Economy Illinois is a statewide alliance that organizes urban, suburban and rural residents around issues that affect the common good. We organize people and money in order to: 1) limit the power of corporations and private interests in our state; 2) ensure adequate revenue for the State of Illinois to fulfill its primary functions so Illinoisans may lead dignified lives with strong public education, high quality infrastructure, fully funded human services and public safety, and; 3) protect our environment and natural resources from corporate exploitation.

The alliance comprises three organizations: Illinois-Indiana Regional Organizing Network (IIRON), Illinois Peoples’ Action (IPA), and Organizing Neighborhoods for Equality: Northside (ONE Northside).

Pols Respond to Rauner’s State of the State Address

Posted by Admin On February - 5 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th):

SPRINGFIELD, IL — Illinois State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) issued the following statement after the governor concluded his State of the State address:

I’ve been in the business of improving Illinois for many years now. We’ve abolished the death penalty, overhauled workers’ compensation, protected voting rights and expanded minority participation in state contracts. I welcome Gov. Rauner to the effort. I’m ready to work with anyone who comes to the table with reasonable ideas and a willingness to compromise.

I do want to see more specifics and a detailed blueprint for where he is proposing to lead the state. The time for bashing Illinois and focusing on past problems is over; it’s time to govern this great state and start shaping its future.

Gov. Rauner has reached out to me for input on our next steps in criminal justice reform, and this is an area where we can find common ground. I’m very pleased with the initial indications of the Rauner administration’s direction on this issue – both in his words today and the individuals he has chosen to advise him. I look forward to working with the governor on a more just, humane and fiscally responsible approach to public safety.

Minority Legislators Challenge Rauner on Youth Employment Defunding Decision

“Where is the compassion? And how can the next generation hope to compete?”—    Sen. Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th)

Immediately following today’s State of the State address, State Senators Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) and Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago 20th) stood with a group of their House and Senate colleagues to highlight the urgent need for youth employment programs stripped of state funding last week. The legislators, members of the House and Senate Black and Latino Caucuses, challenged the governor to square his actions with his rhetoric.

“In today’s speech, we heard about opportunities for disadvantaged communities,” Collins said. “But what we’ve seen so far is those opportunities denied. Let’s move beyond rhetoric to solutions.”

“Youth and after school programs are critically important for keeping young Latinos healthy and safe, and I am committed to ensuring that these programs are funded in the future,” Martinez said. “The governor ran on a platform of making Illinois a more ‘competitive and compassionate’ state, but his administration’s decision to rescind grants for youth programs is troubling and inconsistent with his campaign’s theme.”

More than 30 Chicago-area agencies providing youth employment and afterschool programming were informed last week that they were no longer allowed to spend state funds they were awarded in December as part of the Department of Human Services’ Youth Development Grant program. Their state contracts took effect January 1. The decision froze nearly $8 million in funds that had already been budgeted for afterschool and summer programs, mentoring, job training and job opportunities for young people, particularly in low-income and high-crime neighborhoods.

“You tell us you want Illinois to become the most competitive and compassionate state in the nation,” said Collins, who also invited Rauner to visit her district and view the impact of his decision. “We are asking you – where is the compassion? And without mentoring, job training and a chance to work, how can the next generation of low-income minority youth hope to compete?”

Illinois Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger: State’s Challenges Require Spirited Debate

Comptroller welcomes comprehensive approach

Illinois Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger released the following statement Wednesday in response to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s State of the State address:

“Governor Rauner showed leadership today by addressing our challenges head-on and laying out a comprehensive strategy for getting our state, and its economy, back on track.

“Too often, Illinois has taken a piece meal approach to governing, managing crisis to crisis instead of addressing the root of the problem. The Governor took a different tact in his address today, clearly defining the most pressing issues facing our businesses and families and offering his vision for how best to address them.

“To be clear: we will not agree on everything. And when the Governor offers more detail in his budget address later this month, there will be plenty of debate about how best to move forward. But that spirited discussion is exactly what is required and I look forward to working with all parties to ensure that it results in real solutions for our state and its taxpayers.”

Putin and Obama in Charge of the Internet?

Posted by Admin On February - 5 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Protect Internet Freedom

From Sen. Ben Sasse

“We now have a court order. We’ll eradicate Twitter. I don’t care what the international community says. Everyone will witness the power of the Turkish Republic,” Prime Minister of Turkey, Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey isn’t alone. During the “Green Revolution” in 2009, Iran implemented a widespread crackdown on the Internet. China has censored information for years. And Russia made Facebook take down content that was critical of Putin last year.

These are just a few examples of what can happen when Government takes total control of the Internet. That’s why I’m writing today. I need your help to keep the Internet open and free.

On November 10th, 2014, President Obama called on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to re-classify the Internet as a public utility. He proposed dusting off a law that’s nearly 80 years old (and about unrelated technology) and using it to give the Federal Government power to police the Internet.

I know many people do not love the big Internet providers (count me as one of them) and just want to make sure that consumers are not stuck with slow access speeds and bad service. That’s a good goal.

But the solution is not to get Government in this space with expanded powers to police the Internet. Internet freedom is just too precious to hand Washington new regulatory powers over the Internet without oversight.

You see, if President Obama gets his wish, instead of the “light touch” approach that has allowed the Internet to flourish for years, Government bureaucrats would be put in charge of a new heavy-handed regulatory scheme.

Worst of all, Americans do not fully understand the implications of how far this could go because it’s all happening so fast. Instead of Congress having a public debate out in the open where the American people can listen and Congress is held accountable, the Executive Branch is rushing to pre-empt Congress and jam this new regulation through while the American people are not really paying attention. (If this reminds you of Nancy Pelosi’s “We have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it” statement about ObamaCare a couple years ago, it should.)

Americans should be deeply concerned about the chilling effect a Government controlled Internet could have on speech. Recent actions taken by foreign governments should make every American nervous when thinking about a Government controlled Internet.

That’s because the Internet is not just a more efficient way of engaging in commerce; it’s the greatest threat to tyrannical Governments in the world today. Autocrats like Putin do not want a free and open Internet. They want a “small I” Internet that runs more like their own personal intranet that they can control. America must remain a global leader for a free and open Internet and continue to tell countries like Iran, Russia, and China “No” on regulating the Internet access of their people, and their right to free speech.

Both Republicans and Democrats agree that maintaining a free and open Internet is the goal. But more Government intervention will not help us reach that outcome. It will restrict the dynamism that has fueled the greatest revolution since Henry Ford invented the Model T, and choke political speech.

I believe this truly is a slippery slope scenario where years in the future, another Administration could use power over the Internet to censor speech and intimidate political opponents.

I know there will be those who try to dismiss this concern out of hand…But after the way our Government has operated over the last six years, does anyone really think we should just give Washington control over something as precious as the Internet?

Do we really want the same type of people who brought us the IRS scandal–where they targeted political opponents of the Administration–making decisions about political speech online?

Should the same type of people who were responsible for the utter failure of the Veterans Administration be in a decision-making position on the future of the Internet? Can the same group of “tech experts” responsible for the roll out of Healthcare.gov really be entrusted with maintaining transparency and access online?

It’s up to us to preserve the Internet for our kids and grand kids as the one of the greatest forces for freedom the world has ever known. A Government-controlled Internet is not the right choice.

The FCC votes on February 26th. They need to hear from you today.

Please, join me today in calling on the Obama Administration and the FCC to keep the Internet open and free.

For Internet Freedom,

Sen. Ben Sasse

P.S. We don’t have much time left to tell the FCC “NO” on taking over the Internet. You need to make your voice heard today if you want to keep the Internet open an free.

Advocates to Press City Candidates on Public Mental Health and Release Candidate Survey Results

Posted by Admin On February - 5 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Forum Will Be Followed by Candlelight March to ABC7 Studios on Debate Night Thursday, February 5; forum at 6 p.m., march at 7 p.m. at Chicago Temple, 77 W. Washington, Chicago

The Mental Health Movement (MHM), an organization of mental health care consumers, providers, and advocates, will hold a forum on Mental Health and the 2015 Elections on Thursday, February 5, 6 pm, at the Chicago Temple, 77 W. Washington Street. Immediately following the forum the group and supporters will light candles and march peacefully to ABC7 studios, 190 N. State Street. The station is sponsoring a mayoral debate that will be broadcast later that evening.All aldermanic and mayoral candidates have been invited and results of a survey of all candidates will be released at the event.

The forum will include testimony from people directly impacted by the Emanuel administration’s mental health clinic closures and is intended to inform mayoral and aldermanic candidates, as well as voters, about mental health issues in the run-up to the February 24 citywide elections. It will examine the impact of the closing of six of the city’s 12 mental health clinics, conditions at the remaining clinics, the impact on the city, a vision of improved mental health care and related city services, and how that vision can be achieved. The march to the ABC7 studios will help bring these issues to broader public attention and encourage the candidates to address them in their platforms.

“A lot of people aren’t aware of the human and financial burden placed on the public when the clinics closed,” says MHM organizer N’Dana Carter. “There’s a huge cost in public hospitals and emergency rooms, police, courts, and County jail, as well as patients and families. We’ll present a plan for reopening the six clinics over three years, at a cost of just $2.7 million a year. It’s a plan that’s fair, humane, and cost-effective.”

The Mental Health Movement, a grassroots organization led by mental health consumers, took shape when Chicago first threatened to close city-sponsored mental health clinics in 2009. The group has drawn nationwide attention with its mass protests, broad outreach, and community education about the need for access to appropriate and consistent mental health services in the city’s neighborhoods.

The Mental Health Movement will hold a forum on mental health care in Chicago, followed by a candlelight march to ABC7 studios, Thursday, February 5; forum at 6 p.m., march at 7 p.m. at Chicago Temple, 77 W. Washington, Chicago

Madigan: Federal Data Breach Law Should Not Weaken States’ Consumer Protections

Posted by Admin On February - 5 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Madigan Testifies in D.C. as Congress Considers Data Breach Notification Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following what has been termed “The Year of the Data Breach,” Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan today testified before the U.S. Senate, calling on Congress to enact a strong, meaningful federal data breach notification law that provides greater transparency for data breach victims and regulators to better understand what information was compromised in a breach, how it occurred and whether adequate security measures were in place to protect customer information.

“Congress should seek to pass legislation that ensures notification of breaches that can harm Americans,” Madigan said. “A weak national law that restricts what most state laws have long provided will not meet Americans’ increasing and rightful expectation that they be informed when their information has been stolen.”

Madigan testified earlier today before the Senate’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Science and Transportation in a hearing titled “Getting it Right on Data Breach and Notification Legislation in the 114th Congress.” The epidemic of data breaches has grown over the past decade, now affecting almost every American consumer and inflicting billions of dollars of damage to the U.S. economy. Since 2005, almost 4,500 publicly known breaches have affected over 900 million consumer records. In 2013 alone, Madigan’s office saw a 1,600 percent increase in data breach complaints compared to the year before.

Madigan called on members of the subcommittee to authorize a federal agency to investigate large, sophisticated data breaches, akin to the National Transportation Safety Board’s role in aviation accidents. A single federal entity authorized to investigate data breaches would provide expertise in data security for the country to better protect American consumers.

The Attorney General also testified that a federal data breach law must cover a broad range of sensitive data – not just social security numbers or stolen credit card numbers but also: online login credentials, medical information shared on the internet that is outside the scope of current privacy regulations, biometric data, and geolocation data. Companies must be required to report any data breach involving this type of personal information, Madigan said.

Equally as important as Congress considers a federal data breach notification law, Madigan said, is the ability for state regulators to continue investigating data breaches at the state level. Federal legislation must not preempt the states’ ability to respond and act when data breaches affect residents in their states. Any preemption by Congress must only provide a “floor” for reporting requirements and preserve a state’s ability to use its consumer protection laws to investigate data security practices and enforce federal law.

Attorney General Madigan has launched numerous investigations into whether businesses and health care providers are adequately protecting consumers’ data. She is currently leading investigations into large data breaches reported since 2013 including Target and Neiman Marcus. In 2005, Madigan led the effort to enact a state law to require companies to promptly notify their customers of data breaches to ensure consumers know when their sensitive data has been compromised. The Attorney General also supports her office’s Identity Theft Unit, which staffs a statewide hotline (1-866-999-5630) to provide one-on-one assistance to victims of identity theft and data breaches. The ID Theft Unit has helped reverse over $27 million worth of fraudulent charges on over 37,000 Illinois consumers’ accounts.

For more information, read Attorney General Madigan’s written testimony from the hearing.

ABC Debate Notes Leaked to Garcia Campaign

Posted by Admin On February - 5 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – ABC, the League of Women Voters and Univision confirmed to mayoral campaigns late Tuesday that debate notes and potential questions for candidates had been leaked to the Garcia campaign.  Because of this leak, the sponsoring organizations sent all campaigns the notes and questions in a good faith attempt to level the playing field.

However, these actions raise serious questions that are yet unanswered for Thursday’s debate:

·        Who from the sponsoring organizations gave the Garcia campaign working documents and potential questions?

·        How long did the Garcia campaign have the working documents and potential questions?

·        Who from the campaign had access to the notes and questions?

·        What actions are being taken to ensure that this does not happen again?

·        What faith do candidates and viewers have that Mr. Garcia’s campaign is not receiving further help in this debate and others?

“These revelations are troubling and really demonstrate the power of the political machine in Chicago,” said Michael Kolenc, and advisor to Fioretti’s campaign.  “This is the same kind of back-room shenanigans that have put Chicago in the mess we are in now.  Mr. Garcia owes Chicagoans an explanation.”

Radio Host Doug Stewart Launches Online Radio Show

Posted by Admin On February - 5 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
Former Co-Host of “The 2 Live Stews Brings Lighthearted Sports Radio to the Internet

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — Radio host Doug Stewart has launched a new online sports radio show that made it’s debut in mid-September. The Doug Stewart Show features lighthearted sports interviews and commentary that can be heard live through the shows mobile app and on the shows website, www.thedougstewartshow.com

The Doug Stewart Show offers a fun, lighthearted experience that fans familiar with The 2 Live Stews were longing for. The Doug Stewart Show serves its listeners honest, raw, sports takes heard daily from Doug and his fully engaged interactive audience in the live Spreaker chat, the platform from which the show broadcast. Doug conducts interviews with the biggest names in sports, and listeners are consistently entertained. “The Doug Stewart Show is a harbinger of sports talk candor,” says Stewart, a former co-host of the syndicated The 2 Live Stews radio show.

Doug’s two-hour show airs Mondays -Friday from 11am-1pm Eastern Time. The show is also available as a podcast currently housing more than 96 episodes. Listeners tuning in to The Doug Stewart Show can look forward to high quality audio comparable to terrestrial radio, and are able to call in and interact with Doug. The show is entering it’s 5th month on air, and is creating a firestorm in the online sports talk radio forums, boasting 75,000 plus listens through the Spreaker platform alone (verifiable here).  The Atlanta Journal Constitution is also talking about the show & it’s success in such a short time, read more here.

Doug Stewart is best known for being half of the duo of The 2 Live Stews hosted for over a decade with brother Ryan Stewart. The 2 Live Stews debuted in 2001 on Sports Radio 790 The Zone in Atlanta and eventually grew to a nationwide audience. The show, which was best described as from the basement style sports talk, gained such popularity that Doug and Ryan were seen regularly on ESPN2s First Take. The 2 Live Stews was nationally syndicated via Sporting News Radio.
About Doug Stewart
Growing up in Moncks Corner, South Carolina, Doug Stewart never dreamed of being a sports radio host. He and his brother, Ryan Stewart, followed the advice of friends one day and called up 790 The Zone to get some air-time to talk sports. This led to the debut of The 2 Live Stews on Sports Radio 790 The Zone in 2001. Their following grew to a nationwide audience. The brothers and The 2 Live Stews were named Air Talent of the Year by ESPN in 2005.

Everyblackevent.com Celebrates Black History Month – Invites Public to Submit Photos and Essays of Historical Events

Posted by Admin On February - 5 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Durham, NC (BlackNews.com) – To celebrate Black History Month, EveryBlackEvent.com is inviting the public to submit photos, written accounts (essays or short stories), or other media of historical Black events. The very best submissions will be featured on the website for the world to see.

EveryBlackEvent.com is a comprehensive nationwide list of African-American events and organizations. The site provides a way for any Black organization to easily submit information about upcoming events for immediate, worldwide distribution. It also includes profiles and contact information of Black organizations, video clips, a slot machine game and a page for anyone to signup as a volunteer. The web site’s slogan is: “Every Black Event; Past, Present, and Future.”

The Black history month submission idea was inspired by Mr. Horace Henry of Atlanta, GA and Mr. Eric B Willis of Waterford, MI.

Mr. Henry has been a photographer in Atlanta since 1969 and is the author of the book One Day in January, features a series of photos of the very first memorial service for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which took place nine months after his assassination.

Mr. Willis is the author of The Willis Handbook: An Intersection of Genealogy, Memoirs & History of a Black Family 1835-2003, which chronicles 168 years of an African American family from the slavery era to the technology age.

For more information on how to submit a photo or written account for Black History Month, interested ones should visit www.EveryBlackEvent.com and click on the “Black History” tab.

AME Church Leaders Cite Black Economic Empowerment as 2015 Goal

Posted by Admin On February - 5 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS



By Hazel Trice Edney

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, he and other protestors had won passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Therefore, his agenda had turned toward the next major issue – economic empowerment for Black people.

Therefore, on April 3, 1968, planning a march on behalf of oppressed sanitation workers, Dr. King told preachers at the Mason Temple in Memphis, Tenn., “It’s all right to talk about long white robes over yonder, in all of its symbolism. But ultimately people want some suits and dresses and shoes to wear down here!

“It’s all right to talk about streets flowing with milk and honey, but God has commanded us to be concerned about the slums down here, and his children who can’t eat three square meals a day.

“It’s all right to talk about the new Jerusalem, but one day, God’s preacher must talk about the new New York, the new Atlanta, the new Philadelphia, the new Los Angeles, the new Memphis, Tennessee. This is what we have to do.”

The next day, Dr. King was assassinated.

Nearly 47 years later, as America last month celebrated the King birthday holiday and is now celebrating Black History Month, a group of church leaders appears to be carrying out this Black economic empowerment goal in earnest. Invited to speak to a recent gathering of pastors and leaders of the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church, National Bankers Association President Michael Grant cited the words of human rights champion Paul Robeson:

‘”We realize that our future lies chiefly in our own hands,'” Grant quoted. “‘We know that neither institution nor friends can make a race stand unless it has strength in its own foundation; that races like individuals must stand or fall by their own merit; that to fully succeed they must practice the virtues of self-reliance, self-respect, industry, perseverance, and economy.'”

Grant continued in his own words: “We played a major role in growing America from a small colonial outpost to the greatest industrial giant the world has ever known. We don’t have to argue about our ability to grow wealth. We have made everyone else rich, some filthy rich. Isn’t it time that we finally make our efforts productive for ourselves?”

Grant was keynote speaker during a special session on “Economic Development through the Black Church” during the A.M.E. Church’s 2nd District Mid-year Opening Plenary Session in Raleigh, N.C. late last year. His speech preceded a panel discussion that also included Marie Johns, former deputy administrator at the Small Business Administration; Ron Busby, president/CEO of the U. S. Black Chambers Inc. and Rev. Jonathan Weaver, senior pastor of Greater Mt. Nebo A.M.E. Church in Bowie, Md., and board member of the A.M.E. organization that deals with economic growth and development projects.

Following the forum, Weaver says A.M.E. pastors, led by Bishop William P. DeVeaux, are now poised to carry out a specific plan that they hope will spread to other denominations and ultimately catch fire in other denominations and the Black community throughout 2015.

“Clearly where we are at this point is to actualize and implement what we discussed in Raleigh,” said Weaver in an interview. “The whole thrust was how Black churches can help to empower Black businesses.”

The starting plan, in a nutshell, is for churches located in the A.M.E. Second District – North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and D.C. – to commit to the support of two Black-owned businesses. They are Thomas Morehead, president of a BMW dealership in Sterling, Va. and Donnell Thompson, co-founder/co-owner of RWDT Foods, Inc., a chain of restautrants based in N. Snellville, Ga.

AME church members buying from those two businesses will cause the churches to benefit from those sales; then identify other businesses in and around the states and “replicate this process”, Weaver described. After tracking the sales, initiated by the churches, the hope is that other church districts will get involved and that the movement will spread to other businesses and other churches.

“And we certainly hope and pray that this will become a much larger Black faith effort and we will reach out to the Baptist community, the Church of God and Christ and the list goes on,” Weaver said. “If we’re able to affect a significant change in terms of relationship with Black businesses, can you imagine if we’re able to boost their profit margin and therefore they are going to have to hire more people and therefore they will be reaching back to the faith community. More people will have jobs, they will have better jobs; therefore there will be less frustration, economically, in our community.”

So far, the congregations have been receptive to the idea, Weaver said. “Quite frankly, I’ve not met any resistance thus far.”

In his speech, Grant reminded the audience that a legacy of Black economic develop was at the core of the founding of the A.M.E. Church.

“I agree with that great A.M.E. historiographer, Dr. Dennis C. Dickerson, who said that the history of the African Methodist Episcopal Church – founded – by Bishop Richard Allen – reflects the black liberationist narrative of African – American history,” Grant said. “Nearly eight decades before the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, Allen, a free man, was already promoting Black economic development. So it is fitting that we come to his church today with an urgent message: The time for Americans of African descent to take our place at the round table of economic opportunity is now. With each passing day, the price of not having a well – thought out economic agenda for Black America continues to extract a toll and degrade our position in this country and throughout the diaspora.”

Grant, who last year received the U. S. Department of Commerce’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his Black business advocacy, ticked off statistics that undergird the need for an economic movement to support Black-owned businesses and Black-owned banks:

There are currently 1.9 million Black-owned businesses in America, but only about one in 20 have more than one employee and less than 2 percent have annual gross receipts of more than $1,000,000.

In terms of relative wealth, White America is 20 times richer than Black America, according to a recent Pew Report.

In the 1960’s, we had 60 Black-owned banks. Today, that number has dwindled to only 30. What is insane about this tragic loss is this: The bank is the only institution in our community that can leverage or multiply dollars 7, 8, 9 or 10 times. That means for every $1,000,000 dollars of invested capital in these banks, they are able to loan out 7, 8, 9 or $10 million for economic development, business growth and job creation.

Grant said African-Americans lost significant ground in business ownership after integration, largely because African-Americans were no longer forced to support each other.

“As long as we were forced to trade with each other and barter with each other, our businesses (small as they were) thrived. But in our minds, we were never quite good enough. We had internalized the lie about our lack of inherent worth,” he said. “When the doors of integration gave us the long – awaited pass to wine and dine with our former oppressors, we enthusiastically abandoned our own in search of an elusive White acceptance. We believed then – and many of us still do – that association would bring on assimilation.”

Dr. King concluded on April 3, 1968, the eve of his assassination: “We’ve got to stay together and maintain unity. You know, whenever Pharaoh wanted to prolong the period of slavery in Egypt, he had a favorite, favorite formula for doing it. What was that? He kept the slaves fighting among themselves. But whenever the slaves get together, something happens in Pharaoh’s court, and he cannot hold the slaves in slavery. When the slaves get together, that’s the beginning of getting out of slavery. Now let us maintain unity.”

Photo Captions:

Photo 1: Rev. Jonathan Weaver

Photo 2: National Bankers Association President Michael Grant, U.S. Black Chambers Inc. President Ron Busby, and A.M.E. board member Rev. Jonathan Weaver discuss a new plan for economic development through the Black Church.

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