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Archive for May 21st, 2015

Attorney General Madigan Announces $6 Million Settlement With Credit Reporting Agencies

Posted by Admin On May - 21 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
Settlement Implements Significant Changes at Equifax, Experian & TransUnion

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced a $6 million settlement with the three national credit reporting agencies – Equifax Information Services LLC, Experian Information Solutions Inc. and TransUnion LLC – that will increase transparency and accuracy of credit reports to benefit consumers.

Madigan and attorneys general from 30 other states reached the settlement that will require the credit reporting agencies to implement numerous changes, including providing better protections for consumers who find errors on their credit reports, limiting when medical debts can be placed on a consumer’s credit report and establishing specific protocols for victims of identity theft who find fraudulent accounts and debts in their name.

The settlement is enforceable in court pursuant to the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. The settlement is the result of a multistate investigation by Madigan and the other attorneys general over concerns with how the credit reporting agencies compile and maintain consumer data, and how they investigate and handle consumer disputes. The investigation focused on how the credit reporting agencies investigate consumer disputes about errors on credit reports, monitor and discipline providers of credit reporting information known as data furnishers, maintain accurate consumer information and market credit monitoring products to consumers who call the credit reporting agencies to dispute information on their credit report.

The settlement requires credit reporting agencies to hold data furnishers to higher standards, to limit direct-to-consumer marketing, to provide greater protections for consumers who dispute information on their credit reports, to limit certain information that can be added to a credit report, to provide additional consumer education and to comply with state and federal laws, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Specific provisions of the settlement are detailed below.

Holding data furnishers to higher standards:
  • Requires the credit reporting agencies to maintain information about problematic data furnishers and to provide a list of those furnishers to the states upon request.
  • Requires credit reporting agencies and furnishers to use a better, more detailed system to share data.
Limiting direct-to-consumer marketing:
  • Prohibits the credit reporting agencies from marketing credit monitoring services during a dispute phone call with a consumer until the dispute portion of the call has ended.
  • Requires the credit reporting agencies to tell consumers that purchasing a product is not a requirement for disputing credit reporting information.
Adding protections for consumers who dispute credit reporting information:
  • Provides an escalated process for handling complicated disputes, such as those involving identity theft, fraud or mixed files, which is when one consumer’s information is mixed with another.
  • Requires each credit reporting agency to notify the other agencies if it finds a mixed file.
  • Requires the credit reporting agencies to send a consumer’s supporting documents to the data furnisher.
  • Allows consumers to obtain one additional free credit report in a 12-month period if they dispute information on their credit report and a change is made to the report as a result of the dispute.
Limiting certain information that can be added to a consumer’s credit report:
  • Generally prohibits fines and tickets from being added to credit reports.
  • Requires that medical debt cannot be placed on a credit report until 180 days after the account is reported to the credit reporting agency to allow consumers time to work out issues with their insurance companies.
  • Requires debt collectors to provide the original creditor’s name and information about the debt in order for the debt information to be added to a credit report.
Requiring additional consumer education:
  • Requires credit reporting agencies to tell consumers how they can further report problems about the outcome of an investigation into a dispute, such as filing a complaint with other agencies.
  • Requires the website www.annualcreditreport.com to contain links to each credit reporting agency’s dispute website and prohibits ads from appearing on that site.
Joining Madigan in announcing the settlement were the attorneys general from the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Wisconsin.
Assistant Attorney General Paul Isaac handled the case for Madigan’s Consumer Fraud Bureau.

Black Youth Project 100 Chicago Rally to End Police Violence against Black Women and Girls

Posted by Admin On May - 21 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – Members of Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100) Chicago Chapter will hold a rally to demand the Chicago Police Board fire Detective Dante Servin with no pension, provide data on police sexual assaults, and advocate for an independent publicly elected civilian police accountability council.

The rally will be held Thursday, May 21st at 7:30 P.M. Central at Chicago Police Department Headquarters, 3510 S. Michigan Avenue, in Chicago.

The Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100) Chicago Chapter will join the National Day of Action for Black Women and Girls. In coordination with Black Lives Matter and Ferguson Action, BYP100 will lead a public rally outside of Chicago Police Department Headquarters to demand an end to police violence against all Black women and girls and to fire Detective Dante Servin; the CPD officer who was dismissed of all charges for murdering Rekia Boyd.

Black women and girls are victims of police violence, but their stories are less highlighted in comparison to Black men that have been victimized by police violence. BYP100 demands that justice is sought for all Black women and girls that are victims of physical, sexual, and structural violence by the police. In 2014, the Black Women’s Blueprint and Women’s All Point Bulletin to the Committee Against Torture reported that rape and sexual violence is the second most prevalent form of police violence. The report also cited an increase in the over-policing of Black women and that Black women are being incarcerated 6 times more than their White counterparts.

BYP100 will rally and address the police board directly to demand that a publicly elected civilian police accountability council is created completely independent from the Chicago Police Department (CPD), Detective Servin is fired from CPD without pension, and data be provided on police sexual assaults.

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1446328395661930/

Illinois Legislative Black Caucus: Don’t Forget Our Youth When Drafting the Budget

Posted by Admin On May - 21 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL – A recent study conducted by the University of Chicago Crime Lab revealed that summer youth employment initiatives supported by members of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus resulted in a decreased amount violent crime during summer months. Violence prevention programs provided jobs for thousands of at-risk youth during the summer months.

Participants held a variety of jobs, ranging from camp counselors to administrative aides. A majority of the participants were from neighborhoods where unemployment rates exceed 19 percent.

“Providing our youth with alternatives to being in the streets is necessary to ensure the next generation has the chance to thrive,” said Senator Emil Jones III, Chairman of the Senate Black Caucus. “I hope Governor Rauner will take note and make funding for summer youth employment programs a priority.”

Representative LaShawn Ford, Chairman of the House Restorative Justice Committee believes summer jobs programs keep at-risk youth from entering the correctional system by having alternative activity that helps them develop life and career skills.

“Housing an inmate in Cook County jail costs around $45,000 per year as opposed to the summer Youth Employment Program that costs around $3,000 per year per participant,” Ford said. “Summer employment saves taxpayers money in the long run.”

Last year, the program provided employment and job skills training for more than 4,000 youth who worked part-time at partnering local businesses, government offices and non-profit organizations.”

“The summer months are primarily when we see a spike in crime across the city. If we want to see continued reductions in crime and create a stronger workforce, summer youth programs are where we can get our highest return on investing in our youth,” said Black Caucus Chairman Senator Kimberly A. Lightford.

A study by the University of Chicago Crime Lab found that violent crime arrests decreased by 43 percent for teens who were employed and received support from mentors.

“Violent crime is incredibly regressive in its impact—it takes the greatest toll on society’s most vulnerable,” said Roseanna Ander, Executive Director of the Crime Lab. “There is far too little policy and research attention, as well as precious few resources focused on adolescents, especially those from disadvantaged neighborhoods who are really struggling.”

House Committee Approves Dunkin Legislation Fighting Discriminatory Employment Practices

Posted by Admin On May - 21 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois State Rep. Ken Dunkin, D-Chicago, passed a bill out of a House committee this week that will help protect minority workers from discrimination by temporary service agencies.

“Across the country, minority workers continue to be underemployed, and something needs to be done about it,” Dunkin said. “With this bill, I am working to fight discrimination that continues to plague the job market.”

Temporary employment agencies are currently required to keep records containing the race and gender of all the laborers they hire and make them available to the Department of Labor, however they are not required to keep these records for people who apply but are not hired. Dunkin is sponsoring Senate Bill 47, which addresses the problem by requiring agencies to keep records on the race, ethnicity and gender of all applicants in order to show how many minority applicants are turned away. The records must be made available to the Department of Human Rights in addition to the Department of Labor.

“Jobs should go to the best applicant, regardless of their race, gender or ethnicity, but right now we have no way of making sure that happens,” Dunkin said. “This bill will provide transparency into the hiring practices of temp agencies and help incentivize fair employment practices.”

NAACP to Monitor Myrtle Beach for Discriminatory Practices During Black Bike Week

Posted by Admin On May - 21 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

MYRTLYE BEACH, S.C. — For the ninth year, the NAACP will conduct Operation Bike Week Justice to monitor discriminatory practices in Myrtle Beach during Black Bike Week, the annual Memorial Day weekend gathering of African American motorcycle enthusiasts. Throughout the weekend the NAACP South Carolina State Conference, local branch leadership, and NAACP member volunteers will be observing police activity and treatment of black tourists, monitoring the practices of local businesses, watching traffic patterns and fielding calls.

The City of Myrtle Beach plans to establish a 23-mile traffic loop with only four exits, substantially increase police presence, retain 190 private security officers and 14 supervisors and erect metal pedestrian barricades.

Moreover, the city passed an extraordinary events ordinance declaring Black Bike Week an extraordinary event.  As originally proposed, the ordinance would have made it unlawful for people to possess common items such as aerosol containers, backpacks, duffel bags, coolers, lumber and chains under certain circumstances.  As reported in the Sun News, the City Council removed those restrictions due to concerns about giving the “wrong impression.”

“The NAACP supports reasonable law enforcement tactics designed to promote public safety and peace,” said South Carolina State Conference NAACP President Dr. Lonnie Randolph.  “However, the Association will vehemently oppose any tactics that unfairly target African Americans.”

“The overwhelming majority of Black Bike attendees are law abiding citizens,” said Myrtle Beach Branch NAACP President Mickey James.  “They should be treated with the same courtesy and respect as all other tourists regardless of race.”

Within the past ten years, the NAACP and individual African American plaintiffs have successfully settled a number of discrimination lawsuits against the City of Myrtle Beach and area businesses for unequal treatment of Black Bike Week visitors compared to those who attend Harley Week, a predominantly white event, traditionally held one week earlier.

“The NAACP will not allow the legal gains made in Myrtle Beach to be replaced with the same discriminatory practices of the past,” said, NAACP Interim General Counsel, Marshall Taylor.

Again this year, a complaint hotline will be activated for individuals to report closed businesses, police misconduct or other unfair treatment.  Black Bike Week attendees can report incidents by calling (888) 362-8683 or by visiting Sandy Grove Baptist Church at 1008 Carver Street, Myrtle Beach, SC to file a complaint in person.

Marc Morial on “Policing Strategies” for the 21st Century

Posted by Admin On May - 21 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Statement of Marc H. Morial (President and CEO of the National Urban League) before the House Judiciary Committee on “Policing Strategies for the 21st Century”

Chairman Goodlatte, Ranking Member Conyers and members of the Committee, on behalf of the National Urban League, thank you for holding this most urgent hearing on policing in the 21st Century. I am Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League and former Mayor of New Orleans. It is my hope and expectation that this hearing will mark the first concrete and immediate step in a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to bring about historic change in the tragic breakdown of police-community relations in our nation – particularly in communities of color.

Mr. Chairman and members of this committee, now is the time to get it right – we cannot piecemeal our way to reforming our system of policing across the country. Instead, we must take a comprehensive and bold approach that is multi-faceted and simultaneous, for our urban communities are in a state of crisis with life-and-death consequences for unarmed African American men and women in their community interactions with law enforcement, and serious consequences also for the police as well.

A tragic déjà vu continues to play out in communities all across America, particularly in the growingly skeptical streets of Black and Brown neighborhoods. Our nation is forced to grapple with fresh accounts of police misconduct in its deadliest incarnation where the victims are unarmed Black men and womeni and the perpetrators are the very public servants charged with keeping them—in fact, all of us—safe; it seems only the states and the circumstances change. The recent litany of cases involving the use of excessive, and deadly, police force against unarmed African Americans is only the tip of the iceberg:

  • Freddie Gray (age 25) – Baltimore, MD
  • Walter Scott (age 50) – North Charleston, SC
  • Tamir Rice (age 12) – Cleveland, OH
  • Akai Gurley (age 28) – Brooklyn, NY
  • Michael Brown (age 18) – Ferguson, MO
  • John Crawford III (age 22) – Beavercreek, OH
  • Eric Garner (age 43) – Staten Island, NY
  • Marlene Pinnock (age 51) – Interstate 10, homeless, Los Angeles area, CA
  • Trayvon Martin (age 17) – Miami Gardens, FL

Click here to read the full statement.

Kirk Applauds House Passage of His Anti-Trafficking Legislation to Stop Online Advertisers like Backpage.com

Posted by Admin On May - 21 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

SAVE Act Makes it Unlawful to Knowingly Advertise Sex with a Minor

Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act Now Heads to President’s Desk for Signature

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) applauded the House of Representatives’ passage of S. 178, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA), which included two Kirk-sponsored bills to combat online sex trafficking and the selling of minors for sex.

The JVTA encompasses the Kirk sponsored Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation (SAVE) Act, which aggressively combats Internet sex trafficking and the selling of children under the age of 18 for sex, and the Kirk sponsored HERO Act, which would allow veterans to continue their service by training them in on-line sex trafficking investigations and protect children from exploitation and abuse.

“I applaud Congress for passing legislation that protects our most vulnerable and punishes those who profit from selling children online for sex,” Senator Kirk said. “I urge President Obama to swiftly sign this into law so that those websites like Backpage.com and their adverstisers can finally be held liable for aiding in human trafficking.”

  • The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act would increase the maximum penalties for human trafficking-related offenses including enticement into slavery, obstruction of a human trafficking investigations, and repeat child exploitation offenses.
  • The SAVE Act makes it it a crime for a person, such as the owner of a website, to knowingly advertise a commercial sex act with a minor. Websites like Backpage.com provide a platform for this type of sex trafficking advertising, earning more than $30 million a year from their illicit ads, and ultimately contribute to the selling and exploitation of minors.
  • The HERO Corps Program has already proved successful and graduated two classes; thirteen of fifteen graduates are now employed by the Department of Homeland Security as Computer Forensic Analysts, and the second class is currently in the internship stage of training. The HERO Act authorizes the current HERO Corp Program, as well as enable the Department of Homeland Security—through ICE and HSI—to collaborate with the Department of Defense and the National Association to Protect Children—a national non-profit that developed the HERO Corps program and has been helping to manage it. Additionally, it would allow DHS and ICE to conduct research and development for the purpose of advancing technology for the investigation of child exploitation crimes, including child victim identification, counter-trafficking in persons, child pornography and advanced forensics.

President Obama Statement on the 50th Anniversary of Head Start

Posted by Admin On May - 21 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

President Barack Obama Statement:

For millions of families, Head Start has been a lifeline. And for millions of kids, it’s been the start of a better life. Over the past half century, 32 million children have benefited from its early learning and development programs. They’ve recited their numbers and ABCs, raced around playgrounds, and learned thousands of new words. On this 50th anniversary, our challenge is to make Head Start even stronger, and to help more children and family benefit from its good work. My Administration has increased access to Head Start programs, and we’ve launched a new partnership with child care centers to reach tens of thousands more infants and toddlers. Plus, a growing number of states and cities are taking steps to boost access to quality preschool. Now we need Congress to give Head Start the resources to reach more eligible kids. And we need leaders at every level – including in our states and communities – to support Head Start, because early childhood education is one of the smartest investments we can make to keep America strong and competitive in the 21st century.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the success of Head Start over the past 50 years.  Now, let’s make sure we keep serving families for the next 50 years – and beyond.  Because here in America, every child – no matter what they look like, where they come from, or who they are – deserves to get a head start in life.

Five Plays by Pulitzer Prize-Winning Writers

Posted by Admin On May - 21 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Five plays by Pulitzer Prize-winning writers

Subscribe to Steppenwolf’s  landmark 40th season and see five not-to-miss plays by Pulitzer Prize-winning writers:
  • East of Eden – An adaptation of the novel by John Steinbeck, who won the Pulitzer in 1940 for The Grapes of Wrath.
  • Domesticated – By ensemble member Bruce Norris, who won the Pulitzer in 2011 for Clybourne Park.
  • The Flick – Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
  • Mary Page Marlowe – By ensemble member Tracy Letts, who won the Pulitzer in 2008 for August: Osage County.
  • Between Riverside and Crazy – Winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Subscription packages start at just $100.
or call Audience Services at 312-335-1650.

2015 R&D STEM Learning Exchange Challenges Showcase Event

Posted by Admin On May - 21 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Students from 17 Illinois high schools to demonstrate solutions to real-world Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) problems

CHICAGO, IL – High school students from around the state gathered yesterday at Motorola Mobility in Chicago to showcase their solutions to Research & Development STEM Learning Exchange Challenges presented to them early in the spring semester. Led by the Illinois Science and Technology Institute (ISTI), students have been collecting data, conducting experiments and working with industry professionals to develop their Challenge solutions.

More than 600 students and 40 teachers from 17 Illinois high schools partnered with experts at top Illinois companies to solve the complex real-world Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Challenges.

“These Challenges are a great example of how students can apply their critical thinking skills now and in the future,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith. “By solving real-world problems, students are getting a chance to see their personal value in an ever-growing workforce.”

ISTI partnered with Baxter International, ComEd, Illinois State University’s Center for Renewable Energy, Microsoft, Motorola Mobility, Motorola Solutions, Northrop Grumman Corp., Takeda Pharmaceuticals, and TGG Group to develop the Challenges and matched them with teams of students at each school.

Students demonstrated a variety of skills in response to their Challenge. Some have built mobile applications to address needs in their communities, applied behavioral economics to encourage better environmental practices or food choices, conducted a trade study for a missile defense system, addressed civic water issues, increased participation of youth in clinical trials, and created an energy efficient system that can provide reliable power for the community in disaster situations.

Participating High Schools
Chicago Vocational Career Academy
DePaul College Prep
Glenbrook South High School
Instituto Health Science Career Academy
Lake View High School
Lindblom Math and Science Academy
Maine South High School
Muchin College Prep
Niles North High School
Oak Park and River Forest High School
Palatine High School
Urbana High School
Von Steuben Metro Science Center
Washington Community High School
Waukegan High School
Wheeling High School
Williamsfield High School

“Our goal is to better connect students to careers in STEM fields.  Through this Challenge process, the R&D STEM Learning Exchange allowed students to explore, conduct their own hands-on research, and find mentors in STEM fields, ultimately helping to spur interest and skills in critical industry sectors in our state,” said Mark Harris, president and CEO of ISTI, an affiliate of the Illinois Science & Technology Coalition.

The STEM Learning Exchanges originated in 2012 when eight organizations were awarded contracts with the state to link educational and business resources to better prepare students to compete in the global economy. The eight STEM Learning Exchanges, coordinated through multiple state agencies in partnership with the Illinois Business Round Table, were established through contracts with the Illinois State Board of Education using Race to the Top funds.

“It’s incredible to see brilliant young minds coming together to solve complex, real-world STEM Challenges,” said Jim Schultz, Director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. “STEM Challenges gives our students a wonderful opportunity to work with experts to better enhance their learning.”

STEM Challenges demonstrate learning under the new Illinois Learning Standards in Science, also called the “Next Generation Science Standards,” which emphasize more engaged, hands-on science education that is rich in content and practice. The standards aim to give students a deeper understanding of the core concepts in science and engineering as well as practice applying these concepts – linking knowledge and real-world skills.

A 2011 report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce shows that Illinois will have an estimated 319,000 STEM-related job openings by 2018. Ninety-three percent of those jobs will require post-secondary education or training.

For more information about the R&D STEM Learning Exchange, visit
http://www.istcoalition.org/r-d-stem-learning-exchange. For more information about all of the STEM Learning Exchanges and upcoming events, visit http://www2.illinoisworknet.com/ilpathways/Pages/STEMLE.aspx.

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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

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