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Archive for October 20th, 2015

Madigan Again Urges Governor Rauner to Focus on State Budget after Credit Downgrade

Posted by Admin On October - 20 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, D-Chicago, issued the following statement after Fitch Ratings downgraded Illinois’ credit rating Monday:

“As I’ve been telling Governor Rauner for several months, the number one problem facing Illinois is the state budget. The lack of a resolution on the state budget and today’s downgrade are direct results of the governor’s continued focus on issues other than solving our budget crisis. It’s time we put aside the governor’s list of issues that Democrats and Republicans believe will hurt middle-class families and instead focus on a budget that helps all Illinoisans.

“Fitch Ratings agrees with my view. Nowhere in Fitch’s statement does it suggest that the state needs to follow the governor’s agenda by weakening collective bargaining rights, reducing workers’ wages and hurting the middle class.

“I continue telling the governor we need to take a balanced approach to the state’s financial challenges, one that includes some cuts, like those included in the budget passed by the Legislature in May, and new revenue. Today’s news is another reminder to the governor that it’s time to focus on our budget.”

ICYMI: The Hill: Senators Push Obama for Response to Iran’s Ballistic Missile Test

Posted by Admin On October - 20 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL– U.S. Senators Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) last week sent a letter to President Obama requesting confirmation of whether Iran’s recent ballistic missile test violated a UN Security Council ban and asking what the administration’s response would be to such a violation. 

The Hill: Senators push Obama for response to Iran’s ballistic missile test

by Jordain Carney

Senators are pushing the Obama administration to say how it plans to respond to a ballistic missile test by Iran. 

Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) sent a letter to President Obama about the long-range missile test that Iran conducted over the weekend, which they called “troubling.”

“We are interested to know how your administration will respond. We worry that tough statements followed by inaction will further undermine U.S. national security,” the two senators wrote.

The letter comes after administration officials acknowledged that Iran “likely” violated a United Nations resolution with the test. The administration is expected to bring up the incident at the U.N. Security Council, which would then determine if Iran violated a resolution on missile activities. 

Kirk and Ayotte said they want to know whether Obama believes that Iran violated the resolution, how he plans to respond and whether he will commit to not lifting sanctions related to the U.N. resolution. 

The two Republicans also want to know the administration’s strategy behind treating the missile program as separate from Iran’s nuclear weapons program, which the senators call a “flawed argument.” 

Separately, senators are pushing Secretary of State John Kerry on the issue. 

Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) sent a letter to Kerry, arguing that it’s “vitally important” to confront a missile violation, if it did occur. 

They added that they would like to “clearly understand” how the administration would respond if Iran conducts a similar test after the U.N. resolution backing the nuclear deal is accepted, and if it would “be considered a violation” of the resolution. 

The letters come ahead of “adoption day” for the nuclear agreement, under which Iran will limit its nuclear program in exchange for economic sanctions relief.

Sec’y of State Jesse White Reminds Chicago Cubs Fans to Show Team Spirit with the Chicago Sports Team Series License Plates

Posted by Admin On October - 20 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is reminding Chicago Cubs fans that they can support their team and public education by purchasing Cubs license plates for their vehicles.

“With the team in the National League Championship Series, this is a great time to get a Cubs license plate,” White said. “It’s a win-win situation. Chicago Cubs fans can show their team spirit and public school students across the state will benefit from the purchase.”

The Chicago Blackhawks were the first Chicago sports team to unveil a team license plate in October 2010, followed by the Cubs, Chicago Bears, Chicago Bulls and Chicago White Sox.

The Chicago Sports Team Series License Plates have raised more than $2.8 million to support public schools statewide. The Cubs license plates have raised almost a half a million dollars for public education.

Twenty-five dollars from each license plate sale and renewal goes to the Professional Sports Teams Education Fund and is earmarked for the Common School Fund, which supports public schools throughout the state of Illinois.

So far, the number of license plates sold for each team is as follows:

• Chicago Cubs 5,345
• Chicago Blackhawks 18,228
• Chicago Bears 7,146
• Chicago Bulls 2,624
• Chicago White Sox 9,878
Fans can order random number, personalized or vanity license plates. The cost to purchase random number plates for a currently titled vehicle with valid Illinois registration is $69. Pricing varies for vanity and personalized license plates. The public can order vanity and personalized plates by visiting www.cyberdriveillinois.com and clicking on the “Pick-A-Plate” icon.

Medicare Open Enrollment Period Is Here – October 15 through December 7

Posted by Admin On October - 20 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS


Illinois Department on Aging Offers Free Counseling on Medicare Options;

Call  1-800-252-8966 or visit the website at http://www.illinois.gov/aging


SPRINGFIELD, IL –To mark the beginning of the Medicare Open Enrollment period, the Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) offers free counseling assistance to help educate Medicare-eligible individuals and their caregivers about their Medicare insurance options. Medicare Open Enrollment started on October 15 and runs through December 7. During this time, people can shop for a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan or a Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) for 2016.

“There are over 1,000 hardworking SHIP certified counselors assisting Medicare beneficiaries every day. If you need help making sense of your Medicare choices, please call and make an appointment with a counselor,” said SHIP Director Sandy Leith. “It is very important to make sure that your Medicare is working properly for you and that you have the most cost effective option available where you live. “

SHIP counselors work through the Medicare.gov plan finder to help seniors and people with disabilities make the best choices for their individual situation. To contact SHIP, call 1-800-252-8966 on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. For more information about SHIP, including a list of SHIP locations, view the website at http://www.illinois.gov/aging/ship/Pages/default.aspx.

SHIP is a year round program, not affiliated with any insurance company, and counselors do not sell or solicit any type of insurance. SHIP counselors in the field make sure seniors and people with disabilities on Medicare are aware of options that can save them money. Counselors educate and answer questions about Medicare, Part A, B, and D, Medicare Supplement insurance, and Medicare Advantage plans.

To compare 2016 drug and health plans on your own and to find out more about Medicare, including preventive services now covered, visit the federal website at www.medicare.gov or review your 2016 Medicare & You handbook. You can also call 1-800-Medicare (1-800-633-4227) Medicare phone lines are open 24/7.

About the Illinois Department on Aging

The Department’s mission is to serve and advocate for older Illinoisans and their caregivers by administering quality and culturally appropriate programs that promote partnerships and encourage independence, dignity and quality of life. For more information, call the Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 (or TTY for the hearing impaired at 1-888-206-1327), or log on to the website at www.illinois.gov/aging

Marc Mauer Testifies at Senate Judiciary Hearing on Sentencing Legislation

Posted by Admin On October - 20 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
Letters to Editors
From: Marc Mauer, The Sentencing Project

In my testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, I’m urging Congress to pass the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015, a bipartisan reform bill introduced earlier this month. The legislation would take a number of steps forward to reverse harsh penalties that have come at a ruinous cost to families and taxpayers while producing diminishing returns for public safety.

Among the most salutary provisions of the bill are measures to retroactively apply the crack cocaine sentencing reductions of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 to individuals in federal prison and to expand use of the “safety valve” provision that permits judges to sentence below the mandatory minimum in many drug cases.
My testimony documents a number of policy objectives the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act would accomplish, including:

  • Reducing the federal prison population without adverse effects on public safety;
  • Promoting a more rational and effective federal sentencing structure through safety valve provisions that would restore judicial discretion and help correct the sentencing distortions brought about by mandatory minimums;
  • Addressing unjust racial disparities in federal sentencing by making the crack cocaine sentencing reductions of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 retroactive for individuals sentenced before the law’s enactment;
  • Improving prospects for successful reentry from prison through enhanced programming that includes educational opportunities and employment training; and,
  • Restricting the use of solitary confinement for youth in federal custody and providing protections around juvenile records in certain instances.
You can watch the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing live online now. A full transcript of my testimony is available online here.
Marc Mauer

Chicago Theological Seminary’s 9th Annual C. Shelby Rooks Lecture with Rev. Dr. Alton B. Pollard III

Posted by Admin On October - 20 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
“God grant me the courage to change the things I cannot accept.”—Rev. Dr. Alton B. Pollard III
CHICAGO, IL—On October 1, over 200 people gathered to hear the words of Rev. Dr. Alton B. Pollard III at Chicago Theological Seminary’s 9th Annual C. Shelby Rooks Lecture. The C. Shelby Rooks Lecture was named in honor of CTS’s first African American president.
Dr. Pollard’s lecture was “Life in the Valley of the Shadow of Death: A Parable for 21st Century Black America.” Dr. Pollard began his lecture with an overview of the death of Emmet Till and the more recent deaths of other African Americans including Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Sandra Bland. Dr. Pollard also mentioned the numerous deaths and acts of violence that occur in Chicago, including in August, where more than 40 people were shot on four consecutive weekends.
“The violence, the pathology, rooted in white racial supremacy…has seized us,” Dr. Pollard said.
In the second half of his lecture, Dr. Pollard shared a parable he wrote called “The Endarkenment.” The parable was about a pastor and her congregation that was able to reflect on its past and grow from it. The pastor sought to “…understand the secret of her ancestors’ survival in this land. How were they able to affirm life, even in the valley of the shadow of death?” As the pastor embraced her heritage and taught the congregation to do so as well, a new consciousness enveloped the congregation. The church began to grow beyond its walls and into the greater world, from community to community. The negative trends in society then reversed.
“By making our separate past our present source of strength, new generation of women and men were being prepared to become the leaders and lovers of us all,” Dr. Pollard said during his parable.
Dr. Pollard is Dean and Professor of Religion and Culture at Howard University School of Divinity in Washington, DC. He holds degrees from Fisk University (BA with honors in religion and philosophy and business management), Harvard University Divinity School (MDiv), and Duke University, Department of Religion (PhD). His previous faculty appointments include St. Olaf College, Wake Forest University, Emory University where he was Director of Black Church Studies at Candler School of Theology and Chair of American Religious Cultures in the Graduate Division of Religion (PhD program), and various visiting lectureships throughout the United States and Africa.
View the entire lecture on the CTS YouTube channel.
About Chicago Theological Seminary
Chicago Theological Seminary (CTS), a seminary affiliated with the United Church of Christ, serves over twenty-five different Christian and non-Christian faith communities by preparing men and women for the next generation of religious leadership, whatever that may be. Founded in 1855, CTS promotes a progressive, forward-looking philosophy and is at the forefront of religious scholarship, interreligious dialogue and transformative leadership. CTS graduates, students, faculty and staff have been advocates for social justice and mercy since the days of the Underground Railroad.
Chicago Theological Seminary helps individuals discern and articulate an evolving faith for the future, whether in ministry, teaching, advocacy, activism, social work or social justice.
Chicago Theological Seminary’s Center for the Study of Black Faith and Life (CSBFL) is the first theological center within a denominational seminary to seek connections with the larger Black faith community inclusive of a variety of Black religions and to offer Master and Ph.D. degree concentrations in Black faith and Black life. The CSBFL is dedicated to cultivating the next generation of leaders who will speak with a prophetic voice that lifts high the African American heritage of faith, freedom and justice. The Center, through research, critical examination, theological reflection, and contextual engagement, addresses the forces of oppression and dehumanization for the betterment of academy, church, and community.
This annual lecture has been named for the first African American to serve as President of a predominately white theological school in the United States of America. He served as President of the Chicago Theological Seminary from 1974-1984. President Rooks was com-mitted to the study of Black religion, academic excellence and Church ministry. The C. Shelby Rooks Lectureship, open to all, invites individuals and communities, lay, clergy, students and scholars to engage in religious theological reflection on issues relevant to African American faith, freedom, and justice.

CONSUMER ALERT: Department of Insurance Offers Advice on What To Do if Your Health Insurance Plan is Terminated

Posted by Admin On October - 20 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL – In an effort to help the public better manage their health insurance needs, the Illinois Department of Insurance (DOI) is informing consumers of the process by which insurance companies terminate a health insurance plan in Illinois and the steps to take in the event a consumer’s health insurance plan is terminated.

When an insurance company chooses to stop providing a particular type of coverage, the company must go through two important processes:

1) Notify the Illinois Department of Insurance of the company’s decision.  The company’s notice must contain: a specific description of the type of coverage affected; the total number of covered lives affected; a draft of the letter that will be sent to the plan sponsors and participants, beneficiaries or covered individuals; time frames for the actions being taken; and any options the plan sponsors, participants, beneficiaries or covered individuals may have available to them under 215 ILCS 97/50.

2) Notify the plan sponsor, participants, beneficiaries and covered individuals. 90 days prior to the renewal date. 
a. The notice of discontinuance of coverage must be sent to: the individual insured for individual plans; and the plan sponsor, participant and beneficiaries for group plans.
b. The health insurance company must offer the insured all of its other available products.
(See 50 IL Admin. Code 2025.60 for more specific information)

Under the federal requirements for Affordable Care Act Marketplace plans, the insurance company must “crosswalk” (move) the insured to the company’s insurance plan that is closest to the plan being terminated.  However, the insured is not required to join the proposed “crosswalk” plan – the insured can select any Marketplace plan.

When an insurance company follows the processes above, the Department allows the termination, files the information on the System for Electronic Rate and Form Filing (SERFF) and keeps a spreadsheet with the information for reference.  The ability to make these types of changes is allowed both at the State and Federal level.  For information regarding access to SERFF, visit http://insurance.illinois.gov/newsrls/2014/08/DOIannouncesSERFFaccess.pdf

What Should I Do If My Health Insurance Plan Is Terminated?
If you have received notice that your Marketplace insurance plan is being terminated, you have several choices:
1. You may choose to move to the plan the insurance company notified you would best resemble your current plan;
2. You may choose to shop for other plans within the same insurance company;
3. You may choose to  shop on the Marketplace for other insurance company plans in your area;
4. You may choose to shop off the Marketplace (please note off-marketplace plans do not offer Federal income related subsidies)

If you are not sure, and would like additional assistance, you may choose to:
1. Request in person assistance through the Get Covered Illinois Consumer Assistance program.
2. Contact an independent insurance agent or broker to see what is available outside the Marketplace.

Questions to Ask
When reviewing your options, it is of major importance to understand whether your current plan is a network plan where provider choice is limited to those in a particular network, and whether you want to continue with a network plan.  It is IMPORTANT to understand that insurance companies may have multiple provider networks. As you compare plans, make sure you view the network which goes with the particular plan you are considering. Doctors, hospitals and other providers may be in one of the company’s provider networks, but not in others.

As you look at each company’s provider networks with this information in mind, you will notice the differences in the number of primary care physicians and specialists that are available to you and the geographic locations of those providers. Larger networks offer you more provider choices, but may have higher insurance premiums. Even if you are currently healthy, it is important to pay attention to the specialists available in the networks you consider in case you need specialized care in the future.

Obtaining 2016 Health Insurance Marketplace Plan Information

The Department is awaiting final approval from the federal government regarding the health insurance plans that will be available in 2016.  Approval is expected the week of October 19th. The Open Enrollment period is November 1, 2015, through January 31, 2016.

Marketplace insurance plan information is available on the internet at https://getcovered.illinois.gov/en and  https://www.healthcare.gov/choose-a-plan/comparing-plans/.  You can also call the Get Covered Illinois team at 1-866-311-1119.  Telephone assistance is available Monday through Saturday 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

More Information
The Department’s mission is to protect consumers by providing assistance and information, by efficiently regulating the insurance industry’s market behavior and financial solvency, and by fostering a competitive insurance marketplace. The Illinois Department of Insurance assists consumers with all insurance complaints, including health, auto, life, and homeowner. Consumers in need of information or assistance should visit the Department’s web site at insurance.illinois.gov or call our toll-free hotline at (877) 527-9431.

No Judgment Allowed: Uplifting New Book of Poems & Essays Capture’s Life Eternal Struggles; Giving Readers Hope & Solace to Emerge Victorious

Posted by Admin On October - 20 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Masterfully crafted from the life and experiences of Antwanette Howard, ‘No Judgment Allowed: Poems and Essays’ is sad, inspiring and encouraging – as it showcases life’s true struggles and the brevity required to carry on amid vicious adversity. But the book comes with a wider message; that hope always exists through the loving eyes of God. It’s life-changing to say the very least…


Longview, TX – There’s no way to sugarcoat it; life’s joys and celebrations are frequently marred by adversity, hardships and the feeling that things couldn’t get any worse. However, while many give up in the face of adversity, Texas’ Antwanette Howard has used her steadfast relationship with God to turn any challenge in a bold opportunity for growth.

Aware that millions are searching for answers to their own problems, Howard has compiled her wisdom into a compelling new book. ‘No Judgment Allowed: Poems and Essays’ is as gripping as it is life-changing.


This is a book about hardships and growths. It is a poetry/Essay book that are also full of inspirations. Warning: this book will be full of sorrow and laughter.

“I believe that this volume is different to anything else currently out there, as I put life’s collective adversities on a literary pedestal that allows them to be viewed from a uniquely holistic perspective,” explains Howard. “The over-riding goal is to help people feel better about their lives and seek the comfort they crave through God.”

Continuing, “It’s a unique fusion of creativity and vignettes from my own life. Like most, I have faced my own struggles but have always tried to turn them into positive experiences. If I can do it, then anyone can!”

With the volume’s demand expected to increase, interested readers are urged to secure their copies without delay.

‘No Judgment Allowed: Poems and Essays’, from AuthorHouse, is available now: http://amzn.to/1Pm7CrI.

For more news and information, follow the book’s progress on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AntwanetteHowardAuthor.

About the author, in her own words:

Antwanette Howard From: Dallas, TX AGE: 25. I am a young woman with just a dream of being a successful independent writer one day. I have been writing since I was seven years old. My teacher and my mother saw the creativity I had in my writing. My mother made me write every day and made me use correct vocabulary every day. Now I have grown and so has my writing. I believe that others will be able to understand or relate to any book I might write. I believe that there are people out there that are like me.

National Council of Negro Women Celebrates 80 Years During Upcoming Uncommon Height Gala

Posted by Admin On October - 20 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Former Secretary of Labor Alexis M. Herman and NCNW Vice Chair Dr. Thelma Daley to co-chair November 13th black-tie gala in Washington, DC 

National Council of Negro Women

Washington, DC (BlackNews.com) — The 14th annual Uncommon Height Gala returns to Washington D.C. next month bringing together many of the countrys top community and business leaders, educators, entertainers, elected officials and media personalities to recognize 80 years of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW). NCNW members, sections and affiliates will honor the vision of the organizations Founder, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, and NCNWs President Emerita, Dr. Dorothy Irene Height and present the 2015 Uncommon Height Award.

“The Uncommon Height Gala is NCNWs biggest annual fundraiser with proceeds used to continue our long-standing community-based programs, empower women, strengthen families and communities, and launch new initiatives for future generations,” said Ingrid Saunders Jones, national chairperson of the National Council of Negro Women. “To mark our 80th anniversary, Im pleased to have the Honorable Alexis M. Herman, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, and NCNW Vice Chair, Dr. Thelma T. Daley serve as co-chairs of this years historic anniversary gala.”

The Uncommon Height Gala will be held Friday, November 13 starting with a 6:30 pm reception at the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C. A highlight of the gala is presentation of the coveted Uncommon Height Award given to an outstanding individual, or individuals, who demonstrate a lifetime of service and achievement as exemplified in the spirit and tradition of influential leader, Dr. Dorothy Irene Height. Past honorees of the award have included Congressman John Lewis, Dr. Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey and Quincy Jones. The 2015 recipient will be announced later this month.

Tickets and tables to the 14th Annual Uncommon Height Gala may be purchased online at www.ncnwgala.org.

The National Council of Negro Women is a Washington, D.C.-based international non-profit organization making a difference in the lives of women, children and families throughout the world through research, advocacy, and community-based services and programs. For more information, please visit www.ncnw.org.

Perri Pierre Partners With Paul Walker’s “Reach Out WorldWide” to Distribute Educational Toys in Les Cayes, HAITI.

Posted by Admin On October - 20 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

New York, NY.  – On December 11th, 2015, Perri Pierre will hold a Christmas party for more than 100 kids in the town that he grew up in, Les Cayes, Haiti. There he will distribute educational toys donated by Leapfrog through Reach Out WorldWide, and school supplies of his own brand. The best students from the top 10 elementary schools in this town will be invited to attend.
About Perri Pierre and Reach Out WorldWide.

Perri Pierre was born in New York City on December 28th, 1988, but lived in Les Cayes, a small town in the south of Haiti from the ages of two to seventeen. There he attended FOJ from grade one to twelve. In 2006, he moved back to New York to attend university, graduating from Queens College – City University of New York in 2010, with a Bachelor’s degree in Drama and Theatre. Since then, he has produced and acted in several films, winning several awards.
Reach Out WorldWide (ROWW) is a network of committed professionals with first responder skill-set. The volunteers provide their expertise when disasters strike, augmenting local resources with the goal of accelerating relief efforts. They operate on a worldwide basis. ROWW has developed Standard Operating Procedures that facilitate arriving quickly, clearing access, providing basic necessities and medical assistance to ease survivors’ pain, bringing hope in the bleakest of circumstances. Paul Walker founded the group after he was part of a relief team responding to the to the disaster brought forth by the earthquakes that struck Haiti.
Perri Pierre is very grateful to Leapfrog and Reach out Worldwide for their donations, and thanks Paul Walker’s brother Cody and sister-in-law Felicia Walker for making this happen.  Parker Mckenna Posey from “My Wife and Kids” will be among Mr. Pierre’s guests at that party. This is the first Christmas party that Perri has held for the kids, though he hopes to continue the event as a tradition every year, to bring holiday joy and cheer to the children.
For more information and to donate go to:
Please find more information on Reach Out WorldWide,

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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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