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Median Earnings Between $10 and $48 an Hour CHICAGO, IL – Employers in December advertised online ...
Washington, DC (BlackNews.com) – In the age of the Trump Effect, an increase in ...
Multiple Chicago human rights, faith-based, anti-war, and community groups are protesting Israel’s ongoing attacks in ...
Urges U.N. to fight for clause that retains slavery in U.S. By Chinta Strausberg Rev. Marvin G. ...
National Foreclosure Settlement Funding To Advance Neighborhood Rebuilding, Preservation Effort CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Attorney General ...
Extension allows for more time to obtain needed IRS Documentation SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Department ...
Commentary by Juanita Bratcher A health care bill devoid of “public option” would be insignificant and useless in ...
Mundo Hispánico/New America Media By Melody Miranda Aulet ATLANTA, GA --When Adbonias Bonilla suffered ...
Another opportunity to prevent or reduce accidental contamination of streams, rivers and lakes by disposing ...

Archive for February 18th, 2016

New Data Shows African-Americans Disproportionately Affected by Hunger, Poverty

Posted by Admin On February - 18 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Washington, D.C. – African-Americans continue to suffer disproportionately high rates of hunger and poverty compared to other Americans, according to a new analysis released today by Bread for the World. Unemployment and low wages, lack of access to healthy and affordable food, and higher incarceration rates are just a few of the factors that contribute to this problem.

“African-Americans continue to suffer from some of the highest rates of hunger and poverty in the U.S.,” said Eric Mitchell, director of government relations, Bread for the World. “Unemployment and the lack of good-paying jobs are primary causes. But we also have to look at issues like mass incarceration and access to healthier food options to get a complete picture of why this persists.”

African-Americans are more likely to be unemployed, and to hold low-wage jobs with few or no benefits. The median income for African-Americans in 2014 (latest data) was $35,398, which is $20,000 less than the median income for other households. Almost 50 percent of black children younger than 6 live in poverty.

Only 8 percent of them live in areas with a supermarket, and almost 94 percent of the nation’s majority African-American counties are food-insecure. Food-insecure means that a person or household does not have regular, reliable access to foods needed for good health. The lack of nutritious food causes serious medical conditions, including obesity and diabetes.

The problem is worsened by mass incarceration. African-Americans are more likely than others charged with similar offenses to be incarcerated. Soaring incarceration rates deplete family resources though court fees and lost work hours. Many states deny returning citizens access to such programs as SNAP, even while they look for work. For those who are lucky to land a job, their yearly earnings are reduced by as much as 40 percent.

“The best way to reduce hunger and poverty is with a good-paying job,” added Mitchell. “But we also need to support strong safety net programs, as well as policies that end mass incarceration and offer individuals returning home a second chance.”

Download Hunger and Poverty in the African-American Community at http://bit.ly/1opXX9e.

Bread  for the World (www.bread.org) is a collective Christian voice urging our nation’s decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad.

Pols Respond to Gov. Rauner’s Budget Address

Posted by Admin On February - 18 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

State Rep. Monique Davis D-Chicago, Urges Focus on Budget. “…It is time that we say enough is enough…”

When Governor Bruce Rauner delivered the annual budget address to the legislature and the people of Illinois today, state Rep. Monique Davis, D-Chicago, was in attendance and issued the following statement:

“In all of my years as a state legislator, I have never witnessed a governor’s budget address occurring without the passage of a budget for that year. It really speaks volumes to how outrageous this whole situation is. Maybe the austerity of this crisis will shake Gov. Rauner to finally do things sensibly and with real purpose.

“It is time that we say enough is enough. I have pledged numerous times to work hand in hand with the governor to come to a solution. At this point, anyone concerned with the consequences of this impasse would be willing to start work on a compromise.

“During the address today, I kept thinking about the pain and struggle caused by a state’s inability to make good on its promises. I surely hope the governor doesn’t continue to ignore the calls of real people who are being affected by this budget impasse. We have to get something done now.”

 

State Rep. Marcus Evans, D-Chicago, “…Governor Rauner’s budget address today didn’t adequately address how we create a better education system and provide working and middle-class workers with more job security…”

“As state representative, I am focused on advocating for working adults to be able to continue their education, creating better job opportunities and providing a quality education for our children. I know how important quality education is for student success and to make sure our kids are given the tools they need to succeed.”

“Governor Rauner’s budget address today didn’t adequately address how we create a better education system and provide working and middle-class workers with more job security. It is important that we strive to guarantee access to quality and affordable education for all children throughout the state of Illinois.”

“A strong community depends upon safer streets, fighting for common-sense gun laws, and working to increase security in our neighborhoods. To create a safer environment, we need stable funding to reinforce those goals. To help create better job opportunities, we have to work with city and community leaders on bringing new jobs, construction projects and new employers to our area.”

“The governor has not been willing to support a balanced approach to fund critical services and their strategy has led us to a dead end. I am willing and ready to work with him and my colleagues across the aisle to create a better Illinois.”

            

State Rep. Will Davis, D-Harvey,  “…Access to affordable health should be a right for everyone.”

“As a legislator living with diabetes, I understand how important it is to ensure services and proper care are easily accessible to prevent diabetics from suffering complications. Throughout my time serving in the General Assembly, I have fought to improve access to health care and supported legislation to address cardiovascular disease, prostate cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer.

“As the chairman of the Health and Healthcare Disparities Committee, my priority continues to be to improve our health care system, in part, by making it more accessible, especially to our most vulnerable residents. Access to affordable health should be a right for everyone.

“As Illinois nears it eighth month of operating without a state budget, not-for-profit and for-profit health organizations are doing what they can to maintain services. The budget impasse has forced providers’ health systems to cut services, students to go without MAP grants and after school programming to cut essential services to our children. The budget proposal the governor presented on Wednesday does not make clear his commitment to providing health services for those most in need. We need to find a balanced approach while meeting the needs of working-class families, to resolve the state’s budget impasse. I will continue to fight for my constituents to ensure they get the funding they need.”

State Rep. Sonya Harper, D-Chicago, “…People in our communities are affected more by this impasse compared those in Governor Rauner’s neighborhood...”

“As a legislator and an active community member, I see the real consequences of the budget impasse every day. People in dire need who need access to critical state programs and services cannot wait for the political games that the governor is playing. This is not a game, real people in my district and across Illinois are getting hurt. The governor needs to understand that real lives are being affected. Our communities matter.

“People in our communities are affected more by this impasse compared those in Governor Rauner’s neighborhood. So, I am not really sure if Governor Rauner is out of touch with the detrimental things really happening to people in this state due to a lack of a budget, or if he simply doesn’t care. In either case, he has to be willing to do what is right, and to do it right now.

“We cannot continue to operate without addressing the elephant in the room. The people of the state expect us as lawmakers to fight for their best interests and that is what we need to do. While I am prepared to work with the governor to find a solution to ending the state’s budget impasse, it must be a balanced approach that doesn’t put more of a burden on my constituents and the many other families struggling to get by across Illinois.”

Harper represents the 6th District, which includes Englewood, Back of the Yards, Canaryville and neighboring communities. If you have any questions or need any more information, please contact Rep. Harper’s district office at 773-925-6580.

State Rep. Chris Welch D-Hillside, urges Gov. Rauner to Compromise, Pass Responsible Budget

 

“As I talk to constituents in the 7th District every day, they tell me about the real ways the state’s months-long budget impasse is hurting them and their loved ones. Countless social service providers have been forced to cut back – some have laid off workers – while those who count on those critical services are left with nowhere to turn. If this continues for much longer, the consequences will get even more severe.

“While I appreciated the governor’s remarks and understand the need to make additional reforms that will help Illinois become more competitive and promote economic growth, this cannot be done on the backs of working men and women across our state.

“No other governor in recent history has held a budget, and the people of Illinois, hostage to his demands for the passage of an extreme agenda, which has very little legislative support. I truly hope Gov. Rauner takes President Obama’s remarks from last week seriously by deciding to compromise and negotiating with Democrats in good faith to craft a responsible budget.”

Welch represents the 7th District, which includes all or portion of Bellwood, Berkeley, Broadview, Forest Park, Hillside, La Grange Park, Maywood, River Forest and Westchester.  For more information, contact Welch’s constituent service office at 708-450-1000, e-mail repwelch@emanuelchriswelch.com or visit www.emanuelchriswelch.com.

 

Rauner Still Holding Illinois Families Hostage

Posted by Admin On February - 18 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Despite Governor Rauner still holding last year’s budget hostage to his radical, right-wing, proven-not-to-work Turnaround Agenda, he gave his second budget address today.

Nowhere in his speech did the governor present a realistic plan forward. Nowhere did he talk about the struggling college students who may have to drop out because Rauner hasn’t provided them with their MAP grants, or the single moms whose child care was cut by the governor, or the seniors who have seen their in-home care disappear, or the social service agencies who provide critical services to Illinois’ most vulnerable citizens.

Instead, he stuck to his same old talking points, demanding that we dismantle unions, lower the wages and workplace protections of our hardworking state employees, and place the entire burden on the backs of the working poor.

If the governor wants to talk about structural reforms, let’s talk about changing a system where two-thirds of corporations pay no income tax, and where 50 percent of the savings from the rollback of the income tax increase went to the richest one percent. Let’s talk about changing the education funding formula so that schools on the south side of Chicago have the same resources as schools in Rauner’s neighborhood in Winnetka. Let’s talk about making investments in infrastructure, education, public transportation, workforce development, and green technology – the areas that are proven to make Illinois competitive.

It was insinuated today that those of us who oppose his “Turnaround Agenda” do so because of special interests and campaign donors. The truth of the matter is that I oppose his agenda because there is no evidence that it will work. In fact, there is significant evidence that it will actually hurt our state. I oppose his agenda because it sells out working people and makes it easier for Rauner and his golf buddies to continue lining their pockets while the rest of us are scraping for crumbs.

I will continue fighting for a fair budget in Springfield, but I can’t do it alone.

I am asking you – whether you are a parent of a student in CPS, a senior who relies on in-home care, a college student without a MAP grant, or a working mom who depends on a little help with your child care – to please get involved. The governor needs to hear from YOU. You can call the governor’s office at 312-814-2121 and tell him to put aside his reckless political agenda, and support a budget that works for everyone, not just those at the top.

Together, we can demand a stronger, brighter, and more secure future for everyone.

Sincerely,

State Rep. Christian Mitchell

Obama Administration Commits to School Diversity with “Stronger Together” Initiative

Posted by Admin On February - 18 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Op-Ed By Gina Chirichigno and Philip Tegeler

Addressing a crowded room of magnet school educators and supporters last week, Acting U.S. Secretary of Education John King explained his personal commitment to school diversity and the importance of reducing racial isolation in schools.

“I was a kid who benefited from intentional school diversity, and I’m a parent who prioritizes that in how I think about the education of my children,” he said, describing his experiences at two intentionally diverse schools in New York City (P.S. 276 in Canarsie and Mark Twain Junior High in Coney Island). “Teachers at those two schools saved my life,” he declared. “They are the reason I am standing here today.”

King’s children both attend diverse public schools in Montgomery County, MD, which, as he noted, has been working to implement intentional strategies to integrate both housing and education for decades. Now, he wants to encourage other communities to adopt that approach.

Thanks in large part to Secretary King, the Obama administration has now made a meaningful commitment to reducing racial and socioeconomic isolation in our nation’s schools, by proposing a $120 million request in the 2017 budget to fund the “Stronger Together” initiative. The new competitive funding program would offer planning and implementation grants for voluntary, community-developed socioeconomic integration plans. The proposed 2017 budget also includes an increase in funding for the Magnet Schools Assistance program, another school integration program.

The Stronger Together program would supply four implementation grants (averaging $25 million each) for up to five years to support communities currently implementing strategies to improve racial and socioeconomic diversity. Stronger Together would also award 10 one-year planning grants (averaging $2 million each) to help support activities such as: fostering family and community engagement; assessing economic stratification; evaluating the adequacy of transportation infrastructure; increasing capacity for data collection, etc.

As members of the National Coalition on School Diversity (www.school-diversity.org), we have been advocating for a clear, courageous investment in integration from the beginning of President Obama’s administration. Our country is long overdue for government-supported innovation in school integration. And, while Congress is unlikely to pass the 2017 budget in its current form, we are confident that the commitment to school diversity will remain in some form in the final budget.

Studies consistently show that school integration by race and socioeconomic status is strongly associated with a range of short and long term benefits for all racial groups. As a whole, however, our nation’s schools remain overwhelmingly isolated by race and class, even as our country becomes increasingly diverse. Such isolation is not benign; rather, it fuels a vicious cycle of structural educational inequity and, too, strips us of opportunities to build community across lines of difference.

Justice Thurgood Marshall’s observation that, “Unless our children begin to learn together, there is little hope that our people will ever learn to live together,” is now supported by a strong research base demonstrating the benefits of racial integration-not just for student achievement, but also for reducing interracial prejudice and strengthening relations between racial groups. This research should encourage us all to take integration strategies more seriously.

We are particularly pleased to see such a strong emphasis on community engagement and involvement in the Stronger Together program-voluntary school integration efforts are most effective when communities come together to develop the political will to co-create and implement strategies that respond to their unique context. We can readily point to examples of remarkable community-led integration efforts in progress, in cities such as Hartford, CT; Richmond, VA; and New York, NY. But the lack of federal, state, local, and foundation support for this work makes it extremely challenging to initiate and sustain, even when there is strong interest. Programs like Stronger Together would help change that.

Stronger Together would afford communities across the country the opportunity to come together and co-create learning environments where, truly, every student can succeed. It is now up to people on the ground-educators, parents, students, and community leaders-to ensure that the administration’s newly-ignited commitment to school integration receives the funding we believe it deserves.

Gina Chirichigno is outreach coordinator for the National Coalition on School Diversity, www.school-diversity.org. You can reach her at gchirichigno@prrac.org.

Philip Tegeler is executive director of the Poverty and Race Research Action Council, www.prrac.org. You can reach him at ptegeler@prrac.org.

Eighteen Individuals Sentenced for Running Stolen U.S. Treasury Checks and Identity Theft Ring

Posted by Admin On February - 18 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Eighteen defendants have been sentenced in a large, stolen U.S. Treasury check and identity theft ring. The defendants ran an elaborate scheme that obtained stolen checks, manufactured fake Georgia driver’s licenses to use in cashing the stolen checks, and opened credit card accounts in the names of unsuspecting victims.

 
“Fraud and identity theft crimes are a growing problem in our community,” said U.S. Attorney John Horn. “These crimes have long-lasting effects on the victims, destroy credit ratings and deprive victims of benefit checks they often desperately need. For many, it can take years to undo the damage caused by these schemes.”

 
“The federal prison sentences handed down to this aggressive and organized theft ring are the direct result of the efforts of a large group of committed and dedicated investigators and prosecutors that clearly saw the level of victimization to individuals, corporations, and even the U.S. government. The FBI is proud of the role that it played in bringing this case forward for the successful prosecution that now holds these individuals fully accountable for their criminal actions,” said J. Britt Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office.

 
According to U.S. Attorney Horn, the charges and other information presented in court: From approximately June 2012 until September 2014, the defendants worked together to obtain and cash U.S. Treasury checks stolen from the U.S. Mail. The checks were originally issued to people entitled to the federal funds, including taxpayers receiving refunds, retired federal employees receiving pension benefits, military families, and Social Security beneficiaries receiving Social Security and disability payments.

 
The defendants played different roles in the scheme: Defendants Erica Willis, Dexter Willis, Sayeed Valdez and Antonio Slatton sold stolen checks to other defendants. Check purchasers, including Hussain Abdullah, Asad Abdullah, Hudhayfah Abdullah and Hafid Abdur-Rabbani, were frequent customers of the check sellers and purchased checks by either paying 25% of the check’s face value or splitting the proceeds from the check with the supplier. After purchasing the stolen checks, the defendants would pay identification manufacturers like Ibrahim Abdur-Rabbani and Khalil Majeed to make fake Georgia driver’s licenses matching the names and addresses of the victims, but containing photos of “check runners.” In exchange for a fee, the “check runners” would use the fake driver’s licenses to cash the stolen checks at retail locations throughout the Atlanta metropolitan area, such as Wal-Mart and Publix.

 
As part of the investigation, FBI and other law enforcement agents worked with a confidential informant, which put them in a position to recover the stolen checks and false identifications. During the investigation, the government reimbursed the stores that agreed to help in the investigation by cashing the stolen checks, thus aiding law enforcement in identifying the members of the scheme.

 
In a separate credit card fraud scheme, defendants Asad Abdullah, Mikal Majeed, Sayeed Valdez and Billie Cosby, obtained and used counterfeit identification documents to pose as real Sam’s Club members. After presenting the fraudulent documents at various Sam’s Club locations in Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama, the defendants obtained replacement store credit cards in the names of the victims, which the defendants then used to buy gift cards, gas, groceries, and other items at various Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart locations.

 
In total, the defendants defrauded the federal government, Wal Mart, and Sam’s Club of close to $1,000,000.

 
The defendants were indicted by a federal grand jury on September 11, 2014. All were convicted by either guilty plea or trial, and all but one has been sentenced. The defendants, and their charges and sentences are as follows:

 

  • Asad Abdullah, 37, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of conspiracy to commit theft of government funds, theft of government funds, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit credit card fraud.  He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to seven years, eight months in months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $72,182.12

 

  • Erica Willis, 36, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of conspiracy to commit theft of government funds, theft of government funds, and aggravated identity theft.  She was convicted at trial and was sentenced to three years in months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release.

 

  • Hussain Abdullah, 34, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of conspiracy to commit theft of government funds, theft of government funds, and aggravated identity theft. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years, eight months, followed by three years supervised release and 100 hours of community service.

 

  • Hudhayfah Abdullah, 32, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of conspiracy to commit theft of government funds, theft of government funds, and aggravated identity theft.  He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years, six months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $7,325.00.

 

  • Hafid Abdur-Rabbani, 37, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of conspiracy to commit theft of government funds, theft of government funds, and aggravated identity theft.  He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $2,684.30.

 

  • Ibrahim Abdur-Rabbani, 33, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of conspiracy to commit theft of government funds, theft of government funds, and aggravated identity theft. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years, seven months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release.

 

  • Khalil Majeed, 35, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of conspiracy to commit theft of government funds, theft of government funds, and aggravated identity theft.  He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years, ten months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release.

 

  • Ali Al-Amin, 36, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of conspiracy to commit theft of government funds, theft of government funds, and aggravated identity theft after pleading guilty.  He was sentenced to three years, seven months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release.

 

  • Zakariyah Abdullah, 35, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of aggravated identity theft and using a passport belonging to another after pleading guilty.  He was sentenced to three years, two months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release.

 

  • Sayeed Valdez, 38, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of conspiracy to commit theft of government funds after he pleaded guilty.  He was sentenced to two years, nine months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $55,623.17.

 

  • Antonio Slaton, 37, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of conspiracy to commit theft of government funds after pleading guilty.  He was sentenced to one year in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release.

 

  • Cory Howell, 43, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of conspiracy to commit theft of government funds after pleading guilty.  He was sentenced to three months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release.

 

  • Damion Davis, 31, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of conspiracy to commit theft of government funds after entering a guilty plea.  His sentencing is scheduled for April 8, 2016.

 

  • Dexter Willis, 36, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of conspiracy to commit theft of government funds after pleading guilty.  He was sentenced to five years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $118,199.16

 

  • JoAnn Drigo, 37, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of conspiracy to commit theft of government funds after pleading guilty.  She was sentenced to three years’ probation.

 

  • Muhajid Ahmad, 33, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of conspiracy to commit theft of government funds after pleading guilty.  He was sentenced to three years of probation.

 

  • Billee Cosby, 34, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of conspiracy to commit credit card fraud after pleading guilty.  She was sentenced to four months of a combination of community and home confinement, three years of probation and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $5,635.47.

 

  • Mikal Majeed, 33, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of aggravated identity theft after pleading guilty.  He was sentenced to three years in prison to be followed by one year of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $50,929.34.

 

  • Jasmine Proctor, 20, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of interfering with the U.S. Mail after pleading guilty.  She was sentenced to 18 months of probation.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Investigative assistance in this case was provided by the following federal agencies:

 

Federal Air Marshal Service; United States Customs and Border Protection; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; IRS-Criminal Investigations; United States Secret Service; United States Postal Service; and the Department of Homeland Security. The following state and local agencies also assisted: Georgia Bureau of Investigation; Georgia Office of Consumer Protection; Georgia Department of Corrections; Atlanta Police Department; Woodstock Police Department; Fulton County Sheriff’s Office; Henry County Police Department; Gwinnett County Police Department; Dunwoody Police Department; Brookhaven Police Department; Sandy Springs Police Department; DeKalb County Police Department, and Chamblee Police Department.

 

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nekia Hackworth and Kim S. Dammers, along with DOJ Trial Attorney Hans Miller prosecuted the case.

Email links icon or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.
Source: U.S. Attorney Office

A Major Day of Resistance to “Stop Police Terror Chicago”

Posted by Admin On February - 18 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

CBC Chairman G. K. Butterfield Statement on Supreme Court Vacancy

Posted by Admin On February - 18 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressional Black Caucus Chairman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) released the following statement in response to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell:

“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is reinforcing the Republican political agenda to disrupt governmental functions when the circumstances do not line up with their philosophy.  It is imperative that we have nine members of the United States Supreme Court deciding constitutional issues that are important to the American people.  It is absurd to suggest that President Obama should be denied the opportunity to nominate a qualified jurist to replace Justice Scalia on the Supreme Court.  The American people should clearly understand that Senate Republicans have a political agenda to pack the Court with conservative justices who would reverse years of progressive jurisprudence.

“The Congressional Black Caucus urges President Obama to expeditiously nominate a replacement for Justice Scalia who has the scholarship, values and temperament to sit on the highest court of our country and decide cases based on established law rather than a political agenda.  We will vigorously confront Senate Republicans at every turn should they dismiss President Obama’s nomination.”

Ask Your Legislator to Support the HEAL Act

Posted by Admin On February - 18 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

From: Malik S. Nevels, J.D.

Illinois African American Coalition for Prevention

 

As Governor Rauner addresses the legislature regarding the FY 2017 Illinois budget, we’re still faced with the current budget impasse that has left Illinois without a budget for more than 8 months. Since state leaders will need to address our growing deficit and put an end to this crisis, we want to make sure the Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Act is included in the final negotiated budget.

Tell your legislator that you support the HEAL Act as part of a final Illinois budget.

As you know, the HEAL Act is expected to generate more than $600 million a year to support Medicaid and invest in community resources for kids and families to live healthier lives.  The revenue comes from a penny-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks. This type of proposal is a win-win for the state, supporting the Medicaid program (thus freeing up general funds for education, human services and public safety) and helping to prevent costly diseases like heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

Sugary drinks are the number one source of added sugar in the American diet.  Research shows that consumption of just one sugary drink a day increases risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and other chronic conditions. Obesity costs the Illinois healthcare system a staggering $6 billion or more each year, with more than $1 billion of those costs in the Medicaid program. At a time when our deficit is growing exponentially, we must take this opportunity to bring in new revenue while simultaneously investing in prevention to provide long-term healthcare savings.

Ask your legislator to include the HEAL Act in the Illinois budget negotiations as a healthy revenue source.

Thank you for your continued support of the HEAL Act.

Please click here for a sample letter you can use to write to your legislator showing your support for the HEAL Act.

In Service,

Malik S. Nevels, J.D.

 

Comparative Analysis of U.S. Prison Population Trends 1999-2014

Posted by Admin On February - 18 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
From: Marc Mauer
The Sentencing Project
I’m writing to share two new analyses pertaining to reforms in the adult and juvenile justice systems.
Our comparative analysis of U.S. Prison Population Trends 1999-2014 reveals broad variation in nationwide incarceration trends.  While 39 states have experienced a decline since reaching their peak prison populations within the past 15 years, in most states this decline has been relatively modest. In addition, 11 states have had continuing rises in imprisonment. These developments suggest that while the recent national decline in the prison population is encouraging, any significant decarceration will require more sustained attention.
In this regard, 12 states have produced double-digit declines for some period since 1999, led by New Jersey (31%), New York (28%), Rhode Island (25%), and California (22%). Notably, these states have achieved substantial reductions with no adverse effect on public safety. Among states with rising prison populations, four have experienced double-digit increases, led by Nebraska and Arkansas, whose respective prisons populations grew by 22% and 18% since 2009. Despite sharing in the national crime drop, these states have resisted the trend toward decarceration.
An overview of developments regarding Juvenile Life without Parole: An Overview, by Josh Rovner, encompasses the impact of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Montgomery v. Louisiana, which will sharply curtail the number of people serving life without parole sentences for offenses committed as juveniles. Approximately 2,500 people are currently serving life without parole for offenses committed as juveniles; 16 states and the District of Columbia have banned the use of the sentence for juvenile offenders. The policy brief traces a decade’s worth of Supreme Court rulings, legislative responses to those rulings, and current research about teenage development and the juveniles likely impacted by the decision.
Regards,
Marc Mauer
New @SentencingProj analysis finds four states have reduced their prison populations by over 20%: sent.pr/1onM1F3
Many states have banned life without parole for youth. Is a nationwide ban next? More in new @SentencingProj report: sent.pr/1FMIfqe

Physician Pleads Guilty To Illegally Prescribing Pain Medication

Posted by Admin On February - 18 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

TYLER, Texas – U.S. Attorney John M. Bales announced that an East Texas pain management physician has pleaded guilty to illegally dispensing controlled substances.

Sameer Andoni Fino, 49, of Murphy, Texas, pleaded guilty before United States Magistrate Judge John D. Love for dispensing controlled substances outside the usual course of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose.

According to information presented in court, Fino, as the owner of the Fino Pain Clinic, provided pain management services to patients in the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area and East Texas.  On September 24, 2014, in Longview, Texas, Fino evaluated an undercover law enforcement agent who was posing as a new patient.  During that visit, Fino did not perform any physical examination of the agent.  After meeting with the agent for approximately six minutes, Fino wrote the undercover agent a prescription for 60 units of Norco ® 10 mg, which is an opioid pain medication containing hydrocodone.  Fino knowingly and intentionally dispensed this controlled substance outside the usual course of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose.

In connection with his guilty plea, Fino has agreed to voluntarily surrender his DEA Certificate of Registration, thereby surrendering his privileges to prescribe controlled substances in the future.

 

In a related civil action, Fino has agreed to forfeit $3,936,704.41.  The funds were originally seized during the execution of federal seizure warrants.  At sentencing, Sameer Andoni Fino faces up to ten years in federal prison.  No sentencing date has been set.

The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by agents from the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the United States Department of Health and Human Services – Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG), and the Texas Office of the Attorney General – Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (OAG-MFCU).  Special Assistant United States Attorney Kenneth C. McGurk is prosecuting this case.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice

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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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