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From today until Friday, September 23rd, the free KTQ50 film is the Emmy Award-winning The Trials of Muhammad Ali (2013). "Bill ...
By Chinta Strausberg Pocketbook Monologues creator and former WVON talk show host Sharon K. McGhee has ...
CHICAGO, IL –  Better Business Bureau is telling consumers and businesses not ...
WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, the United States Supreme Court decided unanimously to uphold redistricting ...
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White launched a public awareness campaign today urging college ...
   Springfield, IL – As the Land of Lincoln prepares to celebrate the 202nd birthday of Abraham ...
By M. Starita Boyce Ansari, Ph.D.   Nationwide (BlackNews.com) -- Fifty years ago, Americans from community after ...

Archive for March 3rd, 2016

Senate Black Caucus Votes to Keep MAP Program

Posted by Admin On March - 3 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
Every year, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission helps more than 130,000 students throughout Illinois advance their career dreams by helping them pay for college. The Monetary Award Program (MAP) is designed to help eligible students who may not have enough money to pay for higher education go to college.
Today, the Senate Black Caucus unanimously voted in favor of providing these scholarships to ensure would continue their education:
Below are comments from members:
 
Senate Black Caucus Chairman, Senator Emil Jones III (D-Chicago)
 
“The MAP grant is designed for students who are in financial need but are working toward a brighter, financially stable future,” said Senator Emil Jones III, Chairman of the Senate Black Caucus. “Today, we voted to ensure we are giving students the opportunity to receive an education that will lead to a good paying job by funding this program. We always say we want to prepare Illinois students for the workforce. The Senate Black Caucus showed its constituents what its priorities are – making college affordable for students who want a hand up and not a hand out is how we will grow our state out of fiscal uncertainty.”
 
Joint House and Senate Black Caucus Chairwoman Kimberly A. Lightford
 
“We all say we take pride in education and that academics are a priority – myself included,” said Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D – Maywood). “I just voted to put our state’s dollars where my values have always been, and I will continue to fight for the issues that we all know are most important for our future. Now, let’s pass a fair budget and keep our students funded for years to come.”
“It’s time to return to learning.” said Lightford. “For many college students, they have had their education stifled by politics and unwilling leadership. We have now overpowered the governor’s lack of leadership and given financially vulnerable Illinois students the help they need.
 
Senate Appropriation’s Chair, Senator Donne Trotter (D-Chicago)
“I stood outside the governor’s office in January with students. We personally hand-delivered this funding bill to him and watched him strike down our efforts with his veto. He may be interested in soundbites, but I’m interested in keeping the students in my district and across this state in school.”
 
Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago)
“I proudly overrode the governor’s decision to veto critical dollars that will drive our college students out of Illinois. Students should be concerned about passing exams and graduating, not debating dropping out or transferring to another state. They did their part, now he needs to honor his administration’s commitment to our teens.”
 
Senator Napoleon Harris (D-Chicago)
“I refuse to give up on students. Education takes young people out of poverty and allows them to become strong contributors to our economy. Chicago State is a priority for many people in my district, but the lack of funding is hurting families across the state.
There are still students waiting for money promised to them almost a year ago. That’s unacceptable. The governor’s administration made these promises and they need to deliver. Together we must stand up and fight back. I urge my colleagues in the House to override the governor’s veto as well. The future of our youth is depending on it.”
 
Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago)
 
At the heart of competitiveness is opportunity. When Illinois provides qualified, motivated students with genuine opportunities, our entire state reaps the benefits. 
 
It is infuriatingly unnecessary that in order to improve their prospects and make the most of their talents, many of our state’s young people find they must leave Illinois – if they have the resources to do so. Too many do not. They live with the disappointment of a dream deferred, and meanwhile, our economic vitality, our quest for equality and our struggle for stronger communities wither on the vine.
 
The House and Senate have repeatedly voted to release funds for MAP grants so that qualified, low-income students can continue to receive a college education. Yet the governor has ignored the pleas of countless students who want nothing more than to better themselves and our state. He has vetoed this legislation, jeopardizing not only the prospects of MAP grant recipients, but the continued survival of one of Illinois’ greatest assets – its public institutions of higher learning. Already, more than a thousand MAP grant recipients have been forced to stop going to class. They simply cannot afford to foot the bill while the state fails them.
 
I was proud to vote with my colleagues today to override the governor’s irresponsible veto, which has the effect of consigning to poverty and underemployment a generation of young people who hold the future of Illinois in their hands. I urge the House to follow the Senate’s lead as soon as possible.
 
Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago)
 
“I can’t see how we can say that we support moving the state forward and ignore something as important as the MAP grants. These grants help people to get their lives back together…. vote yes.”

Cook County Board Approves $9 Million in Loans for Affordable Housing

Posted by Admin On March - 3 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
 

Funds to be invested in affordable housing projects in Ford Heights, Hines, LaGrange, and Park Forest

Construction and/or rehabilitation is anticipated this year on four projects to develop affordable housing as a result of loans totaling $9 million from Cook County’s HOME Investment Partnership Program. The projects, whose loans were approved by the County Board today, will yield 311 units of affordable housing.

“Development of affordable housing is a key initiative of my administration,” said Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle. “The need for affordable housing in the region is great and far exceeds our current stock. I am very pleased to see these projects moving forward.”

Highlights of the four projects are:

• Ford Heights — The Ford Heights Cooperative will receive a $3.2 million loan to support Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) project costs incurred during the renovation of a 100 unit single-family rental cooperative project. Six of the units will be demolished due to flood damage and 94 will be rehabilitated, including flood mitigation work. A rain garden will be added to the property to further mitigate flooding.

• Hines — Freedom Path II will receive a $2 million loan to support CDBG-DR project costs of more than $13 million related to the construction of 52 new units of multi-family rental housing targeting veterans and their families.

• LaGrange — BEDS Plus Care, Inc. will receive a $1.3 million loan to be utilized to support CDBG-DR project costs of more than $6.2 million incurred during the new construction of 20 units of permanent housing for chronically homeless individuals. A social service component will be part of this development.

• Park Forest — Related Affordable, Inc. will receive a $2.5 Million loan which is part of the total development costs of $20.6 million to rehabilitate 145 units of multi-family rental housing. This project is geared towards seniors, disabled persons and low-income families.

In addition to these investments, an additional 950 units of affordable housing are currently under construction in suburban Cook County. Since taking office in 2011, the Preckwinkle administration has invested $16.3 Million in Cook County through the HOME Investment Partnership Program, leveraging $96.8 Million in private funding. These projects have yielded 500 units of affordable housing.

The Affordable Care Act: Fact Sheet, Healthy Communities Six Years Later

Posted by Admin On March - 3 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

President Obama promised that he would make quality, affordable health care not a privilege, but a right. After nearly 100 years of talk and decades of trying by presidents of both parties, that’s exactly what he did.

On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law, putting in place comprehensive reforms that improve access to affordable health coverage for everyone and protect consumers from abusive insurance company practices. Today, the ACA is working: thanks to the ACA, 17.6 million previously uninsured people had gained coverage prior to this year’s open enrollment period, and the law has driven the uninsured rate below 10 percent – for the first time since we started keeping records. The ability to buy portable and affordable plans on a competitive marketplace is giving Americans the freedom to move, start businesses and dream big American dreams, which is especially important as more consumers become entrepreneurs. And thanks in part to the law’s focus on reducing costs and inefficiencies, health care prices have risen at the slowest rate in 50 years since the law passed, which will benefit all of us for years to come.

These access gains are due in large part to the efforts of local and state elected officials, community organizations and leaders, and volunteers who have worked tirelessly to help their neighbors find access to quality, affordable coverage. During the most recent open enrollment period from November 1 through January 31, the Administration and its partners on the ground nationwide undertook an unprecedented local and regional effort to sign up the remaining uninsured who are eligible for Marketplace coverage.

As part of this effort, the White House launched its “Healthy Communities Challenge” to engage 20 key communities with large numbers or high percentages of uninsured in states across the country where strong federal, state, and community collaboration can have a meaningful impact on reaching the uninsured. Last month, the White House announced that the winner of the challenge is Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Under the leadership of Mayor Tom Barrett and County Executive Chris Abele, about 38,000 people in the Milwaukee area newly selected a plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace during this open enrollment period. Together with returning Marketplace consumers, about 89,000 people in the Milwaukee area selected a 2016 Marketplace plan. Nationwide, nearly 13 million Americans signed up for 2016 Marketplace coverage, including people who were previously uninsured, as well as Americans finding coverage as they go through changes in life such as being in between jobs or aging off their parents’ plans.

Ahead of the upcoming sixth anniversary of the ACA, tomorrow President Obama will travel to Milwaukee to celebrate the city’s victory and discuss how Americans in communities across the country are benefitting from the law. The President will deliver remarks at the Bruce-Guadalupe Middle School on the campus of the United Community Center, which is a part of the Milwaukee Latino Health Coalition and has hosted ACA outreach efforts. The President will also sit down for a conversation with local residents who have written him about the impact of the law on themselves and their families.

Because of the Affordable Care Act, This is What Health Care in America Looks Like Today:

  • 17.6 million consumers have gained health insurance thanks to the ACA, prior to this year’s open enrollment period.  From 2010 through the first nine months of 2015, the uninsured rate has fallen by more than 40 percent and, for the first time ever, more than 9 in 10 Americans now have health insurance. In Wisconsin, Gallup recently estimated that the adult uninsured rate in 2015 was 5.9 percent, down from 11.7 percent in 2013.
  • As many as 129 million Americans who have some type of pre-existing health condition, including up to 19 million children, are now protected from coverage denials and reduced benefits – practices that were routine before the law’s enactment.
  • 105 million Americans, including 39.5 million women and nearly 28 million children, have benefited from annual limits on out-of-pocket spending on essential health benefits – and the elimination of lifetime and annual limits on insurance coverage. These are protections that did not exist before the ACA.
  • Americans now have access to critical preventive services at no cost, like flu shots, yearly check-ups, and birth control. These are benefits that did not exist before the ACA.
  • Over 14 million more Americans have received coverage through Medicaid since the ACA’s first open enrollment period in 2013. States have an option to expand Medicaid to all non-eligible adults with incomes under 133 percent of the federal poverty level, and to date, 31 states and the District of Columbia have chosen to expand the program.  In these states that have already expanded Medicaid, 4.4 million uninsured people will gain coverage.  If the remaining states expand Medicaid, over 4 million more uninsured people would gain coverage.
  • The ACA has provided new transparency in how health insurance plans disclose reasons for premium increases and requires simple, standardized summaries so over 170 million Americans can better understand their coverage information and compare plans. These consumer protections did not exist six years ago.
  • 2.3 million young Americans gained coverage between 2010 and October 2013 because they could now stay covered on their parents’ health care plans until they turn 26 – a benefit that did not exist before the law.
  • The ACA created tax credits that, as of September 2015, have helped 7.8 million Americans who otherwise often could not afford it purchase health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplaces.
  • Health insurers are now required to provide consumers with rebates if the amount they spend on health benefits and quality of care, as opposed to advertising and marketing, is too low.  Last year, 5.5 million consumers received nearly $470 million in rebates.  Since this requirement was put in place in 2011 through 2014, more than $2.4 billion in total refunds will have been paid to consumers.
  • Out-of-pocket costs have been eliminated for preventive services like immunizations, certain cancer screenings, contraception, reproductive counseling, obesity screening, and behavioral assessments for children. This coverage is guaranteed for more than 137 million Americans, including 55 million women.
  • Out-of-pocket costs have been eliminated for 39 million Medicare beneficiaries for preventive services like cancer screenings, bone-mass measurements, annual physicals, and smoking cessation.
  • The ACA expands mental health and substance use disorder benefits and parity protections to over 60 million Americans.
  • The ACA phases out the “donut hole” coverage gap for nearly 10.7 million Medicare prescription drug beneficiaries, who have saved an average of $1,945 per beneficiary.
  • Accountable Care Organizations now exist, consisting of doctors and other health-care providers who come together to provide coordinated, high-quality care at lower costs to their Medicare patients. Over 477 ACOs are serving nearly 8.9 million Medicare beneficiaries nationwide.
  • Overpayments through the Medicare Advantage system have been phased out, while Medicare Advantage plans are required to spend at least 85 percent of Medicare revenue on patient care.  Medicare Advantage enrollment has grown by 50 percent to over 17.1 million while premiums have dropped by 10 percent since 2009.
  • Hospitals in Medicare now receive incentives to reduce hospital-acquired infections and avoidable readmissions.  A collaborative health-safety learning network, the Partnership for Patients, includes more than 3,200 hospitals to promote best quality practices.

In addition, other legislation and executive actions are allowing us to continue to build on this progress and advance the cause of effective, affordable and accountable health care. This includes:

  • Advancing innovative care delivery models and value-based payments in Medicare and Medicaid.  The Administration set ambitious goals of tying 30 percent of traditional Medicare payments to alternative payment models by the end of 2016 and 50 percent by the end of 2018.
  • Proposals to invest in targeted research and technologies to advance the BRAIN Initiative, Precision Medicine Initiative, and cancer research.
  • A funding pool for Community Health Centers to build, expand and operate health-care facilities in underserved communities.  Health Center grantees served 23 million patients in 2014 and received $11 billion under the health care law to offer a broader array of primary care services, extend their hours of operations, hire more providers, and renovate or build new clinical spaces.
  • Health provider training opportunities, with an emphasis on primary care, including a significant expansion of the National Health Service Corps.  As of September 30, 2015, there were 9,600 Corps clinicians providing primary care services, compared to 3,600 clinicians in 2008.

To learn more about the Healthy Communities challenges, visit: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/02/12/fact-sheet-announcing-winner-healthy-communities-challenge. For more on the President’s overall record on providing quality, affordable health care for Americans, visit: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-record/health-care.

Source: whitehouse.gov

Former Fugitive Pleads Guilty in Florida Multimillion-Dollar Health Care Fraud Scheme

Posted by Admin On March - 3 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

A Cuban national who fled the United States and had been wanted since 2013 on federal criminal charges relating to a multimillion-dollar health care fraud scheme in the greater Tampa Bay, Florida, area pleaded guilty today for his role in the scheme.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley III of the Middle District of Florida; Special Agent in Charge Paul Wysopal of the FBI’s Tampa, Florida, Field Office, Special Agent in Charge George Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Shimon Richmond of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Miami Regional Office made the announcement.

Ubert Guillermo Rodriguez, aka Ubert Guillermo Rodriguez Sigler, 47, pleaded guilty in federal court in Tampa today to conspiracy to commit health care fraud.  Rodriguez was arrested on the health care fraud charges when he arrived at Miami International Airport on a flight from Cuba in October 2015.

According to documents filed in the case, Rodriguez was the president and owner of G.R. Services Equipment & Supplies Inc., a Largo, Florida, company that purported to provide durable medical equipment to Medicare beneficiaries.  From May 2013 through July 2013, Rodriguez’s company submitted approximately $2,579,695 in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare seeking reimbursement for durable medical equipment, such as wound care supplies, that was not legitimately prescribed by doctors and was not provided to beneficiaries.  For example, Rodriguez’s company sought reimbursement for thousands of dollars of negative pressure wound therapy electrical pumps and sterile collagen dressings purportedly provided in May and June 2013 to Medicare beneficiaries.  Federal law enforcement agents previously executed a seizure warrant on Rodriguez’s company’s bank account, resulting in the seizure of approximately $243,339 in proceeds of the health care fraud scheme.

HHS-OIG and the FBI are investigating the case, which and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Middle District of Florida.  Senior Trial Attorney Christopher J. Hunter of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section is prosecuting the case.

Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged nearly 2,000 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $6 billion.  In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Team (HEAT), go to www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice

NNU’s #BernieBus Zooms Into Chicago For Early Voting

Posted by Admin On March - 3 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
Reclaim Chicago, Elected Officials & Candidates Push Early Voting at March 3 Thompson Center Rally

B-ROLL: Voters from #BernieBus will walk to early voting site at 69 W. Washington.
 

The National Nurses United (NNU) #BernieBus debuts in Chicago as Sen. Bernie Sanders and the rest of the Reclaim Chicago slate gear up for the March 15, 2016 primary, with a push to get supporters out during the Feb. 29 – March 14 early voting period.

Along with the #BernieBus nurses, a number of the candidates endorsed by Reclaim Chicago will join activists at a rally aimed at pumping up early voting numbers. At the close of the rally, voters will walk to the Early Voting site at 69 W. Washington to cast their ballots.

Endorsed candidates, leaders and activists from Reclaim Chicago and its two supporting groups, NNU and The People’s Lobby, the #BernieBus crew and voters will participate in the rally.

Speakers will include:
• Brianna Tong, Emcee, student activist
• Omar Aquino, State Senate Democratic candidate, 2nd District
• Theresa Mah, State House of Representatives Democratic candidate, 2nd District
• Alderman Carlos Rosa, D-35th Ward
• Alderman John Arena, D-45th Ward
• Martese Chism, Registered Nurse, member National Nurses United
The rally will be held March 3, 2016, at the James R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph St., Chicago, Noon – 1 pm. The #BernieBus will be on Randolph, between Clark and LaSalle.

The #BernieBus – NNU’s eye-catching mobile symbol of its commitment to a campaign that strongly matches the beliefs and aspirations of nurses – has linked up with Reclaim Chicago in its fight to elect – and hold accountable – progressives at the city, county, state and national levels. Nurses care about Sanders because he puts people and the planet first. Honest and consistent, he recognizes the need for a grassroots movement to counteract the unwarranted political power of the super-rich. Likewise Reclaim’s endorsed candidates down the ballot are committed the organization’s platform and, when they get elected, to be leaders on economic and social justice and to work with Reclaim Chicago on issues of importance to the communities it represents. For more information go to www.reclaimchicago.org.

IDFPR Secretary Schneider Appointed to National Regulatory Committee

Posted by Admin On March - 3 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL — Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) Secretary Bryan A. Schneider was recently appointed to the Non-Depository Supervisory Committee of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS).  The newly created committee will provide oversight of and support for multi-state, non-depository supervisory matters and provide advice on non-depository policy development.  Non-depository financial institutions serve as an intermediary between savers and borrowers, but do not accept time deposits.  In Illinois, IDFPR Division of Banking oversees the regulation and licensure of non-depository financial institutions, such as mortgage banks, payday loans, pawnbrokers and title loan companies.      

“With his extensive regulatory and financial background, Secretary Schneider will be invaluable as a member of this national committee,” said Governor Bruce Rauner.  “By serving in this capacity, Secretary Schneider ensures Illinois has effective representation in shaping national regulatory policies that impact the financial services that the people of our state depend upon.”

CSBS is the nationwide organization of banking regulators from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  CSBS members oversee “non-depository” companies, such as mortgage providers, check cashers, and consumer finance companies. Nationally, state regulators license more than 16,000 mortgage companies, more than 130,000 individual mortgage loan originators, and more than 138,000 additional non-depository financial services providers across the nation.

 

Schneider’s appointment coincides with his currently held positions on the CSBS State Coordinating Committee (SCC) and CSBS subsidiary State Regulatory Registry (SRR) Board of Managers.  The SCC is responsible for managing large, multi-state/federal examinations.  The SRR is a non-profit entity that operates the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System and Registry (NMLS) on behalf of state financial services regulatory agencies.

Disenfranchisement News: State Supreme Court to Hear Felony Disenfranchisement Challenge

Posted by Admin On March - 3 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Disenfranchisement News
From: The Sentencing Project
Iowa
State Supreme Court to hear felony disenfranchisement challenge

The Iowa Supreme Court recently agreed to hear a challenge to the state’s strict disenfranchisement laws, which impose a lifetime ban on voting for anyone convicted of a felony. The lawsuit seeks to clarify language in the state’s constitution, which bans voting for those convicted of an “infamous crime.” Until recently, the state had considered all felonies to be infamous crimes, but a 2014 Iowa Supreme Court ruling questioned that interpretation.

The ACLU of Iowa filed the lawsuit on behalf of Kelli Joe Griffin, an Iowa woman who thought her voting rights had been restored after she completed her probation for a non-violent drug conviction in 2013. She was charged in 2014 with voter fraud, but a jury found her not guilty. The lawsuit asks the court to “declare that the Iowa Constitution prohibits the disenfranchisement of people convicted of lower-level felonies (such as non-violent drug offenses); and seeks an injunction to stop the state from bringing criminal charges against Iowans with past lower-level felonies who register to vote.” A state judge dismissed the lawsuit last year, and said that it was up to the state’s Supreme Court to identify which felony convictions should lead to exclusion from voting.

The Iowa Supreme Court will hear the case on March 30th.

Alabama
Lawmakers seek to define “moral turpitude”

A committee of lawmakers, activists, and formerly incarcerated people is pushing for a clearer legal definition of “moral turpitude,” a change that would restore voting rights to certain people with felony convictions. Alabama law strips people of their right to vote if they commit a felony involving moral turpitude, but it’s often been left to the courts to decide what that means. People convicted in each of Alabama’s 67 counties might get 67 different answers as to whether their crime was one of moral turpitude, according to a recent NPR report. This is significant in a state where seven percent of adults cannot vote.

A bill that would list all the felonies that would disqualify a person from voting has made it out of committee and now moves to the House Rules Committee for debate. The bill also requires that parole and probation officers communicate the process of rights restoration more effectively to individuals who have served their time and are living back in the community.

Hawaii
Bill would give some people in prison the right to vote

State lawmakers are considering a bill that would give certain individuals in prison the right to vote. The state constitution prohibits people with felony convictions from voting until they are released from prison. (Hawaiians placed on probation or parole are allowed to vote.) Lawmakers say the current law disproportionately affects Native Hawaiians, who represent about one-fourth of the state’s total population yet make up nearly 40 percent of incarcerated Hawaiians.

The original bill would have restored voting rights to all incarcerated individuals, but lawmakers changed it to only allow people incarcerated for low-level felony convictions the right to vote. Maine and Vermont are the only states that have no restrictions on voting for their incarcerated residents.

Chicago Bugaloo Artist Debuts New Video At Pilsen Art Gallery

Posted by Admin On March - 3 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Collins on MAP Grant Override Vote: “Students Cannot Afford to Foot the Bill While the State Fails Them”

Posted by Admin On March - 3 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

 

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) issued the following statement on her vote to override the governor’s veto of legislation funding Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants for low-income college students. The Senate approved the override motion, which now goes to the House for a vote, by a margin of 37-17-2 today.

At the heart of competitiveness is opportunity. When Illinois provides qualified, motivated students with genuine opportunities, our entire state reaps the benefits.

It is infuriatingly unnecessary that in order to improve their prospects and make the most of their talents, many of our state’s young people find they must leave Illinois – if they have the resources to do so. Too many do not. They live with the disappointment of a dream deferred, and meanwhile, our economic vitality, our quest for equality and our struggle for stronger communities wither on the vine.

The House and Senate have repeatedly voted to release funds for MAP grants so that qualified, low-income students can continue to receive a college education. Yet the governor has ignored the pleas of countless students who want nothing more than to better themselves and our state. He has vetoed this legislation, jeopardizing not only the prospects of MAP grant recipients, but the continued survival of one of Illinois’ greatest assets – its public institutions of higher learning. Already, more than a thousand MAP grant recipients have been forced to stop going to class. They simply cannot afford to foot the bill while the state fails them.

I was proud to vote with my colleagues today to override the governor’s irresponsible veto, which has the effect of consigning to poverty and underemployment a generation of young people who hold the future of Illinois in their hands. I urge the House to follow the Senate’s lead as soon as possible.

New Orleans Musician “Big Freedia” Charged with Theft of Government Funds

Posted by Admin On March - 3 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that FREDDIE ROSS, JR., age 37, of New Orleans, who performs under the stage name BIG FREEDIA, was charged in a one-count Bill of Information with theft of government funds.

According to the Bill of Information, between about 2010 and continuing until December 2014, ROSS stole money to which he was not entitled from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Although the amount was not specified in the Bill of Information, ROSS was charged with stealing more than $1,000, making his crime a felony.

If convicted, ROSS faces a maximum term of imprisonment of not more than ten years in prison, followed by up to three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.

United States Attorney Polite reiterated that the Bill of Information is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

The case was investigated by agents with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development – Office of the Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Housing Authority of New Orleans.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jordan Ginsberg and Maria Carboni.

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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