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April , 2017
Thursday

Former U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta serves as  Honorary Chairman for Industry Event   Washington, ...
   SPRINGFIELD, IL - The Illinois State Board of Education has announced several changes to its ...
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative G. K. Butterfield (NC-01), Chairman of the Congressional Black ...
Morial's statement "Upon verification of the recent audio recording purportedly of Los Angeles Clippers ...
Mound Bayou, MS (BlackNews.com) -- Whenever the Afrikan born in Amerika sets out to ...
Submission deadline: October 15, 2012   In conjunction with its October 26–28 Billy Strayhorn Festival, the Music ...
Madigan & 28 Attorneys General Urge the FDA to Strengthen Proposed Regulations of E-Cigarettes ...
This year's event will be held on August 12-24, 2012 at the Carl Field Center ...
CHICAGO, IL – As the state’s point person on education reform, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon today ...
Let's Illuminate Chicago's TIFs! The TIF Illumination Project launched a $15,000 crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo to ...

Archive for the ‘News and Blogs’ Category

Nation’s Oldest African American Greek-Lettered Fraternity Announces New Strategic Alliance and $20,000 Donation To The NAACP

Posted by Admin On April - 25 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

BALTIMORE –During its April executive committee meeting in Baltimore, the Grand Boule of the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternityannounced a new strategic alliance to increase its support of NAACP’s work in protecting civil rights

The agreement encourages members of the Grand Boule, the nation’s oldest African American Greek lettered fraternity to promote lifetime NAACP memberships among its group, increase organizational participation in civic engagement and get out the vote effortsas well as expanded engagement in activities in support of the NAACP’s strategic plan. 

Additionally, the Northern, Virginia based Beta Nu and Epsilon Zeta-member Boulespresentedthe Legacy Award, a monetary donation of $20,000to NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks in support of the organization’s continued fight for equality and justice.

“The NAACP applauds the Grand Boule and the Beta Nu and Epsilon Zeta-member Boules for its gracious donation and continued support of our work as the nation’s leading defender of civil rights for all people. Their commitment to serve as an influential and engaged ally, sets a powerful example for all organizations within our community,” said NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks, also a member of the Boule.

“The nation’s oldest civil right organization and oldest fraternity are developing a strategic alliance to more effectively address issues of people of color. The NAACP stands on the vanguard of issues ranging from discrimination, criminal justice, education, and economic parity, just to mention a few,” said Royce West Chair of the Grand Boule’s Public Policy Committee.Sigma Pi Phi has men with considerable expertise, experience and influence in many of these areas. The alliance of these organizations will facilitate cooperation on the national, state and local level,” he added.

The Grand Boule, also known as the Boule, is the nation’s first Greek-letter fraternity founded by African American men. The Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity is best known as the Boule, a Greek term meaning “council of noblemen.” Founded in 1904, Sigma Pi Phi is the oldest Greek-letter organization comprised primarily of African-American men. 

The Boule has more than 5,000 members and 119 chapters throughout the United States and the Caribbean. Its membership consists of some of the most accomplished, affluent, and influential men-leaders who are making lasting contributions to their communities, our society, and the world.

For more information, contact: NAACP Communications Department: R.farley@naacpnet.org 

Men Sentenced to Federal Prison and Ordered to Pay Over $6 Million Restitution for Tax Fraud at Hope Hospital

Posted by Admin On April - 25 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Texarkana, Arkansas – Kenneth Elser, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced that two men were sentenced this week on one count each of Failure to Collect or Pay Over Tax.  James R. Cheek, age 68, of Waleska, Georgia and Herschel J. Breig, Sr., age 69, of Nixa, Missouri were each sentenced to 36 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release.  Restitution of $6,000,000 is ordered jointly and severally between the two defendants.  Judge Susan O. Hickey presided over the sentencing hearings in the United States District court in Texarkana.

According to court records, as principals of Hope Medical Park Hospital, both Cheek and Breig were responsible to collect, truthfully account for, and pay over the hospital’s payroll taxes to the Internal Revenue Service during the calendar years 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.  They failed to pay approximately $6,000,000 in payroll taxes as was required.

Both men were indicted by a federal grand jury in July, 2015 and both pleaded guilty in September, 2016.

“Corporate executives have a responsibility to withhold federal income taxes for their employees and then remit those taxes to the IRS on their behalf. Employment tax evasion not only results in the loss of tax revenue to the United States government, employees also lose future social security or Medicare benefits” stated Tracey D. Montaño, Special Agent in Charge. “Failure to pay over withheld taxes is a serious offense, and continues to be an investigative priority for IRS Criminal Investigation.”

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Assistant United States Attorneys Candace Taylor and Jonathan D. Ross prosecuted the case for the United States.

Source: FBI

Madigan & 20 Attorneys General Oppose U.S Department of Education’s Rollback of Student Loan Servicing Reforms

Posted by Admin On April - 25 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Reforms Informed by Madigan’s Investigation Into Student Loan Giant Navient Revoked by U.S. Department of Education

 

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan joined with 20 attorneys general and the Office of Consumer Protection of Hawaii calling out the U.S. Department of Education for abdicating its responsibility to millions of student loan borrowers and their families by revoking critical reforms designed to help borrowers avoid default and curtail loan servicer misconduct.

 

Madigan along with the other attorneys general and the Office of Consumer Protection of Hawaii sent a letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos opposing the Department’s rescission of guidance to protect student loan borrowers and reform the student loan servicing industry.

 

“These reforms were a result of my investigation into one of the largest student loan companies in the country that showed the industry has repeatedly put borrowers into more expensive repayment options,” Madigan said. “The U.S. Department of Education must take action to protect student loan borrowers and reform the industry to put their needs ahead of private companies’ profits.”

 

Last year, in the wake of Attorney General Madigan’s investigation of Navient, the Department of Education issued guidance for the student loan servicing industry. The guidance required student loan servicers to inform struggling student borrowers about the availability of affordable income-based repayment plans. Madigan has since filed a lawsuit against Navient and its predecessor Sallie Mae for the companies’ widespread failures and mistreatment of student loan borrowers.

 

The Department of Education’s reforms addressed many of the findings of Madigan’s investigation into Navient by ensuring that student loan borrowers got accurate information about their loans and repayment options. The reforms also ensured consistency of service, increased servicer accountability, and enhanced transparency by student loan servicers. Critically, these reforms aimed to improve borrowers’ access to affordable loan repayment plans designed to help borrowers in distress avoid default. Now the Department’s action will instead leave student loan borrowers vulnerable to poor practices and abuses that the servicing reforms were designed to stop.

 

In the letter, Madigan and the attorneys general state the reforms are critical to helping borrowers who are struggling under the weight of their student loan debt, evidenced by an increasing rate of federal student loan defaults. In 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau estimated that more than 25 percent of student loan borrowers were delinquent or in default on a student loan.

 

“Many such borrowers would benefit greatly from entering income-driven repayment plans but are prevented from doing so by student loan servicer misconduct and misinformation,” the letter states.

 

Joining Madigan in sending today’s letter are the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia, as well as the Executive Director of the Office of Consumer Protection of Hawaii.

 

A copy of the letter can be found here.

 

 

Rep. Stratton Fights to Provide Working Families with Paid Sick Leave

Posted by Admin On April - 25 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois State Rep. Juliana Stratton, D-Chicago, is fighting for the health and financial stability of working families by backing legislation to ensure employers offer paid sick leave to all their workers, a benefit that would help lift up workers who live paycheck to paycheck and also must take care of loved ones.

 

“Workers deserve the peace of mind to know that they won’t be fired if they need to stay home due to an illness, to care for a sick kid or visit the doctor,” Stratton said. “All workers deserve paid sick time, but many go without it, especially those who work paycheck to paycheck.”

 

The Stratton-sponsored Healthy Workplace Act, House Bill 2771, would allow workers to use five paid sick days every year, during which employees would receive their normal pay. Employees are eligible to use sick days for a number of common emergencies that often require workers to miss work with little notice, such as having to take a loved one to a doctor’s appointment, or caring for a child whose school closed for the day. Current law does not provide paid sick days for all employees, which hurts working families the most, especially single parents.

 

“Corporations making billions in profits every year benefit from a healthy workforce,” Stratton continued. “This is a matter of putting people over profits.”

 

The Healthy Workplace Act awaits further action in the House.

 

 

 

Rep. Slaughter Advocates for Inmate Program in New Bill Passed Out of Committee

Posted by Admin On April - 25 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – Seeking to cut down on recidivism for inmates who are trying to improve their life, Illinois State Rep. Justin Slaughter, D-Chicago, passed legislation out of committee in an attempt to reduce the number of released inmates returning to prison.

 

“Giving people a second chance is important to their personal and professional development,” Slaughter said.  “If we provide them with the opportunity to acquire a skill and have employment, we are doing them and our society a great service. We must make certain that those who are released from prison have a second chance at life and learn from the mistakes previously made.”

 

Slaughter’s House Bill 698 amends the Unified Code of Corrections creating the pre-release Prisoner Entrepreneur Education Program to provide select inmates with practical business skills for use after release from prison. The program establishes a five year pilot project to be instituted within the Illinois Department of Corrections with the goal of providing inmates with practical business skills for use after release from prison. The bill is based on a program from the Texas Department of Corrections that has achieved success.

 

“When someone leaves prison, I want to make sure that they are set up to succeed and contribute back to society,” Slaughter said. “This bill will help to prevent unnecessary parole violations that have no criminal intent.”

 

For more information, contact Slaughter’s constituent service office at 773-445-9700 slaughterj@ilga.gov.

 

Gov. Rauner Donors Get Visit From Upset Residents on Tax Evasion Trolley Tour

Posted by Admin On April - 25 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Community Groups Demand Hedge Fund Managers Profiting From Carried Interest Loophole Pay Fair Share to Help Solve State Budget Crisis

CHICAGO, IL – On Thursday, community residents being impacted by the school funding crisis and state budget impasse took part in a Tax Evasion Trolley Tour to the homes of Hedge Fund political donors who have profited off of the carried interest loophole at the expense of schools and vital social services.

The first stop on the trolley tour was the $20 million dollar home of Donald Wilson, founder of DRW Trading Group. Wilson has personally benefited from the carried interest loophole and made significant political contributions to both Governor Rauner and Chicago Mayor Emanuel. Participants were joined by Representative Welch (D-Hillside), lead sponsor of HB 3393, a bill that would generate close to a half billion dollars by placing a privilege tax on people like Wilson.

Joining with community members, Representative Welch hand-delivered a large overdue tax bill to Wilson’s front door.

“It’s okay to own a nice home, everyone dreams of being successful and living a good life. But to those who much is given, much is required. What we are saying is if you have the privilege to live in a $20 million dollar house you should pay your fair share in taxes and that means closing the carried interest loophole,” stated Representative Welch to the energetic crowd.   

Alejandro Sanchez, Safe Passage program coordinator with the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council added, “In our community, shootings have increased by 300% between 2013 and 2016. I have a question for Don Wilson and others like him who are profiting off of this loophole. Do you think that skimping on your tax bill is worth students in Brighton Park losing their after school programs and guidance counselors, or domestic violence centers being closed, or more young people dead because of massive disinvestment in anti-violence programs?”

Participants left sidewalk messages outside Wilson’s home, citing the devastation caused by the state’s lack of sufficient revenue. In addition to visiting Donald Wilson, the Tax Evasion Trolley Tour went to the homes of Sam Zell, Ken Griffin, and Dmitry Balyasny, all deep-pocketed political donors who have capitalized on a rigged tax system resulting in the current school and state funding crisis.

“The impacts on our communities are real – increasing violence, students forced to stop their college educations, seniors going without home care and needed programs like meals on meals, immigrant families losing programs that assist them, and the prospect of our schools being closed 3 weeks early, due to lack of revenue. We organized this tour because these impacts feel real to us, but standing here in front of multi-million dollar mansions, it’s hard to imagine they feel real to these Hedge Fund managers. We want them to know that the money they are getting from the carried interest loophole isn’t being pulled from thin air – it is coming from our community programs and schools,” explained Abbie Illenberger, Field Director of Grassroots Collaborative.

Grassroots Collaborative expects HB 3393 to be voted on in the Illinois House next week.

State Senators Biss, Collins to Discuss Apparent Racial Bias in Car Insurance Industry Today

Posted by Admin On April - 17 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

ProPublica investigation exposing disparities based on ZIP code prompts new legislation

 

CHICAGO, IL  – Illinois State Senators Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) and Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago) this morning will discuss troubling new revelations of apparent racial bias by car insurers that charge higher premiums to Chicago-area customers who live in predominantly minority neighborhoods.

 

The senators, longtime champions of racial and economic justice, also will introduce legislation to bar the kind of discrimination that was exposed in an April 5 joint investigation by ProPublica and Consumer Reports.

 

They will be joined by representatives of numerous Chicago organizations that advocate for racial and economic justice and were troubled by the findings.

 

Collins also has introduced legislation to bar insurance companies from using credit scores as a factor in calculating car insurance rates, a practice that is allowed in Illinois.

 

  • Read the ProPublica-Consumer Reports investigation here: http://bit.ly/PPCarIns

What:  Chicago news conference with state senators Daniel Biss and Jacqueline Y. Collins

Dory Rand, president, Woodstock Institute

Ken Franklin, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308

William McNary, co-director, Citizen Action/Illinois

Katelyn Johnson, Action Now

Representatives from Reclaim Chicago, Our Revolution, Workers Center for Racial Justice, and Southsiders Organizing for Unity and Liberation

 

When:                  10:30 a.m. Monday, April 17

 

Where:                 James R. Thompson Center, 15th floor media briefing room

100 W. Randolph St., Chicago

 

Rep. Stratton Passes Legislation to Study State’s Law Enforcement Records

Posted by Admin On April - 17 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS
 CHICAGO, IL – As advocates nationally look to reform the criminal justice system, Illinois State Rep. Juliana Stratton, D-Chicago, recently passed legislation out of the House that would study Illinois law enforcement’s antiquated system of record keeping.
“Within the criminal justice system, there are so many moving parts, so it’s important to take a step back and take a snapshot of where we are right now,” Stratton said. “We need to look at the efficiency of our record system and _4031773163as more local systems move towards electronic records to what extent is an over-reliance on paper slowing down the system as a whole?”
The Stratton-introduced House Bill 3879 calls for the state to identify the law enforcement agencies still operating on paper systems. Even in 2017, many law enforcement agencies still have not moved to digital or electronic storage. The study would identify all law enforcement agencies who do not have electronic records to better allow policymakers to create a pathway for these
Caption: Stratton speaking on the House floor recently. Stratton passed legislation in March that would study law enforcement agencies that still use paper records.counties to digitize their records in the future.
“Even in 2017, many law enforcement agencies still have not moved to digital or electronic storage or information sharing,” Stratton continued. “Having a more efficient system is one factor for creating a more just system.”
House Bill 3879 passed unanimously in the House and now heads to the Senate.

NAACP Statement on “Intentionally Discriminatory” Texas Voter ID Law

Posted by Admin On April - 17 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Baltimore – NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks issued the following statement on Judge Nelva Gonzalez Ramos’ ruling that SB 14 intentionally discriminates against African-American and Latinos.

 

“The NAACP applauds today’s decision by Judge Gonzales Ramos holding – once again – that Texas’s current photo identification law, SB 14, was enacted with racially discriminatory intent in violation of the United States Constitution.

 

With the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit already having affirmed Judge Gonzales Ramos’ prior ruling that SB 14 discriminates against African-American and Latino voters in violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, today’s decision hopefully represents the final nail in the coffin for this despicable, disenfranchising law.  The Texas NAACP State Conference originally filed litigation challenging SB 14 in 2013.

 

The U.S. Department of Justice’s decision to withdraw its longstanding allegation that SB 14 was enacted with racially discriminatory intent serves only to demonstrate the willingness of some public officials to play politics with the most sacred and foundational right in our democracy – the right to vote.  But the NAACP and its partners will oppose most strenuously any effort to make voting more difficult for our fellow citizens, no matter what their color or political persuasion.  We congratulate our Texas State Conference and its litigation partners for their steadfast and immovable advocacy.”

 

The NAACP and its more than 2,200 branches across the country are working to strengthen our democracy by increasing civic participation and eliminating voter suppression. The NAACP state conference leadership, national field team, as well as out branches continues direct action, voter mobilization and public education. Using our Washington Bureau and communications department, we will continue call on the millions of supporters and members of the NAACP to support our legislative efforts to combat voter suppression, including passage of the Voter Empowerment Act and Voting Rights Advancement Act. Meanwhile, our Youth and College Division continues its amazing and important work of training and equipping millennial leaders to increase the level of civic engagement in communities across the country. The hard work of improving our democracy continues.

 

Illinois Treasurer Frerichs Pushes to Reunite Illinois Residents with $2.8 Billion in Unclaimed Property

Posted by Admin On April - 17 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Thousands of Illinois Residents Have Cash or Property to Claim; New Names Reported Every Year

 

SPRINGFIELD, IL – A statewide newsprint advertising push began this week to reunite Illinois residents with approximately $2.8 billion in unclaimed property, Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs said today.

Frerichs drew attention to the advertising blitz to reassure residents that the unclaimed property effort is legitimate. The treasurer’s office never charges money to search and return unclaimed property.

“This money does not belong to the State of Illinois. It belongs to Illinois residents, businesses and local governments and we want to make every effort to return it,” Frerichs said. “With the state’s current fiscal challenges, getting this money out to the community is more important than ever.” 

Since January 2015, the Illinois Treasurer’s office has paid out more than $250 million to the public.

The Illinois treasurer’s office is the custodian of unclaimed property including lost bank accounts, insurance policy proceeds, and unpaid rebate cards. Items are surrendered after private entities tried for at least five years to locate the owner. For example, if an individual forgot to pick up a final paycheck, the employer typically would attempt to contact the individual before surrendering the paycheck to the treasurer’s office. Once surrendered, the treasurer’s office continues to locate the individual through direct mail, telephone calls and events. State law also requires newspaper advertising to occur twice each year in every county. Given the evolving ways residents consume news and advertising, the treasurer’s office will incorporate digital and social media channels to inform the public.

Because thousands of items are surrendered each year, residents should check every six months. Visit www.illinoistreasurer.gov/ICASH or call 217.785.6998.

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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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