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June , 2018
Friday

CHICAGO, ...
CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, with the Illinois Joining Forces ...
The Duke Ellington Orchestra will raise the roof at the Harris Theater on Mother's ...
Tell Rush Limbaugh's advertisers: "Rush Limbaugh’s assertion that ‘sometimes no means yes’ is an attack ...
NEW YORK  -- National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial issued ...
Charged with Soliciting Assaults, Narcotics Trafficking, Extortions, and Operating an Illegal Gambling Business  A 13-count indictment ...
  Chicago, IL — New laws to crack down on repeat methamphetamine offenders and to strengthen the ...
Marc H. Morial,  President and CEO, National Urban League   “You can fool some of the people ...
QBR Wheatley Awards, Friday, July 17, 2015 The Harlem Book Fair, ...
Caption: Chicago Deputy Fire Department Commissioner Nicholas Russell (center) called for amnesty in the city's ...

Archive for the ‘News and Blogs’ Category

Memorial Day Has Special Meaning For African-Americans

Posted by Admin On June - 4 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS
From: Marc Morial
President & CEO, National Urban League

History has not settled on the origins of the holiday we now celebrate as Memorial Day.

 

According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, roughly two dozen places claim to be the birthplace of the holiday. Yale historian David W. Blight places the origin in Charleston, South Carolina, in the waning days of the Civil War. By May, 1965, most white Charlestonians had fled the city but thousands of formerly enslaved Black residents remained and carried out demonstrations. On May 1, they gathered at the Washington Race Course and Jockey Club, which had served as a Confederate prison camp where hundreds of Union soldiers died under filthy and deplorable conditions. They were memorialized as “The Martyrs of the Racecourse.”

According to the New York Tribune, “At 9 am on May 1, the procession stepped off led by three thousand black schoolchildren carrying arm loads of roses and singing ‘John Brown’s Body.’ The children were followed by several hundred black women with baskets of flowers, wreaths and crosses …. when all had left, the holy mounds — the tops, the sides, and the spaces between them — were one mass of flowers, not a speck of earth could be seen; and as the breeze wafted the sweet perfumes from them, outside and beyond … there were few eyes among those who knew the meaning of the ceremony that were not dim with tears of joy.”

This Memorial Day, as we reflect on our gratitude for those who gave their lives in defense of our country, we also honor our ongoing triumph over enslavement, repression and injustice.

California Lawmakers Seek to Strengthen Police Use-of-Force Law…And More

Posted by Admin On May - 31 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

Race & Justice News

The Sentencing Project

Reforms

California Lawmakers Seek to Strengthen Police Use-of-Force Law

In response to Sacramento police officers’ killing of Stephon Clark, California lawmakers Shirley Weber and Kevin McCarty introduced The Police Accountability and Community Protection Act (AB-931), reports The Nation. The legislation would tighten the guidelines regarding when officers can use lethal force, raising the standard from “reasonable force” to “necessary force.” The bill would allow officers to take deadly action “only when it is necessary to prevent imminent and serious bodily injury or death” and if there is no reasonable alternative—such as verbal persuasion or de-escalation. Research on 97 of the 100 largest police departments across the country by Campaign Zero, an organization dedicated to eradicating police killings, has shown that departments strengthening use-of-force standards reduced killings by police by 25%.

The Los Angeles Police Protective League, Peace Officer’s Research Association of California, and the Sacramento Police Officers Association have all come out against the proposed legislation. Peter Bibring of the ACLU of California, whose team helped write AB-931, notes: “Police unions have been writing the laws for decades so as to protect officers. This [bill] is the community finally asking to have their voice heard.”

Incarceration

Latinos Remain Overrepresented in Texas Solitary Confinement

Although the Texas prison system has reduced the number of individuals held in solitary confinement by 4,000 over the past decade, Chron reports that Latinos remain overrepresented. According to data from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Latinos, African Americans, and whites each comprise roughly one-third of Texas’s prison population. But Latinos make up about half of those in administrative segregation, though their share of the solitary population decreased by 3 percentage points between 2008 and 2017. African Americans’ share of the population in administrative segregation grew from 18% in 2008 to 25% in 2017.

Criminalization of Latino Residents in Montgomery County, NY

In 2015, New York State’s Montgomery County had a jail incarceration rate that was double that of New York City, reports the Vera Institute of Justice. While New York City’s jail incarceration rate dropped 60% since 1991, the rate in rural upstate New York increased by 66%, writes Jack Norton. Montgomery County’s political leaders and criminal justice practitioners pursued policies that filled the county’s large jail, newly built in the 1990s, and disproportionately filled it with the region’s Latino residents, most of whom live in the small deindustrialized city of Amsterdam.

“I made a lot of money for the city,” says Howard Aison, Amsterdam City Court’s now retired judge. Aison had a policy of imposing maximum fines in every case and jailing people who did not pay. While the county’s jail incarceration rate has decreased by 30% under his replacement, Judge Lisa Lorman, many residents now believe that “Amsterdam is a city where Latino people are routinely harassed by the police.” Forty two percent of the county’s Latinos live in poverty. In 2014, Amsterdam’s City Council outlawed playing basketball “on or near city streets.” A resident of Amsterdam’s historically Latino neighborhood observed: “The YMCA is gone now. So the kids play basketball on the streets. Then they made basketball on the streets illegal, and I would actually see police in this neighborhood out ticketing people for basketball.” Reflecting on the area’s current criminal justice problems, Aison underscores the need for more media attention: “People do whatever they want. No one is watching.”

Bail

African Americans Paid Most of the $6.4 Million in Money Bail in New Orleans

African Americans in New Orleans are arrested at two and a half times the rate of whites and are less likely to be able to make bail, resulting in 87% of the city’s jail population being black, reports The Times-Picayune. “We’re using public money to suck private money out of the poorest communities to get results that are failing,” said Flozell Daniels Jr., an author of a new report by The Data Center. The city’s African Americans paid 84% of the $6.4 million dollars in bond premiums and associated fees in 2015, according to research by the Vera Institute of Justice. Daniels and co-authors Jon Wool and Benjamin Weber encourage New Orleans to follow the leadership of Washington, DC, New Mexico, and New Jersey and move away from money-based detention.

The city has made strides towards reform in recent years. Judges have increased the number of arrested people they release on their own recognizance, which requires no up-front payment. Last year, the City Council required the Sheriff’s Office to release most people upon being booked. This summer, courts will implement the Public Safety Assessment Model, a tool that will help judges better determine who poses a public-safety risk.

Policing

Resident Complaints Do Not Explain New York City’s Marijuana Arrest Disparities

African Americans have been arrested on low-level marijuana charges at eight times the rate of whites over the past three years in New York City, reports the New York Times. Latinos have been arrested at five times the rate of whites. In a recent testimony to lawmakers, a senior police official attributed this disparity to more frequent police complaints about marijuana from residents of predominantly black and Latino neighborhoods. People in poor neighborhoods may be more likely to make marijuana-related police calls because they are less likely to have a responsive landlord, building superintendent, or co-op board member who can field their complaints. However, The Times found that among neighborhoods where residents made similar rates of marijuana police calls, the police made arrests at higher rates in areas with more people of color. Although New York City’s marijuana possession arrests have declined to half of their level under the previous mayor, there are still 17,000 such arrests each year.

In response to The Times’ analysis, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the police would overhaul their marijuana enforcement policy within 30 days to “end unnecessary arrests.” The District Attorneys of Manhattan and Brooklyn are also considering plans to stop prosecuting the vast majority of people arrested on low-level marijuana charges. James P. O’Neill, police commissioner, said he would convene a working group to review marijuana enforcement tactics.

School Discipline

Civil Rights Enforcement May Drop Under DeVos

Though racial and ethnic disparities in school punishment grew worse in the 2015-2016 school year, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights may be stepping back from investigating racially disparate enforcement of school discipline policies. Youth of color are more likely to receive harsher punishments—such as out-of-school suspension and expulsion—for equivalent behaviors as their white peers, and are more likely to be arrested in school for those behaviors. A recent study by the Government Accountability Office found that these disparities “persisted regardless of the type of disciplinary action, level of school poverty, or type of public school attended.” Researchers from Princeton University also found that LGBTQ students are punished more harshly than their counterparts.

Thirteen-year old Trah’Vaeziah Jackson’s experience of being sent to juvenile detention for horseplay at school in Bryan, Texas illustrates this problem. The Obama administration’s Office of Civil Rights had investigated the treatment of youth of color in Bryan, but was unable to complete a settlement with the school district before Trump appointees assumed control. As Mother Jones and ProPublica report, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has indicated that “she may soon reverse Obama-era guidelines on disparate impact and school discipline, and her hires have signaled this policy shift.”

Speaker Madigan: House Endorses a Fair Tax Plan That Cuts Middle-Class Taxes

Posted by Admin On May - 31 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

Speaker Madigan’s Statement on Fair Tax Plan:

 

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan issued the following statement after the House approved House Resolution 1025, endorsing a fair tax plan that cuts middle-class taxes while making millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share:

“Today’s vote was a promise to taxpayers that as we continue working toward a fair tax in Illinois our focus will be on cutting taxes on the middle class, putting more money in the pockets of working families, stimulating our economy and helping small businesses grow. The House Democrats backing this resolution stand ready to work with all of our colleagues to enact a fair tax plan like those currently in place in 33 states—including Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri and Indiana—and cutting taxes for most Illinoisans.

“But while our current tax structure unfairly forces hardworking families to pay a much larger share of their income in state taxes than corporate CEOs and hedge fund billionaires, Governor Rauner is willfully misleading taxpayers. He doesn’t want anyone to see that he’s blocking tax relief for the middle class, all in an effort to protect a special deal for millionaires and billionaires like himself.

“While much work remains to be done, it’s now time for anyone who is serious about cutting taxes for the middle class and growing our economy to come to the table and work with us to enact a fair tax.”

NIJC Condemns Ongoing ICE Surveillance and Arrest Operations in Chicago Area

Posted by Admin On May - 31 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS


Urges Community Members to Exercise their Rights

 

CHICAGO, IL – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers have arrested dozens of community members in Chicago and nearby suburbs in immigration enforcement operations since last weekend. The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) believes that enforcement and surveillance operations are ongoing.

Recent reports reveal that officers who do not immediately identify themselves as ICE agents are making initial inquiries and requesting individuals’ identity documents. NIJC reminds all members of the community that they have the right to remain silent and should not open the door of their home or workplace unless ICE officers present a court-ordered warrant. If an individual is stopped by officers who do not identify themselves, he or she should ask whether they are under arrest and decline to answer questions.

NIJC denounces ICE’s surveilling and targeting of communities, which only serves to create fear in our neighborhoods and further overburden the immigration court system.

Individuals whose loved ones have been arrested and detained can contact NIJC’s detention team at detentionhelp@heartlandalliance.org, or may call the ICIRR Family Support Network Hotline at (855) 435-7693. Detained individuals can call NIJC collect at (312) 263-0901 on Tuesdays between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

View this statement online at: immigrantjustice.org/press-releases/nijc-condemns-ongoing-ice-surveillance-and-arrest-operations-chicago-area-urges


The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) is a nongovernmental organization dedicated to ensuring human rights protections and access to justice for all immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers through a unique combination of direct services, policy reform, impact litigation and public education. Visit immigrantjustice.org and follow @NIJC.

Detention of Dozens at Chicago Day Labor Corner Prompts Citywide Response

Posted by Admin On May - 25 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

As immigration raids continue to escalate under the Trump administration and target Chicagoans’ workplaces, immigrants pledge to expose ICE misconduct and make ‘every corner a Sanctuary’

The Rally and a press conference exposing the continued pattern of racial profiling and violation of civil and constitutional rights in recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) targeting of day laborer workplaces, orchestrated by Chicago ICE Director Ricardo Wong was held yesterday. Community members shared  information on how people can organize to protect themselves from ICE.

The rally was held at 47th Street and Western Blvd (between Advance Auto Parts and the BP gas station), the site of a Saturday raid where dozens of workers were detained.

Immigrant families and community residents, including the families of day laborers targeted by the recent ICE raid were there. In addition, members of the Latino Union of Chicago, PASO, Organized Communities Against Deportations also attended.

On Saturday, ICE agents detained between 20 and 40 day laborers and community residents at the hiring site, where dozens of workers gather to connect with employers each week.

Evidence gathered by community members shows that the operation was part of a string of dozens of raids targeting immigrants’ homes, neighborhoods, and workplaces.

Community members will rally to call out ICE’s tactics and support the right of day laborers and all community members to seek work without fear of being racially profiled.

“Our communities need sanctuary, not surveillance,” said Latino Union Executive Director Analía Rodríguez. “We will hold ICE accountable for terrorizing our communities. We will continue organizing until all day labor corners, all neighborhoods and all members of our community are safe from the abusive, lawless actions of ICE agents.”

Anyone who is targeted by ICE or whose loved ones have been detained is encouraged to call 1-855-HELP-MY-FAMILY.

One of the organizations involved in answering the raid-related calls, Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD), states, “We must remember that we have tools to fight back. We come from a long history of resistance against the harm inflicted in our communities by deportations, ICE and all other law enforcement agencies. We will continue to stay vigilant. We will continue to organize and fight back. We will continue to resist the targeting and separation of our communities,” said Reyna Wences, Organizer at OCAD.

Visuals: Day laborers with tools and work clothes; signs showing what number community members should call if they see an immigration raid occurring; and dozens of community members from Latino Union, Organized Communities Against Deportations, PASO and other community organizations

The Latino Union of Chicago collaborates with low-income immigrant workers to develop the tools necessary to collectively improve social and economic conditions.

PASO – West Suburban Action Project (Proyecto de Acción de los Suburbios del Oeste) is a community-based social justice organization that works to engage community members to address issues that affect them, their families, and neighbors with the mission to build stronger communities where all residents can live dignified lives regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic or immigration status.

Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD) is an undocumented-led group that organizes against deportations, detention, criminalization, and incarceration, of Black, brown, and immigrant communities in Chicago and surrounding areas. Follow us at @OCAD_CHI

Investment Adviser Arrested For Stealing Millions From Clients

Posted by Admin On May - 25 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

NEWARK, N.J. – A former broker and investment adviser was arrested today for allegedly stealing more than $2.1 million from two clients in order to pay for personal expenses, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Gary Basralian, 70, of Springfield, New Jersey, is charged by complaint with two counts of wire fraud and one count of investment adviser fraud. Basralian was arrested earlier today at his home and is scheduled to appear this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven C. Mannion in Newark federal court.

According to the complaint:

From 1989 through December 2017, Basralian was registered with an investment adviser and broker dealer referred to in the complaint as “Securities Firm A.”

From August 2007 through November 2017, Basralian, while serving in his capacity as an investment adviser, misappropriated at least $738,000 from a client identified in the complaint as “Victim 1” and at least $1.4 million from a client identified in the complaint as “Victim 2.”

Basralian said he would invest these funds in brokerage accounts at Securities Firm A or in real estate and high-interest loans, and manage them on behalf of the victims. However, Basralian used the victims’ money to fund his own personal expenditures, including BMW payments and tens of thousands of dollars in credit card bills.

Victim 1 routinely provided funds to investment accounts managed by Basralian at Securities Firm A. At Basralian’s direction, Victim 1 eventually began addressing checks to “Masters Financial” based on Basralian‘s representations that the checks would ultimately be deposited into her investment accounts at Securities Firm A. Instead, the funds were deposited into an account controlled by Basralian, which he used for personal expenses.

In 2009, Basralian began wiring funds from Victim 2’s investment account at Securities Firm A into various accounts that he controlled and used the proceeds for his own benefit. When Victim 2 asked why her account at Securities Firm A had diminished in value, Basralian sent her a phony spreadsheet showing that her money was being invested as loans to various companies that would be paid back with interest.

Each of the wire fraud counts carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. The investment adviser fraud count carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.

On May 22, 2018, the New Jersey Bureau of Securities, within the Office of the New Jersey Attorney General, issued a Summary Revocation Order against Basralian that revoked his agent and investment adviser representative registrations.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited postal inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Acting Inspector in Charge Ruth M. Mendonca, and Special Agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie, with the investigation leading to today’s charges. He also thanked the New Jersey Bureau of Securities, under the direction of Bureau Chief Christopher Gerold, for its assistance.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Courtney Howard of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit.

The charges and allegations in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Source: FBI

Timeshare Resale Scheme Preyed on Older Adults

Posted by Admin On May - 25 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

 

If you’re thinking about selling your timeshare through a resale company, research the company first. Read about this recent FTC case against Pro Timeshare Resales, and you’ll know why.

Timeshare Resales is a Florida-based company that called people – many of whom were older adults – and promised to sell their timeshare properties. The company often said it had a buyer in mind and that the sale would occur quickly. Once the timeshare owner agreed, the company would charge an up-front fee, usually of $500 to $2,500.

But, according to the FTC, the company did not sell the property quickly – or even at all. Often, it would ask for additional fees and refuse to grant refunds.

As result of its FTC settlement, Pro Timeshare Resales is now banned from timeshare resale services and telemarketing. It’s not allowed to make misrepresentations or collect any more payments for their timeshare services. Plus, it agreed to surrender more than $3 million.

How can you avoid timeshare resale scams? Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Check out the reseller. Contact the State Attorney General and local consumer protection agencies in the state where the reseller is located. Ask if they have any complaints on file. You can also search online for complaints.
  • Ask about fees. It’s better to do business with a reseller that takes fees after the timeshare is sold. If you must pay a fee in advance, get refund policies in writing.
  • Get everything in writing. Read the contract carefully to make sure it matches promises you’ve been given verbally. It should include the services the reseller will perform, plus any fees you must pay and when. If the deal isn’t what you expected or wanted, don’t sign the contract.

For more information, check out Timeshares and Vacation Plans. And, if you’ve been a victim of a scam, report it to the FTC.

 

Florida Appeals Court Halts Order for State to Revamp Voter Restoration System…and More

Posted by Admin On May - 25 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

The Sentencing Project

Disenfranchisement News

Florida

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blocked U.S. District Judge Walker’s order requiring Governor Rick Scott and the other members of the Board of Executive Clemency to revamp the state’s voter restoration process. Judge Walker had ruled that Florida’s system of restoring voting rights to people with felony convictions is arbitrary and violates First Amendment rights to free expression and equal protection rights under the 14th Amendment. He gave the state until April 26th to create a new system.

The state appealed and the court ruled in a 2-1 decision to put Judge Walker’s decision on hold. “The Fourteenth Amendment expressly empowers the states to abridge a convicted felon’s right to vote,” appellate Judge Stanley Marcus wrote in a majority opinion. “Binding precedent holds that the governor has broad discretion to grant and deny clemency, even when the applicable regime lacks any standards.” In a dissent, Judge Beverly Martin wrote, “This unbridled discretion is not just concerning when it confronts expressive and associational freedoms traditionally protected by the First Amendment, but also when it threatens the right to vote.”

Two of the three Republicans running to replace term-limited Attorney General Pam Bondi have said that they support Bondi and Gov. Scott’s legal approach to defending the state’s rights restoration process. Democrats running for the position oppose the legal battle and support the November voting rights amendment, which would automatically restore voting rights to some people with felony convictions upon completion of their sentence.

Indiana

Lawsuit seeks damages for people who were denied the right to vote while in jail

A class-action lawsuit was filed on behalf of 150 people who were denied the right to vote in the November 2016 election while they were incarcerated in Allen County Jail. Indiana prohibits individuals serving a felony sentence from voting, but the majority of people in the Allen County Jail were held pre-trial or were serving misdemeanor sentences. The suit claims that Sheriff David Gladieux refused to offer absentee ballots or any other avenue for voting to the eligible incarcerated voters. Attorneys for the plaintiffs said they believe this is the first class-action lawsuit that is seeking monetary damages for incarcerated people being denied the right to vote.

Louisiana

State expands voting rights to many people on felony probation and parole

The Legislature recently passed a bill to restore voting rights to people on probation and parole after a five year waiting period. According to The Sentencing Project, there are 70,000 people on felony probation and parole in Louisiana. Currently, the state restores voting rights once individuals fully complete their probation and parole sentence. Because the bill requires individuals to wait five years before their rights can be restored, not all individuals on supervision will immediately have their right to vote restored. The average time on parole supervision is 6.9 years.

It took three tries for Rep. Patricia Smith, the sponsor of House Bill 265, to get the original bill out of the House. Lawmakers told Smith they had received calls from district attorneys asking them to vote against the bill. The bill earned bipartisan support in the Senate and was approved on a 24-13 vote. Governor John Bel Edwards said he intends to sign the bill into law. Once signed, the change will take effect on March 1, 2019.

New York

Gov. Cuomo restores voting rights to 35,000 people on parole

Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order to grant voting rights to 35,000 people in New York State under parole supervision. The current state law bars people in prison and on parole supervision from voting. The Sentencing Project estimates that 45% of the beneficiaries of Gov. Cuomo’s order are African Americans who are disproportionately impacted by felony disenfranchisement laws. The executive order offers conditional pardons to people on parole, but the pardons will not erase their conviction or any other conditions of their parole. Gov. Cuomo said that he will continue to issue conditional pardons to new people who enter the parole system.

Progressive Democrats have pushed to restore voting rights to people on parole but have been blocked by Senate Republicans and conservative Democrats, according to The Nation. Gov. Cuomo’s order is a temporary solution that could be halted when a new governor enters office. “Restricting voting rights is deeply problematic for a democratic society and compounds the social isolation of formerly incarcerated persons from their communities,” The Sentencing Project’s Marc Mauer said in a statement regarding the announcement. “I urge the legislature to affirm the governor’s executive order by enacting legislation to expand voting.”

International Perspective

Majority of nations view incarcerated people as “full human beings”

Disenfranchisement policies in the U.S. are far more restrictive than in comparable nations, according to a recent People’s Policy Project article by Emmitt Sanders, a researcher and community activist who spent more than 22 years in Illinois prisons. And of the countries that do impose a voting ban, this is almost always solely limited to the period of incarceration with automatic restoration upon release.

“Today, 26 European nations at least partially protect their incarcerated citizens’ right to vote, while 18 countries grant prisoners the vote regardless of the offense,” writes Sanders. Germany, Norway, and Portugal remove voting rights only from people convicted of crimes that target the “integrity of the state” or “constitutionally protected democratic order.” Both Canada and South Africa allow people in prison to vote. Britain had a blanket ban on voting for people in prison, but the European Court of Human Rights ruled that it was a violation of human rights. After 12 years of fighting with the Court’s decision, the UK changed its ban to allow voting rights for incarcerated people on temporary release and at home under curfew.

Despite growing international support for the idea that voting should not be abridged due to a criminal conviction, only two states—Maine and Vermont—allow people in prison to participate in elections. However, there is a growing momentum for states to view incarcerated people as “full human beings,” writes Sanders. “As someone who spent over 22 years of my life denied the right to vote because of my incarceration, this would be a most welcome development.”

State Rep. Welch Fights to Lower Middle Class Tax Burdens; Demands Wealthy Pay Fair Share

Posted by Admin On May - 25 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL. – Fighting to provide working and middle class families with tax relief, Illinois State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, is advocating for the adoption of a progressive tax in Illinois, undoing decades of economic injustice for working people.

“A progressive tax is exactly what Illinois needs and what Illinois taxpayers deserve,” said Welch. “This is a tax cut for everyday Illinoisans who work long hours, worry about how to pay the bills and send their kids to college, and live paycheck to paycheck, while asking the wealthiest among us to finally pay their fair share of taxes.”

Welch is joining Democratic lawmakers in pushing for a progressive tax in Illinois by sponsoring House Resolution 1025. The measure shows the support of those who are demanding tax fairness for their residents and to modernize an outdated, regressive tax structure. A recent study by the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, a nonpartisan organization, found that a graduated income tax structure would provide a tax break to 98 percent of taxpayers and bring in an additional $2 billion in revenue by requiring the ultra-wealthy to pay their fair share. This additional revenue would help fund vital services that the state’s most vulnerable citizens rely upon, such as home-delivered meals for seniors and breast and cervical cancer screenings for working women.

“This effort is another piece in the fight for fairness,” said Welch. “A teacher, janitor, bus driver, painter and carpenter, and so many more, should not be forced to pay the same as a big-time hedge-fund manager or private equity billionaire like Governor Bruce Rauner, who falsely claims he understands the plight of true-hardworking Illinoisans. If he did, he’d support this effort to give middle class families real tax relief.”

Payday Loan Sharks Lose Repeal Fight

Posted by Admin On May - 21 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

From:Woodstock Institute
Historic Payday Loan Protections Defy Congressional Threat

 

CHICAGO, IL – In a victory for consumers and their advocates, the clock expired on Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolutions—S.J. Res 56 and H.J. Res 122—which were poised to repeal the historic Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (Consumer Bureau) payday and car title lending rule.  The Consumer Bureau rule, finalized in October, establishes common-sense consumer protections on predatory payday and title loans, such as requiring lenders to verify a borrower’s ability to repay before making the loan.

Separate from the Congressional action, the new leadership at the Consumer Bureau, appointed by the Trump Administration, has threatened to “reconsider” the rule. Consumers and their advocates are urging the Consumer Bureau to keep the rule, effective summer 2019, and to establish further protections for borrowers, such as protections applicable to longer-term installment loans.

“This historic victory is the culmination of years of hard work by consumer advocates. Hundreds of thousands of consumers in Illinois have turned to payday loans, but our laws do not protect them from getting caught in a debt trap – a cycle of repeat borrowing that extends far beyond a single payday,” said Brent Adams, Senior Vice President of Policy and Communication for Woodstock InstituteAdams wrote the State’s first payday loan law in 2005, and regulated the industry as Secretary of Financial and Professional Regulation from 2009-2012Adams went on to say, “These new protections will require payday lenders to do what they should have been doing all along – determining whether the borrower can actually afford to pay back the loan without forgoing  basic living expenses and major financial obligations like rent, food, and electricity.”

As written, the historic payday lending rule will result in fewer families falling into financial ruin.  At the heart of the rule is the common sense principle of ability-to-repay based on a borrower’s income and expenses, which ensures the borrower can repay the loan without reborrowing and without defaulting on other expenses—that is, without getting caught in a debt trap.  An affordable loan is one a borrower can reasonably be expected to pay back without re-borrowing or going without the basic necessities of life – like heat or rent money.  A 2017 poll of likely voters shows more than 70 percent of Republicans, Independents, and Democrats support this idea.  In 2016, the “red state” of South Dakota voted to ban payday lending by a greater margin than it voted for President Trump (75 percent vs. 61.5 percent).

The legislative tool used to challenge the rule—the Congressional Review Act—allows a simple majority vote in Congress to undo long-considered federal regulatory safeguards without public hearings or the option to filibuster.  The CRA had been used only once before President Trump took office and began his assault on consumer protections; since then, it has been applied to repeal various rules.  In this case, neither chamber brought the payday rule resolutions to a vote during the limited time allotted for a challenge, and the important rule was not repealed.

In Illinois alone, predatory payday and title lending cost families over half a billion dollars per year in abusive fees and usurious rates.  Research indicates four of every five loans are re-borrowed within the month because most borrowers—like those in Illinois who make an average of less than $30,000 a year—cannot afford to repay loans at an average 323 annual percentage rate.  A group of 36 Illinois organizations sent letters in March urging Congressional support of strong payday protections.  Many of the same groups also support a statewide effort to cap title loans at 36 percent.

Amidst consistent pressure by consumer advocates, no member of the Illinois Congressional delegation opted to sign on as a co-sponsor of the CRA repeal resolutions.  What’s more, Illinois’ Senator Dick Durbin took the lead among his colleagues in warning the CFPB to not undo the rule.  Senator Durbin has also long championed the Protecting Consumers from Unreasonable Credit Rates Act, which would cap the interest rate on all consumer loans at 36 percent.

Woodstock Institute is a leading nonprofit research and policy organization in the areas of equitable lending and investments, wealth creation and preservation, and safe and affordable financial products and services. Woodstock Institute works locally and nationally to create a financial system in which lower-wealth persons and communities of color can safely borrow, save, and build wealth so that they can achieve economic security and community prosperity. 

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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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