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Madigan talks minimum wage, voter suppression

Wednesday, Apr 2, 2014

* Those of us who looked at the past to justify a belief that Speaker Madigan would be cool to the idea of raising the minimum wage were just plain wrong

In a sign Democrats are sticking to their 2014 election playbook, House Speaker Michael Madigan signaled Tuesday a minimum wage increase could be on the horizon in Illinois.

With President Barack Obama, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and Gov. Pat Quinn all singing the praises of boosting the minimum wage above $10 per hour, Madigan — who is chairman of the Democratic Party in Illinois — suggested it might have the juice to move through the General Assembly’s lower chamber this spring.

“There’s strong support for the minimum wage in the House,” Madigan told reporters. “I think that it’s a matter of fairness, it’s a matter of equity.”

* Sun-Times has a great take

Saying he was “adamantly, adamantly opposed” to increasing the state’s minimum wage, [Bruce Rauner] suggested rolling back the current rate in Illinois during a candidates forum in December.

In January, Rauner reversed course and outlined a scenario in which he could favor an increase in the wage, so long as it was paired with a series of business-friendly reforms in state workers compensation and tort laws.

“I think it’s a matter of fairness. It’s a matter of equity,” Madigan said. “I think you’ll find the opposition to raising the minimum wage comes from people who have done pretty well in America. For some strange reason, they don’t want others in America to participate in prosperity.”

Asked if he was describing Rauner, Madigan shot back a one-word response before walking away: “Who?”


* Meanwhile, I haven’t seen much
conservative anger about this Madigan proposal, but maybe it’ll happen in time

Current laws against discrimination aren’t good enough, says the speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives. Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) is sponsoring a constitutional amendment which today (Tuesday) unanimously passed a House committee. “Eight states have attempted to enact photo ID laws,” he told the committee.

“According to the Brennan Center, approximately 25 percent of eligible African-Americans and 16 percent of Hispanics don’t have photo IDs.” If both chambers approve, this would be a question on the ballot in November and could help turnout in a year that includes the race for governor.

* Again, let’s go to the Sun-Times

David Morrison, policy advisor for government watchdog group, Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, testified on behalf of Madigan’s measure and said it would simplify the process to seek justice because aggrieved voters would be able to point directly to a violation of the state constitution.

“If anyone today did feel like there were an undue burden on their right to vote, this would give them a right to challenge it,” Morrison said. “Not only would get you a trial court action, but constitutional challenges are appealable directly to the Supreme Court.”

But Ron Sandack, R-Downers Grove, who voted for the measure, questioned the need for Madigan’s change in the state constitution.

“Is there an instance of voter suppression or access denied to register or cast a ballot here in Illinois?” Sandack asked the speaker.

Madigan couldn’t cite an example but said he wanted to prevent potential examples from cropping up.

The proposal received unanimous support in the committee.

* Tribune

The measure seeks to counter a U.S. Supreme Court June 2013 ruling that dislodged part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and prompted eight states to attempt to restrict access to polling booths, Madigan said. States have required some voters to show photo identifications, a move that Madigan said has “disproportionally” impacted minorities and the poor.

If it makes the fall ballot and is approved, the amendment would prohibit both future General Assemblies and local election authorities from imposing various restrictions, the speaker said.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


45 Comments
  1. - Walker - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 11:22 am:

    True. Just. The American Way.


  2. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 11:25 am:

    MJM is framing all of these for November and Rauner and Oberweis, and “.01%”, and “haves and have nots” and Class warfare, and people versus cash.

    This is beyond telegraphed here in April, and making the income tax rate permanent, and the voter suppression, and the Millionaire Tax out there, and…

    Yep. Larger narrative at play.

    And “Quinnoccio” will be at Pressers, and I guess BE a prop FOR Rauner Pressers too.

    I said it before. MJM is willing to line up, tell you, “We are going to run the football off Right Tackle. Stop us,” and the GOP, our Governor candidates, the H&SGOP can’t stop him either. Smash-mouth Football.


  3. - Walker - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 11:26 am:

    I mean on voter access vs. political party-driven voter suppression, in my comment above.

    As to minimum wage, at current levels this increase would help economically.

    At significantly higher levels (like double where we are) the counter economic arguments would gain more weight.


  4. - Slick Willy - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 11:48 am:

    Increasing the minimum wage does nothing but raise unemployment among young and unskilled workers. Basic economic theory dictates that no rational employer is going to pay a worker an hourly wage of $10 if that worker’s skills only produce $5 worth of value per hour.

    While it looks great before an election and people feel good because they think they are helping out their fellow man, the reality is that if you raise the minimum wage low-skilled teens or young adults will see an increase in unemployment.

    The only thing that economists seem to argue about in this case is the magnitude of the increase - i.e. $1 increase in minimum wage = 1 percent increase in unemployment.


  5. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 11:48 am:

    The Brennan Center has done excellent work on the voter fraud hoax peddled by ALEC hacks in their efforts to disenfranchise minority voters.

    In the realm of the despicable, voter ID laws rank up there with the movement to require medically unnecessary trans-vaginal probes for women seeking legal abortions.

    If you would have said the words “trans-vaginal probe” to the Main Street Republicans I came up with, they would have smacked you in the mouth.

    How dare these people call themselves Republicans? They’re old-timey Dixiecrats misanthropes, through and through.


  6. - A guy... - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 11:51 am:

    ====I said it before. MJM is willing to line up, tell you, “We are going to run the football off Right Tackle. Stop us,” and the GOP, our Governor candidates, the H&SGOP can’t stop him either. Smash-mouth Football.====

    That is of course unless the other team has a significant majority of the voting population on their side of the ball and MJM gets sacked for a loss. Because that’s never happened before…Um, actually it has. It’s just been too long. Go D!


  7. - anonymoose - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 11:52 am:

    Want to do away with the real voter suppression Mr. Speaker? Of course not, that would upset the status-quo and the super-majority the Speaker has built.

    Mr. Speaker could make it easier for candidates to get on the ballot (fewer signatures). Easier for voters to conduct a write-in campaign and to write-in candidates. Open primary, where people do not have to declare which party they vote for. Let’s bring people to the polls and excited to exercise their right to vote, Mix it up, have some choices, instead of a bunch of uncontested races.


  8. - Try-4-Truth - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 11:54 am:

    === - Slick Willy - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 11:48 am:

    Increasing the minimum wage does nothing but raise unemployment among young and unskilled workers. Basic economic theory dictates that no rational employer is going to pay a worker an hourly wage of $10 if that worker’s skills only produce $5 worth of value per hour.

    While it looks great before an election and people feel good because they think they are helping out their fellow man, the reality is that if you raise the minimum wage low-skilled teens or young adults will see an increase in unemployment.

    The only thing that economists seem to argue about in this case is the magnitude of the increase - i.e. $1 increase in minimum wage = 1 percent increase in unemployment. ===

    Mr. Willy, I’m sorry to tell you this, but what you stated is not “basic economic theory” and it hasn’t been for a long time. Try this:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/five-myths-about-the-minimum-wage/2013/04/05/d89b5fa8-9c8f-11e2-9a79-eb5280c81c63_story.html

    From the article “When economists have analyzed the data, many have found few, if any, negative effects of a minimum wage on employment. This has shifted some of the thinking in the profession — and pointed to flaws in a perfectly competitive model.”

    As our leader would say “Just sayin’”


  9. - April Fool - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 11:56 am:

    “Mr. Speaker could make it easier for candidates to get on the ballot (fewer signatures). Easier for voters to conduct a write-in campaign and to write-in candidates.”

    C’mon, if a candidate can’t get 500 valid signatures, they don’t deserve to be a State Rep.


  10. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 11:56 am:

    - A Guy… -,

    “Scoreboard! Scoreboard” (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap)

    Where have you been since 2002? The GOP got the gavel from Madigan 1 term since 1983.


  11. - PMcP - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 11:57 am:

    @slick willy

    You’re partly right but regardless of the value created by the worker, someone has to do the job. The alternative is whether the value of paying someone is cheaper than replacing with a machine. For the most part, the answer would be no. So employers would lay-off the least productive employees, where possible.

    Yes, it will affect the young and unskilled, preferably I’d like to see this paired with a job-training program to mitigate that impact but that’s too much to ask and government at all levels is broke anyway. On the face of it, I’m inclined to see the marginal benefit as greater than the marginal cost here… Would still prefer this gets done on a national level though…


  12. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 11:57 am:

    I don’t mind people touting a minimum wage increase as economic stimulus, but to call it fair or equitable is pretty dishonest in my opinion…….only those people making between the current minimum wage & the new minimum wage will benefit. Maybe I’m heartless?


  13. - nothin's easy... - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 12:07 pm:

    OW - great metaphor. No slight of hand, no nuanced lies or charts with manipulated or incomplete data to hide the real agenda, no need to deceive. A telegraphed punch right to the middle of the face from a fighter who, “has never negotiated with anyone like…” snicker.


  14. - PublicServant - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 12:08 pm:

    ===only those people making between the current minimum wage & the new minimum wage will benefit===

    Absolutely incorrect, and typical of the grade-school analysis exhibited by the extreme right. Those minimum wage employees with have increased income to spend. That spending increase has multiplier effects throughout the economy. It also places upward pressure on those with wages above those level. There may be some few jobs lost, but on a macro level the effects are greatly positive.


  15. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 12:08 pm:

    Nothing better than #both sides practicing the politics of division when we’re lagging in job creation, the war on poverty is failing miserably, youth and minority unemployment rates have skyrocketed, and our education system remains terribly broken in certain pockets of Illinois. There’s an election to win!

    Oh well. Maybe next year.

    Our kids can wait as Republicans and Democrats focus the bulk of their time instead on press conferences, talking points and introducing pressing legislation such as taxing Gatorade or requiring doctor’s prescriptions for Sudafed.

    Wouldn’t it be nice to see incumbents of both parties running on their actual record of reducing poverty, creating jobs, improving schools and bettering our living standards rather than just promising to do so “next time” or scaring us into voting for them over the other guy? Alas, that remains merely a dream.

    If you are serious, don’t just talk about it for 6 months. Go deliberate, work things out and get it done.

    We deserve so much better than this, from both parties.


  16. - Anon - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 12:09 pm:

    Workers making slightly above the new minimum tend to benefit too from a ratcheting effect.

    Those opposed to raising the min wage are actually in favor of having it shrink in constant dollars. Why do they want to cut wages for the working poor?


  17. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 12:11 pm:

    –Why do they want to cut wages for the working poor?–

    Resentment for having to go to Sunday school?


  18. - Mittuns - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 12:14 pm:

    “Who?” - Epic.


  19. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 12:26 pm:

    In the words of the Department of Labor on the minimum wage issue just last month:

    “The researchers find that increasing the minimum wage does not lead to a reduction in the level of employment; however, increasing the minimum wage results in a substantial drop in the rate of job creation. They determine that the decline in job growth is the result of expanding establishments decreasing the number of jobs they create rather than resulting from additional job losses among declining industries.”

    Raising the minimum wage may not result in a wave of layoffs, but it would absolutely harm and reduce job growth.

    For a state that’s already suffering from poor job growth and projected to finish near the bottom in 2014, the timing isn’t right to make this move.

    Regardless, even $10 or $11 isn’t enough to provide for a family on, much less a “comfortable” life.

    If we are sincere about improving living standards for our fellow Illinoisans, why aren’t we doing more to eliminate the causes of poverty and people being trapped in low-paying jobs?

    And if we sincerely believe that raising the minimum wage is the solution to our problems, then who decided to arbitrarily stop at $10? Why not $12 or $15? Does $15 sound like “too much”? How can anything be “too much” if raising the minimum wage is pure upside for everyone, as some are suggesting above?


  20. - Allen Skillicorn - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 12:28 pm:

    How many ballot initiatives does Madigan need in November to get the Term Limits amendment off the ballot?


  21. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 12:35 pm:

    ===How many ballot initiatives does Madigan need in November to get the Term Limits amendment off the ballot? ===

    Huh?

    There is no relation at all between the number of GA proposed amendments and popularly proposed amendments.


  22. - Downstate Illinois - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 12:37 pm:

    So Madigan, a Chicago politician, supports making it easier to conduct voter fraud. And someone’s surprised?


  23. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 12:38 pm:

    ===supports making it easier to conduct voter fraud===

    Um, huh?


  24. - illinifan - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 12:39 pm:

    Who are the minimum wage workers? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 20.5% of the workers are 16-19, 79.5% are over 20 (so much for the theory they are all young). Of these workers almost 60% are women. 58% of these workers are white; and 58% have high school or some college.

    According to the latest study fast food workers nationwide receive over $7 Billion in government or welfare benefits. In fact Wal-Mart employees account for the largest group on Medicaid and also receive an average of $1000 a year in public assistance. If employers paid a higher minimum wage the amount that has to paid out on welfare would be reduced. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-13/how-mcdonald-s-and-wal-mart-became-welfare-queens.html

    We pay no matter what. I have had HR staff attend training on public benefits so they could better steer employees to these benefits rather than the employer providing the benefit. Often welfare is another type of corporate subsidy that is used to boost their bottom line for their shareholders at the expense of the taxpayer. We need to decide which pocket the money will come out of.


  25. - Walter Mitty - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 12:39 pm:

    I will say I really wanted one of the other 3, but clearly too many voters did not see them as change agents… I was late to the game…


  26. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 12:50 pm:

    –How many ballot initiatives does Madigan need in November to get the Term Limits amendment off the ballot?–

    Wrong conspiracy. It’s actually all a part of the decades-old conspiracy to get Lisa elected governor in 2026.

    Just wait. You’ll see…..


  27. - Shark Sandwich - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 1:20 pm:

    @ Willy, re ‘-Smashmouth- football’:

    ‘The Speaker once told me he was gonna roll me,
    He telegraphed the play & the HE DID…’


  28. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 1:31 pm:

    - Shark Sandwich -,

    Sorry to hear it.

    Another instance of just running an off-tackle running play, telling you, and then doing it.

    I know I not too bright, but for goodness sake the Speaker is telling anyone listening about what he wants today to November to be about.


  29. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 1:41 pm:

    It appears some commenters are being reminded of this: http://www.suntimes.com/24314105-761/elected-school-board-question-crowded-off-ballot.html

    === Chicago voters casting ballots in the March 18 primary will not be asked whether they favor a switch to an elected school board.

    The City Council made sure of that Wednesday by approving three other advisory referendums, on a 44-3 vote, that crowd the elected school board question off the ballot.

    Instead, voters will be asked whether Chicago should raise taxicab fares, the Illinois General Assembly should ban high-capacity magazines and gun owners should be allowed to carry concealed weapons in restaurants.

    Since only three referenda can be placed on the ballot, that guarantees there’s no room for the elected school board question. ===

    It also appears that Rich is indicating there should be no concern popularly proposed amendments like “fair maps” or “term limits” could be crowded off the ballot this year by GA proposed amendments.


  30. - Really Illinois? - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 1:45 pm:

    I guess I dont see the big deal in showing a picture ID when you vote. You have to show one to write check, use a credit card, drive a car, get a hotel room, rent a car, invest money in mutual funds, pick up tickets at will call…… The list could go on forever. Who cares if 25% of African Americans and 16% of Lations don’t have them. If voting was important to them, they would take the time and effort to get them.


  31. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 2:14 pm:

    As usual with controversial issues, the truth likely resides somewhere in the middle.

    From Reuters: www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/02/us-usa-campaign-voterid-idUSBRE8A10UJ20121102
    == (Reuters) - Democratic claims that a large number of Americans could be prevented from voting because of photo identification laws are probably overstated based on evidence from Georgia and Indiana, the two states where the laws have been in place for multiple elections, Reuters found.

    Data and numerous interviews by Reuters reporters also suggest there is little evidence to bolster Republican assertions that ID laws are needed to combat rampant voter fraud.

    While some election officials and experts cautioned it was still too early to determine the impact of the laws, Reuters found higher voter turnout since they took effect in the two states; few people casting provisional ballots because they lacked IDs; and limited anecdotal evidence of people facing major obstacles in voting. ==

    And from another objective source, this time in a state with strict voter ID laws http://www.ajc.com/news/news/despite-voter-id-law-minority-turnout-up-in-georgi/nR2bx/

    === When Georgia became one of the first states in the nation to demand a photo ID at the ballot box, both sides served up dire predictions. Opponents labeled it a Jim Crow-era tactic that would suppress the minority vote. Supporters insisted it was needed to combat fraud that imperiled the integrity of the elections process.

    But both claims were overblown, according to a review of by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution of statewide voting patterns in the five years since the law took effect.

    Turnout among black and Hispanic voters increased from 2006 to 2010, dramatically outpacing population growth for those groups over the same period.

    On the other hand, Georgia’s top elections official could not point to a single case of ballot fraud the voter ID law had prevented.

    “I think the rhetoric on both sides has been overstated,” said Edward Foley, executive director of an election law center at The Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law. ===


  32. - cicero - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 2:15 pm:

    == Regardless, even $10 or $11 isn’t enough to provide for a family on, much less a “comfortable” life. ==

    Translation: Since $10 doesn’t provide enough, it’s better to provide no increase at all. In fact, better to allow the minimum to continue to shrink in value.


  33. - Can - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 2:29 pm:

    Attention shoppers. Due to a recent Illinois minimum wage law, we had to let go of 20% of our work force. The good news is, we have installed 20 more self-checkout lanes, so if you would like to move down to make your purchases.


  34. - Shark Sandwich - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 2:32 pm:

    Willy-

    “Sorry to hear it.”

    I am fine, never happened to me. Just pivoting off your smashmouth football remark to Smashmouth the band, and their song ‘All Star’. And agreeing with your point. He says he is going to do it, says how, then does it.


  35. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 2:44 pm:

    - Shark Sandwich -,

    All good.

    If the Speaker ever DOES roll you, or whatever, I am on record with you already!

    As for music, it’s my Achilles’ Heel. Once you said it, I got it, but only after that.


  36. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 2:46 pm:

    ==I guess I dont see the big deal in showing a picture ID when you vote. You have to show one to write check, use a credit card, drive a car, get a hotel room, rent a car, invest money in mutual funds, pick up tickets at will call…… The list could go on forever. Who cares if 25% of African Americans and 16% of Lations don’t have them. If voting was important to them, they would take the time and effort to get them.==

    I’ve never shown an ID when writing a check or using a credit card. I’m young, but still. Try not to think in 1980s terms. How many people invest in mutual funds? Are you kidding me? Is this a serious assertion? Comparing writing a check to investing in mutual funds? Seriously? If I can get over that, I’d recommend you read Invisible Men by Becky Pettit to see just some of the ways people are out of the officialdom of society. It is real easy to live a life without banking and all kinds of other officialdom.


  37. - A guy... - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 3:01 pm:

    Just to add a little to this whole voter ID question; you do have to show one to Early Vote.


  38. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 3:04 pm:

    There was an NBC report recently (no link, sorry) where they mentioned “unintended” consequences to a minimum wage hike. The consequence? Some folks will find themselves with too high an income to be eligible for public assistance. I wondered what they meant by that. Do they believe some people will eschew the higher wage job in order to maintain their benefits? Or do they believe it would be bad for folks to be able to get off public assistance. Could not tell from the piece.


  39. - Cheswick - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 3:21 pm:

    Just to add a little to this whole voter ID question; you do have to show one to Early Vote.

    Not by mail.


  40. - A guy... - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 3:52 pm:

    True Cheswick, Early Vote and Vote by Mail (actually absentee voting) are different. The Vote by Mail process seems to ensure decent identification in it’s own way.


  41. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 4:06 pm:

    ==The Vote by Mail process seems to ensure decent identification in it’s own way.==

    Nope. That’s actually the most common voter fraud in America.

    http://electionlawblog.org/?p=54875 (take a look at the link to the comparative chart)

    http://electionlawblog.org/?cat=53


  42. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 5:54 pm:

    In answer to Rep. Sandack’s question, “Yes.”

    Acting on the authority of the Champaign County Clerk, election judges had a policy of requiring U of I students to present two forms of ID, one with a picture establishing identity and another establishing current address.

    Students at U of I are disproportionately racial minorities.


  43. - Just The Way It Is One - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 6:08 pm:

    The Quinn Re-Election and Illinois Election Year Democratic Party Main Agenda is moving ahead quite nicely and efficaciously, as planned. Millionaire Tax moving on. Minimum Wage Increase now openly touted by the Controlling Speaker. More Democratic Party Voters to be registered AND Voting hassle-free from any further attempts at justifying unacceptable, discriminatory Civil Rights’ restrictions, with the Permanent Constitutional Amendment to follow and cement these Democratic Voters’ support in future Elections…brilliant.

    But, truly, would we expect anything LESS than such a stellar effort from Pat Quinn, the Speaker, and Senate President in a critical, hold-onto-POWER Election Year to assert and pass their Key Agenda and Will…?!


  44. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 10:41 pm:

    turnout, turnout, turnout


  45. - D.P. Gumby - Wednesday, Apr 2, 14 @ 10:44 pm:

    Aaaa, Slick Willy, who is it that arbitrarily decides that it is $5 worth of value? And, the other issue is, of course, how much of the true cost of the minimum wage is actually being paid by the taxpayers in the supplement paid by the fact that the minimum wage is not a living wage and minimum wage workers require public support?


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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        * Chicago couple convicted of stealing state grants
        * Topinka remembered as tough, honest leader at memorial service
        * Illinois employers reminded of income-tax rollback
        * Memorial service for Topinka begins in suburban Chicago
        * Police use vacant Jacksonville site to train for worst-case scenarios
        * State-grant fraud case in hands of federal jury
        * Gov.-elect Rauner says some agency directors may stay
        * Attorney blames couple's bookkeeper in state grant fraud case
        * Attorney general: Quinn, Rauner each should name comptrollers, then voters choose in 2016
        * Prosecutor: Chicago couple bought cars, paid son’s mortgage with grant money

        * Chicago couple convicted of stealing state grants
        * Durbin: US, Cuba diplomatic ties 'long overdue'
        * Chicago couple's $3.4 million fraud case now in jury's hands
        * Treasuries drop as Yellen says Fed is on pace to raise rates
        * Illinois employers: Don't forget income-tax rollback


        * Emanuel halts private parking on city lots near United Center
        * Durbin, Kirk split on Obama’s shift on Cuba policy
        * Unions may win  HOLLOW victory with pension suit
        * time for new course in Cuba
        * CPS move may have cost more than estimated
        * Unions may win Pyrrhic victory with pension suit
        * Chicago couple found guilty of stealing millions in state grants
        * Chicago Cubans cautious yet hopeful about historic policy shift
        * After 50 years, time for a new course in Cuba
        * Obama pardons Naperville man, Brian Sledz


        * 1 killed, 12 others wounded in shootings, including man, 18, hurt near park
        * Man found in South Side home was shot to death
        * Man arrested in 2 downtown bank robberies
        * 2 found dead in South Side home
        * Father of 3 shot to death on way home from work
        * Jury finds Chicago couple guilty in grant scam case with ties to Obama friend Whitaker
        * CPS school for special-needs kids needs full-time nurse, alderman says
        * Proposed NCAA concussion settlement denied by federal judge
        * Oak Park school district, teachers reach tentative deal
        * Chicago police captain returns to work 2 months after being shot


        * Illinois Republican: Cuba Agreement "Good First Step"
        * Obama: US re-establishing relations with Cuba
        * Obama re-establishing US relations with Cuba
        * Sangamon Auditorium: Beware Second Party Ticket Brokers
        * Real-estate developer in hot area sees bright future — and displacement
        * Worries rise in Russia as ruble falls
        * Rauner Named Nation's Most Influential Pension Figure
        * Recent incidents cast doubt on Hammond police accountability, critics say
        * Report details big problems at Illinois prison for women; state says it's safe
        * Chicago 'petcoke' handler says it'll enclose piles


        * Bernard Schoenburg: Schmidt considers challenging Sgro for park board president
        * Brian Sauder: Faithful decisions for the holidays
        * Eugene Robinson: The price of being hacked
        * George Will: A Texas-sized license plate dispute
        * Quote of the day: Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014
        * Chicago couple convicted of stealing state grants
        * Topinka remembered as tough, honest leader at memorial service
        * Illinois employers reminded of income-tax rollback
        * Quote of the day: Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014
        * Police use vacant Jacksonville site to train for worst-case scenarios


        * Upcoming Services (Dec. 18)
        * Gas prices continue downward trend
        * Official: Convicted killer slain in Illinois prison
        * Our View: Budget problem clear; answer will not be easy
        * Police Beat
        * Special delivery
        * Central Illinois man convicted in double murder
        * All is calm
        * Looking Back (Dec. 18)
        * Charles Lane


        * Larkin presses on, dumps Batavia
        * WW South coach Todd remembered as 'a great guy'
        * Addison Trail makes it 2 for 2 in tournament crowns
        * Girls bowling scoreboard: Wednesday's results
        * Girls gymnastics scoreboard: Wednesday's results

        * Rauner: 'I look forward to working very cl...
        * Rauner in D.C., backs state term limits, n...
        * US Republican congressman to work for bipa...
        * US Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS) to Serve as Vi...
        * Climate deniers need the boot - Idaho Moun...
        * It's business as usual for election-tested...
        * John Shimkus Defeats Eric Thorsland In Ill...
        * Congressman John Shimkus wins 15th Distric...
        * Davis defeats Callis in race for Congress;...
        * Republican John Shimkus wins race in 15th ...

        * Durbin: US, Cuba diplomatic ties ‘long ove......
        * Galesburg veterans facility named in honor......
        * Reaction to release of Alan Gross, future ......
        * Durbin: Clean water law a tribute to Paul ......

        * Galesburg VA clinic renamed after Lane Evans...
        * Why is he so upset? Because of the secret ......
        * Senate Confirms Vivek Murthy As Surgeon Ge......

        * Baseball ‘kids’ don’t live in Chicago? Why did complaints take so long?
        * Business School?
        * For Our Fallen Vigil In Chicago
        * Demands For Reparations Increase For Those Tortured Under CPD's Jon Burge
        * Memorial For Chicago Police Torture Survivors
        * Chicagoans Hold Vigil For Victims Of Violence And Police Brutality
        * How does one get to become neighborhood of the year?
        * A Thought For The Day...
        * Chicago Group Wants Quinn To Veto Eavesdropping Measure
        * Chicago Mayoral, 24th Ward Candidates Court West Side Voters At Local Forum


        * Illinois Observes National Impaired Driving Prevention Month - December designated to educate communities about the numerous risks associated with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
        * The Illinois Office Of The State Fire Marshal Promotes Fire Safety During The Holiday Season - Christmas Trees and Decorations Could Pose Risks of Fires
        * Honoring Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka
        * Honoring Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka - United States and Illinois flags at half-staff immediately until Sunset, Thursday, December 11, 2014.
        * Governor Quinn Statement on the Passing of Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka




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