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Chris Welch
Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:07pm
Thu Jul 7, 2016

Chicago Activists, Lawmakers Deliver Petitions To SEC For Action On 'Toxic' Interest Rate Swaps (VIDEO)

Chicago community activists and local elected officials delivered 88,000 petition signatures to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) regional office Thursday morning, urging the agency to investigate complex financial agreements called interest rate swaps.

Those who delivered the petition signatures, collected online by the Grassroots Collaborative and several other organizations, say cash-strapped local and state governments are being squeezed by the "toxic swaps" they entered into with banks before the Great Recession. The complicated deals, which come with hefty penalties and termination fees, were intended to save taxpayer-backed organizations money, but they backfired when the economy crashed.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:02pm
Wed Mar 30, 2016

Health Care Union, Illinois Politicians Call Rauner A 'Deadbeat' Governor

State lawmakers and the union representing Illinois home care workers say Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's "deadbeat approach to governing" has resulted in a "crisis in care" for the state's most vulnerable residents.

According to the union, Illinois has a more than $235 million backlog in payments to home health care service providers, and 2,400 seniors have allegedly "fallen through the cracks as a result."

"There are real human consequences of the governor being a deadbeat. These agencies are essentially being asked to bankroll the lack of a state budget," Terri Harkin, vice president of the Home Care Division at SEIU* Healthcare Illinois, said during a news conference at the Thompson Center.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
6:10pm
Wed Mar 16, 2016

Rauner Takes A Hit In Illinois' Primary Elections

Progress Illinois breaks down the winners and losers in some key legislative races in which stakes were high for Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan. 

Quick Hit
by Aricka Flowers
6:54pm
Mon Feb 29, 2016

A Flurry Of Endorsements Come Down Monday As IL Primary Approaches & Early Voting Begins

A flurry of endorsements came down Monday as early voting began in Illinois and the candidates gear up for the March 15 primary.

Here's a rundown of some of the most recent endorsements that were announced in the races for the 8th and 10th congressional districts, 7th and 26th state House seats, and the controversial Cook County State's Attorney and Circuit Court Clerk posts.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
5:46pm
Wed Feb 17, 2016

Rauner Gives Dems An Ultimatum During State Budget Address As Stalemate Continues

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner delivered his second annual budget address Wednesday, even though the state has yet to enact a spending plan for the fiscal year that started more than seven months ago. Progress Illinois provides highlights from and reaction to the address, during which the governor gave Democrats a budget ultimatum.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:37pm
Tue Aug 27, 2013

Illinois Enacts Landmark Homeless Bill Of Rights

Homeless people in Illinois often run into roadblocks when they try to vote, apply for a job and access various public services due to their housing status.

But Illinois took a significant step earlier this month to help improve the situation of those without a roof over their heads by becoming the second U.S. state to enact a Homeless Bill of Rights.

Under the new state law, which took effect immediately, people cannot be discriminated against or denied basic equal rights merely because they lack a permanent address.

Bob Palmer, policy director at Housing Action Illinois, said the recent effort is also about ending the stigma associated with people who are experiencing homelessness.

“The one thing that everyone who is homeless has in common is that they can’t afford a home, and so homelessness is really an economic problem,” Palmer said. “To focus on somebody’s personal short comings is a diversion from the real problem.”