PI Original Aricka Flowers Friday April 11th, 2014, 9:25pm

The PI Week In Review

The week that was in Illinois and national news and politics (April 7, 2014 - April 11, 2014).

Chicago and County News:

Elections for Local School Councils at Chicago public schools kicked off Monday.

State test scores for students at Chicago charters and district-run schools are virtually the same, and in some cases Chicago Public Schools (CPS) are doing better, according to new data analysis.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) is calling for the passage of a series of bills that would reform charter schools.

Nearly a year after the Rana Plaza garment factory collapsed in Bangladesh, two organizers of the Bangladeshi labor movement encouraged University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) students to continue pressuring clothing companies to sign an important workplace safety accord.

The principal of a South Side elementary school is pushing back against the Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) turnaround proposal, alleging officials are more concerned about money than students’ best interests.

Former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's ex-deputy chief-of-staff, Gene Lee, admitted to embezzling some $132,000 in charity donations made by corporations in 2007 and 2008.

Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said Tuesday that her office is putting a new division in place to assist in handling sensitive cases involving sexual and domestic violence.

Suburban Cook County pet shops will only be allowed to sell animals they got from shelters, other humane adoption centers or small-scale federally licensed breeders, according to new legislation passed Wednesday by the Cook County Board.

Northwestern University has appealed the ruling by the regional director of the National Labor Relations Board, Peter Sung Ohr, who recently found that the college's football players should be allowed to unionize.

About 60 education activists and members of Action Now demonstrated outside of Chicago Board of Education President David Vitale's home Tuesday evening in protest of plans to shake up the staff at three elementary schools next year. Progress Illinois was there for the protest.

University of Illinois at Chicago faculty voted to set a strike date for April 23 if negotiations with the college's administration fail. 

The city of Chicago and the Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2 came to a tentative agreement Wednesday on a new contract.

The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district announced Wednesday that it will increase funding for school budgets next year by $70 million. But education experts and activists stopped short of calling it a big boost for schools.

The Progressive Reform Coalition had something of a coming out party Thursday night with a fundraiser designed to introduce itself to the public and raise money to be a more active and more efficient force in city politics. Progress Illinois takes a look at what the caucus is hoping to accomplish with the additional funds.

With the media and public spotlight on Chicago's pension crisis, the non-partisan research center Good Jobs First is turning the attention to the city's controversial tax increment financing, or TIF, program.

State News:

While speaking to reporters Monday, Gov. Pat Quinn said he did not support Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's call to increase city property taxes by $250 million over a five-year period as a means to shore up two city pension funds. Later that day, Emanuel removed the property tax hike language.

After Emanuel dropped the $250 million property tax hike from his proposed pension bill for city workers, the Illinois General Assembly passed the legislation Tuesday, sending it to the governor's desk.

Illinoisans appear to support term limits for state lawmakers, according to a new poll by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.

House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) has abandoned a proposal to apply an additional tax to the incomes of millionaires in Illinois.

House Speaker Michael Madigan's (D-Chicago) proposed constitutional amendment targeting possible voter suppression efforts in Illinois passed through the state House Tuesday by a 109-5 vote.

A measure that would change the way in which education dollars are distributed in the state advanced in the Illinois Senate Tuesday.

By a 54-0 vote, the Illinois Senate on Tuesday advanced a bill that looks to ban the plastic microbeads used in hundreds of personal cosmetic products, like facial wash and body scrubs.

Jack Darin, director of the Sierra Club's Illinois chapter, called for an end to the state's reliance on and lax regulation of coal in a guest post on Progress Illinois.

With the nickname Prairie State one may think community connectivity is hard to come by in Illinois. But new data finds that's not the case.

A bill that sought to ban the practice of "conversion therapy", during which therapists attempt to change an LGBT youth's sexual orientation, was rejected in the Illinois House Thursday.

State Sen. Andy Manar's (D-Bunker Hill) proposal seeking to set up a single school-funding formula with a greater emphasis on the needs of districts cleared the Senate Executive Committee Thursday.

The state Senate on Thursday signed off on two constitutional amendments. One was House Speaker Michael Madigan's (D-Chicago) proposal to crackdown on possible voter suppression efforts in Illinois. The Senate also unanimously approved another amendment set for the November ballot involving the Illinois Constitution’s Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights.

A recent study looks at the dismal fact that one in two Illinoisans struggles with reading.

National News:

Officials with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons said currently incarcerated U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. was transferred last Friday from a North Carolina federal prison to a prison facility in Montgomery, Alabama.

The U.S. Senate passed a bill that would extend unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed Monday evening.

U.S. Senatorial candidate Jim Oberweis and 8th congressional district candidate Larry Kaifesh are scheduled to speak at the Tax Day Tea Party event in St. Charles on April 15.

We took a look at the obstacles facing female workers at the local and national levels on Equal Pay Day. We also detailed a victory for pregnant female workers at Walmart.

Eleven immigrant rights activists were arrested in Broadview Tuesday morning after linking arms in the street and blocking traffic near a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center to protest deportations.

U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL,1) is under investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) following questions raised by the Sun-Times and Better Government Association in a recent article.

Nearly four years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a new study says the disaster is far from over.

Indiana must recognize immediately a terminally ill gay woman's marriage to her partner in Massachusetts, a federal judge ruled on Thursday.

Kathleen Sebelius, the U.S. health secretary who oversaw the botched rollout of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare reforms, has resigned, a senior administration official said on Thursday.

More than 7.5 million people are expected to sign up for private health coverage this year under President Barack Obama's healthcare law, the top U.S. health official said on Thursday.

One day after his controversial budget passed through the U.S. House, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI,1) visited Chicago Friday to raise funds for former congressman Bob Dold, the Republican candidate in Illinois' 10th congressional district race.


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