Here's a peek at what's happening on the political front this week:
A bill aimed at hiking the state's hourly minimum wage to $10 from $8.25, originally thought to be headed to the Senate floor this week, is more likely to hit the Senate May 16, said 4th District state Sen. Kimberly Lightford, a Westchester Democrat. Lightford, the chief sponsor, had earlier told Progress Illinois that there are ample votes to get the bill out of the Senate's executive committee, where it was sent last week. The bill was introduced more than a year ago. It remained in limbo last year while the General Assembly worked on legislation that gave corporations millions of dollars in tax breaks to stay in Illinois. Lightford told The Chicago Reporter earlier this year that her bill was on the back-burner because business groups opposed it, and at that time lawmakers were working to appease companies, such as Sears and the CME, and keep them here. Lightford could not immediately be reached for comment, but during an interview in February she said she thought it was possible that the bill would clear both chambers before the November general election. If it does, and Gov. Pat Quinn gives it his blessing, Illinois would have the highest minimum wage in the nation. Currently, the federal minimum wage is $7.25. The Reporter has recently written extensively about minimum- and living-wage issues.
The House Special Investigating Committee looking into allegations that 10th District state Rep. Derrick Smith took a $7,000 bribe will convene this week, on May 10. Smith was absent at an April 26 meeting when the committee voted 6-0 to ask him to testify. If he doesn't, the committee could seek a subpoena. Last week, a group of Democratic ward committeemen met on the West Side to discuss how to get rid of Smith, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown reported. They're worried Smith could be a liability in the general election if he hangs around, and Democrats don't want to risk losing his seat. After a closed-door meeting it was decided that a handful of Chicago-area pols would diplomatically ask Smith to step down. Also last week, Smith pleaded not guilty to the federal corruption charge he's facing. Actually, Smith's lawyer did--on his behalf. Then he compared Smith's case to Nazi persecution of Jews during the Holocaust.
The Chicago City Council will meet on Wednesday, May 9, at 10 a.m., in the council chambers of City Hall, 121 N. Lasalle St.
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