Archive for June 2011

Time to place your bets

Senate Bill 744 could be one of the most important bills to survive the Illinois General Assembly gauntlet in recent memory. But there continues to be mixed feelings over whether Chicago should expand gaming. That was evident at a debate in Chicago last night sponsored by the Better Government Association. The legislation, which began as... Read more »

Beep.... Illinois minimum wage flatlines

Beep.... Illinois minimum wage flatlines
For the first time in five years, the state minimum wage won’t go up today. From 2006 until 2009, the lowest wage that employers can pay their employees went from $6.50 to $8.25. And low-wage workers won’t see their paychecks increase unless the Senate moves on a bill, SB 1565, that’s currently stalled in committee.... Read more »

High gas prices might squeeze Chicago's poor tighter than others

With gas prices registering $1.25 a gallon higher than they were last year in the Chicago area, the average household is spending more on gas. Economists estimate that it’s almost 8 percent of their income on gas. But some say that percentage is probably higher for the poor who earn less and typically travel farther... Read more »

Home prices drop in Chicago (or plummet, depending where you are)

The latest installment (PDF) of the Case-Shiller Home Price Index was released earlier today, and the data shows the aftermath of the housing crash continues to ripple through communities across the Chicago area in the form of lower housing prices. More at Single-family home prices in greater Chicago ticked down just less than half... Read more »

Race, police stops and car searches

Say you’re driving from Chicago to Springfield and an Illinois State Police officer pulls you over for speeding or because your car’s taillight is broken. You pull over to the side of the road. You turn over your license and registration through the driver’s side window. The officer processes the violation. Then he or she... Read more »

Tough birthday for War on Drugs

Tough birthday for War on Drugs
The War on Drugs is now in its ripe middle age, turning 40 this month. But its birthday hasn’t been an especially pleasant one. More at Consider a few of the top-line findings from two recently published reviews of the drug war around the world and here in Illinois. The Global Commission on Drug... Read more »

No drug testing for Chicago's public housing residents

The Chicago Housing Authority board decided to end plans by city officials to drug test all public housing residents at yesterday’s monthly board meeting, reported WBEZ and We the People Media. “We decided that one, we thought this was kind of close to violating on civil rights. And that right now wasn’t an issue we... Read more »

HIV prison population could grow just by changing a question

The Illinois Department of Corrections has offered inmates entering its prisons the chance to be screened for HIV for years now. Prisoners coming into the system are asked if they want to take the test, but faced with the choice many decline. Legislation that advanced through the General Assembly this spring would automatically sign inmates... Read more »

New report scrutinizes city's contracts to women, minorities

The City of Chicago’s minority and women-owned businesses contracting programs have come under the microscope once again as city Inspector General Joseph Ferguson’s office released reports this month alleging “widespread fraud and abuse” in such efforts.   More at A June 9 report about the city’s Minority and Women Business Enterprise program, or MWBE,... Read more »

Employers keep the cash, employees take home the risk

It seems like there was an era in America where there was a general contract between employers and employees. Employees work hard and dedicate their careers to helping a company earn a profit. In return, employers are loyal to those employees, offering them insurance, workers’ comp, and the general expectation of being taken care of... Read more »