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Kotowski introduces measure to protect funding for local schools

OrangewoodRSPRINGFIELD – Illinois State Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge) has introduced legislation that protects funding for local schools in future state budgets.

Senate Bill 3673 will make sure that if we do change the school funding formula, suburban schools will continue to receive the funding necessary to provide a world-class education for our children.”

Kotowski’s measure states that under any new state aid formula, the amount each district receives for the school year is the same as the previous year.

Delgado speaking out on minimum wage fight (VIDEO)

MinWageDelgado111914State Senator William Delgado (D-Chicago) joined fellow senators and representatives on Wednesday afternoon to announce to members of the local and statewide media their support for an increase to the minimum wage.

Within the 2nd District, the estimated suggested hourly living wage is just over $11. Under the current Illinois minimum wage, a 90-hour work week is required to afford a two bedroom apartment in Cook County.

“Our wage earners are working poor. At the same time they’re families with dignity,” Delgado said. “I look forward to being part of a new Illinois where everybody will have a living wage.”

On the November 4 ballot, Illinois voters were asked if they supported the idea of the minimum wage being increased to $10perhour by January 1. Over 67 percent of voters agreed that the minimum wage should indeed be raised before the end of the calendar year. If it is implemented, the measure would increase the minimum wage approximately $1.75, from the current level of $8.25.

Leadership group names @DanielBiss as finalist for policy award

Biss100SKOKIE — Today, two of the honorary chairs of the NewDEAL (Developing Exceptional American Leaders), Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, announced the finalists of the group's New Ideas Challenge. State Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) was chosen from a competitive field as a finalist for his policy solution, the Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program. The program would give Illinois workers without retirement accounts the opportunity to start saving through their employers.

Senator Biss is a member of the NewDEAL — a national network of pro-growth progressive state and local elected officials working to expand opportunity in the changing economy. The first ever New Ideas Challenge gives recognition to smart, pro-growth progressive solutions that are being developed and tested by state and local leaders across the country. At a time of national gridlock, this network of leaders is offering applied solutions from the front lines of government.

"As a governor and former mayor, I know that the best ideas about moving our country forward often come from innovators on the front lines of state and local governments. I'm thrilled by the NewDEAL New Ideas Challenge and know it will stimulate the kind of fresh thinking we need. I'm impressed by these finalists, and am excited to see their ideas put into action," said O'Malley, Honorary NewDEAL Co-Chair.

Biss was chosen as one of 16 finalists out of a total of 60 applicants by an esteemed panel of judges who are thought leaders in the policy arena. A winner in each of four categories – growing the economy for the future, expanding opportunity for all, making government work better and best public private partnership – will be announced on Dec. 3 in Washington, D.C.

"Every day, the pro-growth progressive leaders who are a part of the NewDEAL network are championing ideas to modernize government for the 21st century. Daniel Biss has impressed us with his innovative solution to grow the economy and expand opportunity for all. I congratulate him and the other results-oriented state and local leaders, not only for the ideas they're working on locally but also for the ripple effect they'll create in communities across the country," said Markell, Honorary Co-Chair of the New Ideas Challenge.

More information about the NewDEAL can be found at www.newdealleaders.org.

Lightford: measure to raise the minimum wage scores big victory on Election Day

lightford051611On Tuesday, November 4, the voters of Illinois overwhelmingly signaled that they want the General Assembly to raise Illinois’ minimum wage. When asked “Shall the minimum wage in Illinois for adults over the age of 18 be raised to $10 per hour by January 1, 2015?” 67% of voters said yes.

“The people have spoken,” said State Senator Kimberly A. Lightford, who has been fighting to raise the minimum wage for years. “They want us to increase the minimum wage, and they want us to do it soon.”

A look at the election results also reveals that increasing the minimum wage has broad support throughout Illinois. Voters in 83 of the state’s 102 counties said “yes” to raising the wage, including Cook County (home of Chicago) and all of its surrounding counties, the counties that house St. Louis’ suburbs, and a majority of the border counties. Even voters in some of the wealthiest areas of the state – suburban Cook and Lake Counties – support raising the wage.

Senator Lightford has stated that she would like to call her measure to raise the wage for a vote as soon as possible.

“If you work 40 hours per week, you should be able to put healthy food on the table and a safe roof over your head without government assistance. Period,” Lightford said. “What’s the point of having a minimum wage if it isn’t high enough to lift individuals out of poverty?”