Community Renewal Society Blogs

The legislation (SB 1381) that would made Illinois the 16th state to legalize medical marijuana was called for a vote on January 7 and fell just two votes short of passage.

SB 1381, if approved this week by the House would make Illinois the 16th state to legalize medical marijuana. PCG supports this bill as an act of mercy and compassion on behalf of individuals suffering from chronic or acute pain who can be helped on no other way.

The Constitution of Illinois identifies the elimination of poverty as one of the fundamental goals of state government. This official commitment stands in stark contrast to the 24% increase in the number of Illinoisans living in poverty since 1999. *Building a Pathway to Dignity and Work* gives us the opportunity to reduce that percentage dramatically.

The 2010 November General Election will long be remembered as a nation-wide referendum on taxes. Illinois' election, on the other hand, demonstrated that the tax issue was not a make-or-break factor in Illinois legislative races. You'll find John Cameron's analysis very interesting.

Here are the logistics: Thursday, October 28th is the last day for early voting, absentee ballots must be postmarked by Monday, November 1st, and the polls are open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 2nd. Please vote—and urge others to do the same.

The Put Illinois to Work program--funded through the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund (ECF)--is a win-win situation for low-income, out-of-work adults who have gotten jobs and for small businesses in which many of these jobs have been created. The ECF is set to expire on September 30, 2010 unless Congress votes to extend the program for another year. Time is running out, but it's not too late!

Back in May, I wrote about a bill that could be considered “the bit of good news” to come out of an all-around dismal legislative session. Well, three months later, we have the final good news – Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law the Illinois Safe Children Act (HB6462), taking a major step towards protecting juveniles who get caught up in the cycle of prostitution and sex trafficking.

Thousands of 30-hours-per-week jobs for low-income parents will end on September 30, 2010 unless the Senate includes the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund in the tax extenders bill that will likely be considered after Congress' August recess. There are indications of bipartisan support for the one-year extension of the TANF emergency fund, but--let's be clear--the tax extenders bill is the last chance for this important benefit for families and for the Illinois economy.

680,000 Illinoisans living in deep poverty, many of whom are children, will now have access to some much-needed income support and transitional services. They will be better able to pay for their living expenses--basics like utilities, rent, clothing, and transportation.

The 2010 legislative session in Springfield has ended - with mixed results. We achieved some important legislative victories, but our celebration is muted by the irresponsible 2011 budget that calls for additional cuts, more borrowing, and further delays in bill payments.

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