Public Affairs

Immigration, DHS bill stalls in Senate, divides Illinois senators

By Christine Smith

Illinois Sens. Mark Kirk and Dick Durbin split along party lines during a procedural Senate vote Tuesday about the Department of Homeland Security’s budget and President Barack Obama’s immigration executive order.

The bill, which would have created a new $40 billion budget for the DHS before its current one expires on Feb. 27, also included a controversial section that would undo Obama’s recent immigration actions. Senate Democrats, including Durbin, who were not onboard with the immigration component, voted against the bill, resulting in a 51-48 vote and its failure. The bill needed 60 votes to advance. Continue reading

Why did Chipotle plummet after a strong quarter?

By Alysha Khan

Despite a strong earnings report, Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. stock surprisingly dropped seven percent to $676 amid concerns of slowing store sales and a possible hike in prices.

Stephen Anderson, senior restaurant analyst at Miller Tabak + Co., LLC, said the drop was driven by Chipotle executives lowering their 2015 forecast for sales for locations open more than 12 months.

Officials forecasted a low to mid-single digit increase for same-store sales but Anderson said investors were looking for a mid to high-single digit increase.

Continue reading

Despite $10 million investment in arts education, experts say much work remains

By Taylor Mullaney and Phoebe Tollefson

When Jim Duignan began the Stockyard Institute in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood in 1995, he realized that the arts could enable kids to actually solve problems in their own communities.

“We could really be building work based on the young people’s questions,” Duignan said. “And whether it was spoken word, or whether it was building a radio station, or whether it was public art or whether it was doing walks….They came alive. They just came alive.” Continue reading

Rauner’s call for union reform stirs talk before state address

By Emily Hoerner

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner ignited conversation by sending a memo to the Illinois legislature, calling on lawmakers to prune union rights and government spending just two days before Wednesday’s State of the State address.

The memo prefaced the governor’s cost-saving measures, including state employee rule reforms that Rauner described in the memo as “fair to both state workers and taxpayers.” The note pointed out that federal workers are prohibited from striking and bargaining over wages, benefits and pensions. Illinois union workers are not.

Continue reading

Puppies, domestic violence focus of Super Bowl ads

By Lukas Voss

Wedged between Cris Collinsworth´s analysis and Katy Perry´s elaborate halftime extravaganza, a 911 call involving a pizza delivery halted the usual Super bowl commercial landscape.

The NFL, in collaboration with NO MORE, a campaign to raise awareness and end domestic violence, used its airtime during the biggest television event of the year to air the first-ever public announcement against domestic violence during the Super Bowl.

Many people were genuinely impressed with the ad on twitter with reactions ranging from being completely floored by its content, to supporting NO MORE in the effort to publicize the issue of domestic violence. Continue reading

Emanuel: Chicago needs a ‘21st century’ infrastructure

By Matt Yurus

Campaigning before the City Club of Chicago’s guests and members, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that Chicago needs a “21st century foundation” to maintain a “21st century economy.”

Emanuel’s speech, which was his fifth and final speech concerning his agenda for a second term, called for continued investment in Chicago’s infrastructure. More than $7 billion have already been invested in infrastructure under Emanuel’s administration. Continue reading

88,500 undocumented Illinoisans benefit from license program despite kinks

By Christine Smith

Mayra Sarabia came to Chicago 23 years ago from Mexico hoping to make a better life for herself and her family. Unable to drive legally in Illinois because of her undocumented status, Sarabia jumped at the opportunity to obtain a valid license.

“I know cases of people who have been deported because of traffic violations,” she said, “so I always was afraid of what if I got stopped and end up incarcerated. After getting my license, I drive with more of a piece of mind now.”  Continue reading