Presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois

Menard Correctional Center | AP file photo

Free some older, nonviolent, longtime prisoners: activist

Should prisoners over age 50 who have served at least 25 years have a chance to get parole? The Illinois Joint Committee on Criminal Justice is holding hearings on prison crowding and sentencing, and here is part of what prison-reform activist Bill Ryan plans to tell the committee.

State Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale) | Ashlee Rezin/for Sun-Times Media

Coming soon: Kirk Dillard's resignation

Watch for state Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale) to tender his formal resignation from the Senate around Aug. 1 — so he can officially become the next chairman of the Regional Transportation Authority.

 

Three Ways ACA is affecting Business

More often than not, when healthcare reform is brought up, the impact and the interests of businesses are lumped together, as if each faces with the same challenges as the next.

2008 immigration law unexpectedly at center of border debate

WASHINGTON — Sen. Dianne Feinstein recalls turning on her television and seeing a young Chinese girl crying before a judge, without even an interpreter to help her after surviving a harrowing journey to the U.S. That was the genesis of a law six years ago that is now at the center of an immigration crisis at the nation's Southern border.

If Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn wins, he’ll push for making the 5 percent income tax rate permanent. If Republican Bruce Rauner wins, he’ll push for sales taxes on services and take his four-year term to bring down the income tax rate to the 3 percent mark, where it was before Democrats raised it. | AP file photo

Taxes are going up, debate is over how

Our governor candidates, for now, have set aside the prairie chickens, the scary fairy tale mascots and the juvenile fake press releases. We all know we’re in deep in Illinois and we finally have a sign from Republican governor nominee Bruce Rauner that he recognizes it, too.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel talks during a roundtable discussion earlier this month. | Michael Schmidt/Sun-Times

City’s cash balance, police arrests down — emergency responses up

Mayor Rahm Emanuel closed the books on 2013 with $33.9 million in cash on hand — virtually unchanged from last year, but down from $167 million two years ago, city audits show. Emanuel also failed to make a dent in the mountain of debt piled on Chicago taxpayers. The 2013 city audits provide a treasure trove of information about city finances and operations. 

Who is benefiting from the Lawndale Diabetes Project?

Gerry Allen, a resident of North Lawndale on Chicago’s West Side, suffered for years with unmanaged diabetes. But, thanks to an expanded community health initiative launched in April 2012 between a local hospital  and an insurance provider, he did something he thought he’d never do.

Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton (left), the mother of Chicago shooting victim Hadiya Pendleton, stands next to Michelle Obama in U.S. House of Representatives before the State of the Union speech by President Barack Obama on Feb. 12, 2013. | Courtesy ABC Network News

Will Michelle Obama speak up for Shamiya on Thursday?

The Shamiya tragedy: Sneed is wondering if the tragic death of 11-year-old Shamiya Adams, who was killed by a stray bullet during a sleepover with friends Friday in West Garfield Park, will be addressed by first lady Michelle Obama when she hits town Thursday for a Democratic National Committee fundraiser.