Chicago Mayor Wants Illinois To Reform Drug Laws
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday asked state legislators to make possession of less than 1 gram of any controlled substance a misdemeanor in Illinois and possession of less than 15 grams of marijuana a ticketable offense.
Emanuel said in a news release that the Illinois Legislature should reform sentencing laws for low-level drug offenses because it would save taxpayer money and let police focus on more serious crimes.
"It doesn't make sense that one arrest for a very small amount of a controlled substance can lead to a lifetime of struggles, sending people in and out of prison and putting up barriers to getting a job or finding a place to live,'' Emanuel said. "We need action from Springfield.''
Chicago already has an ordinance that lets police write tickets for possession of as much as 15 grams of marijuana instead of making arrests.
Emanuel, along with Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, were to testify Tuesday before the House-Senate Joint Criminal Reform Committee.
The bipartisan group of legislators is looking at overcrowding in the state's prisons and jails and how to reduce racial disparities in sentencing and the number of people released from prison who commit new crimes.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says lax gun laws are a "weak link'' in the fight against gun violence.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel plans on seeking re-election in 2015 and says he's not seeking higher office.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has ordered an analysis of Chicago's city employee pension funds to see if they hold companies that make or sell assault weapons.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he's working on a gun control ordinance for the city of Chicago after an assault weapons ban stalled in the Illinois General Assembly.
The mayor of Chicago says he is determined to grow the city’s technological economy as other cities see that industry booming.
Rahm Emanuel's office says the Chicago mayor and former chief of staff to President Barack Obama is coming home early from the Democratic National Convention.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel have appointed eight members to the board that runs the McCormick Place convention center.
State law gives them each four appointments to the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority.
Quinn's appointees include attorney Carmen Lonstein and union leaders Ronald Powell, Bob Reiter and Becky Strzechowski.
Emanuel is appointing former state Comptroller Dan Hynes, retired ComEd CEO Frank Clark Jr., Bank of America executive Julie Chavez and Roger Kiley Jr., an attorney who was Mayor Richard Daley's chief of staff in the 1990s.
In a news release Monday, Emanuel says it is important to have a good team in place because McCormick Place is essential to Chicago's economic future. Quinn says the appointees have the experience need to attract new tradeshows.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is defending Bill Daley's tenure as the White House chief of staff. Daley's resignation was announced Monday, one year after replacing Emanuel in the position.
A new book claims President Barack Obama was close to firing Rahm Emanuel before his chief of staff left to run for Chicago mayor. But the president's top strategist says the book is littered with fiction.
Ron Suskind's Confidence Men quotes an unnamed source saying Emanuel "would have been fired" if he hadn't moved back to Chicago when former Mayor Richard Daley announced his retirement.
Obama strategist David Axelrod - now back in Chicago - was in the White House at the time, and says Emanuel was "never" close to losing his job.
Axelrod says Emanuel provided strong leadership in the White House, and the president appreciated that.
"Rahm was a enormously positive force in the White House and much of what we accomplished, particularly in those early days when we were teetering on the brink of a depression, was absolutely pivotal. And the president recognized that," Axelrod said. "Rahm provided strong leadership in the White House and that was well appreciated by the president."
A spokeswoman for Emanuel declined to comment.
Suskind also describes the White House headed by Emanuel as a "boys' club," in which women had little power. Axelrod dismisses the suggestion.
"I'm not going to comment on docu-dramas," he said. "The fact is that there were so many just flat-out errors of fact in that book that reflect the overall, which is that it's just not an accurate picture."
That's a characterization also made by a White House spokesman. The author is standing by his book.
Axelrod made his comments to reporters on Thursday in Chicago, after headlining a fundraiser for congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth. Duckworth is running for the Democratic nomination in Illinois' 8th congressional district, against Raja Krishnamoorthi.
Axelrod said his endorsement for Duckworth does not mean the president will follow suit.
"No, I don't expect [he will get involved]," Axelrod said. "He doesn't involve himself in primary campaigns, and these are two friends of his, but obviously - you know, he appointed Tammy to a leadership position in his administration, so he has a high regard for her."
Duckworth, who won the Purple Heart for her service in Iraq, was an assistant secretary in the federal Department of Veterans Affairs under Mr. Obama.
The president also has ties to Krishnamoorthi, who advised Mr. Obama during both his 2004 U.S. Senate campaign, and the 2008 presidential election.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Friday he is laying off up to 625 city workers, after labor leaders blew a Friday deadline to come up with a list of cost-saving measures in order to avoid pink slips.
"I took the steps because I cannot wish away this budget shortfall," Emanuel said.
The layoffs will hit the city's water department call center, city custodians, and the office that manages health benefits for city workers. His plan will also lead to a 75 percent force reduction of the seasonal workforce at the Department of Transportation, which would mean fewer street and sidewalk improvements this year.
Layoff notices will begin going out next week, said a mayoral spokeswoman.
The mayor also used his remarks to slam union leaders for not agreeing to a menu of of compensation and work rule changes he said would have precluded pink slips. His proposal, outlined to the public in its entirety for the first time Friday, would eliminate sick pay for city trade workers, lengthen the work week, and reduce pay for overtime, among other changes.
The mayor said his administration would meet with labor leaders on Monday, but he would not say whether he would cancel the layoffs if union workers agree to the work rule changes he had pushed.
Chicago Federation of Labor President Jorge Ramirez responded to the mayor's decision on Friday afternoon. Ramirez said he was unaware of the deadline and that he and other leaders would continue to work on their own cost-saving plan. He said the CFL has hired an outside consultant to help come up with a proposal.
Ramirez said the unions were left in the dark about Emanuel's proposed work rule changes.
"They have never been formerly presented with anything, they haven't been asked to sit down in a formal way, and this is something shouldn't have caught the city by surprise," Ramirez said. "We told them there was a process from the very first meeting that we had. We suggested to them that they engage it if they intend to do anything like that, and they just chose not to."
Emanuel's administration inherited the labor dispute from former Mayor Richard Daley. The Daley administration balanced its 2011 budget, in part, by squeezing concessions and furlough days from unions. But that labor agreement expired last month, leaving the Emanuel administration to come up with about $31 million in savings to close out the budget year.
Emanuel has said he is against imposing more furlough days on city workers and he previously ordered a partial hiring freeze. He also said seven city-run health clinics will turn over primary care services to federally funded clinics. Emanuel said the measures would save $20 million.
(AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
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