The 21st Show

IL Bill Breakdown; Vetoed VOICES Act; Birth Weight Research; Google Non-Profit Grant


John O'Connor/AP

On the 21st: What can Chicago learn from Toronto when it comes to having healthier babies? Plus,Google Chicago is looking to give out $1 million to Illinois nonprofits—we’ll tell you how to apply! But first, we have your weekly Illinois politics update including more info on bills that Governor Rauner has signed or vetoed.

State lawmakers may be out of session, but there’s still a lot up in the air as far as which bills will turn into laws. That’s because Governor Rauner has been nonstop signing and vetoing so many bills - whether it’s teacher salaries, immigration, or healthcare. Some of the actions are making mental health advocates cheer — while others are upsetting teachers and immigrant rights advocates.

And of course, all this as the Governor continues a tough re-election campaign against Democratic nominee J.B. Pritzker.

Public radio reporters Dave McKinney from WBEZ Chicago, and WILL’s Christine Herman joined us for the bill breakdown. 

Plus —

One of the many bills that Governor Rauner has been busy signing and vetoing is called the VOICES act. Its supporters say it will help protect unauthorized immigrants who are victims of domestic violence or sexual abuse. But Governor Rauner vetoed it late last week - and everyone from his opponent in the governor’s race J.B. Pritzker — to immigrant rights activists are decrying this move.

Andy Kang is executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago. He joined us on the line. 

Also —

When it comes to our health, what can Chicago learn from Toronto? That’s the question DePaul University and Rush University Medical Center researchers looked at when it comes to racial segregation and tiny babies who at birth weighed less than five and a half pounds.

First - the researchers established a link between segregation and these low birth weights. In Chicago’s worst off communities - 1 out of every 5 babies is born weighing less than five and a half pounds. That’s an alarm bell for other health problems later in life. But in looking at four U.S. communities and Toronto — they found that it doesn’t have to be this way.

To learn more about all of this, we were joined on the line from Chicago by Fernando De Maio. He’s a sociology professor in the at DePaul University and Co-director of the Center for Community Health Equity -- a collaboration of DePaul and Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

Also joining us on the line from Toronto was Patricia O'Campo, professor in the school of public health at the University of Toronto and a research scientist at the Centre for Urban Health Solutions.

And —

Last week, Google announced a one million dollar grant award program specifically designed for Illinois nonprofits. It’s the internet company’s first statewide challenge to help promote economic development and opportunity.

This fall, Google and a panel of advisors will choose 10 nonprofits as finalists. And they want the public to pick the winner.

To explain more we were joined by Google Chicago’s Community Engagement Manager, Stephen Brokaw, and Larry Dietz, President of Illinois State University and one of the advisory panel members.

For nonprofits interested in applying, Google has provided more information here.

Story source: WILL