The 21st Show

Harsher Penalties On Texting While Driving; Taxing The Very Rich; DCFS And Spanish-Speaking Parents; Women’s World Cup


A man uses his cell phone as he drives through traffic in Dallas. LM Otero/AP

Starting next week, there will be harsher penalties for texting while driving. Also, what does it mean to tax the uber-rich? It’s a conversation happening not just in Springfield, but in Washington. Plus, hundreds of children in the Illinois foster system are being placed in homes where a language is spoken that isn’t their native one. And, the U.S. women’s team is on a mission to win a fourth World Cup.

Between texts, emails or social media, it’s hard to put down your phone. There are certain places where we know we probably shouldn’t be on our screens like in bed or at the dinner table. 

One place where you shouldn’t ever be on your phone is in your car while you’re driving. 

Despite that, last year, Illinois State Police issued more than 15,000 citations for distracted driving. So, starting Monday, Illinois drivers caught using their phones will face harsher penalties including fines and the possibility of getting their license suspended. 

Sgt. Dave Nicosia is the traffic unit sergeant for the Rockford Police Department.


When Republicans held both chambers of Congress, they made big changes to our federal tax code. Some of those changes included tax cuts for higher income earners, corporations, and some of the richest Americans.

Democrats, on the other hand, have been calling for more taxes on the wealthy. Next fall, Illinois voters will decide whether to repeal our state’s flat tax system. And nationally, members of Congress and presidential candidates have been floating different ideas about how to increase taxes on the very rich. 

That was the subject of a conference held yesterday by the Economic Policy Institute. One of its keynote speakers was Democratic Representative Jan Schakowsky from Illinois’ 9th Congressional district. We spoke with her on Monday and asked about the top .1% of income earners.


Many parents remember their child’s first words, but imagine if those words were in a language that was completely foreign to you. 

Jorge Matias is a native Spanish speaker, and learned English living and working in Chicago. 

A few years ago his youngest son was put in foster care shortly after birth because he was born with heroin in his system. But when Jorge visited the foster family shortly before his son turned one, the first words he heard from his child were in Slovak — a language Jorge was completely unfamiliar with.

Illinois is obligated by a consent decree to place foster children with families that speak languages that the biological parents can understand. But a recent ProPublica Illinois investigation found this rule isn’t always followed, especially for Spanish-speaking families. 

Duaa Eldeib is a reporter with ProPublica Illinois who co-wrote the story with Melissa Sanchez. Layla Suleiman Gonzalez is the director of the Human Services Program at Loyola University Chicago and also worked as a monitor to ensure that the Department of Children and Family Services followed the consent decree.

Jorge Matias also joined us from Guatamala to share his story.


Unlike their male counterparts, our US women are top-ranked when it comes to world soccer.

The U.S. won the World Cup match against Spain on Monday. A pair of penalty shots from Megan Rapinoe ensured that the team would move on to Friday’s quarterfinal versus France. 

For more on the squad and what we can expect later this week, we’re joined by Anne Costabile. She’s with the Chicago Sun Times. She also hosts a Chicago sports podcast called Catching Up With Costabile & Kenney.

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