Maywood Bishop Willie J. Chambliss opens the Illinois House of Representatives in prayer on Feb. 9. Below, Chambliss with state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th) | Photo courtesy: Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch/Facebook
Thursday, February 9, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
Bishop Willie J. Chambliss, the founder of Miracle Revival Center in Maywood, delivered the opening prayer for the Illinois House of Representatives on Feb. 9.
‘Zombie Preparedness Month’ will be in October
A resolution filed by state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th) last month proposing to designate October “Zombie Preparedness Month” unanimously passed the Illinois House of Representatives on Feb. 9.
The resolution (HR 0030) “urges all Illinoisans to educate themselves about natural disasters and take steps to create a stockpile of food, water, and other emergency supplies that can last up to 72 hours.”
The measure may provoke bouts of laughter when first heard, but what’s at stake is no laughing matter, Welch told the Chicago Tribune.
“I am told that if you are prepared for zombies, then you would be prepared to deal with a natural disaster like tornadoes, blizzards — natural disasters of any kind,” he said.
“Rep. Grant Wehrli, R-Naperville, said while zombies bring levity to the conversation, the measure calls attention to the importance of natural disaster planning.”
The Tribune report notes that the resolution wasn’t without its detractors, with some lawmakers saying that these are no times for laughs considering the state budget’s fiscal condition.
“This may sound like fun, but if you’re really concerned about disaster, the natural disaster that’s happening in Illinois is all economic,” Repulican Rep. Jeanne Ives told the Tribune.
“If we need to do something like Zombie Preparedness Month to get people’s attention to an important issue like preparing for a natural disaster, then so be it,” Welch countered.
To read the full Tribune article, click here.
Welch sponsors ‘Safe Zone’ bill
Members of the Melrose Park-based nonprofit P.A.S.O. demonstrating against mass deportations. | Photo courtesy P.A.S.O.
On Feb. 8, Welch co-sponsored HB 0426, which would “establish protections for immigrants from Immigration & Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) or agencies working with I.C.E.”
“The goal of this legislation is to protect people’s rights from invasive actions by the government,” Welch said in a recent statement. “We must stand with those who feel that their government is not fighting for them. Illinois should be a welcoming place to those who are trying to make a better life for themselves.”
According to the proposal, safe zones are defined as elementary and high schools, places of worship, colleges and universities, and health care facilities. If the legislation passes, governments would be “prohibited from entering the safe zones without a court-ordered warrant,” the statement notes. Additionally, students and their families will only be required to share their immigration status with schools,
“Additionally, students and their families will only be required to share their immigration status with schools, colleges and universities in a few instances.”
At a pro-immigrant rally in Oak Park last Saturday, a few days before that village passed an ordinance declaring itself a “Sanctuary City,” Welch led a chant.
“No ban, no wall, sanctuary for all!”
“We are going to take this fight all the way to the state and make Illinois a safe zone,” Welch said. “We don’t believe your kid should go to school the day after the election, like they did last year, worried about getting deported. We don’t think you should go to the hospital and worry about those health officials reporting you to ICE … We believe that Illinois should be a welcoming state just like Oak Park is a welcoming city.”
In the statement, Welch said that, while the bill won’t require Illinois to become a sanctuary state, it would at least “acknowledges the fear of deportation many families face and provides them with somewhere they can go to feel safe.”
“While the bill does provide immigrant families with protections they need, it also puts in place policies that make our community stronger,” he said. “As we try to find ways to move the state forward, common-sense immigration policies like this need to be part of that conversation.”
HB 0426 is currently in the House’s Human Services Committee.
Lightford minimum wage bill hits snag
According to a report in the Southern Illinoisian, state Sen. Kimberly Lightford’s (4th) proposal to increase the state’s minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2021 “will not be discussed as part of the Illinois Senate’s “grand bargain” until further negotiations are held.”
Lightford, the bill’s sponsor, said that the “Senate is still working on establishing a minimum wage proposal that different supporting groups can agree on.”
“It’s still part of the package,” she said. “We are just not ready to call it.”
To read the specific reasons for why negotiations may have hit a wall (at least temporarily), click here. VFP
Photo above right, Associated Press.
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