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Citizen Action Policy & Politics (Blog)

State Capitol of Illinois

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After Wisconsin, Whither Labor?



by John D. Cameron

In the wake its the failure to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker last month, numerous pundits have once again declared that the American labor movement is doomed.  The line goes that organized labor has lost its political clout and its declining membership in the private sector means it is headed for the dustbin of history.

Yet, as Mark Twain would have said, the rumors of labor’s death are greatly exaggerated. 

Time to Take the For Sale Sign Off our Government


By William McNary, Citizen Action/Illinois Co-Director and Illinois Campaign Finance Task Force Member

Justice Louis Brandeis said, “Either we may have a democracy or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both.”  There is a public perception that special interests are purchasing public policy outcomes.

Illinoisans are angry and we have a right to be angry.  People feel like they are losing control of their lives and that they have no power over decisions that affect their lives.

The Supreme Court and the Affordable Care Act, Part 2



by Walter J. Kendall III, Citizen Action/Illinois Board Member and Professor of Law, John Marshall Law School

Most of the attention given to the constitutional debate about the Affordable Care Act has been focused on the "individual mandate." People either must have or get health insurance or they will have to pay into the federal treasury an amount of money roughly comparable to the cost of minimum health insurance coverage. Opponents of the law argue that if the law is constitutional it would mean the federal government could make you buy broccoli.

Reflections on the Supreme Court Case and the Affordable Care Act



by Walter J. Kendall III, Board Member Citizen Action/Illinois and Professor of Law, John Marshall Law School


Friends. Last week during the oral argument before the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act Justice Scalia referred to what he called "the Cornhusker kickback". It is a reference to  a deal made by the Senate leadership with Senator Nelson of Nebraska to include as part of the ACA certain concessions and benefits  applicable to Nebraska alone. As far as I know the incident is not part of the official  record before the Court, or mentioned in  the briefs of the parties. Because It is a partisan political characterization of what is more or less common legislative compromise it troublesome that a Justice would one even mention the incident, and two refer to it in such partisan terms.

Why we need the rule for birth control coverage in health insurance


 by Pam Sutherland, Citizen Action/Illinois Board Member and Vice President Public Policy, Planned Parenthood of Illinois 

There’s been a lot in the news about the federal rule requiring birth control coverage in health insurance. This rule, which was recommended by the non-partisan and highly respected Institute of Medicine (IOM), requires health insurance to cover contraception with no deductible or co-pay. The original rule allowed religious entities, such as churches, to opt out of this coverage. The exemption was limited to entities that employ people of the faith and serve people of their faith. Religiously affiliated organizations, such as universities or hospitals, were not given an exemption because they employ and they serve people regardless of their religious affiliation.

Protect Social Security and Medicare for All Generations


By Barbara Franklin, President, Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans and Board Member, Citizen Action/Illinois

Today’s retirees want our economy to turn around. They worry about their children and grandchildren, and do not want a large debt to be the legacy they leave behind. Importantly though, they understand that there is a right and wrong way to do this.

It’s Time to Go to Work!


By William McNary; Co-Director, Citizen Action/Illinois

In last night’s State of the Union Address, President Obama laid out a blueprint for an economy that’s built to last – an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values.

The President believes this is a make or break moment for the middle class and those trying to reach it.  What’s at stake is the very survival of the basic American promise that if you work hard, you can do well enough to raise a family, own a home, and put a little away for retirement.

The Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Building the Middle-Class


By William McNary, Co-Director Citizen Action/Illinois

Dr. King: Not Merely a Dreamer

It was almost a half a century ago that the momentous 1963 March on Washington took place. It was at this march where Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his most famous and celebrated speech; one of the best speeches ever given in American history. As we reflect on and commemorate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King this week, let us remember that he not only inspired us, but marched for his beliefs. He sat-in for his beliefs. In Alabama, he went to jail for his beliefs. In Chicago, he was hit in the head with a brick for his beliefs. And in Memphis on a hotel balcony, he was assassinated for his beliefs.

I’m merely pointing out that Dr. King was not just some idealistic dreamer; he fought to make his dreams a reality. He was a gallant fighter for civil rights and we all know that there would not be a Civil Rights Act or a Voting Rights Act without his leadership.