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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The top Republican in the Illinois House is criticizing Democrats for a plan that would put $100 million in taxpayer funds toward a presidential library for Barack Obama.
 
Minority Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs says it's "ironic" that Democrats have been threatening cuts in education and state services if a temporary income tax increase isn't made permanent this year. He wonders where money for a library would come from and says the state can't afford it.
 
A House committee controlled by Speaker Michael Madigan - a Chicago Democrat - voted to move the proposal forward last week when no Republicans were present. Committee member Rep. Ed Sullivan, a Republican from Mundelein planned to protest that vote Monday.
 
Madigan has said the money would not come from operating funds.
Published in Local News
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A measure President Barack Obama originally pushed during his time in the Illinois Legislature to prevent racial profiling is closer to becoming a permanent law in Illinois.
 
The House on Thursday approved the legislation requiring police officers to record the ethnicity of every driver they stop. It now heads to the Senate.
 
Then-state Sen. Barack Obama and Democratic Rep. Monique Davis sponsored the original measure in 2004. It mandated the reporting for a three-year period, and had to be extended each time it expired. The current measure is set to expire in 2015.
 
Members of the House Black Caucus say racial profiling is still too prevalent in Illinois.
 
But law enforcement officials who oppose the legislation say there are other ways to examine racial profiling.
Published in Local News

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says it's not right that businesses that treat their employers fairly can be undercut by competitors who don't.

In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama is promoting his plan to update rules about which workers are eligible for overtime pay. Obama says he wants to restore the principle that if you have to work more, you should earn more.

Businesses can avoid paying overtime for some workers who earn above a certain threshold. Obama says under the current rules, some salaried workers are actually paid less than the minimum wage.

In the Republican address, Rep. Bill Johnson of Ohio says seniors deserve better than what Obama's health care is delivering. He says if Obama won't help Republicans repeal the law, Obama should at least protect seniors.

Published in National News
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Animal protection advocates are applauding President Barack Obama for proposing a continued federal ban on commercial horse slaughter in the U.S.
 
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals senior vice president Nancy Perry on Tuesday urged Congress to adopt the proposal.
 
A measure approved earlier this year withholds money through September for Agriculture Department inspections necessary for slaughterhouses to process horse meat for human consumption.
 
The ban derailed a New Mexico company's plan to slaughter horses to export the meat to overseas consumers.
 
The president's budget proposed continuing the inspection funding prohibition through September 2015.
 
The last U.S. horse slaughterhouses closed in 2007 because Congress eliminated inspection funding. Plants in New Mexico, Missouri and Iowa sought to resume horse slaughtering when federal money was restored in 2011.
Published in Local News
Wednesday, 26 February 2014 00:56

Obama: Health insurance enrollment at 4 million

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- Pressing for a final rush of health care enrollees, President Barack Obama said Tuesday that about 4 million people have signed up for health insurance through federal or state marketplaces set up under his health care law.
   But with a key deadline approaching fast, he urged some of his most steadfast backers to help sign up millions more by then.
   "We've only got a few weeks left. March 31st, that's the last call," Obama said, explaining that anyone not signed up by that date will have to wait until open enrollment begins anew in the fall. In the meantime, they risk being fined for not having coverage.
   The White House has set an unofficial goal of 7 million enrollees by the end of March.
   Nearly 3.3 million people, or less than half the total, had enrolled through the end of January.
   Enrollment was slowed at the start of the sign-up period last October by numerous glitches in the health care website the administration created to help people find coverage. Some states running their own websites encountered problems, too.
   Obama blamed the depressed enrollment on the bungled website and on an "implacable opposition" that he said has spent hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars to oppose the signature domestic policy accomplishment of his presidency.
   The president promised a "big push these last few weeks" to sign people up. Already, he and first lady Michelle Obama have talked up the health care law in interviews with radio and TV stations that reach largely black and Latino audiences. Vice President Joe Biden appeared Tuesday on "The View" to encourage its largely female viewership to help get people to buy coverage.
   "If they want health insurance now, they need to sign up now," Obama said.
   Besides the 4 million enrollees, Obama said millions more Americans were benefiting from the health care law's expansion of Medicaid as well as a provision that allows young people to stay on their parents' plans until they turned 26.
   Signing up enough people, particularly those who are young and healthy, is critical for the insurance pool at the heart of the law to function properly by keeping premiums low for everyone.
   Obama spoke to more than 300 activists at an Organizing for America summit at a Washington hotel. He later delivered a shortened version of his remarks to about 60 supporters at a by-invitation-only dinner in a nearby room.
   Organizing for Action is an advocacy group founded by former Obama campaign aides and supporters.
   Obama also sought his supporters' help to pressure Congress to raise the federal minimum wage for all workers. The president noted his recent action to raise the hourly minimum to $10.10 an hour for people working on federal contracts. But that will make a difference for just a few hundred thousand workers and not until the government awards new contracts or existing ones are renewed.
   Obama said a majority of Americans of all political persuasions support a higher minimum wage.
   "Let's get that minimum wage done and give America a raise," he said.
   Two hours before the president spoke, his former Republican presidential rival, Mitt Romney, was seen in the hotel lobby. A Romney adviser said the former Massachusetts governor was in Washington to deliver a speech and was staying at the hotel by coincidence.
 
Published in National News

WASHINGTON (AP) — The president's advisers are warning that if lawmakers won't work with the White House, the White House will go around them.

President Barack Obama makes his State of the Union address on Tuesday.

Top White House aides say Obama will try to work with Congress where it's possible.

But press secretary Jay Carney and senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer say the White House will take action with executive orders if needed.

On ABC's "This Week," Carney says the White House will "bypass Congress where necessary."

Pfeiffer tells "Fox News Sunday" that Obama, quote, "has a pen, and he has a phone, and he's going to use those."

Republican Sen. Rand Paul tells CNN's "State of the Union" that it sounds like a threat.

Published in National News

BOSTON (AP) - President Barack Obama's Kenyan-born uncle has been granted permission to stay in the U.S.

An immigration judge ruled Tuesday that 69-year-old Onyango Obama is a person of "good moral character."

Obama is the half brother of the president's late father. He has lived in the United States since the 1960s. He was ordered to leave the country in 1992, but remained.

Onyango Obama and a longtime friend testified at a hearing that he has lived in the U.S. for 50 years, been a hard worker, paid income tax and been arrested only once.

His immigration status didn't become public until his 2011 drunken driving arrest. At the time, he allegedly told police, "I think I will call the White House."

Published in National News

CLAYCOMO, Mo. (AP) — President Barack Obama is railing against attempts by, quote, a "faction of the far right" to undermine his health care law.

Obama tells an audience near Kansas City, Missouri quote, "They're focused on trying to mess with me. They're not focused on you."

Obama spoke shortly after the Republican-controlled House voted cut spending for the health care law, as part of a measure to extend current spending into December.

Obama says failure to raise the debt ceiling would send the economy into a tailspin.

Published in Local News

ST. CHARLES, Mo. (AP) - Two men arrested for protesting against President Barack Obama on an Interstate 70 overpass near St. Louis say they were breaking no laws.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that 41-year-old Marc Messmer of St. Charles and 57-year-old Duane Weed of Bridgeton were arrested Saturday afternoon on a St. Charles overpass. It was part of a series of overpass demonstrations around the country calling for impeachment of the president.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Al Nothum says the men and 10 other protesters were creating a traffic hazard and were told to leave. Nothum says Messmer and Weed were arrested for failing to obey.

Nothum says that earlier Saturday there were five accidents near the location of the protest. None involved serious injury.

Published in Local News

BOONVILLE, Mo. (AP) - The president of the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association has resigned after getting flak about a State Fair event that mocked President Barack Obama.

An attorney for Boonville School Superintendent Mark Ficken said Tuesday that his client resigned from the rodeo association to protest its response to the Saturday incident.

Ficken was the rodeo announcer.

But attorney Albert Watkins says it was a rodeo clown wearing a microphone - not Ficken - who riled up the crowd as a bull chased a man wearing an Obama mask. The act was widely criticized by Missouri officials as disrespectful of Obama.

Watkins says Ficken resigned because the association had not barred the rodeo clown from its group.

The Boonville School District is hiring an investigator to look into Ficken's role in the event.

Published in Local News
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