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Governor Quinn Signs Bill To Help Sex Trafficking Victims Rebuild Their Lives PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Katelyn Tye   
Tuesday, 09 August 2011 12:14

New Law Will Give Victims of Sex Trafficking a Chance to Appeal Prostitution Convictions

CHICAGO – August 6, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today announced a new law that will help victims of sex trafficking who have been charged with prostitution by giving them the opportunity to clear their names. The new law gives victims of sex trafficking a chance to remove their convictions through a court of law.

“Sex trafficking is a truly reprehensible crime that preys on the most vulnerable. Victims deserve a chance to clear their records and rebuild their lives,” Governor Quinn said.

Illinois has taken major steps to address human trafficking by passing the 2006 anti-trafficking law and 2010 Safe Children Act, which helps support victims who were forced into the sex trade and have criminal records as a direct result of being trafficked.

Sponsored by Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) and Rep. Karen Yarbrough (D-Maywood), Senate Bill 1036 allows defendants who are victims of human trafficking at the time of their prostitution convictions to file a motion to vacate the conviction if the defendant’s participation in the offense was the result of being a victim.

Prostitution convictions limit victims’ abilities to access housing, employment education, immigration status and parental rights. The bill also creates a new filing timeline for victims of sex trafficking because they often endure years of abuse at the hands of traffickers and customers before they are able to seek help.

“The most important thing about Senate Bill 1037 is that it makes sure that the judicial system has a mechanism to ensure that a person who has been the victim of a crime is not automatically considered a criminal,” Sen. Hutchinson said. “It is good public policy to protect women and children who have been taken advantage of in this most heinous way. They can take the necessary steps to rebuild their lives and become functional members of society after suffering trauma of that magnitude.”

“Victims of human trafficking are often forced into prostitution and other crimes against their own will, and too many of them are being prosecuted as criminals,” Rep. Yarbrough said. “When we have evidence that involuntary human trafficking was the cause of the crime, even though the victim may not have had the ability or representation to prove it during trial, we must do the right thing and reverse their conviction so they can move on with repairing their lives.”

The bill takes effect Jan. 1 and was supported by a variety of institutions, leaders and anti-crime organizations including the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless; Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault; Sargent Shriver Center on Poverty Law; Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE); Lutheran Social Services of Illinois; Rape Victim Advocates; Girls Education and Mentoring Services (GEMS); Cook Co. Sheriff Tom Dart and DePaul University College of Law.

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Q & A: Balanced Budget Amendment PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 09 August 2011 12:09

Q:        Why is a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution needed?
A:        Congress can vote to abandon plans put in place for spending restraint and history proves that, too often, Congress either unravels budget controls or never adopts them in the first place.  A constitutional requirement for a balanced budget would compel members of Congress to act in a fiscally responsible way, since every member of Congress takes an oath to uphold the Constitution, and members tend to take the oath seriously.  A majority of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which oversees constitutional issues, said this about a balanced budget amendment after passing one twice during the 1990s:  “Flagrant disregard of the proposed amendment’s clear and simple provisions would constitute nothing less than a betrayal of the public trust.  In their campaigns for reelection, elected officials who flout their responsibilities under this amendment will find that the political process will provide the ultimate enforcement mechanism.”

Q:        How would a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution be put in place?
A:        An amendment to the Constitution requires a two-thirds vote both in the Senate and the House of Representatives, as well as the approval of three-fourths of the 50 state legislatures.  At least 46 states have requirements to balance their state budgets.  Congress has voted on a balanced budget amendment several times, but there never have been enough votes to approve the amendment and send it to the states for ratification.  Along with every other Republican senator, I am a co-sponsor of legislation that could establish a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.  The last time the Senate voted on a balanced budget amendment was in March 1997, when the nation’s debt was less than half of what it is today.  The resolution failed by one vote.  A balanced budget amendment passed the House of Representatives in 1995.  Both the Senate and the House of Representatives must vote on a balanced budget amendment this year, sometime between October 1 and December 31, thanks to a requirement in the agreement that was reached to increase the federal debt ceiling.

Q:        How would the balanced budget amendment work?
A:        The legislation I’ve co-sponsored for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution would require the President to submit a balanced budget to Congress annually.  It would prohibit Congress from spending more than it takes in or spending more than 18 percent of gross domestic product, compared to the 24 percent that’s being spent today.  In addition, the proposal I support would require supermajorities in the House and Senate to raise taxes.  With a federal debt of more than $14 trillion and deficits as far as the eye can see, it’s time for Congress to act on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution and then let states have their say.

Friday, August 5, 2011

 
Joe Pena NOV 8, 1961 to Aug 2, 2011 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Andy Harris   
Tuesday, 09 August 2011 12:01
Services for Jose M. "Joe" Pena Jr., 49,Davenport, are 11 a.m. on Tuesday at Halligan-McCabe-DeVries Funeral Home @ 614 Main Street in Davenport Iowa.
Burial is at Holy Family Cemetery, Davenport. Visitation is 4-7 p.m. Monday at Halligan Funeral Home 614 Main Street Davenport Iowa.

Joe died Aug. 2, 2011, at home.

He was born Nov. 8, 1961.

Joe was a Singer / Songwriter / Musician and a collector (of Guitars, G.I. Joe’s & other collectables), selling collectables online & at various venues.    He also played extensively with The Pena Blues Band (otherwise known as the Pena Brothers) in the Quad-Cities & atMidwest Venues.   Joe recorded several CDs with his brothers & had a CD produced by the legendary Blues Artist "Buddy Guy" at Catamont Studios.
Just was a Gentle Giant with a good heart who loved his family & friends.

Joe is survived by his wife, Tammy; children, Amelia, Rolando, Guadalupe and Julio, all of Davenport, and Cayetano, Rock Island; mother, Barbara, Davenport; siblings, John, Rolando, Lyle Peña, and Danny, all of Davenport, Christina Olsen, Rock Island, and Alicia, Des Moines.

Joe will be missed.

 
34th ANNUAL PINEAPPLE SALE & 33nd ANNUAL PINEAPPLE GALA PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Camp Courageous   
Tuesday, 09 August 2011 12:00
MONTICELLO, IOWA-Fresh pineapples will be in Iowa for the 34th Annual Pineapple Sale for Camp Courageous the weekend of August 12th-14th. The pineapples will be on sale at nearly 30 Hy-Vee Stores in Bettendorf, Cedar Rapids, Cedar Falls, Clinton, Coralville, Davenport, Dubuque, Iowa City, Marion, and Waterloo.  Sales are Friday, August 12thSaturday, August 13th, and Sunday August 14th. Most locations will have the ability to core and place the pineapple in a container for the customer.

The 33rd Annual Pineapple Gala, will be Friday, August 19th at the Cedar Rapids Marriott beginning at 6:00 p.m. This is one of Iowa’s largest charity silent and live auction with nearly 400 items ranging from $5 to condos. An exceptional Hawaiian dinner, entertainment, and door prizes, including a trip for two to Hawaii, are planned for this year’s Gala.  Volunteer Emcee for the evening will be Gary Dolphin and the volunteer auctioneer will be Todd Smith.  Tickets are $50/each or a table of 10 for $500. Auction items can be donated, or tickets can be obtained through the camp by calling Charlie Becker at 319/465-5916, ext. 2100 or e-mailing at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Many auction items can be viewed at: www.campcourageous.org. Special Camp Courageous overnight rates are available by calling the Marriott.
This year Camp Courageous will be honoring the Lions Clubs of Iowa and their support of the camp since the camp's earliest days.

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Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topikna to Hold Press Conference at the Quad City Animal Welfare Center(QCAWC) PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Patti McRae   
Thursday, 04 August 2011 08:19

(Milan, IL) - The QCAWC is very pleased to announce that Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka will hold a press conference at the Quad City Animal Welfare Center (QCAWC) on Tuesday, August 9th beginning at 1:00 p.m. Our address is 724 West Second Avenue Milan, Illinois.

Comptroller Baar Topinka will be presenting her new program on her website called "Comptroller's Critters" which the QCAWC has animals listed at: http://www.illinoiscomptroller.com

We would like to invite all of you to meet Comptroller Baar Topinka. She has three dogs that she adopted from shelters. Contact Patti McRae with any questions at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or

309-787-6830 ext.13.

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