Dick Durbin

Transcript

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Just before residents of Crimea voted to break away from Ukraine and join Russia, a group of U.S. senators visited Kiev. They were showing support for Ukraine's new government, and also offering U.S. help. Among them was Illinois Democrat Richard Durbin. We reached him by phone in Chicago, and asked if the U.S. and Europe have to accept that Crimea is now part of Russia.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

US Senator Dick Durbin is proposing a carrot-and-stick approach to encourage police departments in Illinois to trace guns used in crimes.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives runs the internet-based system known as eTrace, which can tell investigators who first purchased the gun and where it was manufactured.  But Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, says just half of the police departments or sheriff’s offices in Illinois use the  system. 

(via Wikimedia Commons/United States Senate)

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)  says he will hold a hearing on so-called "stand your ground" laws. 

About 30 states have some form of the law, which gives a person the right to use deadly force to protect themselves if they feel their life is in danger. 

A Florida version of "stand your ground" played a role in the trial of George Zimmerman, who was acquitted in the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin.  

 

Durbin is an Illinois Democrat and member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON -- Capping months of intense negotiations and debate, the Senate approved a wide-ranging overhaul of the nation's immigration laws on Thursday, including a high-tech "border surge" and long-sought steps to build a pathway to citizenship for many of the 11 million undocumented immigrants. 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – In a key test for immigration reform legislation, the U.S. Senate on Monday cleared the way for a vote on a compromise “border surge” amendment by a convincing majority of 67 to 27 -- setting the stage for likely approval of the entire bill on Friday.

(via Wikimedia Commons/United States Senate)

The number two Democrat in the U.S. Senate said President Barrack Obama should release more statements on electronic intelligence gathering strategies and step up efforts to engage the public.

In the wake of controversial intelligence gathering activities spearheaded by the National Security Agency (NSA) being disclosed to the public, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) also said it’s time for a larger conversation about privacy in the digital age.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin is once again wading into East St. Louis' local politics, sounding alarm over a proposal to create an entertainment district featuring all-night clubs. 

Durbin, D-Illinois, has clashed with East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks in the past couple of years over the closing times of clubs and liquor stores in the Metro East municipality.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON -- With the White House stepping up the pressure, conservative lawmakers firing salvos, and one senator going so far as to deliver his remarks in Spanish, the Senate's long-anticipated debate began this week on an immigration bill that is a high priority but faces an uncertain future in Congress.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – With the U.S. Senate moving toward a big vote in June and the House developing an alternative plan, the fate of immigration reform – a major goal of the White House – may hinge on the debate over its costs and benefits, as well as border security.

(Elena Schneider/Medill News Service)

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois says the way American veterans receive disability claims has "got to change."

His comments come as the federal Department of Veterans Affairs is working on a new digital, paper-less way of handling the claims. The V.A is working to get that done by September.

Durbin says on average, Illinois veterans wait close to a year for payments - which he says is the third-worst rate in the country.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Note: Next week, we will be having a live recording of the podcast to wrap-up the legislative session, and to take questions from listeners. If you're interested in attending, you can find more information about the event here.

Every week, St. Louis Public Radio’s Chris McDaniel joins the St. Louis Beacon’s Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum to talk about the week’s politics.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON -- In his remote Yemeni village, young Farea al-Muslimi considered himself to be America's biggest booster. He had spent a year at a California high school and was awarded a U.S. scholarship to study at one of the Middle East's top universities.

But in mid-April, a missile fired by an American drone struck his village -- an explosion that "terrified thousands" in the area and, he said, will likely damage this country's efforts to win over the hearts and minds of people in the fight against terrorism in the region.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – After months of negotiations, a bipartisan group of senators, including U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, released details Tuesday of a compromise bill to revamp the nation’s immigration system and pave a 13-year citizenship pathway for millions who are living in this country without legal documents.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – For Mayor Jo Anne Smiley of Clarksville, Mo., clean water is key, given that the Mississippi River provides drinking water to 18 million Americans.

For Alton, Ill., Mayor Tom Hoechst, the emphasis is on efforts to help farmers to prevent erosion that leads to sediment buildups that require river dredging. And, of course, the need for more federal investment in river locks and dams.

(via Wikimedia Commons/United States Senate)

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said the current federal budget battle could present an opportunity for a “grand bargain” between Republicans and Democrats, asserting that  it's time to reform Medicare and other entitlements.

As a guest on Fox News Sunday, the number two Democrat in the Senate also managed to get in a political jab at Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).   

Enyart, Durbin Push Bills To Aid Shipping Industry

Mar 14, 2013
via Flickr/TeamSaintLouis (Army Corps of Engineers)

A pair of bills related to transportation on the inland waterways was introduced in the US House and Senate on Thursday.

Illinois Congressman Bill Enyart introduced his first piece of legislation since being sworn into office last January—the Mississippi River Navigation Sustainment Act.

Enyart says the bill would give the Army Corps of Engineers authority that it doesn’t currently have, to conduct operations outside of the barge channel.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – With federal funds shrinking but river commerce rising, Illinois lawmakers want to jump-start major infrastructure projects – such as rebuilding key locks and dams on the Mississippi River – by allowing public-private partnerships.

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Illinois' two U.S. senators - Democrat Dick Durbin and Republican Mark Kirk - say they and other senators will introduce a bill to crack down on gun trafficking and straw purchasing.
 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis: WASHINGTON – The day before the sequester budget axe was due to fall, there was plenty of posturing on Capitol Hill but apparently precious little progress on reaching a deal to avert the across-the-board cuts.

While U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said the Senate would consider today a Democratic bill that aims to replace the sequester with a “balanced approach” including some revenues, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said GOP senators would block that plan. A separate Republican proposal also will be offered.

Sequester Cuts Threaten Civilian Employees At Scott AFB

Feb 25, 2013
Adam Allington / St. Louis Public Radio

Illinois’ elected officials are warning that looming sequester budget cuts would have significant impacts on Scott Air Force Base.

Located in Mascoutah, IL, in the Metro East, Scott Air Force Base about 13,000 military and civilian personnel, making it one of the largest employers in the St. Louis region.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says the $85 billion in across-the-board cuts set to kick in on Friday would affect about 4500 civilian employees at Scott and would cause significant harm to the readiness of our military.

(Official Portrait/via Wikimedia Commons)

With a deal to avoid drastic spending cuts behind them, members of Congress are gearing up for what could be another grueling round of negotiations over the federal debt-ceiling.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) says members need to get to the bargaining table early this time.

The number two Democrat in the Senate told CNN’s Candy Crowley Sunday that he really doesn’t want to see a sequel to the so called “fiscal cliff” negotiations.

Adam Allington / St. Louis Public Radio

Illinois politicians and business leaders met in Alton on Monday to discuss ongoing efforts to keep shipping open on the drought-stricken Mississippi River.

The meeting coincides with work by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to remove rock formations from the riverbed just south of Cape Girardeau.

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin called the drought situation “a historic challenge," saying that additional measures may have to be taken to keep commerce functioning.

(Official Portrait/via Wikimedia Commons)

On Sunday a somber Dick Durbin said the nation is in mourning in the wake of last week’s mass shooting in Newtown, Conn.     

Then the Democratic U.S. Senator from Illinois told Fox News Sunday host, Chris Wallace, it’s time to think about whether people should be able to buy assault rifles, body armor and high-capacity clips.  

“Can we have a thoughtful, calm reflection on these things and do it in the context of our second amendment?” Durbin asked.  “I think we need to.” 

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Residents of a small northwest Illinois village say they're eager for economic opportunities after the sale of a prison to the federal government. 

The Chicago-Sun Times reports that the sale of Thomson Correctional Center could bring up to 1,600 inmates and just as many jobs to struggling Thomson where fewer than 600 people reside.

(screenshot via Google Maps)

Updated at 5:45 p.m. with additional comments from Gov. Quinn and comments from Sen. Durbin. Brian Mackey contributed reporting.

Updated at 2 p.m. with statement from Gov. Pat Quinn.

The federal government has agreed to purchase the underused Thomson Correctional Center in northwest Illinois to relieve crowding in its facilities, despite fervent opposition from members of Congress.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

We recognize today as the anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Please see our resources for stories related to that commemoration here.

Mo. judge to hear case against worship disruption law

A federal judge will hear arguments today in a lawsuit over Missouri's new law making it a crime to disturb a worship service.

Attorneys for the ACLU are seeking a temporary injunction to block the law that took effect last month.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

The East St. Louis Housing Authority will use a portion of a federal grant it received in February to boost security at its seven main housing projects in the city.

The funds will allow for the construction of a perimeter fence at the John DeShields homes, new exterior lighting at the same site, and security cameras at all seven of the authority's major properties. The authority will also be able to hire eight full-time security guards.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

New Illinois laws aim to protect elderly

New laws signed by Gov. Pat Quinn this weekend are aimed at protecting the elderly in Illinois by increasing oversight of caregivers and making it easier for authorities to respond to cases of abuse or neglect.

One of the new pieces of legislation allows prosecutors to ask a court to freeze a suspect's assets if he is charged with financial exploitation of an elderly person. That's meant to keep a defendant from spending stolen money before restitution is collected.

vxla / Flickr

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin is urging railroad companies to conduct frequent track inspections to prevent rail derailments resulting from heat-related track buckling.
 
The Illinois Democrat's remarks during a Sunday press conference come as investigators continue to examine the cause of a July 4 train derailment that killed two people.
 
A Glenview husband and wife were crushed by the wreckage of a Union Pacific freight train derailment that caused a suburban Chicago railroad bridge to collapse. It sent train cars crashing onto the couple's car on the road below.
 

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