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Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Friday, February 24, 2017. Have a great weekend!
Transgender Chicago Public Schools students will still be able to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice despite actions taken by President Donald Trump to revoke former president Barack Obama's issued guidelines allowing all transgender public school students to use the facilities of their choice. CPS changed its policy prior to Obama's policy change, and won't amend it now. "CPS led the way among school districts on bathroom policies for transgender students and staff, and we have no intention of backing down no matter what President Trump does to discriminate against the LGBTQ community," CPS spokeswoman Emily Bittner told DNAinfo Chicago. [DNAinfo Chicago]
Chicago saw its 99th homicide in 2017 Wednesday, two days before its 99th homicide in 2016, according to the Tribune. Homicides had been slowing down slightly in comparison with 2016 until seven people were fatally shot Wednesday. [Tribune]
The Illinois branch of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union (AFSCME) has voted to authorize a strike, with 81 percent of members voting yes. Union members will strike if its leaders call for one. "We have come to this juncture for one reason only: The refusal of Governor Rauner to negotiate with our union," AFSCME Council 31 executive director Roberta Lynch said in a statement. "Instead of working toward compromise, Governor Rauner has been seeking the power to unilaterally impose his own extreme demands, including a 100 percent hike in employee costs for health care that would take $10,000 out of the pocket of the average state worker, a four-year wage freeze and an end to safeguards against irresponsible privatization." [Sun-Times]
Former U.S. rep Jesse Jackson Jr. is still earning $138,400 a year from the federal government despite pleading guilty to wire and mail fraud charges in 2013, resigning from Congress, and spending time in prison, according to the Tribune. About $100,000 of the money is untaxed and comes from workers' compensation; the rest comes from social security disability insurance payments, Jackson's attorney Barry Schatz told the newspaper. Jackson suffers from depression and bipolar disorder, which makes him eligible for the payments. "Whatever benefits Jesse Jackson Jr. has, he earned them, and as a matter of law, he's entitled to them," Schatz said. "If the government thought he wasn't entitled to them, they wouldn't be paying them." [Tribune]
State rep LaShawn Ford is introducing legislation to rename I-55 from Cook County to East Saint Louis the "Barack Obama Expressway." "Renaming I-55 for President Barack Obama would not only be an honor for America's 44th president, but it will be the right measure we should approve for Illinois's very own state senator and U.S. senator," he said. "This would be one of many highways and byways that will be named for Barack Obama, so it is only right that Illinois be at the forefront of the many actions that will rename streets and highways for President Obama." There's already pending legislation to rename the I-294 Tri-State Tollway after Obama and create a state holiday in his honor. [DNAinfo Chicago]
A potential deal for the 1200 block of West Fulton Market in the West Loop could see the block sell for more than $65 million, according to Crain's Chicago Business. Local developer IBT Group and hedge fund investor Andrew Bluhm have a preliminary deal to buy the entire block for a new development. "The sale is contingent on obtaining zoning that would permit the developers to knock down smaller, older buildings on the block and redevelop the approximately 145,000 square feet of land with larger new structures as part of a mixed-use project that could include some combination of retail, office and residential space," Crain's reported. [Crain's Chicago Business]