Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (8/8)

August 8, 2022


Illinois reports 30,762 new COVID cases, 59 deaths in past week, by Fox 32 Chicago.

Some Illinois school districts to ditch COVID-19 tests this fall: “Despite the urging of the state’s health department to resume school-based COVID-19 testing for students this fall, officials at several Illinois districts said this week they are halting the program due to waning interest from parents and the availability of home tests,” by The Chicago Tribune.


Advance Illinois releases report on the impact of COVID-19 on Illinois education 

Advance Illinois, an independent research hub centered on Illinois’ public education system, released a report Thursday that examines how COVID-19 has impacted education in Illinois.

The State We’re In focuses primarily on student enrollment, attendance, access to instruction, and students’ social-emotional development and well-being since the pandemic.

The report noted that a prominent issue facing Illinois schools is enrollment. Between FY 2020 and FY 2021, enrollment fell by 3 percent at the K-12 level; typical enrollment decreases 0.5 percent each year.

Of special concern, the report states, “is the fact that impact has not been experienced evenly, but has laid bare and exacerbated existing inequities across lines of race, income, and educational need.”


Judge ends 50-year-old Shakman Decree subjecting state hiring to court oversight: “The U.S. Court of Appeals Seventh Circuit ruled in favor of Pritzker Friday to end the 1972 Shakman Decree, which subjected state government to federal court monitoring of hiring in an effort to quell patronage hirings at the state level to prevent the politically connected from landing lucrative state jobs.” The Daily Line.

State Sen. Elgie Sims approached in federal criminal investigation into alleged influence peddling by body-cam company: “Illinois state Sen. Elgie Sims was approached in the spring by federal authorities investigating potential influence peddling involving a police body-camera manufacturer that hired the law firm where Sims works as a lobbyist,” by The Chicago Tribune.

Foxx’s ‘rudderless’ office needs reorganization as county offices scramble to hire, retiring commissioner says: “North-suburban Comm. Larry Suffredin (D-13), who ran unsuccessfully for State’s Attorney in 2008, called the mass exodus from Foxx’s office a symptom of the ‘great resignation’ that has stretched payrolls thin across Cook County offices and in workplaces across the country.” The Daily Line.


Mayor Lightfoot releases list of applicants to fill 43rd ward vacancy 

The names and resumes of applicants who submitted complete applications for the role of 43rd ward Alderman can be found here.

A committee of 43rd ward community members and public servants are currently reviewing the applications and will provide a final slate of candidates to the Mayor for selection. The Committee Members are:

  • Chairman Michele Harris, Ex-Officio Chair
  • Mary Kenney, Head of U.S. Public Affairs at BMO Financial Group
  • Tom Kotarac, Senior Vice President for the Civic Committee
  • Faraz Sardharia, President of the Wrightwood Neighbors Association


CTA, police vow to boost security after fatal Red Line shooting, the latest in violent year for transit agency: “Chicago police and transit officials announced additional plans to increase security on L and subway trains and platforms after a 29-year-old man was fatally shot on a Red Line train early Saturday near Chatham,” by The Chicago Sun-Times. 

Chicago schools get smaller share of state money after enrollment drop, property wealth bump: “Illinois’ complex formula for determining how to fund public schools re-categorized Chicago in a way that could mean less state money in the future and a longer road to be considered fully funded,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

City awards over $200 million in airport maintenance, security contracts: “ABM Aviation, an Atlanta-based company, was the sole winner of a contract to provide cleaning services at Terminals 1, 2 and 3 at O’Hare International Airport, replacing Chicago company United Maintenance. The city also recently awarded a contract to Chicago-based Lincoln Security Services for unarmed security guards at O’Hare and Midway airports that’s worth $82.4 million over five years,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.


Senate passes tax and energy bill

After more than a year of White House infighting, Democrats agreed on a bill to invest in energy initiatives, curb drug prices, and reduce the deficit, paid for by new corporate taxes. The legislation is not as robust as the roughly $4 trillion proposal Biden first envisioned when taking office but is still a significant achievement ahead of the November midterm elections.

The Senate passed a landmark tax, climate and health-care bill Sunday, setting up the legislation for House approval, where the Democratic majority is expected to pass it Friday.

Some highlights from the estimated $740 billion economic package include a corporate minimum tax, a stock buyback tax, IRS enforcement, electric car credits, renewable energy credits, consumer energy perks, drug price reductions and caps, ACA premiums, and drought and water security.

The full 755-page bill, referred to as the “Inflation Reduction Act of 2022,” can be found here.


Tuesday primaries: What to watch in Wisconsin, Minnesota, 2 other states

What’s in Democrats’ big economic bill? Climate, health care, savings: “The estimated $740 billion economic package — passed Sunday by the Senate and heading to the House — is full of party priorities. Those include capping prescription drug costs at $2,000 out of pocket for seniors, helping Americans pay for private health insurance, and what Democrats are calling the most substantial investment in history to fight climate change, some $375 billion over the decade,” by The Daily Herald.


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