Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor (10/18)

October 18, 2023


Preckwinkle releases $188 million Forest Preserve budget proposal for 2024

During a special meeting of the Forest Preserve District Board of Commissioners Tuesday, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle presented a $188.7 budget for FY 2024. The proposed budget is $6.6 million higher than FY 2023, a 3.6 percent increase.

The additional resources and increased financial stability can be attributed to voters, who last year approved a referendum to raise their taxes one-quarter of one-tenth of a percent in order to provide the preserves with an additional $40 million annually.

“At this moment a year ago, we were at a crossroads,” Preckwinkle said Tuesday during her budget speech. “For years, fiscal constraints had limited progress and improvements in the forest preserves. Without more resources we would have to prepare to lower our expectations for what could be accomplished and cut back on what the preserves offer.”

Public and departmental budget hearings are scheduled to begin next week on Oct. 26. The entire proposed 2024 budget is available here.


Pritzker says he would veto any Chicago financial transaction tax

“Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said he would veto any legislation to impose a financial transaction tax that could harm Chicago’s storied exchanges and cause them to leave the state,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Gov. Pritzker Joins Electrification Coalition for Illinois Electric Vehicle Policy Bootcamp

“Governor JB Pritzker joined several local stakeholders today for the Illinois Medium- and Heavy- Duty Electric Vehicle (EV) Policy Bootcamp hosted by the Electrification Coalition. The event was an opportunity for Illinois legislators, companies, and environmental organizations to convene to advance Illinois’ commitment to fighting climate change with transitions to zero-emission vehicles,” from the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker.

With his own money and campaign staffers, Pritzker launches national bid to protect abortion rights

“Gov. J.B. Pritzker has created Think Big America, a tax-exempt nonprofit that will spend money and resources to protect and expand abortion rights throughout the country,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

State officials recommend gas price increase for 4.1 million consumers

Utility customers throughout Illinois will likely see higher natural gas bills beginning in January after staff at the state’s utility regulatory agency recommended rate increases for four gas companies.  Those recommendations – made by administrative judges at the Illinois Commerce Commission – next go to the appointed five-member commission itself. Over the next two months, the ICC will weigh whether to approve rate hikes for the 4.1 million customers of Ameren Illinois, Nicor Gas, Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas,” by Capitol News Illinois.

Intense review period to begin on State Police rules for disclosing assault weapons

“The bipartisan and bicameral Joint Committee on Administrative Review (JCAR) reviewed rules for the first time that were created last month by the Illinois State Police (ISP) to implement the assault weapons ban to remain in place,” by The Daily Line.



Top aide to Mayor Brandon Johnson leading delegation to Mexico border amid Chicago migrant crisis

“A small delegation of Chicago officials led by a top mayoral aide arrived in El Paso, Texas, on Tuesday to see for themselves where migrants are crossing the border into the U.S.,” by CBS Chicago.

Outgoing Police Board president urges City Council to reject arbitrator’s ruling, says it would undermine police reform

“The ruling would allow Chicago police officers accused of the most serious wrongdoing to bypass the board and take their cases to an arbitrator behind closed doors,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

City officials will detail budgets for new Department of Fleet and Facilities Management, Department of Technology and Innovation

“The city’s Department of Assets, Information and Services would be disbanded into the Department of Technology and Innovation and the Department of Fleet and Facilities Management and alderpeople will get the chance to prod the proposed two separate budgets Wednesday,” by The Daily Line.

DCASE funding up in 2024, DPD funding down, both due in part to grants

“During another packed day of departmental budget hearings, alderpeople on Wednesday will unpack the proposed budget increase for the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and the proposed decrease in funding for the Department of Planning and Development,” by The Daily Line.

Expanded Office of Labor Standards will better equip city to field wage theft, minimum wage complaints

“The expanded Office of Labor Standards under the city’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection plans to field additional complaints expected to come in now that the City Council has approved a measure to eliminate the subminimum wage for tipped workers, Comm. Ken Meyer told alderpeople during a budget hearing Tuesday. Alderpeople also pushed the department to more quickly revoke licenses for problematic businesses,” by The Daily Line.

Ald. Jim Gardiner hit with a $20,000 fine for ethics violations

“In what was described as a first-of-its-kind punishment in Chicago, Northwest Side Ald. Jim Gardiner has been fined $20,000 after being accused of retaliating against a constituent and political critic by directing city staff to issue bogus citations against him for overgrown weeds and rodents,” by the Chicago Tribune.


Cozen Currents: Democracy in Disarray?

  • What role the United States should play in today’s unstable world is a legitimate debate to have, but to be able to provide any form of leadership abroad, the US needs to be able to demonstrate a certain level of governance and stability at home.
  • Since House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was ousted from his post two weeks ago, House Republicans have been chasing their tails in search of a new speaker that can sufficiently unite the caucus. But with the Senate returning from recess today and looking to pass at least ostensibly time-sensitive “must pass” legislation, the various House GOP factions’ pain thresholds will be tested in a way that they haven’t been yet.
  • While October ends with Halloween, it began with the start of the Supreme Court’s new term. With the Court’s 6-3 conservative majority looking to wield its power to further re-shape judicial precedents in its own image, progressives generally, and the Biden administration’s regulators in particular, are already spooked.

Read the Cozen Currents article here.

If you have any questions regarding this update or if you’re interested in ways to engage on these issues, please contact one of our team members here.


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