Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor (10/4)

October 4, 2023


Gov. Pritzker announces agency transitions

Today, Governor JB Pritzker announced several upcoming transitions in state agency leadership:

  • Theresa Eagleson, Director of the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS), will step down at the end of 2023. The Governor has appointed Lizzy Whitehorn, who currently serves as First Assistant Deputy Governor for Health and Human Services, to serve as Director of HFS beginning January 1, 2024, pending confirmation by the Illinois Senate.
  • The Governor announced that Paula Basta, Director of the Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA), will be retiring at the end of this year.
  • Marc D. Smith, Director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), will also be stepping down at the end of 2023.
  • Finally, the Governor announced the appointment of Camile Lindsay as Acting Director of Professional Regulation at the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR), pending confirmation. Lindsay currently serves as First Assistant Deputy Governor for Public Safety, Infrastructure, Environment and Energy.

The full press release from the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker can be read here.


Cook County releases plan to improve digital access in marginalized communities

“The new Digital Equity Action Plan, announced Monday, identifies four major issues surrounding digital access,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Illinois sues alternative electric supplier for ‘deceptive’ tactics that may have cost residents $15 million

“The 50-page complaint against Residents Energy filed Sept. 29 alleges some customers had their energy costs tripled and claims average rates were nearly double those offered by ComEd in 2020,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.


Vote to end tipped minimum wage delayed until Friday

A City Council vote on the ordinance to eliminate the subminimum wage for tipped workers has been delayed after an error in posting a portion of the agenda by City Clerk Anna Valencia’s office.

The vote, which was expected to take place during today’s council meeting, has been pushed to Friday, October 7 due to a clerical error Valencia called “an administrative and human issue.”

Because state law requires the public to be given at least 48 hours’ notice before a legislative body takes final action on a measure, the vote will be delayed until Friday.

The City Council’s Committee on Workforce Development last month approved an updated version of the ordinance to phase out the subminimum wage over five years. The ordinance is expected to pass the full City Council Friday.

One Fair Wage, the group pushing for similar measures across the country, has announced a news conference with Mayor Brandon Johnson following the meeting.


Mayor Brandon Johnson establishes city’s first chief homelessness officer role

“The move comes a day before a public City Council hearing about the mayor’s proposal to raise real estate transfer taxes on high-end home sales, to create funding to combat homelessness,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

South and West Siders plead for law to end pollution ‘sacrifice zones’

“The hearing follows a recently released citywide pollution-impact study and proposed reforms by Mayor Brandon Johnson’s administration. The assessment, part of a civil rights settlement with the federal government, reinforced earlier findings that Chicagoans on the South and West Sides are those affected most by a combination of pollution, health and social stresses,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Ald. Ray Lopez running for Congress against Rep. Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia

“Ray Lopez, representing the 15th Ward on the Chicago City Council, plans to challenge U.S. Rep. Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia in the 4th Congressional District’s Democratic primary election in March,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

New City Council subcommittee to assess city’s revenue options one step closer to approval

“A new City Council subcommittee, if approved Wednesday, would be chaired by a first-term alderperson and tasked with helping the city find new revenue sources. The City Council will vote on creating the subcommittee just one week before Mayor Brandon Johnson is set to formally introduce his first budget proposal. The City Council Committee on Finance on Monday approved the creation of the new subcommittee that will operate under the finance committee,” by The Daily Line.

Chicago Voted Best Big US City For 7th Straight Year

“More than 520,000 Conde Nast Traveler readers voted in the annual survey. The title comes as tourism numbers climb and more international visitors flock to the city, officials said,” by Block Club Chicago.

Bally’s casino at Medinah Temple will ‘secure Chicago’s fiscally strong and vibrant future,’ Johnson says

“Johnson helped cut the ceremonial ribbon Tuesday at Medinah Temple, which is expected to take bets for the next three years while a bigger permanent casino is built in River West,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Edward Burke’s lawyers ask to bar mention of alderman’s tax work for Trump Tower at upcoming trial

“Lawyers for indicted former 14th Ward Ald. Edward Burke are seeking to bar any mention at his federal corruption trial next month of the alderman’s private law firm winning big property tax breaks for Donald Trump’s downtown Chicago skyscraper, arguing it would prejudice the jury because Trump is ‘despised by a significant percentage of the population,’” by the Chicago Tribune.


Beltway Briefing: Democracy or dysfunction? The shutdown that wasn’t.

Explore how Speaker McCarthy kept the government open and what to watch for in the coming weeks as the battle with the House Freedom Caucus, debate over Ukraine funding, and the fight over the Speaker’s gavel continue. Featuring CPS’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Hon. Rodney Davis, and Towner French.

Listen to the full Beltway Briefing here.

Cozen Currents: Is There No Shame?

  • House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) made it through the shutdown showdown but has perpetually been at risk of losing his gavel. The best thing he has going for him though is that any successor might have it worse than he does.
  • Former President Trump’s legal troubles are beginning to come to a head and could create challenges for him during the general election as the myriad trials get underway.
  • In recent years, the position of state attorney general has taken on greater prominence. Amid gridlock in Washington, attorneys general have used litigation, investigation, and enforcement powers to play a bigger role in myriad political issues.

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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