Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor (11/1)

November 1, 2023



Senate Dems release new Chicago elected school board map proposal

“The Illinois Senate Democratic caucus released a new Chicago Elected School Board District map proposal, incorporating numerous suggestions made by the public and advocacy groups, including keeping more communities of interest whole,” by Capitol Fax.

Democrats use million-dollar fundraising gala to build excitement for DNC, 2024 races

“The Democratic Party of Illinois held their first gala fundraiser on Friday as the party gears up for 2024 and Chicago’s role as the host city of the Democratic National Convention (DNC). The gala was the first of its kind under Chair Lisa Hernandez and raised more than $1 million as the party looks to diversify funding sources and build up resources outside of campaign season,” by The Daily Line.

Gov. Pritzker Announces Key Milestones Reached on $1.3 Billion I-80 Corridor Project

“Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) were joined today by local officials and community leaders to celebrate several important milestones on the $1.3 billion overhaul of Interstate 80, setting up one of the cornerstone projects in the governor’s Rebuild Illinois capital program to be almost fully under construction in the spring,” from the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker.

Illinois student test scores closer to pre-pandemic proficiency levels, but absenteeism remains high

“Illinois public school students made strides in recovering from pandemic disruption, with gains in English language arts and math test scores, a jump in high school graduation rates in the past decade, and an increase in students taking advanced courses, according to data from the state’s latest report card,” by Chalkbeat Chicago.


Proponents delay real estate transfer tax, Mayor Johnson offers concessions on paid leave

Proponents of the real estate transfer tax proposal delayed a City Council vote today to put a referendum on the March primary ballot that would ask voters if they want to raise the tax on property sales over $1 million to address homelessness.

Ald. Maria Hadden (49), Ald. Matt Martin (47), and Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35) used a parliamentary measure to defer the vote until the City Council’s next meeting, which is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, November 7, proactively preventing opponents from doing the same.

Additionally, Mayor Johnson offered concessions yesterday on paid leave requirements for Chicago employers, as the labor community and business groups struggle to reach a compromise.

Johnson’s proposal lowers the amount of paid days off from 12 to 10 – five sick days and five vacation days. The offer also extends the amount of time before workers can file a lawsuit against their employer for violating the policy from six months to one year. Parties are expected to meet this afternoon.


Civic Federation mostly gives thumbs-up to Johnson’s first budget, with two warnings

“In a report released Wednesday, the Civic Federation praised the mayor’s commitment to supplemental pension contributions, eschewing tax hikes, and moving civilians into 400 administrative positions in the police department currently held by sworn officers, which is expected to save money and free up officers for patrol duties. At the same time, the group urged Johnson to develop long-term plans to fund the city’s pensions as the Illinois General Assembly considers legislation that could raise pension costs,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

City counting on state, federal funds to handle migrant crisis — or reserves could be at risk

“A top official said Chicago could be forced to raid its reserves, even though that would almost certainly cause Wall Street rating agencies to reduce the bond rating, increasing how much it costs the city to borrow money,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Chicago releases its first city racial equity report

“Twenty-five city departments crafted racial equity plans to address everything from housing to tree trimming to policing community engagement,” by WBEZ Chicago.

Vote Blocked on Plan to Transform Former Jewel, Parking Lot on Far South Side Into Migrant Shelter

“Allies of Mayor Brandon Johnson blocked a vote on Wednesday on a plan to purchase the now-vacant Jewel-Osco and surrounding parking lot near 115th and Halsted streets for $1 and transform it into a shelter for some of the 3,317 men, women and children being forced to sleep on the floors of police stations across the city and at O’Hare Airport,” by WTTW.

City of Chicago Launches Innovative Reentry Program: A New Era for Community Reentry, Housing, and Employment

“Today, the Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) announced an exciting reentry initiative designed to support the critical housing needs for individuals exiting incarceration,” from the Office of Mayor Johnson.

As Mayor Brandon Johnson invests in mental health, questions linger about funding for other public health crises

“More than three years after COVID-19 placed the Health Department on the front lines and made it among the most vital and prominent departments in the city, Johnson’s decisions on prioritizing spending there as federal pandemic dollars dry up will help shape how prepared Chicago is should another significant public health crisis arise,” by the Chicago Tribune.


Cozen Cities: Where Does MAGA Go From Here?

  • The MAGA movement is more than just former President Trump, though he still holds great sway. MAGA faces its first major governing test beyond the Trump administration after the election of Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), the first so-called MAGA speaker, last week.
  • President Biden and Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell had identical incentives a year ago, but now Powell’s primary goal of preserving the credibility of the Fed is beginning to clash with Biden’s primary goal of being re-elected.
  • The US-China relationship is at its best point since President Biden was elected and could improve further with a potential meeting between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping next month in San Francisco.

Read the Cozen Currents article here.

Beltway Briefing: Introducing the New Speaker of the US House

A constitutional lawyer, cultural conservative, and all around “nice guy.” Meet the new Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Mike Johnson. As the House begins governing again, lawmakers must recognize how heightened political polarization leaves the nation vulnerable to national security threats demonstrated by Israel in the Oct 7th Hamas terror attack.

The full Beltway Briefing can be found 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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