Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor (11/15)

November 15, 2023



Forest Preserve Board approves $188M budget, changes to water bottle purchase ban, new police union contract

“The Cook County Forest Preserve District Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a $188.7 million budget for 2024 during a special meeting Tuesday. The board also approved a new collective bargaining agreement (23-0523) between the district and Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council, including a new salary schedule and wage adjustments, healthcare plan revisions and other terms and conditions of employment for Forest Preserve police officers,” by The Daily Line.

County committees to consider fentanyl resolution, paid leave policy changes, healthy eating initiative

“Cook County commissioners will vote on a new paid leave policy, information technology contracts, a healthy eating initiative, a call to address the fentanyl crisis and the acquisition of land for a new hazardous waste facility during committee meetings Wednesday,” by The Daily Line.

Lawmakers pass bill aimed at modernizing professional licensing in Illinois

“Last week, the General Assembly approved a measure to help IDFPR move beyond its antiquated systems and – at least temporarily – assist those awaiting license renewal. The measure cleared the General Assembly unanimously and needs only a signature from the governor to become law,” by Capitol News Illinois.


City Council passes FY 2024 budget

Today, the Chicago City Council voted 41-8 to pass the mayor’s $16.6 billion budget for FY 2024. The spending plan holds the line on property taxes, brings back the Department of Environment, invests in youth hiring and violence prevention, and commits to reopening the city’s mental health clinics.

Amendments proposed over the last month also added funding for a fourth full-time staffer for each of the city’s 50 alderpersons, as well as $5 million to create a new Department of Re-Entry that provides support to ex-offenders and $500,000 to a new subcommittee that will study how Chicago can provide reparations to the city’s descendants of enslaved African Americans.

During today’s meeting, some alderpersons continued to stress concerns that the spending plan is “not balanced” because it earmarks only $150 million for the migrant crisis in 2024.

The eight no votes include Alds. Anthony Beale (9), Marty Quinn (13), Raymond Lopez (15), David Moore (17), Silvana Tabares (23), Scott Waguespack (32), Brendan Reilly (42), and Jim Gardiner (45).

The council also voted 40-9 to approve various taxes and fees that will fund the budget.


Johnson administration tied fate of homeless encampment to alderman’s votes

“Ald. Bill Conway is crying foul after Johnson’s administration said they would have the city remove the tents in which people are sleeping downtown only if Conway voted in favor of two pillars of the mayor’s progressive policy agenda,” by the Chicago Tribune.

City Council drafts rules of decorum to manage disruptive crowds, behavior at its meetings

“New rules ban profane, vulgar, threatening, abusive or disruptive language. Also out: banners, signs, large bags and sharp objects,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Soldier Field and TIFs help boost the Chicago Park District’s budget

“Chicago Park District officials presented a modest budget to their board this week, one that features no property tax increases and a new pot of money to address basic upkeep projects at parks throughout the city,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Ethics board finds probable cause Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin wrongfully fired 2 whistleblowers

“Chicago Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin violated the city’s ethics code by firing two top aides who alleged she repeatedly misused taxpayer resources and pressured public employees to help her political allies, according to a finding of probable cause by the city’s Board of Ethics,” by the Chicago Tribune.

Bill to boost pensions for retired Chicago cops will cost city $60M

“Cost-of-living increases of 3% will be granted to all retired Chicago police officers, regardless of whether they were born before or after Jan. 1, 1966. Gov. J.B. Pritzker in 2021 signed into law a similar measure for retired firefighters,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Ethics charge against former Mayor Lori Lightfoot over political emails to workers dismissed

“The Chicago Board of Ethics found insufficient evidence Monday to prove former Mayor Lori Lightfoot violated the city’s ethics code when her campaign sent scores of emails to public employees during her bid for reelection,” by the Chicago Tribune.

Chicago mayor pushes for fully elected school board

“Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson says he continues his push for democracy on the Chicago School board, even though lawmakers didn’t pass legislation during their most recent session,” by The Center Square.


Cozen Cities: All the President’s Men and Women

  • More focus has been on former President Trump’s chances of winning in 2024 than on what a second Trump term would look like.
  • While Democrats did very well in last week’s elections, it remains to be seen how President Biden’s lack of popularity will factor into 2024.
  • House Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-LA) first few weeks suggest that even the goodwill he enjoys from his caucus’ various factions cannot bridge the deep cracks in the conference.

Read the Cozen Currents article here.

Beltway Briefing: Is the Blue Wave Leaving Biden Behind?

On Tuesday, Democrats had major wins in Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia, and New Jersey, centered on abortion access. Yet the blue wave appears to be leaving President Joe Biden behind – his low approval rating coupled with concerning polls has some Democrats questioning whether he is the party’s most viable candidate in 2024.

Listen to the Beltway Briefing 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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