Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor (3/11)

March 11, 2024



Chicago is One Step Closer to Hybrid Elected School Board as Illinois House Approves Plan

“That measure gives city residents the opportunity in November to vote for half of the Chicago Board of Education. The model allows Johnson to appoint the other half of the board, plus its president. Voters will then get the chance to elect the entire board in the 2026 election. The Illinois House of Representatives voted 75-31 on Thursday to approve the plan. The state Senate approved the plan Tuesday,” by WTTW.

Unions back measure protecting employees who skip religious or political work meetings

“Democrats in the Illinois Senate on Wednesday advanced a measure that would prohibit Illinois companies from requiring employees to attend work-related meetings about politics or religion,” by Capitol News Illinois.

Governor Pritzker Awards $4.6 Million in Grant Funding to Local Tourism Organizations

“Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) awarded $4.6 million in grant funding to 20 local tourism organizations across the state. This funding was awarded through the Tourism Private Sector Grant Program as part of the state’s continued effort to boost tourism and welcome more visitors to Illinois,” from the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker.

Eligibility checks for immigrant health care plans to begin

“Eligibility verifications for tens of thousands of people will begin April 1 for Illinois’ Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults, or HBIA, and Health Benefits for Immigrant Seniors, or HBIS, according to a March 8 statement from the Department of Healthcare & Family Services. Those found ineligible will be removed from the program by July 1,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.


Bears would invest $2 billion in private money for new Chicago stadium

The Bears have shifted plans from building a new stadium in Arlington Heights to a publicly-owned domed stadium and park space on Museum Campus, near Soldier Field on the city’s lakefront.

The Bears plan to invest more than $2 billion of private funding into the project, which would increase open space in the area by 20 percent and include “all-season free and accessible plazas, paths, landscaped and planted areas, with access to the lakefront.”

“The future stadium of the Chicago Bears will bring a transformative opportunity to our region — boosting the economy, creating jobs, facilitating mega events and generating millions in tax revenue. We look forward to sharing more information when our plans are finalized,” Bears President and CEO Kevin Warren said in a statement.

Key financial details have not yet been revealed, including how much bonding authority the team wants from the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority and the cost of public infrastructure improvements to decrease congestion near the stadium.

This morning, Mayor Brandon Johnson issued the following statement: “… I look forward to subsequent talks with the Bears, State leadership and community stakeholders about how we can continue to responsibly support the aspirations of the team, its fans and all residents of the City of Chicago.”


Chicago’s search for new revenue targets video gaming, wealth taxes, heliport, downtown digital ads

“The ideas are expected to be part of a report issued within 30 days by a City Council panel overseeing Mayor Brandon Johnson’s search for new revenue,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

With shelter evictions looming, migrants worry about access to housing, work permits

“Dozens gathered Saturday in Pritzker Park to protest Mayor Brandon Johnson’s long-delayed plan to evict migrants living in shelters longer than 60 days. The order will go into effect March 16,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Budget committee to consider Fleet and Facility Management commissioner appointment, ordinance to require confirmation of future health commissioners

“The City Council Committee on Budget and Government Operations will meet Tuesday and consider the appointment of a new fleet and facility management commissioner, an ordinance to require City Council consent for the appointment of the public health commissioner and an ordinance to establish hiring preferences for residents from disadvantaged areas,” by The Daily Line.

Mayor Brandon Johnson Announces Promotion and New Appointment to Senior Staff

“Mayor Brandon Johnson announced the promotion of Ronnie Reese to Communications Director and the hiring of Joe Calvello as Chief Strategy Officer in the Office of the Mayor,” from the Office of Mayor Brandon Johnson.

House OKs extra $75 million for security at DNC

“Tucked into a huge, $467.5 billion bill to pay for federal spending on scores of items this year is $75 million for Chicago, with an identical $75 million for Milwaukee, where Republicans will hold their convention. That’s $25 million more than the $50 million convention cities have received in recent years, but advocates say costs and security needs have risen,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Johnson to choose from 15 candidates for civilian police oversight board

“A brand-new group of elected officials on Friday named 15 finalists to serve as the first permanent members of a civilian body overseeing city public safety decisions and operations of the Chicago Police Department,” by the Chicago Tribune.

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