Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor (3/6)

March 6, 2024

Editor’s note: There will be no Illinois Insights on Friday, March 8th. Legislative updates will be included in Monday’s edition of Illinois Insights. 



Illinois Senate approves plan for how Chicago would elect 10 of 21 school board members in 2024

“Chicago voters would elect – for the first time – 10 school board members this November and all 21 members in 2026, according to a plan approved by Illinois senators Tuesday,” by Chalkbeat Chicago.

Democratic Illinois lawmakers propose ways to protect — or expand — IVF

“Illinois Democratic lawmakers are pushing multiple bills this year to further protect and expand access to in vitro fertilization and other fertility treatments,” by WBEZ.

Wetlands protection bill aims to close gaps in Illinois after Supreme Court ruling

“Sen. Laura Ellman, D-Naperville, and Rep. Anna Moeller, an Elgin Democrat, introduced companion bills Tuesday that would establish a permitting program to protect wetlands from pollution and draining,” by the Chicago Tribune.

Gov. Pritzker Announces $28.8 Million in USDA Grants to Provide Free Local Food to Communities

“Governor JB Pritzker announced $28.8 million in grant funding to provide free locally produced food to vulnerable communities. The grants are being awarded to organizations in Illinois in partnership with the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) and the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS),” from the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker.

Gov. Pritzker Celebrates Substantial Investments in Illinois Biomanufacturing and Precision Fermentation

“Governor JB Pritzker and Innovate Illinois announced $680 million in combined cash match and strategic investments from public and private partners for the Illinois Fermentation and Agriculture Biomanufacturing (iFAB) Tech Hub,” from the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker.


Bring Chicago Home referendum ruled valid by state appellate court

An appellate court on Wednesday reversed an earlier Circuit Court ruling and reinstated Mayor Brandon Johnson’s “Bring Chicago Home” referendum on the city’s March 19 primary ballot.

In an opinion written by presiding Justice Raymond Mitchell, the court argued it cannot interfere with the legislative process by removing the question from the ballot.

“We offer this gentle reminder that seems warranted in light of contentions raised by amici: we have decided this case exercising our best judgment in strict accordance with the law. Nothing in this decision is intended to suggest that we have any opinion one way or the other on the merits of the referendum at issue. That is a question wisely entrusted not to judges but to the people of the city of Chicago,” Mitchell wrote.

The case could still be brought to the state Supreme Court.


Loop retail vacancy tops 30% for the first time

“Nearly four years since the first lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of empty storefronts in the Loop has surpassed a daunting threshold: More than 30% of the central business district’s retail space is vacant,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Mayor Brandon Johnson says no plans yet to again extend migrant removal deadline

“Johnson did not commit to a plan Tuesday when asked whether he would stick with the scheduled March 16 date when migrants who have stayed longer than 60 days at shelters will be evicted,” by the Chicago Tribune.

Mayor Brandon Johnson Joins City Colleges of Chicago, the University of Chicago, and UChicago Medicine To Announce the Expansion of Healthcare Programs and Facilities on the South Side of Chicago

“[The goal is to] increase access to affordable higher education, clinical experiences and employment opportunities for South Side residents in growing healthcare fields,” from the Office of Mayor Brandon Johnson.

Every Chicago school should have a librarian, band, art, sports and restorative discipline, CTU head says

“With the current teachers contract expiring in June, Chicago Teachers Union president Stacy Davis Gates listed her goals Tuesday in upcoming negotiations with CPS,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Mayor Brandon Johnson Launches One Summer Chicago Online Application

“Mayor Brandon Johnson and the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) announced the launch of the One Summer Chicago (OSC) application portal. The City aims to connect an additional 4,000 young people to paid opportunities and life-skills development programs this summer,” from the Office of Mayor Brandon Johnson.


Cozen Currents: Populism is Popular

Regardless of which candidate is victorious in November’s presidential election, populism will be sure to shape the next administration’s policies.

In an age of populism, Big Tech has increasingly become a bipartisan punching bag. Issues including online speech, data privacy, and children’s online safety have become more populist than partisan in nature.

Sabre-rattling against the eye-watering prices of prescription drugs has become a common refrain on both sides of the aisle, even the typically pro-business GOP.

Read the full Cozen Currents here.

A Leadership Shuffle: The “Three Johns” Eye McConnell’s Seat, Beltway Briefing

As Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the longest-serving leader of the Senate GOP, announces his planned resignation from leadership, all eyes turn to the “three Johns” – Barrasso, Cornyn, and Thune – each plotting to fill McConnell’s shoes. Coupling this leadership shake-up with the potential for a second Trump presidency, the Public Strategies team navigates turbulent political waters, exploring the normalization of impeachment and the events of the January 6th insurrection. Featuring Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, the Hon. Rodney Davis, and Towner French.

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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