Illinois Insights An Update from Cozen O’Connor (6/8)

June 8, 2022

Public Health


Pritzker signs legislation to expand higher education access

Gov. J.B. Pritzker Tuesday signed a package of legislation aimed at improving access to higher education and closing the equity gap for students from disadvantaged communities.

  • House Bill 4201  helps students at state universities and community colleges access benefits through “benefits navigators. ” Each institution is tasked with assigning a benefits navigator for the purpose of guiding students to seek and apply for any federal, state, or local program that provides assistance or benefits for which they are eligible. HB 4201 goes into effect Jan. 1, 2023.
  • Senate Bill 3991  amends the Illinois Higher Education Savings Program, also known as the Children’s Savings Program, which was established to start each baby born or adopted in Illinois with a $50 college savings deposit in the Treasurer’s 529 fund. This legislation allows the State Treasurer to increase the deposit amount for children in financially insecure households if funds are available. SB 3991 goes into effect Jan. 1, 2023.
  • House Bill 5464  requires State public universities and community colleges to develop and implement equity plans and practices to increase the access, retention, completion, and student loan repayment rates for minority students, rural students, adult students, women, and people with disabilities who are traditionally underrepresented in education programs and activities. The Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), in collaboration with the Illinois Community College Board, will guide implementation of the new equity plans. The bill also allows IBHE to request financial reports from private universities, private business, and vocational schools, if needed, to help institutions stay on solid financial footing. HB 5464 is effective immediately.

More information on the new bills is here.


Around the State



Lightfoot formally announces reelection bid

Mayor Lori Lightfoot formally announced her bid for reelection on Wednesday, putting an end to months of speculation on her political future.

Chicago ’s next mayoral election is slated for February 2023, and the race is expected to be fierce and costly. Polling indicates Lightfoot faces an uphill battle to a second term, and she faces competition from a growing list of declared contenders, including former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas, Ald. Ray Lopez, Ald. Roderick Sawyer, local businessman Willie Wilson, veteran cop Frederick Collins, and state Rep. Kam Buckner. Former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and current Chicago Ald. Brian Hopkins are also reportedly polling for potential mayoral runs.

Top campaign issues will likely include addressing rising crime rates and police reform, Chicago ’s economic future, and education.


More from City Hall



Guns in America: How did we get here?

  • Americans are a global outlier in gun ownership and experience higher rates of gun death and gun violence than other peer nations. Yet the national conversation and political culture remains centered on other root causes.
  • Gun control historically was a more regional issue than an ideological one politically, but Democrats and Republicans are increasingly talking right past each other as the partisan divide increases in Congress and across the nation.
  • Democrats have renewed their calls for Congress to act on gun control in the wake of the mass shooting in Uvalde, TX but prospects for major changes to federal gun laws are limited. The recent string of mass shootings, however, are serving as a catalyst for broader reforms in several blue states. These new state laws will still have to contend though with the Supreme Court ’s recent rightward shift.

Read the full briefing here.

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