Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor (7/10)

July 10, 2023


Chicago Democratic committee to fill Illinois Senate vacancy

Later this evening, Democratic elected officials will meet to select a new state senator to fill Sen. Cristina Pacione-Zayas’s 20th District seat after she resigned in June to become deputy chief of staff to Mayor Brandon Johnson.

The appointment will set the stage for what is expected to be a heated and expensive primary next year to represent Chicago’s Northwest Side.

Chicago Ald. Scott Waguespack, 32nd – who is chairing the selection committee – announced Saturday that eight candidates applied for the post.

The eight candidates include: Graciela Guzmán, a former staffer to Pacione-Zayas; Dr. Dave Nayak, founder of Nayak Farms and a politically active physician; Natalie Toro, a Chicago Public Schools teacher who finished third in the Democratic primary for the Cook County Board of Commissioners; State Rep. Jaime Andrade, representative to the 40th District and a former aide to Ald. Dick Mell; Daisy Navar, a former member of the Service Employees International Union and previously worked for Cook County Commissioner Anthony Joel Quezada; Edgar Lopez, chief of staff at Aspira nonprofit; Thomas Day, a consultant and Harris School of Public Policy instructor; and Ross Secler, an elections attorney.


State Ends Fiscal Year With Record $50.7 Billion in Base Revenue, Sparking Small Surplus: “State revenues once again reached a record high in the fiscal year that ended June 30, creating what Gov. J.B. Pritzker called a ‘one-time’ budget surplus of over $700 million,” by WTTW.

Gov. Pritzker Announces Record-Breaking Hotel Revenues in FY23 and Unprecedented Growth in Illinois Tourism: “ Today, Governor JB Pritzker joined the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), elected officials, and industry leaders to announce that Illinois reached its highest-ever hotel revenue figures in FY23 ($308 million) – surpassing the pre-pandemic record in FY19. Additionally, Illinois welcomed 111 million visitors who spent $44 billion in 2022 – representing 14 million additional travelers spending $12 billion more than calendar year 2021,” from the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker.

‘Hard to judge’ if Rebuild Illinois is on track, Pritzker says as IDOT presents new plan: “The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced a new six-year construction plan Friday totaling nearly $41 billion as Illinois begins year five of the Rebuild Illinois capital plan. But as the state reaches that milestone, it’s not clear if the project is on track or behind schedule,” by The Daily Line.

State struggles to implement 2019 law that allows ‘X’ gender on IDs for nonbinary residents: “It’s been nearly four years since an Illinois law opened the door for nonbinary residents to mark ‘X’ for their gender on driver’s licenses and other state IDs, but the seemingly simple change has yet to take effect in the face of challenges it presents to law enforcement and the health care industry,” by the Chicago Tribune.

Illinois may lift historic ban on building nuclear power plants as state continues transition from coal and gas: “Already home to more nuclear power plants than any state in the nation, Illinois is on the verge of lifting a nearly four-decade-old ban on building reactors as the state transitions from coal and natural gas. The move comes as other states have rescinded similar bans and policymakers are taking a fresh look at nuclear as another alternative to generate energy without increasing carbon output,” by the Chicago Tribune.



Council committees to urge state lawmakers to OK hybrid meetings, consider proposed city purchase of former Diplomat Hotel for housing stabilization program: “The City Council Committee on Economic, Capital and Technology Development during its 10 a.m. meeting Monday will consider a resolution (R2023-0001085) proposed by Ald. Andre Vasquez (40) and co-sponsored by more than 30 of his colleagues asking the Illinois General Assembly to allow for hybrid meetings. Separately at 1 p.m. Monday, the Committee on Housing and Real Estate will consider a proposal for the city to buy the former Diplomat Motel in Lincoln Square where city officials plan to launch a Stabilization Housing Pilot Program,” by The Daily Line.

Five ways Johnson’s transition team wants him to improve schools: “Create a paid youth council to guide school decisions. Help about 20,000 homeless students find housing. Grant full college scholarships to Chicago students looking to become teachers, as a way to cultivate more Black and Latino educators. These are just a few of the recommendations made by a transition committee convened by Mayor Brandon Johnson to help set his administration’s priorities,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.


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