Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor (9/29)

September 29, 2023


Pritzker takes center stage at cannabis conference

Speaking to a crowd at the national Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference in downtown Chicago Thursday, Gov. JB Pritzker touted Illinois’ cannabis legalization enactment as a model for other states.

“We built out the most equitable, accessible and prosperous cannabis ecosystem in the nation, and it’s one that helps repair our past harms,” Pritzker said.

Illinois became the 11th state to fully legalize marijuana when the state legislature passed the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, with additional provisions to advance social equity and address drug decriminalization.

Since its legalization in 2020, the state has pardoned more than 80,000 low-level pot convictions, and Illinois has raked in more than $669 million in sales and added more than 30,000 jobs, Pritzker said.

When asked why Illinois hasn’t issued more social equity licenses, Pritzker said the delay is meant to keep the market profitable for new social equity license holders.


Pritzker, GOP trade barbs in fight over Gotion’s battery plant

“With political conservatives and Illinois Republicans stepping up their attacks, Gov. J.B. Pritzker is out with a vigorous defense of the proposed Gotion battery plant in Manteno, charging that its foes are putting ‘xenophobia’ and partisan politics ahead of a $2 billion investment that will create 2,600 well-paying jobs here,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Pritzker has ‘concerns’ about contract to house migrants in tents amid new influx of migrants 

“At a news conference in Chicago Wednesday, Gov. JB Pritzker fielded questions for ten minutes about the ongoing crisis, including on whether he believes a controversial plan by the city to house migrants in winterized tents is a viable option. Pritzker didn’t go deep into details about his thoughts on the city’s contract with GardaWorld, but admitted he’s raised some concerns,” by The Daily Line.

Welch introduces bill to allow legislative staff to unionize

“House Speaker Emanuel ‘Chris’ Welch, D-Hillside, has filed legislation that would, for the first time in Illinois, authorize legislative staff to form a union and engage in collective bargaining. House Bill 4148, creating the Legislative Employee Labor Relations Act, comes in response to a monthslong effort by Democratic staff in the speaker’s office to unionize and negotiate wages, hours and other working conditions,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Senate hearing addresses Illinois cases of long COVID in underserved communities

“During an Illinois Senate Public Health Committee hearing this week, Dr. Melissa Simon from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine said Latinos have the highest rates of long COVID symptoms,” by The Center Square.



Mayor Johnson Issues Request for Proposal for an Expanded Small Business Vacant Storefront Activation Program

“Under the Johnson Administration, the newly expanded program will provide support for up to one year to increase vibrancy and promote small businesses in the city’s commercial corridors,” from the Office of Mayor Johnson.

Committees will hold hearing on OIG’s 2022 public safety annual report

“A pair of City Council committees will hold a hearing Friday afternoon on the Office of Inspector General’s annual public safety report. The Committee on Police and Fire and the Committee on Public Safety are set to begin the hearing at 2 p.m. in council chambers. The Office of Inspector General’s Public Safety section is required to publish an annual report detailing its work from the year prior. The 2022 report was published in June,” by The Daily Line.

Johnson Administration Defends Plan to House Migrants in Tents As Pace of Arrivals Quickens, Costs Mount

“One of Mayor Brandon Johnson’s top aides on Thursday defended his decision to move the more than 2,300 migrants now living in police stations and airports into large tents amid rising criticism from progressive political organizations and Gov. J.B. Pritzker,” by WTTW.

Effective ban on natural gas in new buildings on Johnson’s to-do list

“Legislation brewing at City Hall that would set carbon emission standards effectively banning the use of carbon-emitting gas in most new buildings in Chicago has yet to be introduced amid opposition and competing priorities, but it is likely to move forward later this year,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

South Side Alderman, Activists Call On Mayor To Help Pass South Shore Housing Protections

“Backers of a plan to keep South Shore residents in their homes amid the Obama Presidential Center’s construction are hopeful Mayor Brandon Johnson will put his full weight behind the slate of housing protections, though he hasn’t yet,” by Block Club Chicago.

U of C holding contest for students to help solve Chicago’s pension crisis

“A new competition will allow students to address the city’s $35 billion pension problem. The Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago is allowing students to submit solutions to address the issue with its Harris Policy Innovation Challenge,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.


Beltway Briefing: Americans desensitized to the government shutdown

The dysfunction of government shutdown and party in-fighting may only matter as much as the media is willing to cover it. At large, the American people are more concerned about the 2024 presidential election outcome.

Listen to the full Beltway Briefing here.

Cozen Currents: Biden v. Trump Redux: Is This Really Going to Happen?

  • Every presidential election is hyped as being the “most consequential.” But given the contrasts between what a Biden and Trump second term would look like, this description very well could prove to be accurate for next year’s anticipated re-match.
  • President Biden and former President Trump are expected to face off (again) in next year’s presidential election, despite both suffering from low approval ratings and both parties having deep benches of potential replacements.
  • Legislative elections in Virginia this fall give both parties the opportunity to test out campaign strategies before next year’s presidential election, and the results carry national implications.

Read the Cozen Currents article 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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