Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (1/11)

January 11, 2023

ANNOUNCEMENT: Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies welcomes former Congressman Rodney Davis

Public Strategies is excited to welcome former United States Congressman, Rodney Davis, as a Managing Director in Washington, D.C. Rodney, who served Illinois’ 13th District, recently concluded his fifth term in office.

During his 10 years in Congress, Rodney established himself as a respected lawmaker who governed and worked with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass legislation, even in a divided government. Rodney was particularly adept at building consensus on complex legislative efforts through strong bipartisan bonds in Congress and the Administration, and was considered one of the most effective legislators during his tenure.

Rodney served in several leadership positions, including Ranking Member of the Committee on House Administration, Ranking Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, and Deputy Whip for Republican Whip Steve Scalise. Rodney also previously served as the Chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research in the 115th Congress.

“In this role, Davis will leverage his substantial experience in public affairs to provide strategic counsel to the firm’s government relations client,” reads a release on the move, published by POLITICO. Davis said in a statement that he is “eager for the opportunity to carry on my public policy work.”


New website tracks and shares COVID-19 levels in Illinois wastewater to help residents ‘make informed decisions’: “A new website launched Tuesday by the University of Illinois’ Discovery Partners Institute and the Illinois Department of Public Health offers a glance at how widely the virus is circulating through measurements taken at 75 wastewater treatment facilities statewide,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.


Lawmakers advance reproductive rights bill

On Tuesday, the Illinois General Assembly approved a wide-ranging measure safeguarding Illinois abortion providers and patients from legal action by GOP-controlled states with abortion restrictions or bans. The final bill also includes protections for gender affirming health care, after previous disagreements over the issue.

HB 4664 not only widens access to reproductive care by allowing nurse practitioners and physician assistants to provide procedural abortion care but also requires health insurance companies to cover abortion-inducing medication, HIV-prevention drugs, and hormone-therapy medicines used by people transitioning from one gender to another.

With a Democratic supermajority in both chambers of the state legislature, the bill passed 41-16 in the Senate and 70-39 in the House. It is now awaiting the approval of Gov. JB Pritzker, who is expected to sign the bill into law.

Gov. JB Pritzker signs legislation banning assault weapons and sale of high-capacity magazines

Gov. JB Pritzker signed into law Tuesday evening a bill banning the manufacture, sale, and purchase of assault weapons and firearms with high-capacity magazines, hours after the legislation passed the General Assembly.

The Protect Illinois Communities Act (HB 5471) also bans certain firearm modifications and “switches” that convert legal handguns into assault weapons, and extends the ability of courts to prevent dangerous individuals from possessing a gun through firearm restraining orders.

The final bill was a compromise between competing versions previously passed by both chambers of the state legislature. Ultimately, the House voted 68-41 to approve the measure after incorporating changes made by the Senate, which had previously passed the bill by a 34-20 vote.

The ban will go into effect immediately; existing owners of semi-automatic rifles are required to register their ownership with the Illinois State Police by Jan. 1, 2024. With the bill’s passage, Illinois becomes the ninth state to pass an assault weapons ban.

Guaranteed paid leave passes General Assembly

On Tuesday evening, the Illinois legislature passed a measure extending statewide a guarantee that private-sector workers will earn a minimum of five days of personal leave per year.

The bill (SB 208) applies to companies with four or more employees; the 40 hours (or five days) of paid leave can be used for any reason. Workers are not required to provide their employers details of why they are taking off.

Such laws currently exist only in Chicago and suburban Cook County, but its ordinance is contingent on a limited number of reasons.

The final bill was a compromise that received the crucial support of labor and business groups, including the IL Retail Merchants and Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. The measure passed the House 86-23 and the Senate 38-26 and would take effect Jan. 1, 2024, pending the governor’s expected signature.


New package establishing closing fund for governor has possible ramifications for Bears: “State lawmakers approved a bill with a series of tax credits and updates to state law designed to boost Illinois’ economic competitiveness, but the plan could make it more difficult for the Chicago Bears to ask for funds to help them move to Arlington Heights. Both chambers approved SB2951 with bipartisan support 86-23 in the House and 40-15 in the Senate Tuesday night. The bill establishes the $400 million closing fund state lawmakers voted to fund earlier in the week to help attract businesses to Illinois. The bill also makes changes designed to boost use of the Reimagining Electric Vehicle Tax Credit and establishes a 10-year tax credit for airlines and aviation companies purchasing sustainable jet fuel.  The bill also includes language in the section establishing the governor’s closing fund that would prevent the Bears or any other sports team from accessing the funds,” by The Daily Line.

Bill creating $400M EV deal-closing fund is now headed to Pritzker’s desk: “The General Assembly has approved a measure (SB 2951) to put substantial new teeth in the state’s effort to lure electric vehicle makers and other large manufacturers to the state,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Collins, Durkin Depart General Assembly to Bipartisan Praise: Longtime legislators, including State Sen. Jacqui Collins and State Rep. Jim Durkin, are departing Springfield as the General Assembly’s new term begins. Durkin had already stepped down as House minority leader after the November election, but on Sunday, he announced he was also resigning his legislative seat,” by NBC 5 Chicago.



Committee approves measure to root out discrimination against people who have had abortion care, gender-affirming care: “The City Council Committee on Health and Human Relations on Monday approved a measure (O2022-3993) meant to prohibit housing and employment discrimination or retaliation against people who have had abortions, received reproductive healthcare or gender-affirming care. Additionally during the Monday meeting, the committee approved a resolution (R2022-1417) supporting Iranian citizens’ human rights movement and the encouragement of United Nations Human Rights Council intervention regarding human rights suppression and a resolution (R2022-332) calling for recognizing Roberto Clemente’s place of death in Loiza, Puerto Rico on the National Register of Historic Places,” by The Daily Line.

Council committees approve $4.5M tax incentive for Flood Brothers Disposal recycling transfer facility, sale of city-owned parcel: “Members of two separate City Council committees on Tuesday approved measures that if approved by the full council next week would grant an estimated $4.5 million tax abatement to Flood Brothers Disposal for a new facility in the 14th Ward and allow the sale of one city-owned parcel in the 3rd Ward,” by The Daily Line.

New Lightfoot ad touts her efforts against violent crime: “Mayor Lori Lightfoot hit the airwaves Tuesday with a campaign ad confronting what mayoral challengers call her Achilles’ heel: violent crime and the perception of it,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

5 Candidates Are Challenging Ald. Jim Gardiner To Represent Far Northwest Side’s 45th Ward: “Gardiner, who is under federal criminal investigation, is seeking a second term. Challenging him are Ana Santoyo, a longtime activist and library page; organizer and historian Susanna Ernst; attorney Megan Mathias; Jefferson Park resident Marija Tomic; and business owner and community organizer James Suh,” by Block Club Chicago.

Race For 9th Ward Alderman Shrinks As Beale Challenger Drops Out: “Candidates Cleopatra Draper and Cameron Barnes are now the sole challengers to incumbent Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) on the ballot,” by Block Club Chicago.


Beltway Briefing: Historic Drama in the House of Representatives 

After a chaotic week of harsh rhetoric, backstage maneuvering, and brinkmanship politics, Rep. Kevin McCarthy became the 55th speaker of the House on a historic post-midnight 15th ballot early Saturday, finally breaking impasse and overcoming a fierce challenge to his leadership by hard-right defectors that led him to make steep concessions. For better or worse, this exercise represented the most thorough review of House rules and processes since the chamber’s reorganization efforts in the mid-1970s.

On a somber two-year anniversary of the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol, Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, Towner French, and Kaitlyn Martin discuss the stalemate not seen on the House floor since 1923 that laid bare the divisions among House Republicans and tested McCarthy’s and the new GOP majority’s ability to govern effectively in the 118th Congress.

NOTE TO LISTENERS: this episode was recorded at 9 a.m. on Friday, January 6, after the House had finished its 11th Speaker vote.

Listen to the full Beltway Briefing podcast here.


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