Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (1/23)

January 23, 2023

PUBLIC HEALTH 

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: 7 Counties at Elevated COVID Alert Levels in Chicago Area, by NBC 5 Chicago.

ILLINOIS

Effingham County judge temporarily blocks assault weapons ban

A judge in southern Illinois’ Effingham County temporarily blocked the enforcement of the state’s assault weapons ban on Friday for more than 850 gun owners and four licensed gun dealers who filed a lawsuit against the recently enacted state law.

The lawsuit, filed last week in the 4th Judicial Circuit Court by former Republican Illinois attorney general candidate Tom DeVore, argues that the ban violates the state constitution’s due process and equal protection clauses.

Judge Joshua Morrison’s 11-page decision says that the state did not “follow the procedural requirements” in passing HB 5471. The ruling only applies to the plaintiffs involved in the suit.

Morrison has scheduled a preliminary injunction hearing for February 1.

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office has already filed a notice of appeal to ask the appellate court to reverse and vacate the temporary restraining order. Gov. JB Pritzker said the decision is disappointing but not surprising and that he “remain[s] confident that the courts will uphold the constitutionality of Illinois’ law, which aligns with the eight other states with similar laws and was written in collaboration with lawmakers, advocates, and legal experts.”

The Effingham County suit is just one of the handful filed in the week following Gov. Pritzker’s signing of the bill, including a federal lawsuit from the Illinois State Rifle Association alleging the law violates the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment right to bear arms.

AROUND THE STATE

IDOT and CDOT finally agree to streamline safety measures: “The Illinois Department of Transportation and the Chicago Department of Transportation have come to a new agreement that will streamline and accelerate the process of delivering proven and scalable safety measures on local roads and state routes within the City of Chicago. The Memorandum of Understanding, signed by Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman and CDOT Commissioner Gia Biagi, establishes preapproval of certain infrastructure designs related to Chicago’s urban street context to improve safety for people walking, biking and driving,” by Capitol Fax.

Gov. Pritzker Announces Six Appointments to Boards and Commissions, from the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker.

CHICAGO 

MORE FROM CITY HALL 

Ethics committee to discuss proposal for publicly funded elections, hear quarterly reports from city’s watchdog: “Aldermen are scheduled Monday to hear a report from the city’s top watchdog on cases her office investigated during the last half of 2022 and discuss a proposal for publicly funded elections during a meeting of the City Council Committee on Ethics and Government Oversight,” by The Daily Line.

$5.5 million grant aims to expand tourism in 12 more underrepresented neighborhoods: “The Neighborhood Strategy Team of Choose Chicago, the city’s official destination marketing organization, was awarded $5.5 million more by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events to strengthen and expand the program, adding 12 new community areas, making a total of 30 neighborhoods that will benefit from the efforts to promote tourism,” by the Chicago Tribune.

Mayor pledges action following WBEZ investigation into criminal registries in Chicago: “Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is promising a fix after a WBEZ investigation found the Chicago Police Department repeatedly turned away people who were trying to register at a police facility as required by law,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Garcia mentioned in recording during feds’ ComEd probe: “The congressman, who is running for mayor of Chicago, is not accused of wrongdoing, and his spokesperson told the Sun-Times on Friday that he ‘is not involved in any investigation in any manner,’” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Ald. Andre Vasquez Faces 2 Challengers As He Seeks A 2nd Term Representing Lincoln Square: “Christian Blume and Jane Lucius are making their first bids for elected office, while Vasquez hopes to keep pushing for better CTA service, solutions to the city’s homelessness crisis and expanding emergency mental health care,” by Block Club Chicago.

Ald. Raymond Lopez Faces 2 Community Activists In 15th Ward Race After Abandoning Mayoral Bid: “Gloria Williams, who runs a nonprofit in West Englewood, and Vicko Alvarez, a former North Side ward staffer, are the two candidates trying to unseat the sitting 15th Ward alderman, Ray Lopez,” by Block Club Chicago.

Ald. Jason Ervin joins the ranks of incumbent aldermen who won’t face challengers in February election: “Ald. Jason Ervin (28) is the latest and final alderman to be absolved of having to face a challenger as he runs for a fourth full term. The Chicago Electoral Board on Friday rejected the recommendation of a hearing officer and removed 28th Ward candidate Shawn Walker from the Feb. 28 ballot on the basis that he did not have enough valid petition signatures. Two other candidates — Beverly Miles and Timothy Gladney — who had hoped to challenge Ervin were removed or withdrew from the ballot earlier this election season,” by The Daily Line.

FEDERAL 

Beltway Briefing: The Santos Controversy

Since winning a Long Island congressional seat last year, a flood of recent reporting has exposed George Santos as an alleged serial liar who embellished or fabricated a shockingly large part of his life story during his election campaign.

Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, Towner French, and Kaitlyn Martin discuss the impact of the Santos controversy, which has drawn a divide within the House GOP conference, with some Republicans coming out against the freshman and others backing his continued service. And, as the U.S. government hit the statutory debt ceiling on Thursday, prompting the Treasury to institute extraordinary measures to allow the government to pay its obligations until early June, they also break down the status of debt-ceiling negotiations and ponder the economic damage a first-ever default on U.S. debt would cause around the world.

Listen to the full Beltway Briefing here.

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