Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (1/25)

January 25, 2023


 Once-a-year COVID shots proposed, by the Chicago Tribune.


Secretary of State reaches agreement with Carvana 

Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias released a statement Tuesday that his office has reached a settlement agreement with online used-car retailer Carvana, resolving a legal dispute that began in May 2022.

Illinois became the first state to suspend Carvana’s license in response to an investigation alleging that the company was issuing out-of-state temporary registration permits and delaying title transfers. Sales continued under strict guidelines set forth by a Temporary Restraining Order granted by a DuPage County judge.

Per the settlement, Carvana admits to violating consumer protections in the state’s vehicle code and agrees to abide by new rules and restrictions aimed at protecting customers, forfeits a $250,000 bond, and allows for additional licensing inspections by the Secretary of State Police. The agreement also allows the state to suspend and revoke Carvana’s dealership license if further violations occur.

“The admission by Carvana demonstrates what we knew all along: that Carvana was violating the law in a manner that was harmful to Illinois consumers,” Giannoulias said. “Under my administration, I will do everything to ensure that proper safeguards are in place that protect Illinois consumers regardless of how they purchase a vehicle.”


Lawmakers pledging not to follow ‘assault weapon’ ban ask for restraining order as NRA files their own lawsuit: “Republican attorney Tom DeVore has filed another state lawsuit seeking a restraining order exempting clients from following the state’s new ‘assault weapons’ ban, this time including for some of the state’s most conservative politicians. The National Rifle Association (NRA) also filed the second federal lawsuit challenging the ban,” by The Daily Line.

Replacing Illinois institution as secretary of state, Giannoulias makes modernization push: “Last week, Giannoulias released his team’s transition report, a guiding document compiled by 124 individuals who served on nine separate subcommittees,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Toni Preckwinkle’s chief of staff uses equity fund to uplift Black, brown communities: “Lanetta Haynes Turner made the transition from staff attorney to policy work and the public sector, and she said she hasn’t looked back. Her latest fight centers on the Cook County Equity Fund, a multimillion-dollar plan to address institutional and structural barriers to racial equity — operations, policies and practices — inside and outside local government,” by the Chicago Tribune.

Gov. Pritzker Announces $113.8 Million Investment in Downstate Transit: “Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Tuesday announced that $113.8 million has been awarded to downstate transit providers as part of the historic, bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital program. The funding brings the total investment in downstate transit via competitive grants to $337.8 million, supporting the Governor’s mission to create economic opportunity by improving all modes of transportation while boosting safety and efficiency,” from the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker.


City Council committee discusses offering public funding for municipal elections

During the City Council Committee on Ethics and Government Oversight meeting on Monday, reform advocates and aldermen debated a proposal that would create public funding for candidates running in Chicago’s municipal elections.

The proposal (O2022-2483), introduced by Ald. Matt Martin (47) last year, would take “moneyed” interests from election campaigns and make it easier for citizens to run for office without “big-money” donors.

The publicly financed municipal election program would be optional to candidates who qualify and would be available for the offices of mayor, city treasurer, city clerk, and all 50 aldermen. Each office would have eligibility requirements on the minimum number of donations and personal fundraising necessary in order to receive the matching city funds. The legislation would also establish a seven-member Fair Elections Board to oversee city elections and a public database of donations and expenditures for campaigns.


Aldermen press Chicago Housing Authority on property maintenance, Chicago Fire soccer facility at former ABLA Homes: “Aldermen and members of the public used a committee hearing with the Chicago Housing Authority on Tuesday to voice their concerns and displeasure with the city’s sister agency that serves 64,000 households. The hearing was held by the City Council Committee on Housing and Real Estate and stretched on for nearly four hours as aldermen grilled the agency on its ability to maintain its properties, how it serves Chicagoans and future capital plans,” by The Daily Line.

City touts ‘social bonds’ sale as success: “City officials are claiming success with last week’s sale of social bonds that gave city residents first priority and were tailored to capture investors in the environmental, social and governance, or ESG, market. As part of the $1.2 billion Chicago Recovery Plan put together by Mayor Lori Lightfoot and approved by the City Council, the city issued a roughly $160 million bond offering and gave Chicagoans a one-day head start on the right to purchase the bonds ahead of the larger market,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Willie Wilson defends cash giveaways as fellow mayoral candidates raise ethical concerns: “A cash giveaway in the Chicago mayor’s race is once again putting Willie Wilson in the spotlight, with several of his rivals raising concerns about possible ethical violations,” by ABC 7 Chicago.

Ethics board wants Lightfoot campaign investigated for recruiting student volunteers from CPS, City Colleges: “The Chicago Board of Ethics on Monday asked inspectors general for the city and Chicago Public Schools to investigate Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s reelection campaign to determine if the campaign violated the city’s ethics ordinance by recruiting student volunteers at CPS and City Colleges in exchange for class credit,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

From downtown Chicago to the neighborhoods, here’s how the mayoral candidates are vowing to strengthen the city’s economy: “As Lightfoot seeks reelection, she and her eight rivals diverge on how to revive the economy and restore downtown, and most of her opponents would nix her signature neighborhood development program, INVEST South/West,” by WBEZ.

Former Rep. Bobby Rush Endorses Ayana Clark For 21st Ward Alderman: “Clark was a community advocate for Rush before she stepped down from the position in 2022. She faces six challengers for the City Council seat to replace Ald. Howard Brookins,” by Block Club Chicago.

Mayoral candidate ‘Chuy’ García airs first TV ad, vows to bring back ‘safer Chicago’: “U.S. Rep. Jesús ‘Chuy’ García launched his first TV ad of the 2023 mayoral election season Tuesday as he seeks to rebuild momentum in the campaign’s final five weeks. The commercial, called ‘Home,’ features García narrating as a camera pans over downtown Chicago and neighborhood houses before focusing on police evidence markers,” by the Chicago Tribune.


Cozen Currents: Process Trumps Substance on the Debt Limit

After reaching the $31.4 trillion debt limit last week, the clock is ticking to find a path forward and avoid a default. But raising the debt limit today has become a broader partisan fight, which may require creative maneuvers to bypass the political impasse.

While many of the side deals Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) cut with several members of his conference who balked at supporting his speakership have not been publicly acknowledged, they are nevertheless becoming apparent and could hamper his effectiveness as speaker. Republicans are aiming to restrict the consideration of economic, social, and governance (ESG) factors in investment decisions. Under a divided government, this push is likely to find greater success in the states, but the House GOP is poised to use its new majority to press the issue.

Read the Cozen Currents article here.

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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