Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (1/9)

January 9, 2023

PUBLIC HEALTH 

Chicago Public Schools asks students to take COVID tests as they return from winter break, by ABC 7 Chicago.

ILLINOIS

Update on assault weapons ban

On Friday, the Illinois House passed SB 2226, a 77-page bill that would immediately ban the sale or purchase of assault weapons in the state and prevent sales of large-capacity magazines that hold more than 12 rounds. Senate Democrats, however, introduced their own version of the bill (HB 5471), removing language that would require owners to disclose the serial numbers of their grandfathered assault weapons with the state to prove that they owned them before the cutoff date.

At approximately 6:15pm, the Senate filed a revised amendment and the specific changes to the originally proposed Senate bill are outlined below. The bill passed the Senate 34-20-5 and will head to the House for concurrence.

Senate President Don Harmon said the bill provides for an “immediate ban on manufacture, delivery, sale, import or purchase of assault weapons, assault weapon attachments, 50 caliber rifles and 50 caliber cartridges. It also bans rapid fire devices, those attachments to weapons that can dramatically increase the rate of fire of a semi-automatic weapon. Ban the manufacture, delivery, sale or purchase or possession of large capacity magazines. For long guns, it’s a 10 round magazine. For handguns, it’s 15. We do grandfather possession of both the firearms and the magazines for the firearms.”

AROUND THE STATE

Pritzker Signs FY23 Budget Implementation Bill: “Gov. J.B. Pritzker Monday morning signed SB1720 (Sims), the Second FY23 Budget Implementation Act (BIMP). The bill includes pay raises for legislators to $85,000 per year annually, as well as increases for various constitutional offices,” from the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker.

Illinois Democrats push to further expand abortion, gender care access: “Under legislation passed in the Illinois House late Thursday, insurance plans regulated by the state would be required to cover – at no cost to the patient – abortion medications typically used up to about 10 weeks of pregnancy, in addition to gender-affirming medications like hormones. After the bill’s passage in the House, the Senate briefly convened on Friday before leaving for the weekend. Democratic leadership in that chamber has been non-committal on taking up the House’s proposal, instead introducing its own more stripped-down version that doesn’t include references to gender-affirming care,” by Capitol News Illinois.

Lame duck legislature OKs pay hikes for lawmakers, statewide elected officials, agency heads: “The lame-duck Illinois legislature is sending Gov. J.B. Pritzker a measure that would give pay raises to lawmakers starting with those sworn in for a new term Wednesday, while also boosting the salaries of the governor and other statewide officials and the heads of agencies appointed by the governor. The pay raises would boost the annual salary of rank-and-file lawmakers to $85,000 from $72,906, a nearly 17% increase,” by the Chicago Tribune.

Faraci selected as new state senator in 52nd District: “City of Champaign Township Assessor Paul Faraci will serve as the next state senator in Illinois’ 52nd District. Democratic party leaders from Champaign and Vermilion counties made the announcement on Saturday. Faraci was one of ten people to apply for the vacancy created by the unexpected death of Scott Bennett last month. Bennett had just been re-elected to a two-year term in November without opposition,” by Illinois Newsroom.

Governor Pritzker Announces Second Term Agency Transitions: “As Governor Pritzker concludes his first term in office and approaches his second inauguration, the administration announced the following personnel transitions at Illinois state agencies,” from the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker.

CHICAGO

Ald. Roberto Maldonado withdraws from race for Chicago City Council

Chicago Ald. Roberto Maldonado on Friday filed paperwork with the Chicago Board of Elections to withdraw his candidacy for the 26th Ward seat on the City Council, after serving for more than 13 years.

Maldonado’s retirement makes him the latest of 16 aldermen who have announced they will not be running for reelection this year, either due to retirement, resignation, or a run for mayor.

Maldonado, originally appointed to the City Council by Mayor Richard M. Daley in 2009, served for two years as chair of the City Council’s Latino Caucus and was among the chief sponsors of a measure to drastically increase demolition fees along the Bloomingdale Trail  in an effort to slow development in the area and fight gentrification.

With less than two months until the Feb. 28 election, Maldonado’s departure leaves a remaining five candidates vying for the 26th Ward seat: Julian Perez, Jessica Fuentes, Kirk J. Ortiz, Anthony N. Riviera, and Angee Gonzalez Rodriguez.

MORE FROM CITY HALL 

Mayor Lori Lightfoot demands Colorado stop busing migrants to Chicago in letter to governor: “Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot demanded Colorado stop busing migrants to Chicago Saturday in a letter sent to the state’s governor, Jared Polis. Colorado has bused hundreds of migrants to Chicago since December, the letter said. The city does not have capacity to adequately support more migrants, Lightfoot wrote in the letter she co-penned with New York City Mayor Eric Adams,” by The Chicago Tribune.

Chicago police union endorses Paul Vallas for mayor: “Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police has endorsed Paul Vallas in his campaign for mayor, union president John Catanzara announced. Although Chicago police and their supporters mark an important demographic in local elections, the endorsement from the union is a double-edged sword for Vallas, the former Chicago Public Schools CEO. The FOP has long been criticized for defending police misconduct, and Catanzara in particular has been a lightning rod for controversy,” by the Chicago Tribune.

Lightfoot bears brunt of criticism at mayoral candidate forum on issues affecting disabled Chicagoans: “Responding to questions about how the city serves residents with mental health conditions, Vallas and Green both attacked Lightfoot for not reopening mental health clinics on the South and West sides that were shuttered during Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s term in office. Lightfoot, who as a candidate had promised to reopen the clinics, stood by her team’s strategy of providing ‘culturally relevant’ mental health care, which she said her administration has made available across Chicago,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Mayoral candidate Frederick Collins officially removed from Feb. 28 ballot: “The Chicago Electoral Board on Friday concurred with a final decision from a hearing officer that after facing a petition challenge from Andre Holland, Collins did not have enough valid signatures to secure a spot on the ballot,” by The Daily Line.

Environment committee appoints six members to Urban Forestry Advisory Board 18 months after creation of body: “The committee unanimously voted to appoint Jessica Vogt (A2022-165), James Semelka (A2022-164), Cindy Schwab (A2022-163), Daniella Pereira (A2022-162), Nuri Madina (A2022-161) and Rolando Favela (A2022-160). Each was given the opportunity to briefly speak about their background and goals for their time on the board,” by The Daily Line.

FEDERAL 

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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