Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (10/17)

October 17, 2022

PUBLIC HEALTH 

Governor Pritzker Continues Effort to Adjust COVID-19 Requirements: “Governor Pritzker today updated masking and testing requirements for healthcare facilities and long-term care centers. These new guidelines, which go into effect today, are in line with updated Center for Disease Control recommendations. Federal requirements remain in effect for those facilities,” from the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker.

About 1 in 10 Illinois residents eligible for new COVID-19 boosters have received them, by NPR Illinois.

ILLINOIS

Cook County officials, attorneys gather to discuss implementation of SAFE-T Act provisions

Increasing politicization over the SAFE-T Act – set to go into effect in January – has spurred Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and other criminal justice stakeholders to address misinformation and detail how the provision will affect Illinois courts.

The SAFE-T Act, which features a no-cash bail measure known as the Pretrial Fairness Act, stipulates that bail money will not determine whether defendants remain in jail while awaiting trial; instead, judges will review the circumstances and decide whether to keep someone in custody while charges are pending.

Despite several Illinois state’s attorneys filing lawsuits or speaking out against the controversial provision, the speakers at Friday’s event mostly favor the measure.

“The assurance that I can give you is that the stakeholders, at least in Cook County, have been absolutely grinding to the bone to make sure we are as prepared as we can be,” Foxx said, answering questions about how the measure will be implemented.

The no-bail provision has been a hot-issue topic in races across the state, including in the race for governor between incumbent Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) and his challenger, state Sen. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia).

AROUND THE STATE

AT&T charged with trying to illegally influence ex-Speaker Michael Madigan, who now faces more conspiracy charges: “Telephone giant AT&T Illinois has agreed to pay a $23 million fine as part of a federal criminal investigation into the company’s illegal efforts to influence former House Speaker Michael Madigan, according to court records made public Friday,” by The Chicago Tribune.

Pritzker reveals his 2021 tax returns: “Gov. J.B. Pritzker and first lady M.K. Pritzker earned $18.5 million in taxable income in 2021, according to state and federal tax filings released by the Pritzker campaign Friday afternoon, three times greater than in 2020,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

DCEO Launches Public Input Process for Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) Curriculum: “The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) today announced public listening sessions and additional engagement opportunities to collect input on the Clean Jobs Curriculum which will be used in two new workforce training programs: the Clean Jobs Workforce Network Program Hubs (Clean Jobs Hubs) and the Returning Residents Clean Jobs Training Program,” from the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker.

Gov. Pritzker and Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, Inc. Announce New $68 Million Distribution Center in Princeton: “Governor JB Pritzker, Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, Inc. (Ollie’s), and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Friday announced that Ollie’s will build a new distribution center in Princeton, which will meet growing demand and support the company’s nationwide expansion,” from the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker.

Prodded by Pritzker to step down, Southland Sen. Michael Hastings faces first general election foe in a decade: “Hastings ran unopposed in this past June’s Democratic primary for the 19th Senate and next month faces Patrick Sheehan, who ran unopposed in the Republican primary,” by The Chicago Tribune.

Crime, SAFE-T Act loom large in attorney general race: “Crime and the attorney general’s role in combating it dominated last week’s virtual debate between incumbent Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, a Chicago Democrat, and Republican challenger Thomas Devore of downstate Greenville,” by Daily Herald.

Abortion rights at the forefront of Supreme Court race: “Two seats on the Illinois Supreme Court are up for vote on Nov. 8, and the outcomes of those races could flip the state’s high court from a Democratic majority to a Republican one for the first time in more than 50 years,” by Daily Herald.

CHICAGO 

Aldermen raise questions on housing access, tiny homes project at Dept. of Housing budget hearing

Aldermen at the Department of Housing budget hearing Friday pushed forward questions on a variety of programs and initiatives the department has launched since its creation less than four years ago.

During the hearing, multiple aldermen called on Commissioner Marisa Novara and staff to expand the city’s Accessible Dwelling Unit (ADU) program, which was approved by the City Council in December 2020 and went into effect May 1, 2021; Novara told aldermen the city has pre-approved 369 applications for 411 requested accessory dwelling units.

Ald. Matt Martin (47) said he doesn’t want to wait until 2024 – as is written in the legislation – “to find out what we can do better” with the ADU program; Novara said “part of why [the department is] asking to add a position is to do exactly that.”

Aldermen also asked about Mayor Lightfoot’s $3 million tiny homes project. With plans to launch next year, the program has already received the support of the Department of Buildings Comm. Matthew Beaudet. Novara told aldermen the city expects to issue a request for proposals in the first half of 2023.

The housing department’s proposed $323.8 million budget for 2023 – which is funded by a mix of local funds and grants – is down from $428.5 million in 2022.

MORE FROM CITY HALL

Mayor Lightfoot Releases the Chicago Building Decarbonization Working Group Recommendations Report: “On Thursday, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot released the Chicago Building Decarbonization Working Group (CBDWG) report, which recommends equitable solutions to address the nearly 70% of total citywide greenhouse gas emissions that come from buildings in Chicago,” from the Office of Mayor Lightfoot.

Planning commissioner gets an earful about Lightfoot’s plan to create second transit TIF to bankroll Red Line South extension: “Mayor Lori Lightfoot is pushing for a final City Council vote on her financing plan before Dec. 31 to meet the requirement for federal matching funds. But it could be a rough ride, judging from the earful Planning and Development Commissioner Maurice Cox got about the project while testifying at a budget hearing,” by The Chicago Sun-Times.

Streets and Sanitation still working to end tree trimming ‘nightmare’ as injuries cause delays: commissioner: “Aldermen pressed Department of Streets and Sanitation Comm. Cole Stallard and staff on continuing to improve tree maintenance efforts during a late Friday hearing before the City Council Committee on Budget and Government Operations,” by The Daily Line.

Police board, COPA and CDPH officials set to defend budget proposals Monday: “The Chicago Police Board, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability and the Chicago Department of Public Health will defend their budgets to aldermen on Monday to kick off the second full week of departmental budget hearings,” by The Daily Line.

Mayor Lightfoot and the Mayor’s Office for People With Disabilities Cut the Ribbon on Career Center, Unveiling New Mural, and Announce Artist-in-Residence: “Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) Friday announced the opening of the MOPD Career Center, dedicated to serving job seekers with disabilities and providing career readiness,” from the Office of Mayor Lightfoot.

FEDERAL 

Beltway Briefing: Countdown to 2022 Midterm Elections

The 2022 midterms are around the corner, and there may not be a more consequential election than this one. From inflation to a possible recession, tax policy, gun control, abortion law, immigration reform, and more, American voters have a plethora of issues to consider on November 8. All 435 House seats are up for election, and a shift of only five seats would transfer control of the chamber to Republicans. In the Senate, a total of 35 seats are up for election, with a net change of one seat in either direction altering the balance.

Listen to this and any of the previous Beltway Briefing podcast episodes here.

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