Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (11/18)

November 18, 2022


Illinois Coronavirus Updates: RSV, Flu and COVID Collide, New CDC Community Levels, by NBC 5 News Chicago.


Cook County Board unanimously approves Preckwinkle’s $8.8 billion budget for 2023

In a special meeting Thursday, the Cook County Board of Commissioners approved Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s 2023 budget by a unanimous 17-0 vote. The board’s approval came directly after the spending plan passed the County Finance Committee by the same margin with over two dozen amendments.

A few of the amendments were not passed unanimously. The amendment that provides funding for the Cook County Sheriff’s Office to lease a helicopter and the amendment to provide funding to place mental health professionals in the county’s emergency call system were met with minor backlash, but both ultimately passed by a 15-2 vote.

Over the summer, the county forecast predicted a deficit of $18.2 million, the smallest over Preckwinkle’s 12 years in office. Higher-than-anticipated revenues – including $124 million more than expected sales taxes – gave Preckwinkle the ability to forgo proposing gap-filling measures. The $8.8 billion budget is an 8 percent increase from last year’s budget and bereft of taxes.

According to budget officials, the county has been able to use part of the approximately $1 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act to fund dozens of initiatives for the coming year, including funding the basic income pilot program, reducing medical debt, and investing in mental health and homelessness.

“Our 2023 budget makes a historic investment in communities and in people directly. Thanks in large part to the American Rescue Plan, we will both maintain critical services and advance transformative initiatives that will have long-lasting impacts in people’s lives,” Preckwinkle said in a news release following the vote.


With three session days left, SAFE-T Act changes could be forthcoming, ‘technical’ in nature: “Changes may yet come to the SAFE-T Act criminal justice reform before its Jan. 1 effective date, but some of its major proponents in the General Assembly said the results of the Nov. 8 general election have signified that the ship has sailed drastic amendments to it. An amendment backed by Sen. Scott Bennett, a Democrat from Champaign, would widen judicial authority to detain a defendant charged with any crime if the court believes they are a serious risk of skipping trial, pose a danger to the community, or are likely to threaten a potential witness or juror,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

‘King RINO’ Durkin rips party’s embrace of Trump, hopes to see his caucus take more moderate positions as he yields leadership role: “House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) is not holding back on criticism of his own party as he gives up his leadership role. A week after his House Republican Caucus lost at least four seats, Durkin is offering a blunt assessment of where his party went wrong,” by The Daily Line.

State unemployment rate still lags nation by almost a point: “The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate increased +0.1 percentage point to 4.6 percent, while nonfarm payrolls increased by +3,600 in October, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES,” by Capitol Fax.

Illinois Not-for-Profit Security Grant Program provides $20 million for organizations at risk of terrorist attack: “Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) announced a grant opportunity for not-for-profit organizations across Illinois. Available funding for this grant opportunity for the State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2023 Illinois Not-for-Profit Security Grant Program (NSGP-IL) is $20 million,” from the Office of Governor JB Pritzker.

State of Illinois Launches $5 Million Grant Match Program to Spur Innovation in Cutting Edge Technologies: “Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) today announced $5 million in state-funded matching grants for businesses who have received federal funding through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs,” from the Office of Governor JB Pritzker.

Illinois Office of Tourism Announces 30 Small Businesses Inducted into the Illinois Made Program: “Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) today announced that 30 small businesses or ‘Makers’ have been recognized as part of the Illinois Made program,” from the Office of Governor JB Pritzker.



Former Gov. Pat Quinn to skip mayor’s race: “Former Gov. Pat Quinn announced Thursday that he will not join the crowded field of candidates — including his former running mate — seeking to deny Mayor Lori Lightfoot a second term,” by The Chicago Sun-Times.

42nd Ward Ald. Brendan Reilly may face his first challenger—one with deep pockets: “For the first time since he was elected in 2007, Ald. Brendan Reilly, 42nd, may face a challenger, one with deep pockets and a wealthy benefactor. Chris Cleary, a former vice president at BMO Harris who recently founded an e-commerce company, has launched a campaign for 42nd Ward alderman, loaned himself $50,000 to jump-start the effort and has financial backing from a prominent nightclub owner who previously supported Reilly but has feuded with the downtown alderman,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

List To Replace Southwest Side Ald. George Cardenas Includes Former Chief Of Staff: “Four people are vying to be appointed to retiring Ald. George Cardenas’ 12th Ward seat in City Council, including his former chief of staff and a board member of the McKinley Park Development Council,” by Block Club Chicago.

United Working Families makes endorsements in 18 aldermanic races: “Chicago Teachers Union President Stacy Davis Gates, who also chairs United Working Families, referred to the endorsed candidates, which includes six incumbents and 12 challengers, as ‘multiracial, multigenerational’ and a ‘slate that spans the entire city.’ United Working Families endorsed the following incumbents: Ald. Daniel La Spata (1), Ald. Jeanette Taylor (20), Ald. Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez (33), Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35), Ald. Matt Martin (47) and Ald. Maria Hadden (49),” by The Daily Line.

City of Chicago Makes 2,000 Vacant Lots Available for Private Purchase: “On Thursday, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot announced two thousand vacant City lots are available for purchase and redevelopment by private buyers through a new land sale portal at This effort is part of a comprehensive improvement plan to replace all of the City’s land sale programs with a universal application process. The “ChiBlockBuilder” online portal includes an interactive map of available properties, pricing information, and a digital submission process that will foster infill development and open space projects within local neighborhoods,” from the Office of Mayor Lightfoot.

Small Business Storefront Activations Launch Across Chicago Creating Unique Shopping Experiences: “On Thursday, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) announced the opening of over 55 spaces as part of the City’s Small Business Storefront Activation Program. These storefront activations are the culmination of $2 million in grant funding the City awarded to seventeen local community and economic development organizations to support small businesses by activating previously vacant storefronts across the city,” from the Office of Mayor Lightfoot.


Cozen Currents: Post-Midterms Governing 

  • Midterm elections are often a referendum on the president and his party in power. But in 2022, it was a referendum on both Bidenism and Trumpism as President Biden and former President Trump continue to remain atop their respective parties despite a majority of Americans wishing otherwise.
  • After an unexpectedly strong midterm’s performance from the Democrats, they have found themselves still in control of the Senate and with an outside chance to retain the House.
  • As Democrats and Republicans sort themselves geographically, urban areas have become central to the Democratic Party’s base of support. Rising homicide rates since the pandemic, particularly in major cities, have posed a significant political challenge for progressives, however.

Read the full Cozen Currents article here.

Beltway Briefing: Takeaways From 2022 Midterm Elections (So Far) 

The midterms were poised to usher in a “red wave” in the House and potentially the Senate, teeing up a heavily Republican U.S. legislature in 2023, based on the disapproval of President Biden, record inflation, and traditional losses for the party that holds the White House. But on election night, the results painted a different picture for the future Congress. Democrats appeared to defy historical odds, as the Republican landslide political pundits had been predicting for months failed to materialize.

The 2022 election remains in the balance, as the battles for both chambers are still too close to call, with Republicans favored to win what increasingly looks like a narrow majority in the House and Democrats moving closer to retaining their Senate majority. As the votes continue to be counted, Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, Towner French, and Kaitlyn Martin break down the results of key midterm races and offer some early election takeaways.

Listen to the full Beltway Briefing here.


Donald Trump announces he will run for president again in 2024 amid GOP losses, legal probes: “Former President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he will mount a third White House campaign, launching an early start to the 2024 contest. The announcement comes just a week after an underwhelming midterm showing for Republicans and will force the party to decide whether to embrace a candidate whose refusal to accept defeat in 2020 pushed American democracy to the brink,” by The Chicago Tribune.

Nancy Pelosi is stepping down as a party leader. Who will replace her?: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced Thursday her plans to step down from party leadership and remain in the chamber representing San Francisco,” by NPR Illinois.


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