Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (12/2)

December 2, 2022


State of Illinois Awarded $86 Million in CDC Funding to Strengthen Public Health Infrastructure: “Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced the State of Illinois has been awarded $86 million in federal funding to strengthen the state’s public health workforce and infrastructure. This first-of-its-kind funding from the CDC will support efforts by IDPH and its local health department partners to promote and protect health and address health disparities in communities throughout Illinois,” from the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker.

IDPH Reports 63 Illinois Counties are at Elevated COVID-19 Community Levels, from the Illinois Department of Public Health.


Amended SAFE-T Act passes Illinois General Assembly

Sen. Robert Peters (D-Chicago) filed an amendment to HB1095 Wednesday morning, adding a series of proposed changes to the Pretrial Fairness Act that clarify the transition process of eliminating cash bail in Illinois before the law takes effect on January 1, 2023.

The amendment elucidates that people will not be released from jail on Jan. 1 if they are held on cash bond; specifies a timeframe for those currently held to petition for release after Jan. 1; clarifies which charges are detainable; redefines the terms ‘willful flight’ and ‘flight risks’; states that a person can be detained if they pose a threat to individuals or the community; and gives judges discretion on how use summons/warrants if someone misses their court date.

The amendment passed along party lines: 38-17 in the Senate followed by 71-40 in the House. The measure now awaits the expected approval of Gov. JB Pritzker.

State Republicans are still at odds with the controversial legislation, arguing that their party was not consulted properly on the bill and that the changes are insufficient. No Republicans voted in favor of its passage.

County Treasurer’s Office study shows new property tax increase hits Hispanic neighborhoods hardest 

A majority of Cook County property owners will see their tax bills increase this year, but certain communities, such as Latino neighborhoods in Chicago, will see some of the biggest increases.

In an analysis of the new tax bills released on Thursday, Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas admitted that the tax hikes are “overly burdensome on middle-class, working people” and outlined various causes such as tax-increment financing (TIF) districts, increasing property assessments, and a new state law which allows local government to recover losses from reassessed properties.

The treasurer’s office analysis, which examined 1.8 million bills, shows that for Tax Year 2021, property taxes in Cook County rose by $614 million, or by 3.8 percent, to total $16.7 billion. Homeowners will cover 53.6 percent of the total increase while businesses are responsible for the other 46.4 percent.

Although the median property tax bill for Chicago homeowners only rose by 8 percent, homeowners in some Latino communities saw increases almost six times that amount. For instance, homeowners in the Lower West Side saw their median tax bill increase by 46 percent and those in Avondale saw a 27 percent increase.

“The increase in taxes in some gentrifying Latino neighborhoods likely will raise concerns that residents could be priced out of their homes,” the Cook County Treasurer’s Office said in a press release.


Pritzker moves to bulk up state’s EV tax incentives: “Legislation introduced in Springfield Wednesday that quickly passed a Senate committee would both widen and extend to up to 30 years payroll tax credits for those who work here under the existing Reimagining Electric Vehicles in Illinois law, known as the Rev Illinois Act,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Illinois House Democrats unveil proposal to ban assault weapons, high-capacity magazines in response to Highland Park mass shooting: “Democrats in the Illinois House on Thursday unveiled a proposal to ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines and eliminate the ability for most people under 21 to obtain a gun permit in the state,” by The Chicago Tribune.

Republicans still have concerns about Prisoner Review Board appointments, though 4 sail through committee vote: “After the senators concluded the spring session with debate over Prisoner Review Board nominees, four new appointments by Gov. JB Pritzker to the board were considered by the Senate Executive Committee Wednesday on the second to last day of session for 2022 as Republican concerns over the board’s members linger,” by The Daily Line.

Citing need for experience as Bears project looms, two Arlington Heights trustees to seek reelection: “Two incumbent Arlington Heights trustees this week declared intentions to seek reelection to the elected panel that is expected to see some turnover next year. Robin LaBedz, a nine-year trustee and the current president pro tem, and Tom Schwingbeck, a three-year trustee, emphasized experience in their respective campaign announcements, as they begin to circulate petitions to get on the April 4 municipal ballot,” by Daily Herald.



Despite ban on lobbyists’ campaign money, Lightfoot took but is now giving back $53K from lobbyist’s companies: “More than a decade ago, then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel issued an executive order that prohibited him and future mayors from taking any campaign money from lobbyists. This year, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has accepted more than $53,000 in 39 individual campaign contributions from 14 companies owned by Carmen A. Rossi, a registered city lobbyist,” by The Chicago Sun-Times.

Housing advocates join Ald. Lopez in calling for scrutiny of Mansueto donation to Lightfoot: “On Wednesday morning, housing advocates held a press conference outside of Morningstar, a financial services firm owned by billionaire Joe Mansueto, to deliver a letter expressing concerns following his $25,000 donation to Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s re-election campaign. Their action follows a call by Chicago Ald. Ray Lopez, 15th, for an investigation into a possible quid pro quo between Mansueto and the Lightfoot administration—a connection the mayor’s office denies,” Crain’s Chicago Business.

Lightfoot pushing TIF renewals to funnel billions in tax dollars into hot neighborhoods: “The fund is scheduled to dissolve at the end of 2022, which would send a windfall of hundreds of millions of dollars to the city of Chicago, Chicago Public Schools and other local governments. But instead, the Lightfoot administration is maneuvering to keep the local fund alive so it can pool another $1 billion or more for projects on the Near West Side during the next decade,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Police oversight commission prods CPD officials on controversial gang database overhaul: “Several questions about the Chicago Police Department’s overhaul of its controversial gang database remained unanswered after a three-hour meeting Monday where representatives from the police department, Office of Inspector General and the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability (CCPSA) discussed the proposed changes. Lingering questions include the cost of the new version of the gang database, called the Criminal Enterprise Information System, how children are handled in the database and whether there will be a way to notify people that their names are in the system,” by The Daily Line.

Mayor Lightfoot Announces $40 Million in City Grants for Neighborhood Businesses, Non-Profits: “Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot announced yesterday that more than 60 neighborhood businesses and nonprofit organizations are set to receive nearly $40 million in Community Development Grants as part of the Chicago Recovery Plan to provide post-pandemic relief,” from the Office of Mayor Lightfoot.

Bike trail connecting Chicago to Michigan clears last major fundraising hurdle: “The Marquette Greenway Trail Project reached its last major fundraising goal and now has the $5.6 million needed to complete construction on the remaining Michigan portion of the route. Volunteers organizing work on the Michigan strip, which will span the 4 miles from the Indiana border to downtown New Buffalo, had already garnered $5.3 million in federal, state, municipal and foundation grants when they launched a fundraising push on Nov. 3 for the final $300,000,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Mayor Lightfoot Plants 18,000th Tree, Exceeding the City’s 2022 Goal: “Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot yesterday joined the Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS), Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), and the Chicago Park District to plant the 18,000th tree, exceeding the City’s pledge to plant 15,000 trees each year for the next five years, starting in 2022,” from the Office of Mayor Lightfoot.


Cozen Currents: The Fed, Crypto, and Big Tech Race Post-Election Politics

  • The election may be over, but the politics for Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell and his Fed colleagues are just getting more complicated as they seek to bring down inflation.
  • FTX’s collapse could grease the wheels of the bureaucracy to produce a range of new oversight of the industry, from legislation to rulemakings to more aggressive enforcement.
  • Big Tech is coming under greater scrutiny from Republicans and Democrats. Deep divides lie between them though over what issues are of greatest concern, which makes forging bipartisan action challenging. But some common ground does exist and could still serve as the basis for turning pointed rhetoric into action.

Read the full Cozen Currents article here.

Beltway Briefing: End of an Era, Pelosi Steps Down

Democrats’ strongest showing in a presidential midterm in the last two decades enabled them to retain control of the Senate. After more than a week of vote counting, Republicans secured a slender majority in the House on Wednesday, a delayed yet consequential finish to the 2022 midterm elections that will reorder the balance of power in Washington and is certain to complicate the Biden administration’s efforts to enact parts of the President’s legislative agenda for the next two years. After leading the House Democrats since 2003, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that she will step down next year from her spot at the top of the party, leading to a seismic change on Capitol Hill.

Listen to the full Beltway Briefing here.


Landmark Same-Sex Marriage Bill Wins Senate Passage: “The Senate passed bipartisan legislation Tuesday to protect same-sex marriages, an extraordinary sign of shifting national politics on the issue and a measure of relief for the hundreds of thousands of same-sex couples who have married since the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision that legalized gay marriage nationwide,” by NBC 5 Chicago.

Rail strike threat averted as U.S. Senate votes to impose labor deal: “The Senate passed legislation to avert a crippling US rail strike on an 80 to 15 vote and sent the measure to President Joe Biden for his signature ahead of next week’s strike deadline,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.


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