Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (12/5)

December 5, 2022

PUBLIC HEALTH 

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: FDA Pulls COVID Antibody Treatment, COVID Testing, by NBC 5 Chicago.

Illinois COVID-19 hospitalizations near 10-month high, by The Chicago Sun-Times.

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

ILLINOIS

Democratic state Rep. Bob Morgan (D-Deerfield), who was marching in the Highland Park parade when a mass shooter opened fire in July, filed legislation Thursday night that would ban the sale of semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines, raise the age for someone to buy a gun to 21 years old, and boost the state’s “red flag” laws.

While state lawmakers did not discuss gun reform measures during veto session, the Protect Illinois Communities Act (HB 5855) could be taken up in January’s lame duck session, which only requires a simple majority to pass the bill.

Morgan’s bill would ban the sale of “assault weapons” and the sale of large capacity magazines 300 days after the bill takes effect. The bill would immediately take effect with the governor’s signature, meaning guns and magazines could be banned by the end of the year.

Sen. Jason Barickman announces retirement

Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) released a statement Monday announcing his retirement at the conclusion of the 102nd General Assembly, ending his decade-long career representing central Illinois in the state Senate.

Barickman, who was recently reelected to a sixth term in the state Senate, is also a partner at a real estate firm and an adjunct professor at Illinois State University. In his retirement statement, Barickman said the district needs “a representative who can make them the priority they deserve to be.”

Barickman, who currently serves as the Senate Minority Whip, is often found leading opposition against Democrats on hot topic issues. His departure adds to the shake up in the Senate Republican Caucus following the November 8 general election.

AROUND THE STATE

Beyond the SAFE-T Act: These bills passed during the Illinois General Assembly veto session: “In total, 12 bills passed both chambers ranging from the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund to more local interests with the Springfield High-Speed Rail Corridor Improvement Project. The bills will be sent to Gov. JB Pritzker’s desk within the next 30 days who will then have 60 days to sign,” by The State Journal-Register.

Illinois lawmakers approve changes to EV manufacturer tax credit program: “Legislation was approved Thursday, the final day of session year, which would extend up to 30 years in payroll tax credits for those who work in Illinois under the Reimagining Electric Vehicles in Illinois Act. The companies receiving the breaks can receive a state income tax credit of 75% or 100% of payroll taxes withheld from each new employee and 25% or 50% for current employees,” by The Center Square.

Gov. Pritzker Announces Six Appointments to Boards and Commissions, from the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker.

CHICAGO

Aldermen urge city officials to do more to combat inequitable mortgage lending practices

Aldermen at the City Council Committee on Finance meeting Thursday called on city officials to take more drastic measures to penalize the city’s municipal depositories that engage in inequitable lending practices.

Aldermen have been urging Conyears-Ervin and the Chicago Department of Finance to investigate the city’s municipal depositories – which hold the city’s nearly $9 billion in assets – since a WBEZ and City Bureau investigation from 2020 found that the large, national banks concentrate their lending in predominantly white neighborhoods and that Black and Latino Chicagoans are consistently denied loans at higher rates than their white counterparts.

While City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin pushed for an ordinance (O2021-2879) last year that makes it easier for small, local banks to apply to hold the assets, the list of big-name national institutions that serve as municipal depositories in Chicago for 2022 and 2023 is nearly identical to the list from 2021.

A handful of aldermen, including Leslie Hairston (5), David Moore (17), Nicole Lee (11) and Harry Osterman (48), spoke out condemning the historic inequitable lending from these institutions and supporting potential ramifications for municipal depositories that practice such inequitable lending.

MORE FROM CITY HALL 

How the Chicago City Council election is shaping up: Who’s facing steep competition, and who’s getting a free pass: “Though less high profile than the mayor’s race, the aldermen who represent Chicago’s 50 wards wield their own powers in shaping the city, from voting on hallmark legislation to making sure broken streetlights get fixed. And with 15 aldermen this year having announced impending retirements, opted to run for other offices, or already left — in one case forced by a criminal conviction — City Council could look a lot different come the next term that starts in May,” by The Chicago Sun-Times.

Candidates for Chicago’s new police district councils split between staunch defenders of police and those who favor defunding: “With 122 candidates vying for 66 vacancies on Chicago’s new police district councils, there are many factors driving the desire to join the grand experiment of civilian oversight of the Police Department. Two major camps have emerged: Police supporters determined to take the shackles off officers and those who believe CPD has victimized communities of color and don’t trust police,” by The Chicago Sun-Times.

Ald. Brian Hopkins abandons plan to knock Lightfoot off mayoral ballot: “Downtown Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) on Friday abandoned plans to try and knock Mayor Lori Lightfoot off the ballot — even after uncovering what he said was a ‘pattern of fraud’ that suggested she may not have the 12,500 valid signatures required by law,” by The Chicago Sun-Times.

CTA Overtime Spikes as Agency Hit By Departures; Dozens of Bus and Train Operators Paid for Average Weeks of 80 Hours or More: “The Chicago Transit Authority is under fire from passengers and politicians complaining about long waits, inconsistent service and so-called ghost buses and trains. Many of those problems are driven by a severe staffing shortage, a gap the CTA has filled in part using an ever-increasing amount of overtime. A WTTW News analysis of CTA bus and train operator work records from 2015 to 2021 shows a growing number of employees paid for long average workweeks, which experts say raises questions about worker and passenger safety and the agency’s bottom line, by WTTW.

Lightfoot’s plan to replace Chicago’s lead water pipes has switched out 280 of an estimated 390,000 service lines: “Only 280 out of an estimated 390,000 lead service lines — the most lead water lines in any city in the United States – have had their lead service line replaced under city programs over the past two years. Beginning in January, the city will be required under state law to replace lead service pipes every time there is a break or leak in a water line. That will force the city to replace what’s estimated will be at least 4,000 lead lines a year, perhaps 5,000,” by The Chicago Sun-Times.

FEDERAL 

Beltway Briefing: Looking towards 2023

On Thursday night, the White House hosted the first state dinner of Biden’s presidency in honor of France, a key American ally.  Joining President Biden and French President Macron were more than 350 guests, including House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, whose quest to secure the 218 votes he needs to be elected Speaker of the House in January looms over lame-duck legislative debates.

Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, and Towner French share their thoughts on the first post-Covid state dinner. They also break down end-of-the-year partisan maneuvering over key government appropriations bills, including the National Defense Authorization Act and the shutdown deadline-facing 2023 Omnibus spending package, before current funding expires on December 16.

Listen to the full Beltway Briefing here.

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