Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (12/7)

December 7, 2022


Illinois COVID-19 hospitalizations increase 42% in two weeks, by Daily Herald.

COVID, flu cases rise in Chicago following Thanksgiving: “The number of new lab-confirmed COVID cases in Chicago was up nearly 50% to 550 daily cases as of Dec. 5 compared to the week prior, according to health department data,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.


Governor Pritzker signs SAFE-T Act amendment

During a news release Tuesday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law a series of amendments and clarifications to the controversial SAFE-T Act, which is set to end Illinois’ cash bail system when it goes into effect Jan. 1, 2023. The Illinois legislature passed HB1095 last week during the last day of the veto session.

The Act clarifies the process for shifting from the cash bail system; outlines arrest guidelines for trespassing; expands the list of offenses that allow a judge to deny an individual pre-trial release to include kidnapping, arson, and second-degree murder; and redefine the terms “willful flight,” “flight risk,” and “dangerousness.”

“I’m pleased that the General Assembly has passed clarifications that uphold the principle we fought to protect: to bring an end to a system where wealthy violent offenders can buy their way out of jail, while less fortunate nonviolent offenders wait in jail for trial,” Pritzker said in a statement.

Illinois Republicans opposed the changes to the SAFE-T Act in both the House and the Senate, and the law still faces a legal challenge from about 60 state’s attorneys across Illinois’ 102 counties. A Kankakee County judge could issue a ruling on the lawsuit later this month.


New County Board of Commissioners sworn in, expanding diversity in legislative body even as board becomes more partisan: “The 17-member Cook County Board of Commissioners was sworn into office during a special meeting Monday morning. The board features four new faces and one fewer Republican commissioner,” by The Daily Line.

2022 election results certified, reflecting 12-point victory for Pritzker, Amendment 1 passage and lower turnout: “The Illinois State Board of Elections met Monday to certify the results of the 2022 general election and cement victories for candidates who won their races on Nov. 8. The board’s certification provides a final picture of the state’s November election results and formally closes the books on close races. It also provides a snapshot of who voted in the election, which this year showed turnout was down from 2018,” by The Daily Line.

Will property tax bills be late again next year? Muddy picture frustrates commissioners, offers challenge for fresh faces: “Property taxpayers in Cook County who were upset that their bills landed roughly four months later than usual have little clarity about the timing of next year’s bills, as county commissioners were told last month that a key technology upgrade meant to speed the bill process along is unlikely to be finished before the end of 2023,” by The Chicago Tribune.


Five candidates for mayor face petition challenges 

Monday marked the final day to file challenges to candidates’ petitions, and five of the 11 candidates running for mayor of Chicago in the Feb. 28 municipal election are facing challenges to the nominating petition signatures they submitted late last month. Mayor Lori Lightfoot did not receive a challenge from any of her ten opponents.

Millionaire businessman Willie Wilson’s campaign team filed challenges against Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6) and community activist Ja’Mal Green, claiming they had an insufficient number of signatures. Green filed a similar challenge against Wilson’s signatures as well as another against his residency, alleging that Wilson does not live in city limits.

Police officer Frederick Collins faces two anonymous challenges to his petitions, but a report from the Board of Elections lists Andre Holland as the objector. Holland and Devlin Schoop also filed a challenge against Johnny LoGalbo.

In addition to Mayor Lightfoot, mayoral hopefuls who will not face challenges are former CPS CEO Paul Vallas, state Rep. Kam Buckner (D-Chicago), Cook County Comm. Brandon Johnson (D-1), Ald. Sophia King (4) and U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Chicago).

Petition challenges were also filed against aldermanic candidates in 28 of the 50 wards on the Chicago City Council. Hearings for the challenges are expected to begin Monday, Dec. 12.


Union’s $1 million commitment to Garcia highlights labor divisions in mayor’s race: “The pledge from Local 150 of the International Union of Operating Engineers would increase U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia’s mayoral campaign fund from $609,000 to about $1.6 million,” by The Chicago Sun-Times.

Ald. Jim Gardiner Threatened Team Collecting Signatures For Opposing Campaign, Volunteer Says: “Ald. Jim Gardiner is again under investigation after a volunteer for one of his challengers said the alderperson threatened to punch him,” by Block Club Chicago.

Chicago reaches $10M settlement with Uber Eats, Postmates: “The city of Chicago reached a $10 million settlement with Uber Eats and Postmates stemming from a two-year investigation into parent company Uber’s practice of listing restaurants on the food-ordering platforms without the establishments’ consent,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Residents take one last shot at Bally’s before casino proposal heads to Plan Commission: “Bally’s proposed River West casino will bring badly needed jobs and revenue to Chicago, but more convincing will be needed. Though some attendees at the two-and-a-half hour community gathering said serious outreach efforts have been made, many others raised continuing concerns about traffic, noise and crime on nearby residents, and called for more vetting of Bally’s new financial partner in the casino deal,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.


Cozen Currents: How Corporations Need to Navigate a Divided Congress

  1. The environment, social, and governance (ESG) movement is growing, but corporations are getting squeezed in the political battles between activists on both sides of this issue.
  2. The politics of appropriations have shifted in recent years, with both parties more comfortable spending federal dollars. The next Congress will see changes in personnel and power dynamics though that will make negotiations more contentious, particularly given high inflation.
  3. President Biden has tried to tone down the rhetoric between the US and China since his recent in-person meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, but his new tone is inconsistent with his actions, not to mention that a divided Congress may make it increasingly challenging for him.

Read the full Cozen Currents article here.

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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