Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (2/10)

February 10, 2023


City to Host Final COVID-19/Flu Family Vaccination Clinic of Season at Truman College on Saturday, from the Chicago Department of Public Health.



Proposal would add state oversight to car insurance rates as insurance lobbyists warn of negative consequences for Illinois consumers: “Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago) and the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) say car insurance companies are exploiting Illinois drivers as lawmakers and advocates push legislation to give the state oversight over car insurance rates in Illinois. Guzzardi filed HB2203 which would give the Department of Insurance power to regulate how much car insurance companies charge Illinois drivers and would ban insurance companies from considering certain factors proponents deemed discriminatory when setting premiums for drivers,” by The Daily Line.

Teacher pension systems offer update on investments, progress toward 90 percent funded goal: “Two of Illinois’ teacher pension systems are slowly increasing funding levels toward the 2045 90 percent funded level as the systems continue to adjust to the tiered beneficiary system. Members of the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) and State Universities Retirement System (SURS) presented figures to the House Personnel and Pensions Committee Thursday on the systems’ progress toward a higher level of funding. Both systems remain under 50 percent funded,” by The Daily Line.

As problems persist at DCFS, bill would make legal counsel available to youth in care: “A bill by Sen. Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) would give children in Department of Children and Family Services care the right to legal counsel amid ongoing issues at the state agency. Gillespie filed SB1478 which would amend the Foster Children’s Bill of Rights to include the right to legal counsel for children in the state’s care. It would establish the Due Process for Oversight Commission to provide guidance and implementation for the right,” by The Daily Line.

Finance Committee members hear update on county guaranteed basic income program: “Cook County commissioners grilled project leaders from the county’s guaranteed basic income program on preventing fraud and questioned apparent disparities between which districts participants hailed from during a Finance Committee meeting Wednesday. Additionally, for the first time the public got its deepest look at multiple demographic metrics for the 3,250 participants selected to receive $500 monthly checks for two years under the program.


City expands mental health services in all 77 neighborhoods

Despite facing continued criticism from community advocates and mayoral opponents for breaking her 2019 campaign promise to reopen city clinics previously shut down by former mayor Rahm Emanuel, Mayor Lightfoot heralded her past record on mental health initiatives and announced that Chicago has successfully expanded access to publicly-funded mental health services in all 77 neighborhoods.

In a press release Thursday, Mayor Lightfoot shared that in coordination with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) the city is now funding 177 clinics or other non-profit programs that provide no-barrier access to mental health services, meaning residents can receive treatment regardless of age, income, insurance, or citizenship. Lightfoot also announced plans to provide behavioral healthcare at various Chicago libraries, O’Hare Airport, and 80 homeless shelters across the city.

Federal funding as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic allowed the city budget to allot $89 million for mental health in 2022, a drastic jump from the $12 million budgeted in 2019. A key question is how the city will sustain its spending on services once federal relief funding runs out.


Political Fund Created by Lightfoot’s Allies Used Cash from City Contractors to Attack Johnson: “A political action committee created by close allies of Mayor Lori Lightfoot to boost her bid for reelection — fueled with cash from firms doing business with the city of Chicago — entered the political fray on Tuesday with an advertisement attacking Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson,” by WTTW.

Vallas Faces Questions About Whether He Lives in Chicago as Officials Launch Probe of Tax Breaks: “Paul Vallas, one of the leading candidates for mayor of Chicago, has claimed a home in south suburban Palos Heights as his legal permanent residence since 2009, according to documents obtained by WTTW News that raise questions about whether he is qualified to lead Chicago,” by WTTW.

Chicago’s population shift puts Latinos at heart of mayoral race: “Chicago’s Latino population increased 5.2% in the 10 years leading up to 2020, while the number of Black residents declined and the city recorded a 1.9% growth in the total number of residents, according to Census data. Latinos first overtook Chicago’s Black community in size in 2020. Garcia’s background, Spanish fluency and experience in almost every level of government including Congress could bolster his chances of becoming mayor,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Half of Chicago workers now back in the office, for first time since pandemic began: “Data from Kastle security systems show that 50% of staff are coming in to offices, but the return is still slow — and few people are coming in on Fridays,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.


Beltway Briefing: 2024 GOP Presidential Primary

Following months-long speculation she might throw her hat in the presidential ring, Nikki Haley – a former U.S. ambassador to the U.N and former two-term South Carolina governor, is expected to officially announce a White House bid on Feb. 15. So far, former President Trump is the only high-profile Republican who has formally announced a presidential campaign.

Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Rodney Davis, and Patrick Martin look at several widely floated contenders likely to challenge Trump and discuss the possibility of a crowded GOP presidential primary in 2024. And, as Democrats balk at negotiating on the borrowing limit while GOP pushes spending cuts, they also review the start of debt-ceiling discussion between President Biden and Speaker McCarthy, with the latter expressing cautious optimism they can come to a deal to avoid the first-ever default of the country’s debt.

Listen to the full Beltway Briefing here.

Cozen Currents: The State of the Union is …

  • The State of the Union address is typically a forgettable affair, but President Biden has reason to try to seize the moment as he embarks on his expected re-election campaign.
  • President Biden’s selection of Jeff Zients as the incoming White House chief of staff underscores the shift in his focus from passing his legislative agenda to implementing it as he gears up for the 2024 election.
  • The rapid development of artificial intelligence has made it a growing topic of interest for both Congress and the White House.

Read the Cozen Currents article here.


Explore Articles and News

See All News