Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (2/13)

February 13, 2023


IDPH Reports 15 Illinois Counties at an Elevated Community Level for COVID-19, from the Illinois Department of Public Health.



Black lawmakers, advocates call for more equitable distribution of HIV/AIDS funding from state: “Black advocates and lawmakers called attention to the funding disparity at a news conference Tuesday marking Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. The advocates representing Black-led HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment organizations argued they are left out of the vast majority of IDPH’s funding for the disease,” by The Daily Line.

On Chicago’s path to a casino, a major stumbling block emerges: As Bally’s seeks the Illinois Gaming Board’s blessing to develop a massive casino and entertainment complex along the North Branch of the Chicago River, still at issue is a negotiation between Bally’s and Alden Global Capital, the New York-based parent of the Chicago Tribune that recently extended its lease for 10 years at the Tribune’s Freedom Center printing plant in the River West neighborhood,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker OKs measure relaxing restrictions on felons changing their names: “Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday signed into a law a measure that loosens restrictions for people with past felony convictions who want to legally change their names. The measure passed last month in the Illinois Senate after being approved with bipartisan support in the House in 2021,” by the Chicago Tribune.


Lightfoot announces recipients of $27 million in Community Development Grants

On Friday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that twelve neighborhood businesses and nonprofit organizations will receive more than $27 million in Community Development Grants to support the expansion and new construction of local business, mixed use development, and nonprofit organizations.

Recipients and grant amounts can be found here.

The Chicago Department of Planning and Development (DPD) is currently accepting financial assistance applications through Feb. 24, 2023 for projects focused on business expansion, community development, community wealth-building, equitable transit-oriented development, and climate infrastructure improvements.


Mayoral candidates offer a look into how they would work with the City Council, empower aldermen:The Daily Line asked each of the nine mayoral candidates for their overview of City Council, whether they think aldermen should choose their own committee chairs, how they will work with City Council to pass a budget about six months after they take office and how they view aldermanic prerogative. All mayoral candidates responded to The Daily Line’s questions,” by The Daily Line.

Mayoral candidate Paul Vallas insists he’s a lifelong Democrat. But he’s backed by conservative donors and the FOP: “As he makes his second bid for Chicago mayor and proclaims himself a ‘lifelong Democrat,’ he’s pivoted to run on law-and-order and other themes that have drawn support from conservatives in the city and state. While Vallas doesn’t want to lose conservative supporters — many on the Northwest and Southwest sides who could propel him past the Feb. 28 election into a runoff — he also can’t alienate the rest of the city if he wants to win on April 4,” by the Chicago Tribune.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot Isn’t Bothered By Low Approval Ratings, Says She’s Ready To Continue What She Started: “In a conversation with Block Club, the first-term mayor trumpeted Invest South/West, the city’s first casino, ending aldermanic prerogative and closing a budget deficit as she battles eight challengers for reelection,” by Block Club Chicago.


Beltway Briefing: The State of the Union Is …

On Tuesday night, President Biden delivered his second State of the Union address, and his first before a joint session of the newly divided Congress, with Republicans in control of the House after they reclaimed the majority in the 2022 midterms.  Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders delivered a GOP response, drawing a sharp contrast with Biden.

Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Rodney Davis, Patrick Martin, and Towner French discuss the key takeaways from the President’s address, which seemed less about the usual laundry list of policy priorities and more about Biden building the political narrative for his all but certain re-election campaign.

Listen to the full Beltway Briefing here.


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