Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (2/17)

February 17, 2023

Editor’s note: Illinois Insights will not publish Monday, February 20th in observance of President’s Day. Updates will resume on February 22nd


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



Pritzker Administration Announces Over $21 Million in Grants for New Wastewater Infrastructure: “Governor JB Pritzker and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Director John J. Kim today announced $21,046,025 in grants to six communities across the State through Illinois EPA’s Unsewered Communities Construction Grant Program (UCCGP). Made possible through the Governor’s bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital plan, these grants will allow underserved communities to construct dependable wastewater collection and/or treatment systems,” from the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker.

Mendoza pleased with Pritzker’s proposal investing in ‘tested and proven’ programs: “While expressing caution, Comptroller Susana Mendoza is pleased with Gov. JB Pritzker’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget proposal and is glad to see surplus funds are being injected into existing programs rather than a host of new ideas. Pritzker’s education-focused budget makes investments in childcare, preschool and higher education by boosting funding for largely existing programs,” by the Daily Line.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker again says downstate mental health facility could be shuttered after IG reports document mistreatment of residents: “Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Thursday said a southern Illinois mental health center where state investigations have documented systemic mistreatment of residents would be shut down if the problems aren’t fixed, while also pointing to the ‘big challenges’ of finding properly trained workers for rural facilities,” by the Chicago Tribune.


Plan Commission approves ‘We Will Chicago,’ first citywide plan in decades

The Chicago Plan Commission on Thursday unanimously approved Chicago’s first comprehensive planning document since 1966, titled “We Will Chicago.”

The 152-page planning document – drafted by community leaders, city officials, and neighborhood stakeholders using input from residents  – is intended “to guide the city’s future annual budgets, capital projects, and policy priorities to ensure public decision-making is focused on the needs of the entire City and all its residents,” Mayor Lightfoot said.

The citywide plan promotes equity and resiliency throughout Chicago and consists of more than 40 goals and 150 objectives across eight pillars: arts and culture; civic and community engagement; economic development; environment, climate and energy; housing and neighborhoods; lifelong learning; public health and safety; and transportation and infrastructure.


Struggling nonprofits feel blindsided by pending city labor law: “The Human Services Workforce Advancement Ordinance would mandate that human service nonprofits receiving city funding establish a ‘labor peace’ agreement with unions representing or seeking to represent its employees. The move effectively would require nonprofits contracted with the city to pay workers union-negotiated wages,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Mayor vows to remove unhoused people from O’Hare as more seek shelter at airport: “Lightfoot said Thursday that it’s a security risk to allow homeless people to stay at O’Hare. But a law enforcement source said that starting this week, additional police has been dedicated to offering services to homeless people — and removing those who don’t accept the help,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot removes city hiring barriers for ex-offenders: “Lowering city hiring requirements to enable more formerly incarcerated people to find jobs could help slash crime. The mayor calls on the business community to follow suit,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Chicago’s Mayor Releases Statement as Bears Announce Purchase of Arlington Park Property: “Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office released a statement just moments after the Chicago Bears announced a major update surrounding their potential move to Arlington Heights. The team revealed Wednesday afternoon that they had closed on the purchase of the Arlington Park property that could eventually be home to a brand new stadium and complex,” by NBC 5 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.

Cozen Currents: The State of the States

  • America’s federalist system has often left state governments overshadowed by what happens at the federal level. But states today are a potent force for influencing the national agenda and policymaking in their own right.
  • In states where Democrats hold unified control of government, they are charging ahead on issues including labor and climate where they can go farther than their federal counterparts.
  • Red states may not be the economic powerhouses that blue states are, but their politics still have a significant influence on policy discussions at the federal level.

Read the Cozen Currents article here.


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