Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (2/27)

February 27, 2023


Chicago’s COVID-19 Risk Level is Low, from the Chicago Department of Public Health.


Gov. Pritzker announces recommendations for children’s health initiative

On Friday, Gov. JB Pritzker announced the release of a report from the Children’s Behavioral Health Transformation Initiative that outlines recommendations to redesign the delivery of behavioral and mental health services for youth throughout Illinois.

Pritzker launched the Initiative last March in response to a nationwide youth mental health crisis. The plan represents a collaborative, multi-agency effort to expand access to care for children and adolescents and to “provide clear, consistent, and comprehensive guidance to families seeking behavioral or mental health services.”

The data-driven report looks to achieve five goals: adjusting capacity to ensure adequate resource availability, streamlining processes for service accessibility, intervening earlier to prevent acute crises, increasing accountability and transparency, and developing agility so that the systems can be responsive to the changing needs of youth.

In his announcement, Pritzker set an implementation deadline of Oct. 1 to enact the recommended reforms to the state’s system. Dr. Dana Weiner, who serves as director of the Initiative and was in charge of the planning phase, will oversee its implementation.


Illinois House Dems form cannabis working group: “Illinois House Democrats announced the formation of a cannabis working group Thursday that will aim to steer the burgeoning industry’s expansion in a business-friendly way while still satisfying the equity goals of the landmark 2019 legalization law. The group is led by Rep. La Shawn Ford, D-Chicago, who has sponsored numerous cannabis-related bills and is an outspoken advocate for racial equity,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

A battle simmers in Illinois over plans to pipe in and store millions of tons of planet-warming carbon dioxide underground: “The Navigator CO2 project would transport liquid carbon dioxide from ethanol and fertilizer plants in South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois to underground storage sites in central Illinois. Another project, proposed by Chicago-based Archer Daniels Midland Co. in partnership with a Denver company, would take carbon captured at ADM’s facilities in Clinton and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and transport it to an existing storage site in Decatur,” by the Chicago Tribune.



Paul Vallas blames unnamed hackers for his Twitter account’s likes of offensive posts: “Mayoral candidate Paul Vallas on Friday blamed unnamed hackers for his Twitter account liking offensive tweets over the past several years as he faced criticism from rival candidates over the social media posts,” by the Chicago Tribune.

Spike in Vote By Mail, early voting turnout could bode well for Election Day turnout too: “By the close of early voting locations Sunday evening, 109,039 people had cast their ballots early and in-person and the Board of Elections had reported receiving 102,071 mail-in ballots ahead of Tuesday’s Municipal Election. Those numbers represent a nearly four-fold increase in the number of Vote By Mail ballots returned by this time in 2019,” by The Daily Line.

Rogers Park Homeless Shelter Plan Gets City Approval, Allowing For Summer Opening: “A men’s shelter is setting up a permanent location in Rogers Park after a prominent housing provider’s plans for the new facility were approved by the city,” by Block Club Chicago.


Beltway Briefing: A Historic Visit on A Grim Anniversary

On President’s Day, after a clandestine journey involving a 10-hour train ride from Poland, President Biden made a surprise and historic visit to Ukraine, to show solidarity with a war-torn democratic nation battling for its survival and try to break an impasse as Russia’s invasion enters its second year. It was the first time in modern history a U.S. president entered a war zone where there was not an active U.S. military presence.

Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Rodney Davis, Patrick Martin, Towner French, and Kaitlyn Martin discuss Biden’s trip to Ukraine and the sharp response it drew from Congressional Republicans who have been critical of the U.S funding of the war effort and accused the President of neglecting issues back at home. They also break down the political fallout over the Administration’s response to a toxic train derailment and the resulting environmental disaster in Ohio that had the White House take bipartisan heat.

Listen to the full Beltway Briefing here.


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